2019-2020 Session #7:

Date: March 06, 2020
Location: Zoom
Leaders: Darian Jones, Andres Mendoza
Documentation: Jean Daly, Rick De La Cruz


“Sorry, I was on mute.” 

After a two-month hiatus due to COVID-19, CKLDP scholars reconvened virtually thanks to Zoom and our wonderful organizers Darian Jones and Andres Mendoza. Session #7, Expanding the Practice, tested the group’s improvisation, as everyone juggled Zoom, Mural, and the myriad of tiled windows, voices, and ideas jumping from the computer screen. Scholars were confronted with themes of sustainability, diversity, and collaboration and offered hope that the AEC community is well equipped to transform the built environment into a healthier and more inclusive space.    


“The show must go on.”

Session #7 explored sustainability, diversity, and collaboration. “Sustainability and Beyond” highlights the work of Anica Landreneau, her advocacy, and the push for green energy codes standards. The session closed with scholars and presenters teamed to design a space for gathering in a post pandemic world where public space is limited and restricted by social distancing.


Anica Landreneau leader of HOK’s global sustainability design practice presented her work on advocating for advancements in Energy Code.  Anica has served on national advisory committees for USGBC, participated in the development committee for the IECC 2021 Energy Code, as well as testified in front of congress on the climate crisis.  She noted the beneficial economics of building green, citing that adoption of newer energy codes were especially critical for social equity, and ensuring that low income housing was built to standards that prevent mold growth and reduce utility bills for their tenants.  Anica noted anyone can make a code proposal for amendments, but the best way to have an impact on how the code was shaped was to get involved – either by joining a committee or reaching out to city officials and advocating for the adoption of more recent energy codes and benchmarking.

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The scholars zoomed, clicked, and muraled. Equipped with laptops, WI-FI, and a virtual canvas, scholars and presenters teamed to imagine and design the future of the performing arts’ experience.  

Team Gregory, led by presenter Gregory Lake (Vice President of Sales at Specified Int+EX), breathed life into live event arenas by integrating vehicular and venue experiences. “CAR-ENA” retrofits vacant venues with tiered concrete platforms for socially distanced parking. Spectators simply drive to their favorite concert or sports venue and find themselves already in their seats.


Team Loren, led by presenter Loren Miner (Co-Founder of Eastwood Realty), transformed Buffalo Bayou’s Turkey Bend into a family fun tech-savvy venue with autonomous boat rides and contactless “bot-boat” service. Live entertainment flanks Turkey Bend as self-guided boats and phytoremediated floating gardens help cleanse the water while maintaining social distancing guidelines for patrons.


Team Donna, led by Donna Kacmar (Associate Professor, Gerald D. Hines School of Architecture), takes back Houston’s 59 corridor. “Free the Freeway” posits large scale highway closures as venues for art, commerce, and civil disobedience. Spatial arrangements are planimetric, sectional and temporal and offer a shared space to assert solidarity and empathy.


Team Linda, led by Linda Camacho (Associate at Kirksey Architecture), imagines “Life Outside (The) Bubble,” a universal design standard that provides vulnerable populations safe and sanitized spaces to access communal experiences. Fixed “bubbles” will be outfitted in all public venues so that no one is denied a public/social life in a post-Covid environment.


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