Landscape Architecture Now! Case Studies in Mexico and Latin America is topic of lecture tonight

Vistas Cerro Grande Linear Park in Chihuahua City: A Public Mile Designed with and for the Community. Photos by Delfoz.

Vistas Cerro Grande Linear Park in Chihuahua City: A Public Mile Designed with and for the Community. Photos by Delfoz.

Architecture and Design Network (ADN) continues its 2018/2019 June Freeman lecture series by diving into the discipline and profession of landscape architecture by analyzing a double context:  first, the larger context of the Latin American continent; and second, Mexico as a specific context.

The program will begin at 6:00pm tonight at the Arkansas Arts Center. A reception will precede it at 5:30pm.

Gabriel Diaz Montemayor, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin and Founder of Labor Studio, will present these findings in ADN’s second lecture of 2019 year, “Landscape Architecture Now!  Case Studies in Mexico and Latin America.”

The discipline and profession of Landscape Architecture is not the same in Latin America as in the United States. It should not be the same. A brief historic chronology will be traced to explain the different origins and meaning of public space in this continent while addressing the need to identify the unique national and regional differences, avoiding -often done- common generalizations. Recent project case studies will be synthesized to portray the current condition of the discipline in the Latin American context.

The contemporary condition of Public Space in Mexico will be explained as one of the unique conditions assembling the Latin American mosaic. The country has recently gone through dramatic changes in public life, society, culture, and politics. A set of case studies in Landscape Architecture and Public Space, where Montemayor has been involved in different capacities, will be employed to explain the challenges and opportunities for Landscape Architecture in Mexico.

The Mexican projects include applied academic studios trying to fill the void between the planning and the implementation of public infrastructure projects needing landscape architectural methods and matter. These will also include professional public space commissions based on community reconstruction, engagement, and participation. Both applied studios and professional projects operate in a third context, northern Mexico. This will lead to a final proposition reflecting on a potential future for the border region between the United States and Mexico, one where societies are reconciled with their common ground.

Gabriel Diaz Montemayor, ASLA, is an Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture at the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. Through Spring 2019, he will hold the Garvan Chair and Visiting Professorship in Landscape Architecture at the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.

Montemayoris an architect educated at the School of the Desert:  The Superior Institute of Architecture and Design (ISAD) at Chihuahua, Mexico, from where he graduated in 1998. He holds an architect degree from the Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Mexico, and received his Master of Landscape Architecture from Auburn University in 2007.  Montemayoris a founder of LABOR Studio, an architecture, urban design and landscape architecture practice based in Chihuahua, Mexico, since 2002. The studio has engaged in a variety of private and public commissions.

Architecture and Design Network lectures are free and open to the public. No reservations are required.  Supporters of ADN include the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, the Central Section of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and friends in the community.


Arkansas Preservation Awards tonight

No photo description available.

The Arkansas Preservation Awards will honor outstanding achievements in historic preservation from all over the state, including this year’s recipients of the Parker Westbrook Award for Lifetime Achievement, Hot Springs architects Anthony Taylor and Bob Kempkes.

The awards are presented by Preserve Arkansas. Rex Nelson will be the emcee for the awards. The evening will begin with a reception at 5:30pm at the Albert Pike Masonic Center.

Anthony Taylor and Bob Kempkes founded Taylor/Kempkes Architects, P.A. in Hot Springs in 1986. Over the years, Taylor and Kempkes have demonstrated a strong commitment to the preservation of our state’s built environment and the revitalization of downtown Hot Springs. Their notable Hot Springs projects include the restoration and/or rehabilitation of the Mountain Valley Spring Company Building, Old Post Office, Quapaw Bathhouse, and the Thompson Building.

Other award recipients are:

Excellence in Heritage Preservation – Ginger Sandy – “Cedar Grove/Mobley Historical Preservation” Facebook page

Excellence in Preservation through Rehabilitation
– Des Arc Public Library (Historic First Presbyterian Church), Des Arc
– Griffin Auto Company Building, El Dorado
– ScholarMade Achievement Place, Ivy Hill Academy of Scholarship (Historic James Mitchell School), Little Rock

Excellence in Preservation through Restoration
– Brunson House, Historic Washington State Park
– Methodist Manse, Cane Hill
– Shiloh Meeting Hall, Springdale

Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Education – University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design, Department of Landscape Architecture for “Rising Above – Rohwer Reconstructed: Interpreting Place through Experience” website

Outstanding Achievement in Preservation Advocacy – U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman, Representing Arkansas’s 4th District, for his efforts to save the Federal Historic Tax Credit during tax reform

Ned Shank Award for Outstanding Preservation Publication – University of Arkansas Press for “It’s All Done Gone”: Arkansas Photographs from the Farm Security Administration Collection, 1935-1943 by Patsy G. Watkins

Excellence in Personal Projects

  • Commercial: Mary Ann Lee, Indigo Blue Coffeehouse, Pine Bluff
  • Residential: Greg Gallagher, 1919 Beech Street, Texarkana
  • Honorable Mention: Cecil and Denise Ennett, Kleinschmidt House, Little Rock


Mid-Century Modern work of Frank Doughty topic of architecture lecture

Tonight (January 8), the Architecture and Design Network (ADN) continues its 2018/2019 June Freeman lecture series by taking a look at the Mid-Century Modern work of architect Frank Doughty (1930-present), a lecture by Mason Toms, architectural historian and preservation designer at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.  The program is entitled “The Unexpected Modernism of Frank Doughty.”

There is a reception starting at 5:30pm followed by the lecture at 6pm. It is in the lecture hall of the Arkansas Arts Center.

Frank L. Doughty was born and raised near Tunica, Mississippi at the dawn of the 1930s. After high school and military service during the Korean Conflict, Doughty attended the University of Arkansas architecture program. After graduating from the program, he went to work for internationally renowned architect and Arkansas native, Edward Durell Stone, in his New York office. This was followed by work in the Fayetteville office of equally renowned architect, E. Fay Jones. Eventually he moved to Boca Rotan, Florida, where he operated his own practice before returning to Arkansas to teach at the University of Arkansas School of Architecture.

Though primarily remembered for his 23 years as an architecture professor at the University of Arkansas, Doughty also created a small but meaningful body of work that injected Modernist architecture into the most unlikely of places in a profound and elegant way. Located mainly in the Arkansas Delta region, Doughty’s work drew inspiration from the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Edward Durell Stone as well as the surrounding rural landscape. He uniquely designed his buildings in such a way that they simultaneously stood out and blended into their individual settings.  The excellence of construction and high level of architectural skill present in each of the structures has made them hidden gems of Modernist design in predominantly traditional areas.

Mason Toms is an architectural historian and preservation designer at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. In college, Mason developed a passion for Mid-Century Modern architecture, but was disappointed to learn that there was little research being done on Mid-Century Modern architects in Arkansas. This led him to work closely with the National Register and Survey staff to find, research, and document Mid-Century Modern architecture around the state.

In an effort to raise awareness of the many remarkable Modernist structures in Arkansas, Mason created and continues to administer the Facebook group Mid-Century Modern Arkansas. The group page features a different Modernist building in the state almost every Friday. Additionally, Mason collaborates with local preservation organizations to create tours and present lectures that center on the significance of Mid-Century Modern architecture in general and the unique examples found here in Arkansas.

Architecture and Design Network lectures are free and open to the public. No reservations are required. Supporters of ADN include the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design, the Central Section of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and friends in the community.

LR Culture Vulture turns 7

The Little Rock Culture Vulture debuted on Saturday, October 1, 2011, to kick off Arts & Humanities Month.

The first feature was on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, which was kicking off its 2011-2012 season that evening.  The program consisted of Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 4 in A, Op. 90, Rossini’s, Overture to The Italian Girl in Algiers, Puccini’s Chrysanthemums and Respighi’s Pines of Rome.  In addition to the orchestra musicians, there was an organ on stage for this concert.

Since then, there have been 10,107 persons/places/things “tagged” in the blog.  This is the 3,773rd entry. (The symmetry to the number is purely coincidental–or is it?)  It has been viewed over 288,600 times, and over 400 readers have made comments.  It is apparently also a reference on Wikipedia.

