DALLAS + ARCHITECTURE + CULTURE
INDEX Ann Abernathy Zaida Basora Craig Beneke Jan Blackmon Jennifer Workman Blevins Bill Booziotis Bob Borson David Braden Brent Brown Bob Bullis Gary Cunningham Arturo Del Castillo James Clutts Diane Collier Pete DeLisle Tom Cox Nunzio DeSantis David Dillon Nan Ellin Aaron Farmer Graham Greene Larry Hamilton Raymond Harris Velpeau Hawes Jr. Michael Hellinghausen Gregory IbaĂąez Clay Jenkins Lisa Lamkin Mark Lamster
26 83 30 10 40 7 75 61 34 63 93 46 67 73 54 28 99 17 81 107 59 3 15 33 91 69 89 50 96
Valetta Lill Jill Magnuson Jack and John Matthews Virginia McAlester Nancy McCoy Linda McMahon Anita Moran Linda Owen Pete Peabody Lucilo PeĂąa Clyde Porter Jeff Potter Don Raines Sam Ringman Jason Roberts Sarah Jane Semrad Kevin Sloan Laurel Stone Mary Suhm Jack Summerford Charissa Terranova Kirk Teske Lupe Valdez Billy Ware Bruce Weigand Frank Welch Denton Wilson Gloria Wise
29 36 85 4 21 38 56 8 24 71 32 12 14 65 78 31 19 87 42 105 20 35 102 18 44 22 57 16
Profile | Larry Hamilton When it comes to downtown Dallas living, it doesn’t take long to come across Larry Hamilton. Larry is the CEO of Hamilton Properties, the developers at the forefront of the downtown Dallas residential and hotel scene for more than a decade. Larry’s career has its roots in Colorado where he had a wide range of experience from developing higher education facilities to office parks. While working with the City of Denver on their Downtown Master Plan, he was able to successfully synthesize his interest in historic preservation and downtown urban environments. In collaboration with Magnolia Hotels, Larry was able to get his feet wet during his preservation efforts on the First National Bank Building in Denver. This success was repeated with the help of his son, Ted, with the redevelopment of the Magnolia Oil and Gas Building in Dallas. Since then, he has spearheaded some of downtown Dallas’ most recognized rehabilitation projects including The Davis Building, Dallas Power & Light, The Mosaic and the Aloft Hotel. Their most recent project, the Lone Star Gas Lofts recently completed Phase 1 and they are now fully underway with Phase 2. What aspects of design make your projects successful? I like to call us the ‘uncorporate’ developer. If someone is in an apartment building, they surrender a little piece of their individuality by going into a big project and being one of the multitudes. We are constantly working to give them a piece of that back, in any way that we can. We want to have a lot of different kind of floor plans and styles. That is one of things we try and do in our design: Reinforce that sense of style and individuality. What unique aspects and challenges have you faced being involved in Dallas for over a decade? When we came here to look at the Davis building, the downtown was empty and nothing was going on. We parked the rental car and our broker took us around. After we got done, we walk out to where I thought the car was and the car wasn’t there. I said, ‘I could swear that I parked right here.’ Well, I had been towed to the impound lot. It was past four o’clock. What had happened was that the city fathers made this very unfortunate decision, back when white flight to suburbia was in full flower, to orient the streets to be one way streets. Traffic was to charge in and out of downtown full tilt. They didn’t give consideration to developing a sense of community down here. Basically, downtown was to get in and get out of fast – therefore, we had to go out to reclaim our car at the impound lot. The 2003 Davis Building rehabilitation project has been said to launch the downtown revitalization. Where do you see Dallas heading in the future? Our tunnel system is dying a slow death. It’s a tragedy for downtown Dallas that the tunnels ever happened. If you could take all the retail that occurs in the tunnels and pull that up onto grade, think of the huge difference that would make. So what do I see in the future? I see us making steps towards making a walkable environment. I see us having a substantial residential population that is going to continue to grow with people who are loyal to downtown and have a real sense of community down here. I see us getting more connectivity. ANDREW BROWN
Scott Gorenc, AIA, is an architect with Corgan Associates, Inc.
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PHOTO BY STEVE CLICQUE
Virginia McAlester, Hon.TSA, Hon. AIA Dallas
Tell me about the origin of your first book, A Field Guide to American Houses. It is early August, and I am in the sitting room of the home It really started from being here in this city and in this hisof Virginia McAlester, a fifth generation Dallasite and the toric district and having the city ask us to provide surveys daughter of Dorothy Savage and former Mayor Wallace for Munger Place and for the Wilson Block. We couldn’t Savage. Virginia has been an integral part of the Landmark find any information. Two different architectural historians Commission and both a founder of Preservation Dallas had come through and told us that the same houses were and of Friends of Fair Park. She is also the author of multi- different things. ple books on architectural style. Interview by James Adams, AIA
Upon her arrival, we take a short tour of her 1917 mission style home and beautiful garden that includes a pond that was once a swimming pool nearly half a century before. She is concerned about the pending aerial sprayings to help stop the spread of West Nile Virus. The hammering of roofers can be heard throughout Swiss Avenue as they repair neighborhood wide damage from a hail storm that occurred late in the spring.
I remember thinking that you should be able to have a field guide, like the Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds, and I couldn’t find anything like that. Lee, my former husband had written geology textbooks. He said, “You should write a book about it.” He had me do some sample chapters. Together we planned it out and he edited everything.
