Houston architects and designers no longer have to embark on exhaustive searches to locate specific collaborators for their projects. Now, they can locate the various companies and individuals who work with metals, plastics, ceramics or other materials with just a flip of a page or click of a mouse.
The University of Houston’s Materials Resource Collaborative (MRC) recently published “Made in Houston,” a printed catalog and free online database that offers easy access to Houston fabricators that produce a wide range of design and building materials. Catalog content is organized according to specific material: metal, polymer, natural, ceramic, hybrid. Key charts indicate the services and applications provided by each listed vendor.
If a user is seeking a particular type of steel, he or she can turn to the “Metals” section of the catalog or type “steel” as a keyword on the website. The user can then peruse the list of vendors, review these companies’ descriptions and histories, and contact information. Product photos are also included.
“‘Made in Houston’ offers designers a place to get ideas,” said Donna Kacmar, MRC director and associate professor of architecture. “It’s more organized that perusing the Yellow Pages or doing a general Google search. And it’s way of supporting local businesses.”
The catalog and website were supported by a $2,500 grant from the Rice Design Initiatives Grant and a $2,500 grant from the Architecture Center Houston Foundation.
Content was compiled by architecture students Yen Le and Lachelle Robotham. Former architecture student Garth Williams designed the “Made in Houston” website.
“Made in Houston” complements UH’s Materials Resource Collaborative. The center is housed on the first floor of the university’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and serves as a materials library with physical samples available to view. It also offers access to the databases of global consulting firm Material ConneXion.
Earlier this year, MRC hosted its Industry Forum on Innovative Materials, which was co-hosted by Southerland Page’s Art Chavez. The event explored best practices when incorporating innovative materials in projects.
“We’re about material exploration, and we support both academia and the architecture and design industries,” Kacmar said. “’Made in Houston’ is just one of the ways we connect professionals and students with the materials they need.”
The MRC’s founding partners include Page Southerland Page, Kendall/Heaton Associates, Gensler and Ziegler Cooper. The MRC also is supported by the Architecture Center Houston Foundation and UH Green Building Components.
The Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in a variety of disciplines including architecture, space architecture, interior architecture and industrial design. Faculty members include esteemed professionals in the architectural community, as well as award-winning academic veterans. Facilities include studio spaces, the new Materials Research Collaborative, computer labs and the Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center. To learn more about the college, visit http://www.arch.uh.edu/.
About the University of Houston
The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country. For more information about UH, visit http://www.uh.edu/news-events/.