April 18

Readers Forum

The Plaza de Armas Readers Forum and Events

A Brutal Redesign: Reimagining HemisFair's Modern Buildings

Design charrette: Saturday, April 13, 9am-4pm at the Center for Architecture at the Pearl, 200 E Grayson, Ste. 110

Reception: Tuesday, April 16, 5:30-7:30pm at 102 Navarro (the former Alaskan Palace)


Imagine a new future for HemisFair's brutalist buildings with the Emerging Professionals Committee of the San Antonio Chapter of the AIA.

Saturday, April 13, drop in on a day-long design charrette, as local architects problem-solve and dream up new possibilities for the John H. Wood Courthouse and the Institute for Texan Cultures – former 1968 HemisFair pavilions whose size and contours challenge contemporary visions for the redevelopment of the World's Fair site in the heart of downtown San Antonio.

View the results at a happy-hour reception Tuesday, April 16, at the Conservation Society's Alaskan Palace. The results will be viewable in the Alaskan Palace windows through April 30.

Architects interested in participating in the charrette can contact Erica Gagne ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) or Rebecca Sibley ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) for a packet.

Events are free and open to the public. The reception is made possible by the support of the San Antonio Conservation Society.


Building Out of SA's Comfort Zone

Wednesday, February 20, 7-9pm at the Holt Center for Continuing Education at Trinity University

A conversation about supporting innovative architecture and landscape design in SA

Join Trinity University Press, City Design Center, imagineSanAntonio, NOWCastSA and Plaza de Armas for a conversation about SA's skyline and built environment. Architects, developers and city planners will discuss the obstacles, opportunities and latest trends that hinder or enable creative urban design. Trinity University Press Associate Director and PdA columnist Tom Payton will moderate. Panelists include Mark Brodeur of the City of San Antonio's City Design Center, Irby Hightower of Alamo Architects, Dan Markson of NRP Group, Anita Devora, executive director of Build San Antonio Green, and Timothy Cone, Chairman of the Historic Design and Review Commission. Free and open to the public. Made possible by the generous support of Big Grass Living, Centro Properties and Briones Consulting and Engineering.

Please RSVP here!


Five-Minute Food Revolutions!

Tuesday, July 24, 6-8pm at Aldaco's at Sunset Station

Meet the people who are changing the way San Antonio eats!

Join Savor SA, NOWCastSA and Plaza de Armas to watch San Antonio's food revolution in motion: Ten local visionaries will give short presentations about how they're changing the way we eat and think about food in South Texas.

Stars of the table include Chad Carey of The Monterey, Marianna Peeler of Peeler Farms, Sameer Siddiqui of Rickshaw Stop, Saundra Winokur of Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard, Mike Behrend of Green Vegetarian Cuisine, Susan Jaime of Ferra Coffee, Tim the Girl of the Special Projects Social pop-up events, Blair Condon of Green Spaces Alliance, Troy Knapp of the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort, and Kelley Escobedo of South Texas Heritage Pork. Blanca Aldaco will emcee!

Doors open at 6 p.m. for snacks provided by Aldaco's and drinks at the cash bar. Presentations begin at 6:30. After the presentations we'll take questions from the audience, so come hungry and curious. NOWCastSA will document the event.

This event is made possible by our sponsors: Aldaco's at Sunset Station, Briones Engineering & Consulting, 140Fred. Culinary Culture, and Alamo Beer.
Missed this event? Watch the video here.



Run-offs & Showdowns: the Texas primaries

Thursday, June 28, 2012, 6:30-8pm at Aldaco's at Sunset Station

Join Plaza de Armas and NOWCastSA for a Texas elections dish and analysis session with SA's top campaign brains: Christian Archer, Kelton Morgan, and Christian Anderson. Doors open at 6:30pm; panel begins promptly at 7. Appetizers courtesy of our host, Aldaco's; cash bar. Thanks to our sponsors Aldaco's at Sunset Station and Briones Engineering. Free and open to the public. RSVP here.

Miss this event? Watch the video here.


Special Spring Forum with Build San Antonio Green!

Sunday, May 20, 2012, 2-4 pm at the Liberty Bar at the Convent

Please join us Sunday, May 20, at the Liberty Bar (1111 S. Alamo) for Green Lifestyles in Historic Neighborhoods, featuring Shanon Peterson of the Office of Historic Preservation, homeowner and renovator Scott Martin, and builder Juan Fernandez.

We'll discuss renovating older homes and commercial spaces to make them more energy efficient and sustainable, new green construction in historic neighborhoods, inner-city resources and more. Bring your ideas, experiences, and questions (and photos!). A Q&A with the audience follows the panel discussion. Fantastic finger food by Liberty Bar; cash bar.

