Tag Archives: University of Texas School of Architecture

Semester Recap: The Unbridled Beauty of Watercolor Renderings

To kick off a series of blog posts recapping the Spring 2014 semester, we figured we’d start with one of the most visually captivating: watercolor renderings from our very own Alexander Architectural Archive.

Earlier in the semester, Judy Birdsong’s Visual Communications studio paid a visit to the Archive to check out some of our working drawings in order to see how they have changed over the years. This is a completely fascinating progression, and one of my personal favorite things to view when I visit the Archive for my own research needs. However, a few weeks later, students were assigned a project requiring watercolor — and the watercolor renderings the Archive has are an absolutely incredible resource!

I was lucky enough to be given a similar exposure to the Archive’s watercolors by Curatorial Assistant Nancy Sparrow, and I’m here to pass on the unbridled beauty. If any of you happen to have been looking to improve your architectural watercolor skills, the Archive is an unparalleled resource!

Throughout final reviews, a similar version of the same comment often comes to the surface: accurately conveying an architectural idea heavily depends on the way you draw or render your final presentation graphically. With so much focus on computer generated renderings in practice today, watercolors are almost slowly being vaulted into the ranks of a lost art. These stunning examples from the Archive showcase immaculate talent that displays a clear understanding of color, shadow, contrast, and fine detail by the artist.

We hope the following high-resolution images inspire you in some way, whether out of pure admiration, or to pursue a new (or revived!) technique in the renderings you produce yourself. Click on the below photographs to view in beautiful detail!

I was floored by this beautiful rendering of the Flawn Academic Center, located just across the mall from Battle Hall. Nancy and I could not stop admiring the glass…

You can continue reading the rest of this article by Architecture & Planning Library GRA Stephanie Phillips over at the Battle Hall Highlights blog.

Wait – a Library Isn’t Just a Library?

Many students perceive a library solely as place to read, study, or perform research for their school-assigned projects. As an undergraduate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I shared this sentiment; I rarely encountered projects in my specific courses that required me to do extensive research, and so the stacks that surrounded me while I studied and wrote papers went largely unnoticed.

Now, as a first-year UT graduate student and Graduate Research Assistant at the Architecture & Planning Library, I feel like I am getting a second opportunity to explore the riches that lie within the walls of a library. In some ways, I almost feel like many of the undergraduates using the library for the first time: in awe and slightly overwhelmed at the sheer amount of information that’s accessible. How had I never come across or searched on my own for a goldmine like this before? Continue reading

The most primary of sources

Napkin designs on display. Source: eNEWS 11-20-2012

Thanks to Gregory Street, one of our Library Student Supervisors, the Alexander Architectural Archive has begun collecting records of the UT chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students (NOMAS).

As he was busy packing up for his six-month residency at the firm Overland Partners, Gregory — the outgoing President of NOMAS — took time to make a special donation to the Archive. NOMAS was incredibly active this year, building their membership, conducting a service project for Mendez Middle School and holding a “napkin sketch” competition.  Such sketches often represent the seeds of designs that are later manifested in great buildings. This competition was NOMAS’ way of bringing together all programs and communities in the School while raising awareness of their organization.  The result is a unique representation of student, faculty and staff work.

During one of our morning breaks, I asked Gregory what NOMAS planned to do with the sketches.  We also discussed the importance of student organizations, and how it is difficult for members to ensure continuity and sustained knowledge for their leadership.  That’s where the archive comes in.  Especially during this era of centennial celebrations, we have seen a rise in scholars asking for information about the early days of programs and student life.  Student organization records reflect what students deem most valuable at a particular time in their education and their professions.  They reflect the work of future leaders.

Gregory recognizes the value of his organization’s work, and his effort in donating the NOMAS napkin sketch competition documentation is very fitting, serving as the seed of the NOMAS chapter archive and future collaborations with the University of Texas Libraries.  We look forward to supporting our student organizations and see a great future for NOMAS.

Beth Dodd is Head Librarian at the Architecture & Planning Library

Cross-posted at Battle Hall Highlights.