Students help in design of Houston high school
Houston’s High School for Performing and Visual Arts has cultivated this city’s artistic youth for more than 40 years and is now ranked nationally by U.S. News & World Report.
As Houston continues to progress and advance into the future, HSPVA is following at its heels with plans to move to a new facility, designed with help from UH students.
The project, led by associate professor and director of the Graduate Design/Build Studio Patrick Peters, has given 13 architecture students the opportunity to apply their knowledge to a real-world development in which they must work with clients and their concerns.
“I typically assign projects that are impacted by real-world constraints as a catalyst to incredible creative
thinking,” Peters said. “I have seen the students grow tremendously through their work on this very challenging project.”
The participating students have been given the opportunity to speak with HSPVA administrators, faculty
and students, as well as work with architects, including former UH professor Barry Moore, who helped
design HSPVA’s current campus, in order to formulate their designs.
Speaking with all these people to get a great idea of the realities of the project has been the most
rewarding part, said architecture and environmental design senior Longinos Gutierrez.
Yet, as the designs must accommodate both studios and performance spaces alongside academic
classrooms, the students have been faced with many challenges as they undertake this mission.
“The most difficult aspect about this project is solving the floor plans while keeping in mind what rooms
are located on the adjacent floors,” Gutierrez said. “It’s like a jigsaw puzzle.”
Although the students’ designs will not be built, they have the potential to influence the final scheme of
the building as they present their visions to the Houston and HSPVA communities today.
“My design is not meant to be chosen; it’s just a study for future architects to analyze,” Gutierrez said. “I want to design a building that is flexible and simple while being as functional as possible. The building is meant for the students to inhabit and transform according to their talents. It is somewhat of a canvas for the people who occupy it.”
As the students have worked on their designs, HSPVA principal Robert Scott Allen has shown his anticipation and enthusiasm for the project.
“My vision is a state of the art facility that has the spaces needed to provide an excellence arts education to the high school students of Houston in dance, theater, creative writing, visual arts and music,” Allen said. “I think that having students downtown in the arts district is going to add an exciting energy to the city of Houston. … I can’t wait.”