With development directors and non-profits always looking for a fresh means of fundraising and friend-raising, we have to applaud the University of Houston College of Architecture for its brilliant, fresh approach to garnering some of that much sought-after attention.
Dean Patricia Oliver, a gourmet chef in addition to leading the internationally award-winning college, hosted the school's first in a series of "Memorable Meals in Memorable Places" in the award-winning home of UH architecture grad Karen Lantz and Dr. Andrew Farkas. Chefs from Uchi were in the kitchen, preparing an endless stream of the restaurant's popular dishes.
"The idea is to bring new people to the college that are getting to know us, new friends," Oliver said. "Bring our close friends, our ambassadors and introduce them to an alum or faculty member who has designed a significant piece of architecture — in this case a young alum who has won a state award for this project, this house."
Oliver was joined in hosting the event by Jim Furr, managing partner emeritus at Gensler. He and his wife, Jo, were among those touring the three-level, sustainable dwelling that features an underground family room and wine cellar. Lantz is co-founder of Houston MOD and the impressive home gives a serious architectural nod to mid-century esthetics.
Oliver allowed that the goal of these evenings is to introduce guests to "what the graduates of our college are doing and to get to see the projects and have a wonderful mea. The point is just to bring everyone together in a good spirit and let them know, get the word out that the students and graduates of our college are doing amazing things and there is no better way to get the word out than to show them."
Among those on hand were architectural historian Stephen Fox, Donna Kacmar, David Kaplan, Bart Truxillo, Bryan Malarkey, Ryan Gordon, Edie Archer and Lauri Lampson.
Shelby Hodge is married to UH Architecture professor Shafik Rifaat.