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Thursday, December 1, 2022


Architects look for new ways to manage disaster

Architects from three countries will meet to discuss potential precautions against climate change and disasters, like Hurricanes Katrina or Sandy, through architecture and urban planning from 1 to 7:15 p.m. Today and 2 to 6 p.m. Friday in the College of Architecture’s Theater Room.

“Dynamic Equilibrium at the Water’s Edge: Three Continents Symposium” was initiated by UH Dean of Architecture Patricia Oliver and will include guest lecturers from the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, Delft University of Technology in The Netherlands, and Tulane University.

Thomas Colbert, a UH associate professor of architecture, will be presenting his project called the “Lone Star Coastal National Recreation Area,” in a lecture called “Water Strategies for the Upper Texas Gulf Coast.”

“Following what happened to New York, recently, and New Orleans, in 2005, we need to make sure it doesn’t happen here,” said Colbert, who moved to Houston from Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. “We need to fine tune our thinking to keep people safe in growing coastal communities.”

David Waggonner, of Waggonner & Ball Architects in New Orleans will also be presenting a lecture titled “Dutch Dialogues and a Water Strategy for New Orleans.” Additional speakers will be Flavio Janches, professor at the University of Buenos Aires, will be presenting “Whose City Is It?” Jeffery A. Carney, associate professor and director of Louisiana State University’s Coastal Sustainability Studio, will be lecturing “Lift up. Dig In. Get out? Design Thinking for the Future Gulf Coast.”

“A serious debate needs to occur on how to solve these issues,” said Colbert. “People have superficial ideas that we want to put to the test and challenge. We are looking for practical and realistic solutions.”

Some architecture students have already considered the field’s responsibility to take environmental change into consideration when designing buildings.

“From the environmental perspective, a designer must understand how the site now functions, its location, flora and fauna that might be on site,” architecture senior Armando Hernandez said. “For example, a building designed as an office building might function differently 25 years down the road, and the impact on the environment most likely will change.”

Other students believe that environmental change is everyone’s responsibility but that environmental consideration is crucial in architecture.

“I do not believe architects are the only people responsible for these environmental endeavors,” architecture junior Wintress Cloud said. “But if architects don’t consider the environment during construction, then who will?”

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