The most popular pieces have been about Little Rock history and about people in Little Rock.

LR Women Making History – June Freeman

June Biber Freeman, born and reared in New Jersey, came to Pine Bluff from the University of Chicago, where she had met and married her husband, Edmond Freeman, a Pine Bluff native.

Long interested in the arts, she was instrumental in establishing the Little Firehouse Community Arts Center. Serving as its unpaid director until, with her continued vision and help, it morphed into the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas (ASC).  In 1973, she conceived and organized the  Women and the Arts: A Conference on Creativity,  the first of its kind in the region. Governor Dale Bumpers appointed her to the Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women.  In 1975,  Freeman was  hired by  Townsend Wolfe as the Arkansas Arts Center’s Director of State Services, a job  she held for the next five years.

In 1982, she was instrumental in establishing Pine Bluff Sister Cities.   She has served on the Little Rock Arts+Culture Commission as well as the boards of the Arkansas Arts Center, the Mid-American Arts Alliance and the Arkansas Arts Council. (In view of her background in psychology, she has served as a longstanding member of the UAMS Advisory Board of the Psychiatric Research Institute.)

Freeman is the founding director of the non-profit Architecture and Design Network (ADN) which got underway in 2003. Securing the support of the Arkansas Arts Center, the UA Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design (FJSAD) and the central section of the Arkansas chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Freeman launched a series of free public lectures by distinguished architects.  Retiring as director at the end of 2016, she continues to serve as a board member. She was named an honorary member of the FJSAD Dean’s Circle and, in 2013, was given an Award of Merit by the state Chapter of the AIA at its annual meeting. In 2016 the ADN board named the lecture series for her.

In 2017, she was inducted into the Arkansas Women’s Hall of Fame.  In 1995, she received the Governor’s Arts Award for Outstanding Patron.  In 2018, she became a rare two-time award recipient of a Governor’s Arts Award as she received the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Freeman and her husband, who retired as publisher of the Pine Bluff Commercial, moved to Little Rock in 1995. The couple has four children and six grandchildren.

The Arkansas Arts Center chooses Studio Gang as design architect

The Arkansas Arts Center (AAC) announced on Tuesday the selection of Studio Gang as design architect for its upcoming building project.
“We had a number of highly qualified firms respond to our RFQ, and narrowing this impressive group down to the five finalists was extremely difficult,” said Todd Herman, executive director for the Arkansas Arts Center. “All five finalists were incredibly talented with international reputations and credentials. The Arts Center would have been well served by any one of them. We were in a great position to choose from such an impressive pool of talent.”

The five firms selected as finalists were Allied Works (Portland, Ore./New York), Shigeru Ban (New York/Paris/Tokyo, Japan), Studio Gang (Chicago/New York), Thomas Phifer (New York) and Snohetta (Oslo, Norway/New York/San Francisco).

Herman said the selection committee felt Studio Gang was the best fit for the project, due to the firm’s elegant and smart approach to architecture, their understanding of the issues posed by the AAC’s current facility, their vision for the center as a cultural beacon for Central Arkansas and their commitment to sustainability and strength as urban planners.

Founded by MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang is an award-winning architecture and urbanism practice based out of Chicago and New York. A recipient of the 2013 National Design Award, Jeanne Gang was also named the 2016 Archiitect of the Year by the Architectural Review and the firm was awarded the 2016 Architizer A+ award for Firm of the Year.

Studio Gang is recognized internationally for a design process that foregrounds the relationships between individuals, communities and environments. The firm has extensive knowledge in museum, theatre and artist studio spaces, with projects ranging from the Writers Theatre in Glencoe, Ill. to the Aqua Tower in Chicago to the expansion of the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

“Designing a re-envisioned Arkansas Arts Center is a truly exciting commission,” Gang said. “Its extraordinary collection, historic MacArthur Park setting, and rich mix of programs present a unique opportunity to redefine how the arts can strengthen local communities and surrounding regions. We look forward to working closely with the AAC to discover how architecture can enhance the Center’s important civic and cultural mission by creating new connections between people and the arts in Little Rock and beyond.”

An RFQ for a local architect to collaborate on the project will be issued later this month.

