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Brian T. Rex

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former Associate Professor & Associate Dean for Academics

Contents

Curricula Vitae

Full Curriculum Vitae

Abbreviated Curriculum Vitae

Academic Dossiers

Full Portfolio (16.5mb)

Abbreviated Portfolio (5.7mb)

Tenure Dossier (51.8mb)

Professional & Academic Bio

I was born in Warren, OH and lived as a child in Cleveland, OH; Killeen, TX; Austin, TX; Montréal, QC; & Garland, TX and graduated from North Garland H.S. where I played soccer, was a national Bible quiz champion, and two-time TX state drafting champion.

I took my first drafting class in seventh grade and I had my first full-time drafting job with Raymond Goodson Engineers at 15 years old. I really loved making buildings and I worked in the construction industry for seven years as a curtain-wall shop drawing draftsman & estimator for Boren Glass in Rowlett, TX; a metal building designer for Stover Steel Structures in Garland; & ran my own business designing and completing construction drawings for 31 homes in the Dallas "Metroplex".

A deep recession in Texas, a longing to learn, and the end of drafting as we knew it sent me back full-time to school six years after finishing high school. I started taking classes at Dallas County Community College, learned to love to learn and before I knew it I had graduated from the University of Texas-Arlington with a pre-professional degree in architecture (B.Sc. Arch.); Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario with a professional degree (B.Arch.); & Columbia University in New York with a post-professional degree (M.Sc. in Advanced Architectural Design) . While at Carleton I participated in an incredible exchange program with the Technical University of Berlin, Germany.

Since finishing my formal studies I've worked professionally as a designer for Cooper Robertson & Partners in NYC where I worked on both building and urban projects like the Zorro Ranch in NM, the Duke University Medical Center, the town center in Beaver Creek, CO, and Sony Studios in Culver City, CA; Humphries Poli Architects in Denver where I worked on the award winning Grand Cherokee Lofts and site studies for locating the new Mile High Stadium both in Denver; Hildinger Associates in Dallas where I worked on the design of a fire station and an Episcopal elementary school in Dallas; and I was the design coordinator for the Nebraska Lied Main Street Program working on preservation, restoration, and urban projects in 13 communities across the state.

I started as a full-time university instructor 15 years ago at the University of Colorado and have since taught at the Universities of Oklahoma, [1], & the Dublin Institute of Technology. Across the years my teaching has focused on beginning design courses; philosophy of technology; interdisciplinary & service-learning teaching; site design; and urban design. I've won six awards for my teaching and for three years I've been a university service-learning fellow.

I've been at Texas Tech University for eight years. Three years ago I became the Chair of Instruction in the College of Architecture. Now, I am an Associate Professor (w/ tenure) & the Associate Dean for Academics. The things I'm most proud of in my administration are the revisions to the professional curriculum I've overseen, building up our required urban design study abroad programs, and this interactive WIKI-based website on which you are reading this text.

The thing I still love to do the most is projecting place through drawings and models of buildings and their surroundings. I've found a love in designing and studying "-grounds" - places that are made up of the space defined between and amongst conglomerates of architectural components set out on the land to create a large but still very architectonic landscape.

In my academic work I have completed designs for thoroughfares, campgrounds, fairgrounds, town squares, civic centers, and campuses in Texas and Nebraska and I have ongoing research projects into the design and construction of Montréal's world's fairgounds- Expo '67 and "Lubburbanism"- a study of the formation and urban morphology of the kookiest town on Earth, Lubbock, TX.

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Teaching

Web Site for ARCH1412 : Architectural Design 1- Spring 2010

(taught w/ Grant Alford & Zach Pauls)

The Sandbox Project Redux

1: Gardening Space

Whoever knows how to design a park well will have no difficulty in tracing the plan for the building of a city according to its given area and situation. There must be regularity and fantasy, relationships and oppositions, and casual, unexpected elements that vary the scene; great order in the details, confusion, uproar, and tumult in the whole.

Abbé Laugier in Observations sur l’Architecture (1765)

We’ll start in an Italian Renaissance garden. These gardens are pure formal, spatial, and sequential plays. They are totally superfluous-unprogrammed tectonic pleasure machines laden with thick layers of spatial sequence and narrative potential. Some call them models of cities or earthly diagrams of paradise. Some call them lovely stage sets for the theaters of promenade that play out within them. We’ll explore these meanings, measure the situation in the garden, and specify a drawn and modeled description thorough enough to make the garden dissolve away revealing a beautiful narrative of form, space, and sequence that transcends the artifact from which we began.


