While several hundred students, faculty and friends of the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture had gathered to get a look at the international award-winning project "Risky Habit(at)," dean Patricia Oliver had a surprise in store.
Gerald Hines, for whom the architecture college is named, has committed $1 million for the college's international programs. In announcing the gift, Oliver noted, "He was so impressed by the work of the students that he wanted to insure that students in the College of Architecture would have that (international) opportunity into the future."
Hines and UH System chancellor and president Renu Khator were among notables who had joined the college in Italy last June when their entry in the Venice Biennale won the prestigious Global Arts Affairs Foundation Prize. The UH students bested entries from 100 architects representing 40 countries and two Pritzker Prize winners.
"This project has proved to everybody that our students can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best architects in the world."
"This was a journey that was really special for the college because it got us to an international platform," noted professor Peter Zweig, who led the effort with professor Tom Colbert. "And I think by winning the first award in the world with Pritzker Prize winners and over 100 architects internationally, it really put the college on the map."
“Risky Habit(at]): Dynamic Living on Buffalo Bayou,” presents an overview of Buffalo Bayou and its relationship to the city, presenting solutions to the challenges faced by both the city and its waterways. In addition to models and story boards, the exhibition includes videos from the bow of a cargo ship as it traverses the Houston Ship Channel both day and night.
In her remarks to the gathering, Oliver said, "This project has proved to everybody that our students can stand shoulder to shoulder with the best architects in the world."
The attention the winning project has brought to the college has also led to the creation of a center for sustainability resilience, beginning in June, and it has opened the door for a future program in urban systems.
"There is a lot of building that has happened because of this project," Oliver said.