UTSA’s College of Architecture is hosting the exhibit New Palladians and a lecture by distinguished Luxembourg architect Lucien Steil in a joint event that has been organized by the Texas Chapter of the Institute for Classical Architecture and UTSA.
On Oct. 19, Steil will discuss New Palladians, a book he co-edited with Alireza Sagharchi that was published by ArtMedia. The book honors the tradition set forth by Palladio and, through the work of noted 21st century classicists, celebrates that modern classical and vernacular architecture are flourishing and evolving. New Palladians also exemplifies commitment to the increasingly vital topics of ecological building and sustainable urbanism. The exhibit, which runs from Oct. 14-27 at the UTSA Downtown Art Gallery, features work that demonstrates the perpetual relevance of Palladio from nearly 50 architects worldwide, including Léon Krier, Quinlan Terry, Allan Greenberg, and Andrés Duany.
“We are pleased to host Lucien Steil’s lecture and exhibit,” said John D. Murphy, dean of the College of Architecture. “It represents an important contribution to the contemporary architecture discourse which is focused on ways that architecture can relearn the important lessons of the past as we strive to create a truly sustainable and aesthetic built environment in which people live, work, and thrive.”
One of the world’s most influential architects, Palladio began his career as a stonemason in the Republic of Venice; his vast understanding of building technology emerges when one delves into his work. Palladio followed and learned from the masters of the Renaissance period, eventually developing into an academic whose design process and analysis of contemporary needs became somewhat of a guide to approaching design for several hundred years. By distilling timeless and universal principles, his works became the true embodiment of sustainability.
“The great thing about Palladio’s works is that they have continued to inform design,” said Mac White of Michael G. Imber Architects. “They weren’t fixed or stagnant models that were just being repeated.” White is on the board of the state chapter of the Institute for Classical Architecture, as is Michael Imber. Imber’s modern classical design firm, located in San Antonio, won a 2011 Palladio Award for their work on the Beachtown House in Galveston.
Though ecological building and sustainable urbanism are hot-button topics worldwide, they are particularly relevant to the visioning process currently surrounding San Antonio. White emphasizes that our city benefits greatly from having local sources for building materials, while other metropolitan areas rely on materials trucked or shipped in from elsewhere. He points to San Antonio’s unique stone and steel resources in addition to a core of traditional craftsmen as our most valuable green-building assets. White mentions the redevelopment of the Pearl as a bright spot of activity, one that can add something to the discussion about HemisFair and how our downtown urban core can become more integrated with its surroundings.
“In terms of larger-scale urbanism, we are compelled to think about the resultant “architectural experience” that is being created. Architecture should produce an attractive, memorable place to which people want to return,” said White. “If you are creating urbanism and no one is using it, it’s not successful architecture. We must change the way we approach development as well, and consistently consider mixed use development and form-based zoning, rather than use-based zoning.”
October 19, 2011
Aula Canaria Auditorium (Buena Vista Building, Room 1.328)
University of Texas at San Antonio
501 W. Cesar E. Chavez
UTSA Downtown Art Gallery
Durango Building, First Floor