Web Site for ARCH2501 : Architectural Design 2 - Fall 2009

(taught w/ Yang "Cathy" Luo)

OUTLINE OF STUDIO PEDAGOGY

1: Gardening Space

Whoever knows how to design a park well will have no difficulty in tracing the plan for the building of a city according to its given area and situation. There must be regularity and fantasy, relationships and oppositions, and casual, unexpected elements that vary the scene; great order in the details, confusion, uproar, and tumult in the whole.

Abbé Laugier in Observations sur l’Architecture (1765)

We’ll start in an Italian Renaissance garden. These gardens are pure formal, spatial, and sequential plays. They are totally superfluous-unprogrammed tectonic pleasure machines laden with thick layers of spatial sequence and narrative potential. Some call them models of cities or earthly diagrams of paradise. Some call them lovely stage sets for the theaters of promenade that play out within them. We’ll explore these meanings, measure the situation in the garden, and specify a drawn and modeled description thorough enough to make the garden dissolve away revealing a beautiful narrative of form, space, and sequence that transcends the artifact from which we began.

2: Boxing Space

This is the record of a box man. I am beginning this account in a box. A cardboard box that reaches just to my hips when I put it over my head. That is to say, at this juncture the box man is me. A box man, in his box, is recording the chronicle of a box man.

Kobo Abé in The Box Man (1974)

Now we’ll site the garden’s narrative, a story free of its Italian sources, into a variety of boxes: boxes of space, boxes of form, and everything we can imagine in between. To box the narrative we’ll work through some operative techniques of formal and spatial design such as: folding, compressing, sectioning, and scaling. At the end of all this pushing and shoving we’ll have a graphical and modeled description of way that the garden’s narrative is structured within the generic form/space modulations of the box.

3: Situating Space

Art and architecture are practices, not sciences. The constructions of science aspire to universal application. Pictures and buildings need only work where they are.

Dave Hickey in Practice : Architecture (1996)

In this phase we’ll move the work back towards a specificity by putting it somewhere, giving it context, situation, and surroundings as well as returning the work to a particular scalar and enveloping relationship to the human body.

4: Constructing Space

Construction not only determines form but is form itself. Where authentic construction encounters authentic contents, authentic works result: works genuine and intrinsic. And they are necessary. Necessary in themselves and also as members of a genuine order.

Mies van der Rohe in “With Infinite Slowness Arises the Great Form” (1928)

The last thing we’ll do will be the most important part. We’ll take the generic operative world of the narrated box described in phase 2 and surrounded in phase 3 and completely eradicate any remaining generic qualities of it. We’ll make it architectonically specific by translating what we have through a constructive vocabulary of normative building components such as beam, column, stairs, slab, wall, trim, rail, panel, frame, ramp, and base.

Web Site for ARCH4601 : Building Urbanism - Summer 2009

(taught w/ Grant Alford & Marti Gottsch)

How else dispose of an immortal force

No longer needed? Staunch it at its source

With cinder loads dumped down? The brook was thrown

Deep in a sewer dungeon under stone

In fetid darkness still to live and run –

And all for nothing it had ever done

Except forget to go in fear perhaps.

No one would know except for ancient maps

That such a brook ran water. But I wonder

If from its being kept forever under,

The thoughts may not have risen that so keep

This new-built city from both work and sleep.

excerpt from “A Brook in the City” by Robert Frost, 1923

COURSE SCHEDULE

Week 1 Site Graphical Studies

Week 2 Site Graphical Studies / Form, Surface, & Use Models

Week 3 Form, Surface, & Use Models / Models, Diagrams, & Planimetric Projections

Week 4 Models, Diagrams, & Planimetric Projections

Week 5 Models, Diagrams, & Planimetric Projections / Form, Surface, & Use Models

Week 6 Form, Surface, & Use Models / Site Graphical Studies

Week 7 Site Graphical Studies

Web Site for ARCH1412 : Architectural Design 1 - Spring 2009

OUTLINE OF STUDIO PEDAGOGY

First Four Weeks (8 class meetings): The initial exercises examine perceived structural and thematic aspects of a film fragment through an interpretive analysis of relative motion and gesture. As an understanding of the reality of representing motion (motion can only be represented by motion) develops, the given formal vocabulary of a basic architectonic alphabet (square, bar, el, double el) is manipulated and spatial relationships between elements become evident in the emerging composition. As the sequence of structured, incremental and additive exercises progress individual languages and grammars emerge to be transformed and further abstracted in the next five weeks.

