Architects Addressing Coastal Challenges During UH Symposium

Experts from Argentina, Louisiana, Netherlands, Houston to Converge on UH Nov. 8, 9

As east coast residents recover from Hurricane Sandy, architects from other coastal regions will gather at the University of Houston to share ideas on how their communities can be protected against storms and other threats.

UH’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture will host the symposium “Dynamic Equilibrium at the Water’s Edge: Three Continents Symposium.” This event runs 1 – 7:15 p.m., Nov. 8 and 2 – 6 p.m., Nov. 9. “Dynamic Equilibrium” lectures will be in the College of Architecture’s Theater Room (Room 150), and presentations will be delivered in Room 143. For a complete schedule of speakers and additional details, visit the college’s events website. To access the college, take Entrance 19 off Elgin Street.

This free event will formally kick off the college’s participation in the new Tri-Continent Studio. This studio partners the college with architecture schools in Argentina, the Netherlands and Louisiana. Faculty and students from partner institutions will focus on the opportunities and challenges faced by low lying coastal communities in the U.S. and abroad, including challenges brought on by severe weather events, population growth and industrial expansion.

“The idea is to discover the concerns and issues that residents in different areas of the world are facing, and how we as architects can put together global responses to these challenges,” said UH architecture professor Thomas Colbert.

The symposium will showcase the expertise of architecture faculty from UH and Tri-Continent Studio institutions – Louisiana State University, Tulane University, University of Buenos Aires and the Technical University, Delft.

Colbert is among the presenters and has focused research and previous projects on the Texas Gulf Coast, particularly Galveston and the Houston Ship Channel. He is one of the researchers involved with the Severe Storm Prediction, Education and Evacuation from Disasters Center.

“Dynamic Equilibrium” is open to the public, and Prof. Colbert said residents of Houston and the Texas Gulf Coast will walk away with helpful information about the region in which they live.

“They’ll also become more familiar with what it’s like in other parts of the world and the responses that other communities have developed,” Colbert said. “For example, our guests from New Orleans will discuss the design work they’ve been doing since Hurricane Katrina hit. We’re hoping to facilitate a similar response for our region as well.”

During the next year, Colbert and UH students will work with Tri-Continent Studio partners to generate ideas on how to enhance their respective coastal areas and make them safer. Their work will be documented in exhibitions that will be on view at the College of Architecture.