(May 16, 2016) -- UTSA Architecture students recently unveiled a public art installation mounted on the façade of the Houston Street Parking Garage, located at 240 E. Houston St. in downtown San Antonio. For the next six months, the students’ artwork will greet drivers and pedestrians as they travel down Houston St.
Since January, Armando Araiza, assistant professor in the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning, and his class, working together as the UTSA studio “Society One Nine,” have toiled away on a design for an art installation that engages the community and showcases their architectural talent.
According to Araiza, the project is inspired by San Antonio's progression as a city. While studying maps of San Antonio, Society One Nine chose points of interest to craft a story of the city’s unique history. The points were then connected in ways that guided the installation’s basic shape.
“The students focused on designing an architectural installation that celebrates our city’s future and respects its deep, cultural heritage,” Araiza said. “They began with a traditional architectural analysis of Houston Street and expanded it to consider the entirety of downtown and San Antonio’s vast reach.”
“MORF,” Society One Nine’s finished design, is composed of 128 individual aluminum modules clustered to create 16 unique tiles. The tiles, designed to look similar to handmade Mexican "talavera" tiles, are hung in a way that evokes a map of San Antonio. Its title refers to an optical illusion its unique shape creates.
“In addition to honoring San Antonio’s past and future, MORF is an interesting statement on perception,” said Araiza about the design’s title. “Due to the nature of how it is formed, you can see it morph colors – red or blue or both – depending on how you’re walking up or down Houston Street. In a way, the students have created a piece that moves with you."
The semester-long project was completed for the “Architecture That Engages” design program, sponsored by the City of San Antonio’s Center Development and Operations Department (CCDO), the American Institute of Architects’ San Antonio Chapter (AIA San Antonio) and Centro San Antonio. The students were challenged to design, fabricate, install and dismantle a unique architectural piece that would serve as a public art piece for the city-owned Houston St. Garage.
Society One Nine’s installation was unveiled at a special ceremony that featured Councilman Roberto C. Treviño (District 1), who is a patron of the “Architecture That Engages” program.
“I want to recognize the ingenuity and effort that the UTSA architecture students put into this project,” Councilman Treviño said. “We are proud to showcase their artwork in our downtown public space. Public art brings people together and strengthens connections between people and the places they share.”
In six months, the UTSA studio’s work will be removed and auctioned to local patrons by AIA San Antonio.
“UTSA’s innovative art installation illustrates how architectural design can transform public spaces in our center city,” said Torrey Stanley Carleton, AIA San Antonio executive director. “AIA San Antonio is proud to be a partner of the 'Architecture That Engages' design program.”
Funding for the project was secured through Launch UTSA, UTSA’s crowdfunding initiative. The donations of 43 donors allowed Society One Nine to purchase the materials necessary to complete MORF.
- Jesus Chavez
Public Affairs Specialist
Learn more about the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning.
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One San Antonio
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The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) is an emerging Tier One research institution specializing in health, energy, security, sustainability, and human and social development. With nearly 29,000 students, it is the largest university in the San Antonio metropolitan region. UTSA advances knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. The university embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property—for Texas, the nation and the world.
Throughout the summer, UTSA offers more than 60 camps in science, engineering, architecture, sports, music, writing, language, culture and more.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
San Antonio area high school and undergraduate students who participated in UTSA’s TRiO Upward Bound, Educational Talent Search and McNair Scholars programs will present their summer research projects and compete for top honors at the 8th annual symposium.
H-E-B Student Union Ballroom (HSU 1.104/1.106), Main Campus
Experience a fun, interactive week at UTSA as new students and their families take the first steps to becoming a Roadrunner.
Various locations, Main Campus and Downtown Campuses
This event guides seniors and graduate students on the last phase of their college career and prepares recent alumni within one year of graduation for the world of work. Workshops and sessions will provide information on interview skills, job search strategies and networking.
Student Union, University Career Center, 2nd floor, Main Campus
The gala brings together UTSA alumni, friends and guests to celebrate the association's 41 years of scholarships, services, programs and the 2018 Alumni Award recipients.
Hyatt Hill Country Resort and Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr, San Antonio
As part of the citywide Kidcation and the ITC's free second Sunday, kids and families will have an opportunity to interact with cowboy docents, practice their skills at roping, learn about life on the cattle drives, make their own spurs, grab a seat for cowboy story time and work on cowboy-themed hands-on crafts.
UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures, Hemisfair Campus
Dozens of fun and free events to welcome new and returning Roadrunners.
Various locations, Main and Downtown Campuses
Join Roadrunner Nation for this season's home opener versus Big 12 foe Baylor. Come early to tailgate then cool off inside the Alamodome and enjoy cheering on your 'Runners!
Alamodome, 100 Montana St., San Antonio
The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.
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