B A C K P A G E
One Hundred Years of Studio
courtesy of TAMU College of Architecture
A century of architectural education began in College Station
In the span of time from the 1940s to 2005, as trends in architecture have waxed and waned, other things haven’t changed all that much.
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This June marks the centennial of the first graduating class from any school in Texas that taught architecture as a degree program. The degrees in architectural engineering were awarded to three young men at the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, now known as Texas A&M University. James S. Dean, Max F. Mayer, and J. Rodney Tabor were among a handful of students enrolled in the first formal program of architectural education in the state of Texas. That program was inaugurated in 1905 by Dr. Frederick E. Giesecke. Ernest Langford, FAIA, researched TAMU’s first 50 years of architectural education and published a 47-page report in 1957. Subtitled “A Brief History of the Division of Architecture from September 1, 1905 to August 31, 1956,” Langford’s chronicle followed the evolution of the pedagogy from its initial stirrings. His findings revealed that “little real instruction
was offered in architectural design” until after 1914 when S. J. Fountain began instruction patterned on his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Langford’s history can be downloaded at http://archone.tamu.edu/college/centennial/. Recently, John O. Greer, FAIA, was appointed college archivist and tasked with writing a new narrative that brings the story up to date. He plans to encompass A&M’s entire 100 years of architectural education in a report scheduled for completion in March. Greer also foresees the eventual publication of several booklets, each dedicated to specific topics within the centennial theme, such as a timeline that tracks the development of the architectural curriculum, a list of all the university’s architectural graduates, and a collection of remembrances from students and faculty. Stephen Sharpe is editor of Texas Architect.
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