The Initiatives for Houston grant program already acknowledged this year's winners for Best Architects with a $2,500 check for their Emergency Core project. The Rice University School of Architecture students are designing a sustainable, livable and, most importantly, affordable alternative to disaster relief shelters. Stone and Barlow set out to address many of the problems displaced persons saw in recent disasters where relief shelters were unsuitable to the climate, quickly deteriorated or were costly to transport and maintain. The final design hasn't been completed yet; the pair is working on constructing a prototype that will be unveiled early this fall. Expect something green, lightweight and low-cost.Readers' Choice: Gensler
Houston Public Library: Julia Ideson Building
If information is power, the Houston Public Library can make you King Kong. Forget about those shushing librarians guarding stacks of books. Today's HPL system is more like a vast multimedia network filled with experts and information. It's all there, at your fingertips, everything you ever wanted to know about everything you ever wanted to know. Start off a regular old goober and end up highly informed, intelligent citizen of the world. If you can learn it, you can learn it at the Houston Public Library. For free.
It wasn't the perfect crime, but it certainly took the largest amount of cojones. Andy Surface of Alvin set up a fake business venture that sounded kinda like the company that does the printing for Condé Nast magazines, including The New Yorker and Vogue. He then sent out e-mail invoices for upwards of $8 million. The crazy part? The publisher actually paid him. Surface, faced with an investigation and possible charges, later relinquished his claim to the money.

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