Texas Architect July/Aug 2012: Healthcare & Wellness
In this edition about design for healthcare and wellness, we look at good buildings of both types. But the role of architects in public health goes far beyond their work on the hospitals, clinics, and fitness facilities routinely associated with these two categories. The broader purview includes their role in shaping more livable, sustainable, and healthy communities — the premise being that there is a direct correlation between the design of a community and the health of its people.
24 Texas Architect 7/8 2012 Profile T ucked back in the woods, at the end of a winding path, is an architect working outside of time. But David Webster George, FAIA, arranges patterns and places that are time- less. The unassuming approach to his house in Southlake masks the carefully situated environ- ment he created in 1986, followed by a studio addition in 1991. Deer, coyote, and wild turkey roam the property. David is quick to point out that he resides within the Cross Timbers — a densely packed oak and scrub-bush region that extends from North Texas in a broad swath through Oklahoma and up into Kansas. For David, boundaries are set by nature and not by governments. The threads of a life in architecture are difficult to gather. The work of David George deserves at least a monograph and this essay can only hint at the wide-ranging set of experi- ences, for more than six decades, expressed in his buildings. David’s architecture is marked by a pattern of modules and of articulated edges that define particular places. The module is generally expressed as a 32” plan grid that subdivides into construction elements such as modular brick and expands, oftentimes, as repeated structural or spatial bays. Structures are further explored so that edges and seams can be opened up in unexpected ways — usually to let light into the interior. His work seems to have undergone several phases over time, but the devotion to a module and the exploration of articulated edges is a recurring focus. These formal and con- structional strategies are, however, only tools in support of a larger system – a belief in organic architecture. Blending into the surrounding landscape with local material and color, using construction methods compatible with the site, and employing efficient building systems are his ways of creating organic architecture. The Lake Cottage project of 1966 may be one of David’s best examples of an architecture that blends into the surroundings. Structural systems are also explored to support the larger aim of creating visual continuity. For example, a folded-plate roof system is often used so that a ridge beam is not needed at the peak of interior spaces — allowing the ceiling to flow uninterrupted from plane to plane. The Lake Cottage interior of 1966 illustrates this feature. The same type of structure is used at the George Studio and at the Preston Hollow House (see page 30 of this issue) so that the upper reach David Webster George Working Outside of Time article by Joe Self, AIA photography by Holly Reed