Originally, I sketched every illustration page and the publisher, Knopf, agreed to provide the finished line art. Well, Knopf is really big into cookbooks so they hired a cookStepping back inside her sitting room, Virginia sits down book artist! Luckily [MESA Design Group landscape archiand begins to share a few hours of her busy schedule with tect] Robin McCaffrey’s wife, Janet McCaffrey, was going me. I begin the interview: to New York and I asked her to meet with this artist. She actually went and spent the whole day orienting the cook-
Swiss Avenue and Munger Place? It was a mess. It looks nice now, but it was really a mess. My parents ended up buying the house next door, because it had been subdivided into four units. They were cool with this until one morning when a girl came over from next door and said, “Can I use your phone? Daddy broke mommy’s jaw last night and I really need to call somebody to come help her.” The house on the corner had refrigerators on the porch and cars jacked up in the lawn. This was in 1966.
book artist. I started working on this book in 1978 and it took six years. I saw the children off to school in the morning, and would write until they came home. I wrote it for laymen who wanted to know what they were seeing and I was trying to satisfy my own curiosity too. You are working on a re-work on this book. When is that coming out? I am waiting for the publisher to tell me their exact production schedule. It could not be too soon for me. I am very excited about it. With about 80% of houses built since World War II the opportunity to treat these buildings even in a cursory matter is really important. The mid-century modern style is really important. What are the areas of Dallas that are the most threatened? Deep Ellum. The one thing that made Deep Ellum so cool was that it was intact. It felt good and it felt urban and now there are huge gap sites. Most cities around the country would do a parking district: one or two parking garages that would serve the adjacent blocks. It just kills me to drive through there and see the gaps. You have to park it, but it needs a parking district.
Boone Powell was on the board of Lakewood Bank, which made funds available for loans on Swiss Avenue and later on Munger Place. I ran a revolving fund for Preservation Dallas and we bought 27 houses. The AIA created designs for how the houses should be restored. Another volunteer wrote façade easements because they told us it couldn’t be a historic district at that point.
I worry about Fair Park, our National Historic Landmark. With two major institutions moving out, how do we keep it a really important year round destination? I participated with Hargreaves Associates in their plan to provide whatever was needed. It can be challenging to coexist with major events; but it is definitely doable.
Lakewood Bank began a program of making six-month construction loans with a commitment letter from Fannie Mae assuring that they would buy out the loan when construction was finished. It was a model program that led to the 1977 Community Reinvestment Act.
Obviously, we want to keep preserving the things we can, and it’s a major problem that there is not a lot of institutional knowledge in the [City of Dallas] Building Department now. There was a time when the person who was going to issue a building permit really knew the ordinances inside and out. That [lack of knowledge] comes with problems with the city budget and cutbacks. Also there are fewer people in Historic Preservation now even than when it first began with only the Swiss Avenue Historic District. What do you believe has caused this decrease in the allocation of city staff for preservation? I really don’t know. I suppose whomever was deciding on the positions didn’t give that as a priority. The city as a whole isn’t really thinking about the strong economic impact of a historic district, of protecting it, and of getting houses re-developed. What was the beginning of the effort to save
Weiming Lu, when he was the Director of Urban Design for the Dallas Planning Department, had written off as unsalvageable everything from Beacon Street to Downtown Dallas except for Swiss Avenue. The city had written off Munger Place. After we had established the Swiss Avenue historic district, I went to lunch with Weiming and said, “Why don’t we do Munger Place?” He told me that it met no national standard for a neighborhood that could be saved. All of it was zoned for multi-family, and you couldn’t get a loan for houses as it had been redlined by FHA and Fannie Mae.
This home that we are currently in has been the residence of your family for nearly a century. Where else have you lived and enjoyed? My daughter had a place on Mulberry Street, just on the edge of Little Italy [in Manhattan.] She lived above a knifegrinding shop that had been across the street from John Gotti’s clubhouse. I try to repress it, but I actually think the apartment that she rented had been the FBI’s lookout. Anyway, I kept the apartment after she left and from the front door I could walk to a Fedex store, an Office Depot, and even Bloomingdale’s. To create this amount of density takes a tremendous number of people. Another is Harvard Square. When my mother wanted me to go to Wellesley, she took me and two of my friends on a college trip to visit different campuses. We came to Wellesley, which she thought was the most beautiful campus in the world and I looked at it and thought, “Walking through this in the snow? I don’t know mom.” We came
to Harvard Square and here were wonderful blocks of buildings with shops and a subway stop that goes anywhere in the city! How could you possibly compare these two places: being stuck out in Wellesely versus having the whole city of Boston just a subway stop away! I love walkable areas where you can actually walk to things that you want and need. They manage it in other cities. I would love to see downtown Dallas filled in like that. How were your parents involved in your preservation efforts? If it were not for my parents, this [neighborhood] wouldn’t have been here for us to save in the mid-1970s. I thought that everyone’s mother went down to City Hall to a zoning hearing once a month for a case requesting an apartment house on Gaston Avenue and either came home in tears because they lost a house or they would be jubilant because they had won and that block was going to survive for a while. I grew up learning that you really had to work to protect a neighborhood. I remember riding down the street and somebody was sawing down one of the evergreen trees that were the original plantings for the neighborhood. My mother screeched the car to a halt and got out saying: “Why are you doing this? The neighborhood hasn’t heard about this?” I was hiding in the backseat as my mother was interfering with what I perceived to be authority: a city truck! Your father is remembered as a very progressive mayor on some controversial issues. As a child, what was that experience like at home? My mother was very interested in politics so they talked about what was going on at the dinner table every night. I remember when my father discovered there were two ambulance systems and he was being asked to sign a 10-
year extension of the contract for the black ambulance system. He made some inquires and found that it was taking about five times as long for the ambulance to come if you were African American. He refused to sign it. I believe his quote at the time was, “We all bleed red blood.” What are some of the books you enjoy? The Language of Towns & Cities by Dhiru Thadani. If people don’t have it they should go out and get it. It is a new book that is visually very fun. It has all the concepts of urban design presented really nicely. I think a design professional would like it; I have enjoyed it. Also Philip Johnson: Life and Work by Franz Schulze, an authorized biography. It was very interesting to see him as promoter of other architects’ work and to learn the different architecture exhibits at the Museum of Modern Art that he oversaw. Are there any films or other media that you would recommend? My daughter [Amy Talkington] shot her 2006 movie The Night of the White Pants at Double Wide [bar] and at the Adolphus Hotel. They just screened it at the Dallas Museum of Art in August. They have had a series of Dallas related movies in conjunction with the George Grosz exhibition, which was really very interesting. It’s on Netflix. Finally, what is your namesake? The State of Virginia. My father, a graduate of the University of Virginia, always said that he thought the state was beautiful. On the other hand, I also discovered that my great-Aunt Virgie was actually Aunt Virginia, but no one ever called me Virgie and it never occurred to me that it was a nickname for Aunt Virginia. There was a cousin Vir-
ginia as well, so there were three reasons.
