architecture students in downtown San Antonio
Kathleen Trenchard of Centro Properties talks to UTSA College of
Architecture students about the recently completed Dielmann Lofts,
three blocks south of the UTSA Downtown Campus. Architecture and
interior design students are studying trends in urban residential
projects as they prepare to design hypothetical mixed-use buildings
for downtown San Antonio.

Urban project challenges UTSA architecture students

By James Benavides
Public Affairs Specialist

(April 5, 2007)--Sophomore interior design and architecture students in the UTSA College of Architecture Design 4 studios recently toured two new urban residential projects to prepare for the annual Bill Lende Design Competition.

Lende, a downtown resident, sponsors more than $4,000 in scholarships each spring for the UTSA design competition that encourages revitalization of inner-city San Antonio. Judging for this year's "Life of the City" contest is May 2. The theme challenges UTSA architecture students to design a mixed-use building that could be located on one of two public spaces in downtown San Antonio.

The April 2 tour took 144 students to two projects recently completed on the edge of the downtown district. They visited Blue Star 2, a new mixed-use addition to the Blue Star Arts Complex. Developed by James Lifshutz, Sprinkle Robey Architects created a design featuring large windows and corrugated metal siding. It includes loft apartments as well as commercial space for Joe Blues, a new bar from Blue Star Brewing Co. owner Joey Villarreal.

For an inside look at contemporary urban living, the students paid a visit to the historic Dielmann Building at 710 Medina Ave. The project showed the students an example of adaptive reuse, a vital component in revitalizing a downtown that incorporates numerous historical preservation standards. The adaptive reuse converted the building into loft apartments now called the Dielmann Lofts. Alberto Milmo developed the project and designed the contemporary interiors.

Lende's 2007 "Life of the City" calls for a mixed-use building containing commercial, office and residential functions. The two hypothetical sites for the project are the parking lot directly east of Travis Park and the River Link connecting Main Plaza and the River Walk, the location of several recently demolished 19th century commercial structures. Past projects focused on Houston Street, a downtown market and the design of several new plazas.

Debbie Maltz and Kathleen Trenchard of Centro Properties, leasing agents for Blue Star 2 and the Dielmann Lofts, arranged the site tours. The UTSA faculty for the participating studios includes Craig Blount, Jim Dawes, Eduardo Garcia, Ela Poursani, Candid Rogers, Jon Thompson, John Webb and Eric Wood. Julius Gribou is dean of the College of Architecture and Mark Blizard is associate professor and chair of the Department of Architecture.

For more information, contact Jon Thompson, associate professor of architecture, at (210) 288-4886.

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