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National Architect Framing a New Vision for Future City Building in El Paso

Residents of El Paso are invited to learn more about the City around them from acclaimed architect Christian Sottile on Thursday, February 17th at 6:00pm as part of the Plan El Paso Charrette Open House, taking place at the Pat O’Rourke Recreation Center at 701 Montana.  Sottile will lead a community conversation on the rich architectural traditions of the City and how the City’s heritage can be carried forward. 

Sottile, who is part of the Dover, Kohl & Partners planning team leading the Plan El Paso project, has been hard at work assessing the architectural character of the City.  His investigations have uncovered rich building traditions unique to the region, and to the City itself.  Sottile is not only documenting existing historic buildings, but also looking back to buildings that are no longer here, to piece together El Paso’s architectural story.  

Christian Sottile is principal of a Savannah-based urban design firm working extensively in nationally-registered Historic Districts.   His work also includes regional planning and master planning for new towns, emphasizing historic research, urban analysis and community-wide engagement. 

Sottile’s presentation will describe principles of traditional architecture, and how El Paso’s buildings have contributed to the community’s identity and local culture.  He will also explore how this rich set of traditions can be carried forward for the future.

“I am very encouraged by what I’ve seen,” says Sottile.  “There is a way forward in planning for the future that continues the wealth of El Paso’s traditions as they have evolved here over the course of two centuries.”

During the charrette, Sottile and other architects on the design team will be reporting on what they see and suggesting how to pull from the best of El Paso’s built traditions, while balancing the realities of modern building practices and financial limitations.  

“While we are here assessing the traditions of El Paso we’re also testing the principles we’re observing against potential future buildings – buildings that have yet to be built.” says Sottile.  The architects will be aiming to suggest an architectural palette that draws from El Paso’s heritage, and communicates the meaning of buildings, so that people know when they are looking at a school, library, or other important civic building.   

All members of the public, including those interested in architecture or city building, are encouraged to help guide the City-wide Comprehensive Plan process and provide input to the planning team at any of the following upcoming events:

DESIGN STUDIO:
February 14th – 21st, M-TH from 9:30am to 7:00pm and FRI 9:30am to 5:00pm
Pat O’Rourke Recreation Center, 701 Montana
All welcome to stop by to talk to the design team and provide input as plans evolve.

HANDS ON 3: Northeast El Paso and Fort Bliss
Wednesday, February 16th from 5:30pm to 8:00pm
Wellington Chew Senior Center, 4430 Maxwell
Come work with your neighbors to plan the future of the Northeast area of El Paso!  The event is kid-friendly and refreshments will be provided.  A registered translator will be present throughout the event for Spanish-speaking participants. 

OPEN HOUSE & LECTURE:
Thursday, February 17 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Pat O’Rourke Recreation Center at 701 Montana
Public invited to provide input on draft plans and illustrations, and attend a lecture by architect Christian Sottile on Traditional Architecture principles.  The event is kid-friendly and refreshments will be provided.

WORK IN PROGRESS PRESENTATION
Tuesday, February 22nd from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Downtown Main Library at 501 North Oregon
Public presentation of design work completed during the two-week charrette.  A registered translator will be present throughout the event for Spanish-speaking participants.

Visitors Since the Start of the Project: