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Student designers at The University of Texas at Austin”take time” to design new faces for Intel building project

The creative minds of four art design students from The University of Texas at Austin soon will help give a creative appearance to the barren faces of the partially completed Intel structure in downtown Austin.

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AUSTIN, Texas—The creative minds of four art design students from The University of Texas at Austin soon will help give a creative appearance to the barren faces of the partially completed Intel structure in downtown Austin.

building design diagram

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Directed by Associate Professor Daniel M. Olsen of the Design Division, Department of Art and Art History, the students recently completed the designs for massive coverings that will hang from the two most prominent sides of the building on Fifth Street at Nueces and San Antonio streets beginning this week.

The design project, titled Take Time, was selected from among other ideas because it addresses the vast changes Austin is undergoing, and it encourages viewers to take time to reflect on Austin and its many faces of change. The fabric panels will be arranged on the fourth and fifth floors on the east and west faces of the building. A cable system strung horizontally across the bays will serve as the structure to which the panels will be attached, held in place with hooks and grommets. The project will evolve over a period of months as additional panels are added. The last of the panels is expected to be in place by late spring.

Olsen said the project gives the four students — Carolyn Moore, Katie Phillips, Ian Searcy and Ray Thompson — the opportunity to have their creative work displayed to the public on a grand scale rarely available to any designer.

“The project for the Intel building offers a prime opportunity for students to implement our design process,” said Olsen, who has been working on the project with students since June of 2001. “The inherent nature of the project incorporates social, cultural, technological, and aesthetic dimensions. In addition, it is a unique collaboration between the university, the business community and the people of Austin. It will demonstrate the particular strengths of the Design Division at The University of Texas at Austin and enable the students to experience the realization of design ideas at an urban scale.”

Olsen said the project was initiated based on a previous project that design students worked on for the Downtown Austin Alliance. A Downtown Austin Alliance member also contacted Olsen and arranged a meeting with Intel that led to initiation of this student project. The idea was for the students to develop creative designs by using techniques from their coursework to address the challenges presented by the suspended construction of a major downtown office building.

“Intel has a history with The University of Texas at Austin’s colleges of Engineering, Natural Sciences and Education. It made sense for us to turn to the university, yet again, for a creative touch for our downtown project,” said Fred Shannon, external affairs manager for Intel. “The university continues to demonstrate its resource capabilities to the Texas business community.”

Charles Betts, executive director of the Downtown Austin Alliance, said the project was conceived by the Downtown Austin Alliance and The University of Texas at Austin “as a temporary solution to the aesthetic image while Intel evaluates its options for the building.”

He said the cooperative effort by Intel and the Downtown Austin Alliance, working together with the university on the project, underscores the community’s determination to find interim solutions to the issues stemming from the economic downturn.

The completed images on the panels are of a red bench in the middle of downtown Austin during a typical workday, and the same red bench on the side of a cliff overlooking the Austin skyline. The bench serves as a symbolic device that allows the viewers to place themselves within the image, either as a person sitting on the bench, actively watching Austin city life, or as the bench itself, passively becoming a part of the landscape. Printed on the panels are meditative messages with a common theme of the use of time.

For more information, contact Olsen at (512) 474-7934 or Fred Shannon of Intel at (512) 314-0596. Details about the project may be viewed at Take Time‘s Web site.

Note to editors/producers: The students, their professor and an Intel representative will be available 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday (Feb. 14) at the building site to talk with reporters about the project.