Texas Architect Jan/ Feb 2009: Campus Communities
Texas Architect is the official publication of the Texas Society of Architects, each edition features recently completed projects and other editorial content largely written by AIA members in Texas. That collective participation was the basis of Texas Architect’s recognition by the national AIA with a 2010 Institute Honor for Collaborative Achievement.
e d i t o r ’ s n o t e For the past four years, the members of AIA Austin have volunteered their time to teach elementary school students in their area about architecture. Their most recent efforts culminated in November with displays at UT Austin of models the kids devised to illustrate the lessons they have learned. This year’s program reached more than 315 students from third, fourth, and fifth grades. The program teaches children the importance of thoughtful planning and environmentally sensitive design, two fundamental ideas that architects are eager to present to as many people as possible. What better place to start than with youngsters? In this edition of Texas Architect, examples of the issue’s theme, “Campus Communities,” abundantly demonstrate how architects are positively affecting the future owners and occupants – and designers – of our built environment. A few of the highlights follow. In Dallas, the kids at the new Booker T. Washington High School designed by Allied Works are now learning the performing arts in a new $55 million building funded by a public/private partnership. TA contributing editor Willis Winters, FAIA, takes readers on a tour that begins on page 40. On page 52, Dr. Mario Sanchez profiles the Southwest Key East Austin Community Development Project where the nonprofit organization sponsors educational programs for disadvantaged youth and adults. Designed by Cotera + Reed of Austin, the building is notable for its rigorous attention to mid-twentieth-century Modern antecedents from Mexico. Another facet of this issue’s theme is an article on page 68 by James Kirkpatrick, AIA, of Denton, who was part of the jury in last year’s annual Exhibit of School Architecture sponsored by the Texas Association of School Boards and the Texas Association of School Administrators (TASA/TASB). As he states, the event reminded him that architects must continually educate their school clients if children are to benefit from thoughtfully designed facilities. For this edition’s “Backpage,” I invited Tom Cox to write about the architecture program at Skyline High School in Dallas. Tom has taught there for 29 years, and his experience attests to the importance of teaching students about the fundamentals of architectural practice so they might make their own unique improvements to our world. *** Models by elementary school students were displayed Nov. 21 in UT Austin’s Goldsmith Hall during a showcase sponsored by AIA Austin. The “Tribute” page in the Nov/Dec edition was slipped in without my knowledge by co-conspirators Andrea Exter and Julie Pizzo (TA’s associate publisher and art director, respectively) to mark the issue’s being my fiftieth as editor. Since I was trained as a newspaperman to keep myself out of the story, it was something of an out-of-body experience for me to read “50 Issues and Counting” by Gerald Moorhead, FAIA. The recognition is gratifying, and the notes I’ve received as a result of Gerald’s article leave me speechless—almost. I am very lucky to have a job I love and to work with a great team to produce a new Texas Architect every other month. Along with Andrea and Julie, the TA team includes a dedicated stable of contributing editors who, like Gerald, offer their considerable talents without pay. (See the masthead on the opposite page for a list.) An additional uncompensated but uncredited member of the team is my wife, Jane Sharpe, whose creative solutions to my editorial problems frequently give me hope that all is not lost and that the next deadline just might not be my last. *** Photo by John Cameron, Assoc. AIA Astute readers will notice two new departments – “Commentary” and “Recollection” – preceding the feature section. “Commentary” serves as a platform for writers to present opinions about topics of interest to a design-savvy audience and “Recollection” gives the more senior members of the profession an outlet to impart some of their hard-earned wisdom. If you would like to solicit columns or ideas for columns, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. S t e p h e n 1 / 2 2 0 0 9 S h a r p e t e x a s a r c h i t e c t 5