Architecture expo discusses past, present and future of the industry

“He was the right man, in the right place at the right time,” said Dr. Maggie Valentine about John Herman Kampmann, a prominent San Antonio figure whose architectural significance has gone unnoticed.

“He knew how to work himself up in the community, becoming a leading figure. But somehow he’s disappeared off the pages of history.”

Valentine, a professor at the UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning (CACP), along with 23 other faculty of the CACP, presented their research topics ranging from historical architects of San Antonio to urban planning. The symposium showcased the published works of UTSA faculty and recognized their contributions to UTSA.

Valentine’s most recent work, “John H. Kampmann, Master Builder: San Antonio’s German Influence in the 19th Century,” recaptures a forgotten history of an architect who helped bring the European building style to San Antonio’s urban construction. Kampmann studied architecture in Germany and masonry before moving to Texas in 1848. Collaborating with other notable architects, Kampmann renovated the Alamo as well as other significant missions in the SanAntonio area. He also as established San Antonio’s second fire company.

“He was a man of all trades,” explained Valentine. “As a founding member of the Casino Club, which was the social club and only legitimate theater at that time, he was always in the public eye, and he enjoyed every minute of it.”

Valentine’s work uncovers Kampmann’s substantial involvement with various recognizable buildings throughout San Antonio. Some buildings include the architecture seen at the San Antonio Museum of Art (formally the Lone Star Brewery), St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, St. Joseph’s Church on Commerce Street and the famous Mengar Hotel.

Unlike Kampmann’s era, San Antonio architects must now consider the economic and local impact of shopping centers. Dr. Ian Caine’s publication, “Changescapes: Walmart Supercenters as Catalysts for Territorial Change,” presents the idea of realigning the financial life cycle of big business development with existing urban topography. To minimize the peripheral burdens that are often associated with underutilized supercenters such as empty parking lots, Caine proposed a three-part strategy to prepare local communities for the “inevitable (industrial) vacancies that (will) emerge as the economy rises and falls.” Caine further explained, “The project (concept) reconceives the civil infrastructure as a large scale public works project capable of fully integrating civic life within the pace of capital exchange.” Furthermore, Caine recommended partitioning the land bought by industries so that they are only given the amount that is needed for business operations. Municipalities would then own and utilize surrounding parcels to accommodate suburban growth. Caine proposes that Walmart and other supercenter parking lots be minimized Extra space would be overseen by the local public works department.

Presenter Dr. Azari continued the theme of architectural innovation with his presentation on the “Integrated Energy and Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Office Building Envelopes.” Azari explained the environmental impact of proper building performance. The modifications of buildings determine the overall energy consumption.

Using the Energy Use Index (EUI), Azari examined the average dependence and energy expenditure of commercial infrastructure on building characteristics. Azari’s results indicated that an increase in window to wall ratio had an inverse proportion to energy consumption resulting in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions. According to Azari, about 45 percent of industrial energy is used for thermal regulation. Incorporating energy efficient technologies will decrease the negative environmental impacts of everyday office energy consumption.

“I think the purpose of research is primarily for new discoveries and finding solutions,” explained Azari. “We all have ethical and professional responsibilities of finding solutions to those problems, and that is the right direction.”