James Adams, AIA, is an architect with Corgan Associates Inc.
10 Questions For ...
Bill Booziotis, FAIA
Bill Booziotis, FAIA, is president of Booziotis & Company Architects. Bill obtained architecture degrees from the University of Texas and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His firm’s work has received Honor Awards from AIA Dallas and the Texas Society of Architects. Bill is a civic leader, nationally and in Dallas. Current or past leadership positions include: • President of AIA Dallas • Founder, AIA Dallas Foundation • DCFA Foundation board member • Dallas Museum of Art board member • Dallas Bach Society president • MIT Alumni Association board of directors member • Visiting committee member for the UT-Austin and UT-Arlington schools of architecture Bill is also the founder and chairman of the Directors Circle at the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas-Dallas. In addition, he is the founder and current board member of the Dallas Center for Architecture Foundation. AIA Dallas presented Bill a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008, at which time he was saluted as “the ubiquitous connector of interesting people, the charming guide to architectural magic, the scholar, and humanitarian,” as well as called “a high-achieving, generously contributing native son of Dallas.”
What are your favorite buildings outside Dallas? The Kimbell Art Museum is sheer perfection. And the Vierzehnheiligen by Neumann is the glorious architectural primer for creating excitement, pleasure, and sheer delight within a traditional idiom.
What museum outside of Dallas/Fort Worth do you enjoy? The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark—wonderful setting overlooking the sea with separated and stunning environments housing marvelous contemporary collections.
What architects do you most admire? Corbusier, Wright, Mies, and Breuer.
What type of music do you listen to? Classical of all types, musical comedy and opera. Mozart is my favorite composer.
What historical figure do you most admire? Thomas Jefferson. Who is your favorite artist? Picasso for his boundless creativity. Always rich and surprisingly playful.
And your favorite color? Color is too important to have a favorite. What have you recently read? I read The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. It shows Hitler’s deceitfulness and utter lack of humanity.
What do you consider your greatest achievements? Projects such as the Hoffman Gallery, the UT School of Architecture, and some of the institutional buildings I am doing now. I am also very committed to my board involvement, which is driven by my interest in tomorrow. What can we do now that will make the world a better place tomorrow? What is your most treasured possession? Forty acres of conservation wilderness on the Brazos River. ■ Contributed by Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas and director, Dallas Architecture Forum.
Profile | Linda Owen When it opens in late October, Klyde Warren Park will fulfill the dreams of many individuals and organizations. Those who championed it deserve credit, but none more than Linda Owen. As the president of the Woodall Rodgers Park Foundation, Linda oversaw the fundraising, design, construction and management of the $110 million publically- and privately-funded venture. With a law degree from the University of Texas, Linda relocated to Dallas as a clerk for U.S. District Court Judge Jerry Buchmeyer. A career as an accomplished real estate attorney with the law firm of Wald, Harkrader and Ross led to her role as president of The Real Estate Council (TREC). Here she ushered in a period of great prosperity for the organization that culminated in serving as the impetus for the Klyde Warren Park . What made the Klyde Warren Park possible? A public-private partnership between the City of Dallas, TxDOT, the North Texas Council of Governments, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the private sector. Each had a seat at the table. Each took ownership. Each brought value. TREC wanted to be a catalyst. During the incubator stage, their technical assistance and funding were critical, not only because the project was so speculative, but also because they paid up front. We also have a tremendous admiration and appreciation for our lenders at Chase Bank. We couldn’t have done it without them taking a huge leap of faith. What has this meant for you? I realize that I am one link in a chain of people who have constantly tried to steward the next civic improvement. My ultimate gratification is seeing young, creative people excited about Dallas; they see Dallas as a city with a future. This is the new direction that Dallas is taking. American cities are asking for this type of investment. What’s next for Linda Owen? I thought of the park as my “swan song” at the beginning. What better culmination for a long and twisted career? But lately, I can’t wait to find the next gig. I know it’s out there, and once I find it, I will come up with the strategy and the team to rally around it. I want to study the mayor’s plan for southern Dallas; maybe I will focus on affordable housing. We have a lot of under-utilized assets in the Cedars and in North Oak Cliff. To continue reading this interview with Linda Owen, visit www.tiny.cc/linda_owen or scan this code. Contributed by James Adams, AIA, an architect with Corgan Associates Inc.
Continuation of Profile: Linda Owen What happens once Klyde Warren Park opens? "The city will let us privately manage, operate and program it. We privatized it from the inception. It’s a public park. It just happens to be privately managed." How do we duplicate this success in other large-scale civic projects? "You have to share ownership with all of your partners and it cannot be solely volunteer-driven. It is important to have professional management that is committed to seeing it through." Does this reflect your own lifestyle? … "Yes. I live in an apartment in Uptown, in walking distance of work. And on Sunday mornings, I can walk to church, the Nasher Sculpture Center or the Farmers Market for lunch. To me, quality of life means you can live, work and play within walking distance. I like living in a high-rise at a societal level, where I shut the door at night and am free to look out over the city and dream about urban affairs, planning issues and the evolution of cities. It’s about choice. My children are young adults and I can see them positioning for different urban environments. My daughter is a city junkie. The idea of owning a car is on the bottom of her to-do list." Please share your experience with The Real Estate Council? "I had the chance to work with world-class commercial real estate individuals who were inspirational and truly cared about giving back to the community. Successful people in real estate are visionaries and they often see things before other people see them. As Jeff Swope would say, we are the kind of people who change the landscape of cities." You have been described as an avid golfer. Where do you play? "I am not an excellent golfer, but I am an avid golfer. I am a member of Brook Hollow Golf Club. It’s a place that is really about the tradition of golf."
