Members of Rice Design Alliance and subscribers to Cite were the first to receive the map. It was embossed on the cover with no explanation. It feels like Braille. Many readers caress the page, experiencing it as a beautiful and ambiguous representation of the Houston region. Only when you turn to the Table of Contents page do you learn that it represents heightened cancer risk associated with exposure to air toxins.
The process behind the emboss is fascinating. PH Design, the graphic designers of Cite 93, carefully produced the map based on data from the EPA. Each shaded area was traced so that the various patterns could be placed. The printer, Specialty Bindery, was consulted throughout the process. Once the design was complete, a specialist crafted a brass plate to create the emboss. The plate was mounted on a Heidelberg offset press.
The result is a form that you can use to reproduce the map by taping a piece of paper over it and rubbing the page with charcoal. See the video below. You can make visible an invisible Houston.
Check out this online video showing how the new issue of Cite was printed. The video is about 7 minutes in length and takes you through the offset process for the interior pages, the letterpress work on the cover, and the pad binding that brought it all together. You can get a sense of the extraordinary amount of labor and skill that goes into the fabrication of each issue. Be sure to pick up a copy at Brazos, Contemporary Museum of Art, DOMY, The Menil Collection, the MFAH, or Issues. Or subscribe online.
A man fishes on the Houston Ship Channel at the site of the San Jacinto monument. Photograph by Hester & Hardaway.
Houston has its share of famous buildings like Mies van der Rohe’s addition to The Musuem of Fine Arts, Houston and Renzo Piano’s Menil Collection. While places like these garner global acclaim, it is often Houston’s unexpected places—from the warehouses surrounding downtown to old-school barbershops to open fields, and the many places in between—that give Houston its spark. Other times, the unexpected allure of Houston exists in a personal experience of a well-known place—like the sensation of wondrous disorientation as you walk into the slanted-glass entrance of Philip Johnson’s Pennzoil Place. Houstonians are often walking libraries of beloved places that may go unseen by other passersby.
It is these places and their accompanying experiences that the Rice Design Alliance wants to know about. This month, we are launching a campaign entitled “Unexpected City” that is asking Houstonians, or anyone who wants to participate, to submit their favorite location in the city. Submissions will be published on Offcite. In addition to submissions, Katie Plocheck and others will also be visiting many of the locations and documenting the time spent there on Offcite.org. Our expectation is that we can have an exhibition of places at the end of the year, and one day, a publication.
Please join the Rice Design Alliance in celebrating the publication of Cite 82, a special issue on 60s and 70s sites of counterculture.
Tuesday, July 20, 6 – 7 pm
Canopy on Montrose
RSVP: email@example.com or 713.348.4876 by Friday July 16
The Spring issue of Cite (81) is now in the mail and will soon be in stores. Below Danny Marc Samuels, guest editor and Director of the Rice Building Workshop, shares the Table of Contents and his thoughts on putting the issue together.
Letter from the Guest Editor
Cite has been part of my life since it was launched 28 years and 81 issues ago; I have served on the editorial committee for half of that time. There our primary job is to sift through ideas for articles, whether originating within the committee or thrown over the transom, and encourage the promising ones along. From the time that we ﬁrst discuss the ideas until they show up as articles in Cite can be months, or even years. As a member of the Cite editorial committee, I, as do all committee members, occasionally serve as “guest editor” for an issue. It’s like being inside the black box, watching the sausage being made (to mix metaphors).
Letter from the Guest Editor
In the 1990′s, a new wave of architecture professors at Rice University took on Houston as an experiment in urbanism. Whereas American cities like Boston and New York offered infill and contextual strategies by which to analyze and investigate, the seemingly blank canvas of the “Space City” offered up the idea of a new breed of city, or anti-city. As students we were rolled out to all corners of the region to investigate the hidden city — how the industrial warehouse, the bayou, the suburban tract, the mega-mall, the parking lot, and all the spaces in between created the tapestry that is Houston.
Cite 79 Cover: A map of all the pipelines of North America, excluding waterlines, courtesy HTSI
Sept. 10 marked the release date of the latest issue of Cite magazine. The issue focused on infrastructure; largely ignored by most but, nonetheless, the bedrock on which all other endeavor— literally and figuratively—rest. Read below the introductory essay in the issue by Cite Editor Raj Mankad
Letter from the Editor
My day normally begins with a bicycle ride through the bungalows near the Menil Collection, across the Dunlavy bridge over the Southwest Freeway, and through Boulevard Oaks and Southhampton to Rice University. The nearly continuous live oak canopy keeps me cool on the hottest of days. I add extra loops and turns to take in the museums and architect-designed homes, many of which have been featured in Rice Design Alliance tours and Cite reviews. If that is what you want to read about—that soothingly coherent world—don’t open this issue.
Cite 71 was sandwiched in-between several hurricanes. Published in the summer of 2007 — after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and before Hurricane Ike — the issue managed to digest the still-raw lessons learned from the devastation in New Orleans and offered a prescient analysis before the arrival of Ike.