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Arts & Culture

Texas Tech College of Architecture at El Paso and the El Paso Museum of Art launch 3rd annual lecture series

Nine-part series focuses on El Paso as a “City of Choice”

by Lucia Quiñonez // October 4, 2013 // Arts & Culture

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    Architect and co-founder of R&R Studios of Miami, Roberto Behar, speaks about the "Open Pyramid," an architectural project in the heart of Mexico City. The lecture took place in the El Paso Energy Auditorium on the second floor of the El Paso Museum of Art. (Lucia Quinonez/ Newspaper Tree)

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    Event attendees enjoyed light refreshments in the Gateway Gallery on the first floor of the El Paso Museum of Art in celebration of the Texas Tech University College of Architecture's library collection. The library collection was added to the Algur H. Meadows Library. (Lucia Quinonez/Newspaper Tree)

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    Robert Alexander González, Director of Texas Tech University School of Architecture, discusses the library collection and the university's partnership with the El Paso Museum of Art. (Lucia Quinonez/ Newspaper Tree)

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    A slide show shown during the lecture included R&R Studios' Miami architectural project, "The Living Room." (Lucia Quinonez/ Newspaper Tree)

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    An image of R&R Studios' Miami architectural project at Duval Square. (Lucia Quinonez/ Newspaper Tree)

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    The evening sunlight enters the Patricia and Jonathan Rogers Grand Lobby and Museum Store at the El Paso Museum of Art. (Lucia Quinonez/ Newspaper Tree)

The sharp, unusual lines in a structure usually grab a person’s attention for just a second. Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt strive to do otherwise, by creating interesting architectural structures in public spaces as social structures for everyone to enjoy.

On September 26, the Texas Tech College of Architecture at El Paso and the El Paso Museum of Art launched its 3rd annual lecture series. This year’s theme for the nine-part lecture series is City of Choice. The series began with speakers Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt, principle architects of R & R Studios of Miami, known for creating large-scale permanent public installations.

In conjunction with the September 26 lecture, the El Paso Museum of Art unveiled the Texas Tech College of Architecture’s library collection. The collection was added to the Algur H. Meadows Library, located on the first floor of the museum.

The El Paso Energy Auditorium at the Museum of Art, which seats 200 people, nearly reached capacity last Thursday evening. A variety of people attended, including several students from the Texas Tech College of Architecture at El Paso, along with many members of the public, including visitors of the El Paso Museum of Art.

“This year’s lecture series theme, City of Choice, is inspired by the noticeable transformation that our city is now experiencing,” said Dr. Robert Alexander González , director of the Texas Tech University Architecture Program in El Paso.

“Our lectures will hopefully inspire us to see, and the city of El Paso to see, how they might strategize wisely, so that a great city status might be attained. And so that, after all these transformations, El Paso can be a competitive city and an enviable city,” González added.

At the lecture, Behar and Marquardt presented their work, which shows how architecture, art and urbanism can balance each other out. Some of the past projects that were presented included installations that were exhibited in the contemporary art museums in Brussels, Denver, Miami and Madison. Behar also highlighted their architectural projects in Copenhagen, Mexico City and Miami.

“I kind of like the part where he (Behar) said, that you got to make a public project kind of personal,” said student Paola Rivera. Another student, Miguel Rodarte, commented on the appeal of Behar’s structures. “I like how he turns the buildings inside out, inviting people to come and see his work,” said Rodarte.

Both Rivera and Rodarte agree these structures are a grand idea, yet they are hesitant if these ideas can be applied and accepted as part of the landscape by El Paso residents.

Barbara Walker, a member of the El Paso Collaborative, a local community and economic development organization, said, “I think we need to be more inspired. We’ve got some beautiful old architecture, but it’s time for something new.”

She added that this is a relatively new outlook for her when it comes to El Paso architecture. “Blending modern with traditional, the stuff that we’ve already got, is a really neat idea,” she said. “I think we need to embrace what is good about our traditional and add something modern.”

Two more lectures are scheduled for the month of October.

On October 17, Texas Tech graduate Leslie L. Shepherd, Chief Architect of the U.S. General Services Administration, and new member of the Fellows from the American Institute of Architects (FAIA), will present his architectural experience in his lecture. And on October 31, professor and author, Katherine Solomonson, PhD., will give her lecture in which attendees will also receive free admission to the exhibit, Discovering the American Modern 1907-1936: The King Collection.

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