“When the Arkansas Arts Center project is completed, it will not just be a renovated facility, it will be a re-envisioned experience,” Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola said. “The enhanced building will offer opportunities for an even higher level of exhibits, classes, children’s theatre productions and special events, making the Arkansas Arts Center not only a signature tourist attraction, but an even more important cultural anchor for the arts community in Little Rock.”

“It is well known that businesses looking to locate or expand look at a city’s quality of life offerings,” Stodola said. “An enhanced Arkansas Arts Center will be a showcase which will enable us to attract and retain quality job creators in a variety of sectors.”

Herman said he is looking at the project holistically, including Historic MacArthur Park, and reevaluating how the Arts Center meets the needs of its community.

“This project is about more than just addressing the physical issues of the current building. It requires rethinking how the AAC fits into the downtown fabric,” said Herman. “How can we best serve the community, and how do the AAC and MacArthur Park connect to other social and cultural nodes in downtown Little Rock? We want to do more than build; we want to transform the cultural experience.”

The five finalists presented their firm’s general project approach and design philosophies to the selection committee on November 1, 2016. The presentations took place in the AAC lower lobby lecture hall and were open for public viewing. More than 100 people were in attendance at the presentations, including students, community members and media.

The committee determined their selection at a public meeting on December 6, 2016. The selection committee included: AAC Executive Director Todd Herman; City Director Dean Kumpuris; Director of Little Rock Parks and Recreation Truman Tolefree; AAC Board Chair Mary Ellen Irons; AAC Board members Isabel Anthony, Van Tilbury and Chucki Bradbury; AAC Foundation Chair Bobby Tucker; Little Rock Small Business Development official Chauncey Holloman; and past Director of the Central Arkansas Library System Bobby Roberts.

A technical review panel was responsible for reviewing all proposals and recommending a slate of finalists to the selection committee, based on specialized criteria outlined in an RFQ that reflected the specific needs and goals of the AAC.  The technical review panel included: AAC Executive Director Todd Herman, AAC Chief Curator Brian Lang, Architect Ken Sims, Dean of the Fay Jones School of Architecture Peter MacKeith, Chair of the AAC Buildings and Grounds Committee Kaki Hockersmith and international museum consultant Deborah Frieden.

The leadership phase of a capital campaign to maximize the impact of public dollars dedicated to the project is currently underway.

“Anyone and everyone can participate in the creation of a new Arkansas Arts Center,” Herman said. “The Arts Center is a symbol of the importance that this community ­– and state – places on culture, arts education and quality of life, and all Arkansans will have the opportunity to share in that civic pride.”

THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE focus of Architecture & Design Network discussion this evening at 6pm at Arkansas Arts Center

wittenberg-heritageIn 1919, young architects George Wittenberg and Lawson Delony co-founded the firm that would become, under the visionary leadership of George’s son Gordon, one of the largest, longest-lasting and most influential architectural firms in the state. During his thirty-year tenure (1952-1982) as head of Wittenberg Delony & Davidson Architects, the company had a significant role in the design of many city landmarks, winning more than thirty awards for its work. The Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects awarded its most prestigious prize, the Gold Medal, to Gordon Wittenberg in recognition of his many contributions to the profession. In view of his outstanding contributions to the field, he was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, an honor accorded a select few.

This evening (February 23) the Architecture and Design Network will feature Gordon Wittenberg in a program entitled THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE.  It begins at 6pm at the Arkansas Arts Center with a reception at 5:30pm preceding it.

Wittenberg will be joined by his colleagues in reflection on the firm’s nearly one hundred year history, a heritage that shaped spaces and places throughout the state and beyond. THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE a group presentation, chaired by Gordon Ducksworth, AIA, Senior Associate/Project Architect, Wittenberg, Delony & Davidson Inc. Architects, Little Rock, AR. Like other Architecture and Design Network (ADN) lectures, THE WITTENBERG HERITAGE is free and open to the public. The Architecture and Design Network (ADN), a non-profit organization, is supported in part by the Arkansas Arts Center, the Central Arkansas Section of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the University of Arkansas Fay Jones School of Architecture and friends in the community.