Sponsored by Build San Antonio Green, the Liberty Bar, Aldaco's at Sunset Station, Briones Consulting & Engineering and Big Grass Bamboo.

Watch the NOWCastSA webcast here.

Panel discussions are followed by open Q&A with the audience. Food generously provided by our sponsor, Aldaco's at Sunset Station. Cash bar. Free and open to the public.

March 28

Zoned Out: A conversation about down-zoning, development, quality of life and property rights

Watch the NOWCastSA video here.

Fans of last month's City Council vote to consider down-zoning two large properties to stop development opposed by neighbors hailed it as a turning point in a city environmental activists have long complained was too developer friendly. Critics claimed it could threaten economic growth by scaring off investors. Join us for a conversation about finding the balance between quality of life, community concerns and property rights, with District 2 Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, District 3 Councilwoman Leticia Ozuna, District 10 Councilman Carlton Soules and County Commissioner (and former D9 Councilman) Kevin Wolff. Aldaco's at Sunset Station will host (the

appetizers are excellent); cash bar. Doors open at 6:30pm, panel begins promptly at 7. Free parking on in the lot on Hoefgen. Please RSVP here.

February 21

Giant: a PdA Readers Forum on the Eagle Ford shale's impact on SA

Not to get overly excited about economic benefits spinning out of the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas, but … Since the oil and gas play came to life four years ago, San Antonio has netted thousands of oilfield-services jobs, and public officials hope to see more energy-industry professionals – the engineers and geologists – working from here, as well as related financial industries. Meanwhile, SA families that own land in the 24-county region are collecting millions from lease deals with exploration companies. Where will they spend this new money? What are San Antonio's long-term jobs and industry prospects? Considering the environmental and public-health uncertainties surrounding fracking, how sustainable is this new wealth? We'll tackle these questions and more at our next Readers Forum on February 21 at Aldaco's at Sunset Station from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Panelists will include Mario Hernandez, president of the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation; writer and leaseholder Bill Sibley; and Tom Tunstall, director of UTSA's Center for Community and Business Research, which has been following the play's economic ripples across the region.

Watch the NOWCastSA video coverage here.


Fall 2011

November 20

The future of Latino conservatives

Join us for PdA's next Readers Forum on November 20 at the Liberty Bar at the Convent for a discussion of the challenges and opportunities for Latino conservatives in Texas with State Rep. John Garza, R-San Antonio, and Rolando Pablos, a friend of Rick Perry and member of the Public Utilities Commission. There are more Latino Republicans in the Legislature than ever before, but the GOP's recruiting efforts are hurt by the hardline immigration stance taken by some of its officeholders. And the demographic clock is ticking for Texas Republicans, with Hispanics poised to make up a majority of the state's population. The doors will open at 2:30 p.m. for food – generously provided by our sponsor, Liberty Bar – drinks (cash bar) and mingling. The Q & A session will run 3-4 p.m.

Watch the video coverage by Taylor James Johnson here.

October 30

Reality Bites: a conversation about San Antonio's stray animal population

Five years into its campaign to become a No Kill city, San Antonio's stray dog population is estimated to be close to 150,000, and at a recent Animal Care Services board meeting, someone put the number of stray cats in the same ballpark. Please join Plaza de Armas Sunday, October 30, for our second fall readers forum, with Municipal Court Presiding Judge John Bull, District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña and Gavin Nichols of the San Antonio Area Foundation. We'll talk about the city's efforts to achieve No Kill status, including ordinances, shelters and adoption programs, spay and neuter efforts, and the new animal court, as well as successful tactics from other communities. What's working? What doesn't? What more needs to be done? Doors open at 2:30 p.m; panel begins at 3 p.m. sharp. Finger food generously provided by Liberty Bar; cash bar. Plaza de Armas Readers Forums are free and open to the public; please support our programs and our local independent news site by subscribing today, and bringing a new member with you.

Watch the video coverage by Taylor James Johnson here.

September 18

Easy Ridership: a forum about transportation in San Antonio

A freewheeling discussion about San Antonio's transportation future, including toll roads, streetcar, HOV lanes, Bus Rapid Transit, and more. PdA's Greg Jefferson will warm up the panelists, County Judge Nelson Wolff, District 8 Councilman Reed Williams, and Andres Andujar, CEO of the HemisFair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation, for the audience. Doors open at 2:30; panel begins at 3pm. Liberty Bar, downstairs dining room, 1111 S. Alamo. Food's on Liberty and PdA; cash bar.

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