Texas Architect January/February 2014: Ecologies
This issue on “Ecologies” explores urban design across Texas and focuses on the increasing importance of green infrastructure for our cities. With the rehabilitation of the San Antonio River, the state now has the longest linear park in the nation. Dallas is also leading urban design trends with its progressive parks plan — Klyde Warren Park is just one example of the good work being done. Houston and Austin are also both relying on green infrastructure to create valuable public spaces. Other important urban design initiatives featured include mixed-use development in downtown Austin, El Paso’s first net-zero senior housing project, and the push for San Antonio’s missions to be added to the World Heritage List.
AIA Austin Latinos in Architecture by Paul Medrano, AIA Founded in 2010, AIA Austin Latinos in Architecture aims to serve and support the local Latino communities, strengthen networks among design professionals, and enrich architectural practices through diverse cultural exchanges by fostering participation in education, professional, and community-oriented programs. As part of the Austin community, the group strives to be a positive influence for Latino students who aspire to become architects, and its wide range of activities supports AIA Austin. Social hours; movie nights featuring Spanish architecture-related films; book signings; book drives; home tours; studio talks; and outreach to local high schools are just a few of the programs set up to encourage understanding about archi- Kenneth E. Bentsen, FAIA (1926–2013) by Stephen Fox As part of the Austin community, the group strives to be a positive influence for Latino students who aspire to become architects. tecture. To further this goal, annual scholarships are awarded to young Latino students to attend The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture Summer Academy in Architecture. The annual exhibit of projects by Latino designers, “Perspectivas dosmil14,” is another outlet for education and community awareness pursued by the group. AIA Austin Latinos partnered with AIA Dallas Latinos in Architecture and Lower Rio Grande AIA for the 2012 exhibit, which was featured in the Valley at the Building Better Communities Conference and at that year’s Texas Society of Architects Annual Convention in Austin. This year for “Perspectivas dosmil14,” they plan to invite the newly formed AIA San Francisco Latinos in Architecture Committee to join them. Houston architect Kenneth Edward Bentsen, FAIA, died on September 24 after an illness of several years’ duration. He was 86 years old. Bentsen was born in Mission, Texas, the son of Edna Ruth Colbath and Lloyd M. Bentsen. He was a graduate of the University of Houston (UH) (BA, 1951; BArch, 1952). While still a student at UH, Bentsen designed his first house, a sprawling contemporary ranch house for his parents, on the outskirts of McAllen. Still owned by the Bentsen estate at the time of his death, the house demonstrated his mature understanding of planning, construction, and finishes. After briefly working for Houston architects MacKie & Kamrath, Bentsen began his practice in 1958. One of his first buildings, the Gulf Coast National Bank (1959), was published in Architectural Forum magazine in 1960. displayed the impact of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, and Bentsen’s UH design instructor and friend, Howard Barnstone. But the buildings that brought him the widest recognition took a Regionalist turn. The First National Bank of Edinburg (1964 — now PlainsCapital Bank); a patio-centered house for his sister and brother-in-law in McAllen (1965); and Agnes Arnold Hall at UH (1966) were brick-faced buildings that incorporated open-air courtyards or concrete-framed breezeways. In 1967, Bentsen was commissioned to plan a new campus for what is now the University of TexasPan American, in Edinburg. Between 1968 and 1982, 18 campus buildings were constructed to his designs. He organized brick-faced buildings with arcaded passageways and interior courtyards, and ringed the new campus with a circuit of covered walkways that also conveyed mechanical services to buildings. Bentsen’s earliest buildings During the 1970s and ’80s, Bentsen’s office produced campus buildings for UH, The University of Texas at Austin, and UT Medical Branch in Galveston. He was also architect of Austin’s Texas Law Center (1977), headquarters of the Texas State Bar Association, and McAllen’s 11-story One Texas Commerce Center (1985), now called the Bentsen Tower. A major project from this period of his career was the 17,000-seat Summit (1975) in Houston. Extensively altered in 2005, it is now Lakewood Church. Kenneth Bentsen was elected a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1971. In 1991, he retired. He and his wife, Mary Dorsey Bates Bentsen, were avid and discriminating collectors of contemporary art, and Bentsen was at various times a trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and the Blaffer Art Museum of UH. He also served on the boards of directors of the Texas Society of Architects and AIA Houston. Kenneth Bentsen is survived by his wife, two daughters, two sons, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. David W. George, FAIA (1922–2013) by V. Aubrey Hallum, AIA Emeritus, and Jeff Hallum, Assoc. AIA PHOTO OF STUDENTS COURTESY AIA AUSTIN LATINOS IN ARCHITECTURE. PHOTO OF KENNETH E. BENTSEN, FAIA, COURTESY HIS FAMILY. PHOTO OF DAVID GEORGE, FAIA, BY HOLLY REED. Students attend many of the events organized by AIA Austin Latinos in Architecture. David Webster George, FAIA, born in Tulsa, Okla., attended the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture prior to serving in the U.S. Army during World War II. Following the war, George became a Taliesin Fellow under Frank Lloyd Wright. After his apprenticeship, he received an architecture degree from North Carolina State University in 1949. Captain George was called to active duty during the Korean War and served with the first Republic of Korea (ROK) Artillery Corps. George was married to Xena Gill (now deceased), and together they had a daughter, Molly, who lives with her family 1/2 2014 Texas Architect 19