Profile | Jan Blackmon, FAIA There is a new beacon of light coming from the Dallas Chapter of the AIA—Jan Blackmon, FAIA, is now the executive director of AIA Dallas and the Dallas Center for Architecture (DCFA). A national search began early in 2011 when AIA Dallas’ Executive Director Paula Clements, Hon. TSA, stepped from leadership of the Dallas AIA chapter into a management role at AIA National in Washington DC. We’re glad to report that she is flourishing in her position as managing director of component collaboration and resources. (Note that she also “stole” our prized Columns editor, Brian McLaren, AIA, to work with her at AIA National as director of component information and resources.) Chapter President David Zatopek led the search for a new executive director with several other current and past members of the chapter ’s executive committee. Participants included Joe Buskhul, FAIA, and Shade O’Quinn, AIA, and input from numerous chapter leaders. At the announcement to an enthusiastic chapter last September, Zatopek said, “Jan fulfills our expectations and we believe she will help us make the AIA Dallas chapter one of the most respected and cutting-edge AIA chapters in the nation.” AIA Dallas is now one of only three leading chapters that have architects serving as their executive directors. The most notable of Blackmon’s qualifications was that she is a Fellow in the AIA and a longtime member of the AIA Dallas chapter. According to Zatopek, the search committee felt that Blackmon had a savvy business intellect. Others cited the respect held and maintained by peers through her years of working as a volunteer professional with the AIA Dallas chapter, the Texas Society of Architects (TSA), and the Texas Architectural Foundation. A review of Blackmon’s resume offers a snapshot of her successes: University of Oklahoma graduate, Fellow of the AIA, first female TSA president, past AIA Dallas vice president, AIA Dallas President’s Medal recipient, and inaugural recipient of the William W. Caudill, FAIA, Leadership Award. In this regard, Bill Smith, FAIA, talking about his experiences with Blackmon, says, "These are only recognitions. To know her is to know someone who is well organized and is a good listener who focuses on the details and brings all the pieces together." In 1988, during Smith’s tenure as chapter president, Blackmon served as vice president of programs. At the very first event of the year, one attended by over 500 people, she helped acquire a sponsorship from a local publication. Two days before the event, however, the sponsor called and withdrew. Reliving that memory, Smith described his concern. “This was our first event of the year and we did not want it to fail. Blackmon found a solution and secured the necessary funding in time.” The event was a huge success. In her own words, achievement came in part from working with companies that valued giving back and encouraged employees to contribute to the community and to the profession. This became a goal that was further ingrained both while practicing at JPJ Architects and during her time as TSA president. Professionally, Blackmon has spent the majority of her threedecade career in corporate and commercial architecture, enamored with the process of collaboration. WWW.BRENDAGAILOFDALLAS.COM
COLUMNS | www.aiadallas.org
Profile | Jan Blackmon, FAIA (Cont.) ketplace needs. As a result of continuing business-as-usual, the company ended up virtually irrelevant to the market. We must add value and relevancy for individual and firm members, while increasing their exposure to clients, community leaders, government, and allied professionals. We must grow the architect’s voice in matters of design and quality-of-life in our city.” What are your greatest goals for your new position? “I now wear two hats. As executive director of AIA Dallas, my role is to serve the members and enhance their opportunities for professional development, outreach, and contribution. As executive director of the Dallas Center for Architecture, my role is to continue building the foundation and the center to provide a public venue for advancing architecture and the important role it serves in the legacy and quality of life in North Texas.” A student of collective intelligence, Blackmon feels much of her role is to “facilitate a dialogue—both internally and externally.” She understands that many citizens do not yet know what the Center for Architecture is all about and she is enthusiastic about opportunities for the center to become a valuable part of the greater North Texas community. “The wonderful development of the arts district and the revitalization of downtown through housing, parks, and pedestrian traffic create a great springboard for the DCFA, which is located adjacent to the new Woodall Rodgers Park. This next year we will be building resources to increase architectural exhibitions open to the public.”
Over coffee late one afternoon, she shared a little more: How do we grow the Dallas chapter? “Actually, I am more interested in growing the influence and role of architects in the community and region than growing membership numbers. If AIA Dallas can brand and position architects in the public’s mind as leaders able to effect positive change in our city through design, membership numbers will take care of themselves.” How would you do that? “By developing a strategic plan. By putting together a road map for the future of our organization.” Blackmon praised the fact that the chapter has not seen a significant loss of membership in either of the past two tough years in the industry. “However, we are at an interesting juncture in our profession as we emerge from the economic slump and continue transitioning to new technologies and methods of project delivery. It is important that our profession avoids what I call a ‘Kodak moment.’ Kodak forgot to keep an eye on changing technologies and marSPRING 2012
How has your new appointment impacted you personally? “I used to practice architecture during the day and do volunteer AIA work at night. Now I work for the AIA all day and my creative outlet is in my personal time. When people ask me if I feel removed from the profession, I say, ‘Not at all – I am right in the epicenter of it!’” What is your creative outlet? “The 279 Artisans Trail from Edom to Ben Wheeler, Texas.” Blackmon and her husband, Craig Blackmon, FAIA, create collaborative welded metal sculptures on weekends at their art barn on family property in the piney woods of east Texas. “When a local philanthropist decided to invest in revitalizing the small community of Ben Wheeler, Craig and I joined the artistic community and assisted in the creation of the 279 Artisans Trail with a gallery that displays our Edom Ranch Art, as well as some excellent artwork from other local area artisans.” ■ James Adams, AIA, is an architect with Corgan Associates Inc. and Diane Collier, AIA, is a representative with Landscape Forms.
