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Exclusive: F1 Design Studio by UT Architecture

Tavo Hellmund spoke recently at the TEDxAustin Conference  emphasizing the impact the completed F1 Facilities will have on the local community by pursuing an approach of long term sustainability of the region.  This will be accomplished through the implementation of not only the race track, but also the year round calendar of events which will include an emphasis on education.UT Architecture Students observe collegue during her review  Though Tavo and most Austinites might not know it yet, the impact on the educational community has already been positively effected even though the facilities aren't even built yet.  A design studio consisting of undergraduate students from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture recently explored the potential for track designs and hotel facilities at the track site. 

UT Architecture Student Valerie Lyall explains her track design concept to a guest review panel

As some of you may know, I am a graduate student in the Masters of Architecture program and spend every waking moment in studio when I am not working hard to bring you the latest on The Austin Grand Prix.  Though I was finished with my studio I was listening in on other reviews and stumbled upon theirs and snapped some pictures.  Though I didn't get a chance to really get involved in the discussion, I set out to get connected with the students and professor about their work.

Guest Reviewers included Professor Uli Dangel (right), who worked on the TAG McLaren Headuarters in Woking, England while with Foster+Partners

The studio project was coordinated by Larry Doll, Associate Professor at UT Architecture, and was a 5 week intensive design studio about developing a code within existing tracks from the 2010 season to help formulate a new potential design for the Austin facilities.  The students then completed their project by proposing a new hotel to be located on the area and chose where and how to integrate it into the complex nature of a their track designs.

Students Brittany Milas and Kim Villavicencio (that's right boys, the girls love this F1 stuff too) where kind enough to offer their designs to us to share with our audience in a hope to raise awareness of the kinds of values and discussions that go into designing a F1 facility.  Brittany worked with the Turkey Grand Prix and Kim with Brazilian Grand Prix track as their initial research into how the variation in track characteristics determines the unique conditions for the drivers and the fans. 

Kim Villavicencio explores G-Forces as the design code for a new track in AustinEach student's work focused on their new "code" derived from their studies of factors such as elevation changes, g-forces, radii of turns and others.  The solutions proposed by the students began to quantify why the Belgian Grand Prix (SPA) elevation change is so critical, or how the Brazilian Grand Prix (Interlagos) simplistic plan achieves difficult handling conditions because of its compound curves.  The solutions were all amazing in their own right, attempting to quantify the specific character that makes each track so special and what it means to create the new American F1 identity through the track design.

Brittany Milas designs a cantilevered hotel over her track design

All of the questions raised by these talented and ambitious young designers exemplifies the amazing technical complexities of this amazing sport.  Through just a five week program, they raised new questions about the concept of track design and may well have discovered a new way to create a new facility around the world. 

Though modest in scale, this project signifies that the F1 facilities has already and will continue to positively impact the lives of countless other young Americans as they look to Formula 1 as a source of inspiration for their dreams and future careers.

more images in the gallery

The Austin Grand Prixtm will continue to bring the latest news on the local influence felt by the new track development in features titled "Community Impact." Please respect the ideas and designs of the students as we have received their exclusive permission to highlight their work for this post.

TEDxAustin: Tavo Hellmund Speaks in Austin

Image courtesy of TEDxAustinTavo Hellmund spoke this afternoon in Austin at a satellite event of TED, known as TEDxAustin.  TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design and is a series of global conferences designed to culminate idea-sharing. In his speech, Tavo highlighted several things, not only some interesting things about F1 in Austin, but also his mantra as a person.

He began in a very humble manner, acknowledging the other speakers invited to talk at the event, but Tavo quickly dove into explaining his perspective on the future of Austin and his desire to engage the community.  His vision for the new racing facilities will effect the lives of so many people and in order to succeed, the facility needs to be used year round, capitalizing on the technological and educational potential which Austin culminates.  We think that his message was well received and important to understanding the long term success of his goals.

He highlighted that, not only will this facility bring 300,000 people to the city, create jobs, and attract 500 million viewers in 180 countries around the world, but these are just the F1 weekend numbers and just a the tip of the iceberg of the potential he sees in the overall plan.

Some of the key points Tavo mentioned about the F1 facility itself:

Algae research, like what UT Biology Department conducts.There will be a large focus on the Educational component of the track.  Education has always been a big part of his life, and since the tragic loss of a very good friend of his, Tavo launched his Safe & Sober® campaign to target educational outreach in order to help spread the message of driving safety.

Lance Armstrong in UT's Human Performance Lab, Image Courtesy of UTResearch will be a huge part of this facility and Tavo higlighted two major component of this research: an engineering facility focused on alternative energy research (hopefully partnering with UT Biology Department's research in Algae), as well as research labs in human performance, probably also in close relationship with UT's Human Performance Lab.

Overall, the talk allowed Tavo to really set the stage for the future of not only Formula 1, but the long term success of the region to help ensure true sustainability through a year round calendar at this exciting new facility.

 Here are some of Tavo's unofficial quotes that Kerri tweeted during the speech:  

     "It's going to be an awesome track!"

     "We're going to have the closest thing to a traditional grand prix track, like the ones 30 years ago, here in Austin."

     "I'm hoping this project, which is getting all the attention, gives Austin more than the economic impact."

     "Recognize the power within you and realize how to develop and use it."

     "What drives you? Fear of failure."

     "It's not about how fast a car can go, it's about how fast that PERSON in the car can go."

Tavo Hellmund speaking at TEDxAustin on February 22, 2011. Image copyright The Austin Grand Prix.

     "F1 is the most cutting edge of technology-the advancements in your car were developed in last 35 years from F1."

     "Everyone knows about the splurges of success over central TX" (...becase of relocation of huge companies to Austin).

     "If you build it they will come...will that work?"

     "Kids today are more impressed with the delivery of the message, more by the method; than with the message itself." 

      "We're going to design something to use the other 362 days of the year - including an educational component; we're working with university and elementary school systems..." 

       "What happens after the [F1] weekend? Of course we're going to do other events outside one weekend." 

It was exciting to see Tavo on stage with many other creative minds. It was also great to hear him interact with and update the Austin community on this large and exciting project. We hope this is the beginning of many more public discussions.