Second Four Weeks (8 class meetings): The two-dimensional studies are developed into a conceptual three-dimensional model. The organizational parti is emphasized and the definition of physical structure becomes the primary spatial ordering device. The spatial definition of hierarchical precincts (primary, secondary and tertiary) is established. Students will be asked to define distinctions between internal and external spaces according to a given program (place, path, transition and servant spaces). The correspondences between plan and section and the relationship between space, structure and landscape is developed through a series of models and diagrams.

Third Four Weeks (8 class meetings): The strategies and methods developed in the first two phases will condition the synthetic design of the Studio Project. The primary task will be the interpretation of the conceptual model developed in the second five weeks into an inhabitable (human scale) architectural structure. Students will become aware of developing a consistent approach to tectonic articulation beginning with the relationship between solid and void through the exploitation and development of a vocabulary of volumes, planes, columns and beams. Individual readings of the conceptual model will come from thematic, spatial and conceptual issues in varying degrees and as in the previous phase abstraction, transformation, and manipulation will work to develop the project within the qualities and past the limitations of prior decisions. We will revisit the work done in the first five weeks for ideas and methods that were developed in two-dimensions that can be exploited and transformed in tectonic terms. The final emphasis of the project will work to create a correlation between programmatic and formal conditions where a typology of form has a deliberate relationship with the given typology of program.

Web Site for ARCH5604 : Urban Design Studio - Spring 2007

(taught w/ Marti Gottsch)

PUBLIC WORKS STUDIO : PARK MARKET

What is it to design Public Works?

What is Public design?

Can design be done in Public?

Public suggests a whole- a totality. Public suggests a certain scale- a scale typically larger than a building or an aggregate of buildings. Public suggests a transparency & openness in process. Spatially it seems horizontal & broad- general & accommodating. Public is egalitarian. It is citizens. It is civic.

How do we analyze public need? Where is the Public voice in Public design?

How can we reinforce an inclusive presence in our Public Work?

No space in the city is more contestable as Public than the space of commerce & shopping.

Is a mall a Public place? Is a market?

We’ll design commercial space as a Public Work. The notion of Public is a civil responsibility of architects as much as it is of lawyers. Demarcated Public space is one of the most permanent traces of a society. We are going to perform our design in Public. We are going to design for the Public. We are going to design Public Work for this neighborhood in Lubbock, Texas, U.S.A. You will be expected to observe, research, & perform city design in the Public eye as a significant part of your education in this course.

COURSE STRUCTURE

This is a service learning course. Arch 5604 is a performance class that requires a substantial dedication & investment of student time, skill, & critical thought both during & after meeting hours...The professional practices taught will demonstrate & explore the emerging design field of “Landscape Urbanism” (LU). “LU” is the design of infrastructure, urbanism, landscape, & architecture as a practice of challenging the boundaries between a building & its surroundings.

In the Fall of 2006- 57 students in ARCH3373 completed an exhaustive study of the spaces around Burns Park in the Near South section of Lubbock. The grounds, lots, right-of-ways, easements, ordinances, & sections in the neighborhood are not well managed visually or in terms of the “flow” of the space out there. The public perception is that this is a dangerous & dirty inner city neighborhood- & in some ways the impression bears out in reality. Using their findings we’ll make a practice of articulating the area as a Public Work- a Park Market hybrid design. Above all other requirements each student is required to keep a comprehensive & well-crafted sketchbook or three ring notebook of all course materials, references, notes, test-prints, & sketches. The performance of the course will be comprised of two distinct but symbiotic activities- a sequential series of Design Studies over-laid with concurrent Public Interaction & service-learning reflection. A critical thread in the study of urban design is the question of what comprises the Public or “How is the Public Good measured in urban design?”

Web Site for ARCH3373 : Environmental Analysis / Site Design - Fall 2006

Pedagogy

Most of the buildings being made today are not surrounded by architecture. The urbanism of Texas includes a lot of this surrounding stuff. The word “Surroundings” forms a starting place for our studies. All building is related to the surface of the earth, the ground. How is architecture grounded? What makes a grounds? Are the grounds of architecture just an ancillary condition? What does surround architecture? What conventions and systems shape these surroundings? What relationships can be struck between the systems that shape a building and its surroundings? How can we measure appropriateness in this sort of relationship? This class will blend these sort of ecological, infrastructural, economic, legal, and ethical inquiries about what surrounds architecture with learning about the technologies of shaping landscape and managing it’s surface. Students in the course learn better by being on site and in having a particular reference location for their site studiessomewhere to look at, to measure and draw, and to ponder a first attempt at conceptualizing a place in the landscape.

Vehicle

The course will use Lubbock (LBB), the city surrounding us, as our primary “laboratory”. We’ll draw heavily on direct contact and exploration of LBB to illustrate our lessons. What we’ve done is found a site in the city that has the sort of systems, surfaces, and events endemic to building surroundings. That location or precinct is a failing neighborhood with no history of critical urban analysis. This class is going to take the first steps towards delivering such a study for this place. You will start a community dialog and complete an urban analysis. In the Spring a graduate design studio will take the work you’ve begun and flesh them out with more community dialog and developed projections and potentials of this location in the city.

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Favorite Quotes

The truth is that in philosophy and even elsewhere it is a question of finding the problem and consequently of positing it, even more than of solving it... stating the problem is not simply uncovering, it is inventing... Invention gives being to what did not exist; it might never have happened.

-Henri Bergson


You know, there’s a conceptual artist I met a number of years ago and he asked me, “Why do architects always wait for a client?” and I kind wondered myself...I think maybe we shouldn’t always wait for a client. Maybe part of our work is to construct the client for these kinds of projects.

-Richard Sommer


(in Lubbock, TX) “...the roads have replaced the buildings as the basic building block of the city.”

-Jackson, J.B. “The Vernacular City.” Places, Vol. 1, No. 1, University of Texas Press: Austin, 1984


If we don’t want to get trapped, doubtful, and actionless at the co-merging of the clover leaves, we have to stop looking and listening around and get on the road. Proceeding in accordance with such decision in the field of architecture, one soon finds oneself in the stream of creative action, challenged by limitations, retraining discipline, and many other problems.

Architecture’s most urgent mission today is to convert chaos into order, change mechanization from a tyrant to a slave, and thus make place for beauty where there is vulgarity and ugliness. Architecture today cannot concern itself only with that one particular set of structures which happen to stand upright and be hollow “buildings” in the conventional sense. It must concern itself with all man-made elements which form our environments, with road and highways, with signs and posters, with outdoor spaces as created by structures, with cityscape and landscape.

In talking about cityscape and landscape, I would like to define the terms as I use them:

Cityscape obviously is a setting in which man-made structures are predominant.

Landscape is an environment in which nature is predominant.

-Victor Gruen, “Cityscape and Landscape”, Arts and Architecture, September 1955, p. 18


Infrastructure systems, by virtue of their scale, ubiquity, and inability to be hidden, are an essential visual component of urban settlements. Yet, the responsibility for designing this machinery into the landscape is diffused, falling piecemeal to many disciplines- engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, agriculture, planning, and biology.

-Gary Strang, “Infrastructure as Landscape”


Building, in this case, is understood to be the creation of a new economy, between pieces- reconditioning, recircuiting, and consolidating them at points of interface and crossing- to complicate and question the generic templates that we have applied to the landscape.

-Keller Easterling, “Conditioning Infrastructure”


I asked Goldsworthy to define the word “landscape,” and he replied, a bit cryptically: “A landscape does not have to involve land. Time is a landscape.

-Deborah Solomon, NYTimes July 25, 2004


I developed my way of working after completing my architectural studies, aware that a genuine spirit of change could not be achieved at the request of private economy. So, for five years I have worked to the best of my abilities to produce small breaks in the repressive conditions of space generated by the system. In spite of no longer working as an architect] continue to focus my attention on buildings, for these comprise both a miniature cultural evolution and a model of prevailing social structures. Consequently, what I do to buildings is what some do with language and others with groups of people: i.e. I organize them in order to explain and defend the need for change.

-Gordon Matta-Clark


An architectural drawing is an assemblage of spatial and material notations that can be decoded, according to a series of shared conventions, in order to effect a transformation of reality at a distance from the author.

-Stan Allen


The proper aim of art is the telling of beautiful untrue things.

-Oscar Wilde, "The Decay of Lying"