Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Laundry 428 Hemphill

The Laundry, at Hemphill and West Peter Smith, has been around for almost one hundred years. It started as a commercial laundry in the twenties and has been through several additions, updates, and Owners. The additions include the closing of Travis Street in the early ‘60s, which used to bisect the block, and connecting the main building to a storage structure on the west side of the property, across Travis Street.  The masonry rear wall of the original building is still intact, with the windows and doors removed to provide circulation. At some point, the original metal framed windows and much of the brick facing Hemphill street were covered over with field stone and the canopy roofs were removed and the openings bricked in.

The current Owners want to restore the 50,000 square foot building back to its original glory and have enlisted Quorum Architects to assist in this endeavor. The field stone cladding will be removed, exposing the original intact window frames and glazing behind it. The grooved brick veneer was a fantastic base for the mortar holding the field stone covering. Unfortunately, this also makes it almost impossible to clean out and will require a thin masonry veneer to be applied. Replacing the canopy roofs will complete the look. When finished, The Laundry should really complement the renovations and construction currently underway in this area.

One of several viable proposed uses for this building, once it is restored to its pristine state, would be to provide the amenities necessary for this growing urban residential area (e.g.  a grocery store or eateries).

The Laundry promises to be a beautiful and useful addition to the Near South neighborhood.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

From Texas to Tuscany

“The Maddies”. Even before we arrived at Quorum, we were given this catchy team nickname. Our names are Madeline (Maddie) Meekins and Madison (Maddie) Bennett, and we are working as interns for Quorum this summer! This past spring semester, we were both given the opportunity to study abroad in Italy through the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University. Three months away from Texas seemed daunting at first, but we were immediately welcomed with open arms at the Santa Chiara Study Center in Castiglion Fiorentino, Italy. With 24 of our closest architecture classmates, we explored the tiny Tuscan town and quickly felt right at home!

Texas A&M Study Abroad
Italy Spring 2016

Our weeks consisted of a design studio and history class a few times a week, an art class on Tuesday afternoons, and everyone’s favorite, field trips on Wednesdays. From the art classes offered, we chose black and white photography (Meekins) and watercolor painting (Bennett).

Maddie Meekins, Black and White Photography

Maddie Bennett, Watercolor Painting

On our Wednesday class trips, we were exposed to many small Tuscan towns with panoramic views of the countryside, beautiful, historical architecture and of course, lots of pizza and gelato!! We also went on extended class trips to Rome and to Venice, where we visited a number of museums and historical sites. We were able to attend a classical music concert in Venice and visit the Maxxi Museum, designed by Zaha Hadid, in Rome. With no classes on Fridays, we had the opportunity to take weekend trips to a number of places inside and outside of Italy. Combined we visited nine countries: Italy, England, Ireland, Greece, Switzerland, France, Turkey, Hungary, and the Netherlands.

Maddie and Maddie in front of Buckingham Palace in London, England.

Maddie Bennett at the Burren in Galway, Ireland.

Maddie Meekins on the Island of Santorini, Greece.

Maddie and Maddie at the top of Mt. Pilatus in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Though our adventures abroad were a once in a lifetime opportunity, we are very happy and excited to be back in Texas, with an opportunity to expand our knowledge and experience this summer at Quorum!

Madeline Meekins and Madison Bennett
“The Maddies”, Summer Interns 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Alternative Professions

I am fortunate to work At Quorum Architects.  They give all employees the ability to pursue alternative professions.  This does not mean that they encourage Moonlighting? Far from it.  But they allow many of us to pursue different interests.  In my own time here, they have allowed and supported me in my second profession: that of a Navy Officer in the Naval Reserve. Many years ago they hired me in spite of me warning them that I had a second profession.   They have supported me 
for three deployments sending care packages, coffee (especially coffee) and other items regularly.

They have worked and scheduled around my deployments Annual Training, Four-day Exercises and required schools that my Naval Career demands.  A Naval reservist (especially the Seabees) no longer only perform the ‘one weekend a month and two weeks of the year” training.  Many times I have had to take up to four weeks of the year for required training or exercises.

 Recently, Quorum Architects  was recognized by the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR, http://www.esgr.mil/ ) with a Freedom Award at the Naval Air Station Fort Worth Joint Reserve.  This recognition is awarded locally and the recipients then are entered into the National Freedom Award package review (competition?)  This was awarded for their outstanding support or me during my Naval Career.  The Commander of the Naval Occupation Support Center (We used to call them Reserve Centers) presided over the ceremony and spoke to the awardees and service members.  He reminded the employers that only 2% of all companies have a reservist  on their payroll, a rare breed indeed.

Thank You, David Lee, David Duman, Scott Wilson, Doug Moon and Bill Blankenship for your support over these years.

Gayland Leddy