Profile | Jeff Potter, FAIA Jeff Potter, FAIA, is vice president of POTTER, a design firm with offices in Dallas and Longview, TX. He earned a bachelor’s of environmental design degree in 1978 and a master’s of architecture in 1979, both from Texas A&M. The firm was established in 1983 and while its portfolio is broad, POTTER specifically seeks to advance primary and secondary educational-facility design in the region. Jeff has won numerous regional AIA and trade awards for his planning and design efforts and, as a result, has juried design awards programs across the U.S. Throughout his career, Jeff has sought to elevate peer-to-peer communications in the profession and to demonstrate to the public that design matters. He has had instrumental roles in shaping the content and publishing of regional and national communications of practice and reconciling the evolution of traditional architectural journalism and the socially driven knowledge sharing prevalent today. Jeff has led the profession as president of the Texas Society of Architects and will be the 2012 president of the American Institute of Architects. What do you consider the greatest challenge facing the architecture profession? In America at least, a pervasive fear exhibited by our culture is the fear of anything that attempts to accept that which cannot be easily measured. Beauty and aesthetics are among those. This perception represents a threat and an opportunity at the same time. I believe younger members of our culture, while educated in an environment that favors standardization, are also environmentally aware and have an encouraging design sensibility. It’s what I call the Dwell-magazine effect. I’ll sneak in a second concern, too. As our culture ages, so does our profession. Combined with the challenges and diversions facing students and emerging professionals, our profession will be a smaller one. On the whole, this presents us with a more demure voice, which we cannot afford. We must be engage with the next generation of leaders to achieve sustainability in the profession. The public, while holding architects in relatively high and somewhat mythical regard, does not understand what we do. My purpose is to narrow the perceptive gap between those who practice design as a verb and those who think of it as a noun. What is your favorite building in the U.S.? The Robie House. I was there in November 1979 and seeing the light stream in through the stained glass was an “I get this” moment for me. What is your favorite international architecture? [My favorite is] Piazza San Marco in Venice as a public space. What three words that describe AIA National? [I would say,] egalitarian, complex, inspiring—or perhaps “Swiss army knife.”
Profile | Jeff Potter, FAIA (Cont.) In contrast, what three words describe AIA Dallas? AIA Dallas has always seemed to be collegial and effective. As a third descriptor, and I can say this as fact, AIA Dallas is respected among its peers across the broader AIA. What advice would you give an architect who is just starting to practice? Master public speaking and understand the place of liberal arts in our work. Which architects do you admire? I admire the work of Frank Welch, Hugh Newell Jacobsen, Renzo Piano, Carlo Scarpa, and a host of others. What brought you to Dallas? The vitality of the city. I wanted to be near the many great things that are elevating the quality of life here and the people who are driving that experience. What types of music/groups do you listen to? I am a rank amateur guitarist, so obviously I listen to a lot of guitar players. My favorites are Jeff Beck, Austin’s Eric Johnson, and Dallas’s own Andy Timmons. If I need to calm down, Miles Davis is the guy. As a side note, I collect Fender Stratocaster electric guitars. The Stratocaster is, in my opinion, an iconic piece of American industrial design. What is your last-read book? Your favorite book? I made a brave stab at Sylvia Lavin’s Form Follows Libido, but I’ll need to read it once or twice more. In with the massive amount of AIA-related reading, I’ve read The Shallows, by Nicholas Carr—mandatory reading for all us who were taught to think in a contemplative way. My favorite? Maybe On Beauty and Being Just, by Elaine Scary. What is your favorite movie? I don’t know, [When watching a movie] I’m always immersed in the media and visuals and miss the message; so I don’t really hang on to movies, in the sense of critique. I guess I would say I like anything with a conspiracy at its heart. What do you like to do in your (limited) free time? Free time? I wish! I’ll get a guitar out, run on the Katy Trail, or just sit back and try to make sense of my complex lifestyle. What guests, living or deceased, would you want to invite to your ideal dinner party? My wife Shelley, Walter Cronkite, H. L. Mencken, Ed Romieniec (a great mentor from Texas A&M), and my father. What is your favorite meal? Any breakfast prepared by my wife. ■ BENJAMIN BURNSIDE
Interview conducted by Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas, executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum. Listen to AIA National's podcast interview "Meet the 2012 AIA President-Elect" at http://tiny.cc/jeff_potter_AIApodcast.
Profile | Don Raines As a landscape designer, Don Raines’ multidisciplinary explorations include the 2,200-acre Trinity Lakes project and a variety of Dallas Area Rapid Transit projects. He holds two degrees from Rhode Island School of Design in landscape design and has worked with Wallace Roberts & Todd in Dallas since 2000. What drew you to the discipline of urban design? I am an advocate of landscape urbanism and developing a better understanding of green infrastructure to improve the public realm. My interests in planning, architecture and landscape architecture, plus my drive to develop a sense of community converge in the discipline of urban design. What intrigues you about Dallas and what has kept you here? Like the prairie that surrounds us, the appreciation of details depends on one’s perception. Dallas intrigues me because it has a core value of being considerate and friendly. That may sound corny to some, but quality people do matter over the course of a lifetime—even more than scenic views. What keeps me here is the fact that our environment, especially our urban environment, does not reflect our core values and we, the local artists, designers, and planners, have a responsibility to retrofit the mistakes of the 20th Century. What inspires you to create? I try to decipher the genus loci, the spirit of a place, and find out what the place wants to be. I dislike the term “placemaking” because it suggests there was no place until the designer came along. That’s somewhat counter to the Greek notion of the genus loci. Where is the balance between intelligent growth and organic evolution in the life of a city? Intelligent growth should include an organic evolution. Society is focused on compressing time, and planning for intelligent growth is a rushed process. The organic evolution and human scale of the Bishop Arts District is a great example of a former pedestrian/streetcar neighborhood that got to sleep through the late 20th Century and missed out on any distinction as an automobile destination. How do you see the Trinity River Project adding value to our city? It takes an isolated, utilitarian, grey infrastructure environment (that has stood still for 80 years) and re-purposes it into green infrastructure. Dallas really should take ownership of the Trinity and make environmental stewardship and environmental responsibility a part of being a Dallas citizen. Green infrastructure could be to Dallas, what architecture is to Chicago or what transportation is to Portland. The Trinity River Project literally would flip this city, making the back door the front door. What’s on your Ipod? The Cars and the Ting Tings The Best advice you can give? Always know that you have original ideas and don’t let another soul tell you otherwise. ■ Interview conducted by Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA, an intern architect at Corgan Associates Inc.
