UTSA hosts lecture and exhibit by renowned Luxembourg architect Lucien Steil

Lucien Steil

Architect Lucien Steil and art from the book he co-edited, "New Palladians"

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(Oct. 13, 2011) -- The UTSA College of Architecture will host the exhibit "New Palladians" and a lecture by distinguished Luxembourg architect Lucien Steil in joint events organized by the Texas chapter of the Institute for Classical Architecture and UTSA. The lecture and exhibit are free and open to the public.

>> The "New Palladians" exhibit runs Oct. 14-27 in the UTSA Downtown Gallery on the first floor of the Durango Building. Gallery hours are 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

>> The lecture by Lucien Steil is 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 19 in the Buena Vista Street Building Aula Canaria (1.328) on the UTSA Downtown Campus.

At the Oct. 19 lecture, Steil will discuss "New Palladians," a book he co-edited with Alireza Sagharchi that was published by ArtMedia. The book honors the tradition set forth by Palladio and, through the work of noted 21st century classicists, celebrates that modern classical and vernacular architecture are flourishing and evolving.

The book exemplifies commitment to the increasingly vital topics of ecological building and sustainable urbanism. The exhibit features work demonstrating the perpetual relevance of Palladio from nearly 50 architects worldwide including Leon Krier, Quinlan Terry, Allan Greenberg and Andres Duany.

"We are pleased to host Lucien Steil's lecture and exhibit," said John D. Murphy, dean of the College of Architecture. "It represents an important contribution to the contemporary architecture discourse which is focused on ways that architecture can relearn the important lessons of the past as we strive to create a truly sustainable and aesthetic built environment in which people live, work and thrive."

One of the world's most influential architects, Palladio began his career as a stonemason in the Republic of Venice; his vast understanding of building technology is apparent on examining his work. Palladio followed and learned from the masters of the Renaissance period, developing into an academic whose design process and analysis of contemporary needs became somewhat of a guide to approaching design for several hundred years. By distilling timeless and universal principles, his works became the true embodiment of sustainability.

"The great thing about Palladio's works is that they have continued to inform design," said Mac White of Michael G. Imber Architects. "They weren't fixed or stagnant models that were just being repeated."

White is on the board of the state chapter of the Institute for Classical Architecture, along with Michael Imber. Imber's modern classical design firm in San Antonio won a 2011 Palladio Award for its work on the Beachtown House in Galveston.

Though ecological building and sustainable urbanism are hot topics worldwide, they are particularly relevant to the current visioning process in San Antonio. White says our city benefits greatly from having local sources for building materials, while other metropolitan areas rely on materials trucked or shipped in.

He points to San Antonio's unique stone and steel resources in addition to a core of traditional craftsmen as our most valuable green-building assets. White indicates the redevelopment of the Pearl brewery district as a bright spot of activity, and one that can add to the discussion about HemisFair Park redevelopment and how the downtown urban core can become more integrated into its surroundings.

"In terms of larger-scale urbanism, we are compelled to think about the resultant architectural experience that is being created," said White. "Architecture should produce an attractive, memorable place to which people want to return. If you are creating urbanism and no one is using it, it's not successful architecture. We must change the way we approach development as well and consistently consider mixed use development and form-based zoning, rather than use-based zoning."

For more information about the "New Paladians" exhibit and lecture, call the UTSA College of Architecture at 210-458-3090.