Eye Candy and Up-Cycled Design at "Concrete Utopias"

The bad news: When we headed down to the University of Houston on Friday to check out its symposium "Concrete Utopias: 1960s Architecture and Urbanism," we first had the time wrong, then got stuck in traffic and missed the keynote we wanted to see. The good news? There was lots to see anyway, and we're sure it was more exciting than any boring old lecture.

First up, the Tex-Fab: REPEAT digital fabrication contest we told you about last year has finally come to fruition, and the winning entry, Minimal Complexity by Vlad Tenu, is installed to impressive effect in the atrium of the Architecture School. Also displayed are design boards describing some of the other entries--not one of which could be accused of being minimally complex.

On the way out, we caught a glimpse of the prototype for the SPACE container (that's Solar Power Adaptive Container for Everyone, to you) that was originally developed for use at Mirabeau B. residential project's construction site. The City of Houston quickly took notice of SPACE, which is as useful as it is trendy. An up-cycled shipping container that's self-powered by solar panels on its roof flaps, the city is reportedly acquiring 25 SPACE containers to serve as mobile generators.

Want some architecture extra credit, and a bit more eye candy? Click here for a PDF download of UH Architecture Professor Ronnie Self's awesome New York Times-featured, freeway-hugging home, with photos by Houston architectural photography stalwart Paul Hester and text by WORKac's Dan Wood.

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