Homestate Glory

Three new Texas landmarks touted as some of the best architecture in the world

Three new Texas landmarks touted as some of the best architecture in the world

Whitney, atlas, November 2012, Carlos Jiménez, Centro de Datos y Servicios Bibliotecarios, Houston, Texas, EEUU
The Data and Library Service Center at Rice University, designed by Carlos Jiménez. Photo by © Paul Hester/Hester + Hardaway
Whitney, atlas, November 2012, Norman Foster, Ópera Winspear, Dallas, Texas, EEUU, foto Nigel Young
The Dallas Theater Center, which includes the Winspear Opera House (pictured) and the Wyly Theater, is also featured in the Atlas.  Photo by © Nigel Young
Whitney, atlas, November 2012, Miró y Rivera, Puente peatonal, Austin, Texas, EEUU
Miró Rivera Architects designed this pedestrian bridge on Lake Austin. Photo by © Paul Finkel/Piston Design
Whitney, atlas, November 2012, Carlos Jiménez, Centro de Datos y Servicios Bibliotecarios, Houston, Texas, EEUU
Whitney, atlas, November 2012, Norman Foster, Ópera Winspear, Dallas, Texas, EEUU, foto Nigel Young
Whitney, atlas, November 2012, Miró y Rivera, Puente peatonal, Austin, Texas, EEUU

The BBVA Foundation has published a four-volume series entitled Atlas: Architectures of the 21st Century, a follow-up to Atlas. Global Architecture circa 2000, which was published in 2007.

Its pages document more than 1,000 architectural projects that span the globe, from mud brick schools in Africa to skyscrapers in the Persian Gulf, with 237 of those works illustrated and their sociopolitical and cultural context described in detail. 

Making this narrow list are three projects that have been constructed right here in the Lone Star State: the pedestrian bridge on Lake Austin that was conceived by Miró Rivera Architects; Rice University's Data and Library Service Center in Houston, designed by architect Carlos Jiménez; and the AT&T Performing Arts Center, which includes the versatile Wyly Theatre, designed by Joshua Prince-Ramus and Rem Koolhaas, and the Winspear Opera House, designed by Norman Foster.

 All three Texas landmarks are considered examples of "global architecture." 

All three Texas landmarks are considered examples of "global architecture," a distinction that architect and Atlas director Luis Fernández-Galiano acknowledged is sometimes synonymous with standardization. 

"But there is also a positive globalization, as seen in this Atlas, in which ideas and architects travel and interact with the local environment in a process of cross-fertilization," Fernández-Galiano said in a statement.

"Insofar as architecture is a useful art at the service of the community and needs to be inserted in a time and place, the best global architectures are those that attain this context awareness and manage to transform themselves through contact with their future surroundings."