Profile | Raymond Harris Shown here in his West End office, Raymond Harris sums it up by saying, “It’s all about the people.” The 33-year resident of Lake Highlands started his own firm 28 years ago and has grown it into a 74person operation. Arguably one of Dallas’s most prolific architecture firms, Raymond Harris & Associates Architects has completed more than 5,000 projects scattered across the country. In the late 1980s, Raymond completed a small stockroom expansion for a little-known Arkansas-based company called Walmart. This project started a long working relationship with what would become the largest corporate client in the world. Nearly every reader of this article has been in one of RHA’s buildings.
Explain your early career as an architect here in Dallas. After graduating from the University of Oklahoma, I was recruited to Dallas by Larry Good of Good Fulton & Farrell, and then hired by Jack Corgan of Corgan Associates. Before starting my own firm, I also worked for Howard Parker and Jim Clutts of HKCP, once one of the city’s largest architecture firms. Both of these men were also pupils of Harwood Smith. By the age of 27, I began looking for clients of my own. Much of my early work was typical of a boutique firm—personal residences, surgical centers, and small one-off projects. Discuss the transition of your work and clientele since beginning your firm in 1983. It’s hard to develop one-off clients and stay in business. The secret is developing repeat clients. I realized the most prolific repeat clients were corporations, so I changed the practice from being a design firm to being a service-oriented firm. It was ultimately a business decision. In your free time, what do you enjoy outside of architecture? For many years, I served as a scoutmaster for my sons’ Boy Scout troops. I enjoy hiking and have explored all the National Parks in the U.S. In recent years, I’ve devoted a significant amount of time to serving the poor and illiterate, helping them find spiritual transformation by knowing and loving God. This has led me to China, Brazil, and Africa, which also afforded me the opportunity to speak on business and leadership topics. This past year, I ran 58 5K races, most of them with my dog, Maggie, alongside. Harris has authored The Anatomy of a Successful Firm and published a collection of his sketches entitled Hiking America’s National Parks & Other Places. He is currently working on Operating a Business in God’s Economy, a series of three books that will explore business topics defined in the book of Proverbs, focusing on parables, stewardship, ministries, and leadership. ■ Interview conducted by Andrew P. Moon, an intern architect with Raymond Harris & Associates Architects.
Profile | Gloria Wise
Gloria Wise served as the charismatic and influential executive director of the Dallas AIA in the 1990s. She helped grow the organization’s reach and connection with the community both inside and outside of architecture circles. We shared sunlight and conversation on a winter afternoon at her beautiful modern home in Urban Reserve. Here are some of the insights she shared. What factors led you to work for AIA Dallas? I grew up in a small town in Arkansas. Had I known what architects do I would’ve become one. We had no such thing in our town! All my good jobs have come through luck. I came to Dallas to work for Neiman Marcus and then got a call from Bill Booziotis saying the AIA director was leaving and that I should apply for the job. Then he kind of took over my application and you just can’t lose with Bill Booziotis on your side. As the executive director for AIA Dallas, how did you get the community involved? We held home shows and said, “Come get free advice from an architect.” It was a way for architects to get jobs too. We had a job book for architects to put their resumes in that I’d refer callers to. Their work spoke for itself. Do you think the response to cutting-edge architecture in Dallas has changed over time? I think Dallas is becoming better known for its architecture. It used to bother me that organizations thought they had to go to New York or California to see great buildings; but I don’t think it’s that way anymore. What do you love most about architecture? Architecture is so beautiful and it serves a purpose. I love the way architects are trained problem solvers; architects can do anything! What advice would you give young architects? Don’t give up! I have wondered with all the CAD developments, if it’s a boring job, but one architect told me you don’t have to detail twenty toilets, you only do it once. There are pros and cons. Also, look outside just being an architect. There are other jobs that you’d be good for out there. ■ Interview and photo by Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA, an intern architect with Corgan Associates Inc.
Profile | David Dillon David Dillon was well known as the long-time architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News. He was also one of the leading national commentators on issues relating to the built enviroment. His important voice was silenced too soon with his untimely passing in June 2010. Rarely one to mince words, David observed that many of the rapidly growing cities surrounding Dallas strove to build their own arts venues because they “scramble to find a center and a reason for being, other than cheap land and no restrictions.” Regarding American Airlines Center he wrote: “Nostalgia without history is set design, and there is a lot of that in the new arena.” Perhaps some of his most acerbic commentary related to the gated communities and the “McMansions” he tagged as “North Dallas Specials” with their “mishmash of architectural elements from multiple ages and styles.” This posthumous profile, rather than expounding on his legacy as an architectural critic, outlines ten things that people other than his family, friends, and closest work colleagues, may not know about him. David was a rabid hockey fan and also enjoyed sailing off the New England coastline. The Boston Red Sox were his beloved baseball team. He was close to “sports nirvana” when hockey teams played outdoors at Fenway Park in January 2010. David did not have a degree in architecture, but had masters and doctoral degrees from Harvard in literature and art history. He did gain in-depth knowledge about the built enviroment as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. David came to Dallas as an assistant professor of English at Southern Methodist University. His journalistic career in Dallas began with writing about art, architecture and food for D Magazine before becoming, in 1981, the architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News. One of David’s most appreciated contributions, among his Dallas Morning News colleagues, was his service as a mentor to younger journalists at the paper. David loved to escape from his Amherst, Massachusetts home to a small, rustic cottage on Maine’s Westport Island, where local lobstermen would drop by with that day’s catch. “The way to write intelligently about architecture is to get as far away from it as possible,” he quipped. David enjoyed daily jogs with friends and especially with his black Labrador retriever, Chester. He ran five miles almost every day for thirty-five years. A drawing of his running shoes, laces untied had a place of honor on the program at his memorial service. Though David was not a fan of the architectural design of the Frisco RoughRider’s stadium, he came to actually admire its functionality after attending a minor-league game there. David was most devoted to his wife, fiber artist Sally Dillon, and his two children, Christopher and Catherine. After his family, David most enjoyed spending time with good friends while partaking of fine food. Should the “gig” with architecture not have worked out, David could have been a wine critic, as he was a world-class oenophile. So, raise a glass of the finest vintage your budget will allow to David Dillon. To paraphrase a quote by John Dayton into a toast: “To David, who was objectively critical and perceptive, and always urged us to strive for the highest standards without yielding to compromise or accepting mediocrity. Cheers!” ■
Note: Special thanks to David’s former colleagues at the Dallas Morning News and to the participants at his Dallas memorial service for much of the information in this profile. Compiled by Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas, executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum. Dallas Morning News
Profile | Billy Ware, AIA Educated as an engineer as well as an architect, Billy Ware approaches design and sustainability with both creative exuberance and scientific sensibility. Often investigating technologies and materials with a pragmatism directed by his curiosity, Billy developed an expertise in sustainability and applies it to numerous technical advisory committees within both the USGBC and the AIA. His passion for our environment, combined with a natural gift for teaching, makes Billy a valued resource in the Dallas design community.
Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA
What was your first exposure to sustainable architecture? In school, learning about climatic design was my first exposure, but the full aspects of sustainability didn’t hit me until I read a book given to me by a professor who was a good friend— A Primer on Sustainable Building published by the Rocky Mountain Institute. What book or article has inspired you the most about sustainability? If I had to pick one book it would be Natural Capitalism; but really anything put out by the Environmental Building News is a must-read. What is the biggest opportunity ahead for architects to impact the environment? We impact the people who use a building whenever we design a building, but we also have the more important opportunity to influence the people who make decisions about our built environment—the owners, the developers, and the building managers. We have the opportunity to educate these people about a building’s impact on the environment beyond just the construction. I think this education is really the most important thing we contribute. What contrast do you see between how the environment was thought about in your youth and how it is thought about in the world today? There are many more people today that understand how their actions impact our environment and are willing to do something about it. Why are you passionate about sustainability? The simple answer is because it’s the right thing to do. We must take care of the things that have been given to us and try to make things better than they were when they were given to us. When we restore and rebuild we can pass on something more valuable. What environmental and sustainability challenges will your children face when they are grown? They will deal with more pollution issues and water shortage issues. They will also have to pay economically for the mistakes that were made in the past and that we still haven’t stopped making even today. What is the last book you read? The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun What do you do to re-charge yourself? I like woodworking, hunting, and spending. time with my kids. ■ Interview by Brian McLaren, AIA, editor of Columns.
Profile | Kevin Sloan When Kevin Sloan, ASLA, first encountered Florence, Italy, he was swept away by the idea of the city. “Experiencing something that intricate and made by so many different hands was a revelation because it demonstrates what can be accomplished when individual buildings are designed in service to a larger idea,” he says. As a result, he began to see “landscape” as a more expansive and accurate reference to describe most American cities. In lieu of figure and ground, he sees the contemporary metropolis as a city of land. The following interview offers some additional insights into his thought processes. What sparks your curiosity and inspires you to create? I’m curious to see if the contemporary city can be humanized. It is unprecedented as a system and unpredictable as a context. What do American cities have to learn? In a globally connected world, cities are competing aggressively to stay relevant. The successful cities have learned that character and quality are a matter of economic survival. What has your prolific career and extensive travel taught you? Travel and drawing is the best way to harvest ideas. You learn to see yourself and your own civilization from a different vantage point. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, it’s taught me that America has fallen behind. Catching up would cause an era of unprecedented invention. It’s an exciting thought. What’s in your toolbox? Drawing by hand is a critical part of how I work. How pencil and paper can play back new possibilities is a mysterious process, but one that’s reliable and satisfying. I make use of 70-some sketchbooks containing measured diagrams and analysis of world places. I have 3,000 books, a catalogue of 42,000 35mm slides, and a growing library of digital photos. What do you collect? Ideas and stray cats. Leonardo da Vinci considered the cat to be nature’s most beautiful creation. What one thing would you change about Dallas? Once the Perot Museum of Nature and Science is open, I would remove Woodall Rogers Freeway and replace it with a shaded urban mall. Such a place could rival the Capitol Mall in Washington, DC and be well worth the effort, considering the quality of the buildings and districts that are there. What are your personal/professional non-negotiables? Sometimes I wonder if the design professions need a Hippocratic oath; our version of “Do no harm.” I try to avoid situations that could do destructive things. ■ Interview conducted by Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA, an intern architect at Corgan Associates Inc. Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA
Profile | Charissa Terranova Charissa Terranova is a propeller of ideas and a scholar of conceptual art and media and architectural theory. She came to Southern Methodist University from Harvard in 2004 and later moved to the University of Texas at Dallas to launch an artist residency, Centraltrak. She is an assistant professor of aesthetic studies at UTD, and recently left Centraltrak to complete her book The Automotive Prosthetic focusing on “conceptual art engaging the automobile, highways, and suburbia, the aesthetic experience of seeing the world in motion through the car window, and the political economy of the car.” What intrigues you about Dallas? The sprawling highways and edges of the city—they are so urban; there is an endless seemingly homogenous urbanism, which upon closer scrutiny bears a hive of difference. What do you enjoy most about your practice? I love engaging students—teaching challenging ideas and generating discussion! I also love journalism. It is a form of praxis. 1 What are your favorite tools? It may seem vulgar to some, but I can’t live without my iphone and my G35 Infinity coupe. When does opinion graduate to criticism? I think criticism is always subjective. Criticism is always a form of opinion. It is analytical, and brings together universal ideas without homogenizing. Good criticism draws bigger connections to local things. Comment on the constructive distance that reflection necessitates between the critic and a work of art or architecture. Everyone wants an Archimedean point, which is largely impossible to occupy. But one way to approach it is by knowing what’s going on around the world, developing a global perspective. A lot of critics write about what they love; even when you’re angry you act out of the love of the discourse on art. Being objective also comes from the choice of words and styles of writing—specifically, the use of third or second person. I try to avoid first-person. What makes a wholesome critic? Someone who reads a lot and is globally aware in a cosmopolitan sense. A lot of experience, not just in the academy, but also outside of it. How do you leap into your writing? With a good night’s sleep and lots of coffee! The best advice you ever received? Live one day at a time. ■ Interview conducted by Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA, an intern architect at Corgan Associates Inc. 1
According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, the term praxis refers to an action, exercise or practice of an art, science, or skill.
Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA
Profile | Nancy McCoy, FAIA Nancy is an award-winning preservation architect with a broad range of project experience—from the adaptive use of Kansas City’s Union Station to preservation of the historic murals at Fair Park in Dallas. She has designed the rehabilitation of (and additions to) the one-million-square-foot Department of the Interior Building in Washington, D.C. and most recently designed an addition to the YMCA Building on the Texas A&M campus. In 2009, she was both elevated to the College of Fellows and honored as an Outstanding Alumni by the College of Architecture at Texas A&M. Here’s Nancy—in her own words: Who inspired me to be an architect? My mom did and I didn’t even realize that until I was older. She was a draftswoman for an engineering firm and, as I found out later in life, she had always wanted to be an architect. She was not overt about telling me that. She must have planted the seed because I can remember her critique of one of my house plans when I was ten; I have not designed a room without a window since! Why I started a business? The catalyst was wanting to be in control of my own destiny. My most profound decision? Consistently focusing on the work and not the politics, not the egos, not the money. It has led me to always do a good job and I feel very satisfied by my work because of that. What professional experience has taught me? I recognize the validity of a lot of other opinions and how important they are to the work process. In the end, it’s not just about preservation but also the many other things that affect our environment. What I do in my free time? I enjoy family and travel. I make an effort to draw, not photograph, while traveling. I’ve still not been to Marfa, TX and I have always wanted to go to Malta, an island south of Sicily. What I’m reading? The last thing I finished was Barack Obama’s Dreams from my Father. I like reading on my Kindle. Now I’m reading The Monuments Men. What I think Dallas has? There is a lot of great infrastructure but it [Dallas] doesn’t seem to value what it already has and seems to stay on a quest for the next new, better thing. Dallas needs to really embrace what it has, and demonstrate more pride in its history. ■ Interview conducted by Andrew Moon, Assoc. AIA, an intern architect with Raymond Harris & Associates. Daniel Driensky
Profile | Frank Welch, FAIA Practicing architecture since 1959, Frank Welch has established a strong legacy in Texas Modernism, and the state abounds with traces of his mind, left through award-winning, single-family dwellings, as well as educational, recreational, and ecclesiastical projects. But this Fellow of the AIA and Fulbright Scholar has more feathers under his cap. His long and prolific career has also brought him into the roles of mentor, artist, photographer, and writer with the same ability to transcend the mundane and elicit what’s real with the crafty subtlety that his architecture embodies. Here is a brief word portrait of Frank from his Dallas office on an April afternoon. Who or what influenced you to pursue architecture? The novel Fountainhead was an influential, exciting, idealistic story, but the big influence on me was O’Neal Ford. He was mainly a teacher and I’m still using details I learned from him. Other early influences were Marcel Breuer, Eero Saarinen, and oddly enough Philip Johnson, because of the Glass House—being both icon and iconoclastic at the same time, it turned over everything. What inspires you to create? It’s almost like food. It’s like [creating] to stay alive. It’s nourishment; it’s work; it’s exciting and has some wonderful moments...like the moment the owner occupies the house and is delighted! They love to come home—that is our reward. Those houses are like children, part of the family. You have been an active photographer and writer. How have these roles influenced your architectural career? I don’t know about that. Writing is important to me. I know that writing is a lot like good, simple architecture; you’ve got to be clear and cover everything. But I don’t know if there’s a direct relation between expressive writing and expressive architecture. I’ve avoided too much expression. Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA
If you could ask Frank Gehry anything, what would it be? I actually did ask him once if I could write a book about him and he said someone else was doing it. Do you seek different things from behind the camera vs. the drawing board? It’s all so different. The camera is such a different thing. It’s so quick; it’s so instantaneous. It’s a click of the shutter, and there it is! The design of architecture is an evolving thing. You start with an idea and you develop it and hope that it develops properly. I don’t think there’s a real relationship between my photography and architecture, except, I hope my photography and architecture share commonalities of composition and readability. What has your prolific career and extensive professional experience taught you? That you are never finished. It’s never completely ideal; there’s always something you could have done differently. If you ever get it, you might as well fold it up and quit. But we all seek...we seek some perfect formula, but there is no perfect formula. We carry the tradition forward. We are all subjects of memory. What’s playing on your ipod as you stroll along the Katy Trail? Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra. A collection of stuff. What does Dallas have? The arts district is wonderful; we have a lovely nucleus. If you could change one thing about Dallas, what would it be and why? We developed a pretty strong tree program. I love trees, and I would get a boulevard to Fair Park. Frank Welch’s architecture and photography can be found at www.frankwelch.com and www.frankwelchphotography.com respectively. An image from his Paris years is also on display at the ongoing exhibition at the DMA, Images of Land and Sea. ■ Interview conducted by Ishita Sharma, Assoc. AIA, an intern architect at Corgan Associates Inc.
Profile | Pete Peabody
We should understand preservation from a quality-of-life perspectiveâ€”itâ€™s not like finding a cure for cancer or ending homelessness, but it nevertheless makes a profound difference in our lives.
As the president of Preservation Dallas (www.preservationdallas.org), Pete Peabody is the principal spokesperson for the organization. Pete works with the executive director, other board members, and committee chairpersons to ensure the organization stays true to its mission. That mission is: to advocate for the preservation and revitalization of Dallas’ historic buildings, neighborhoods, and places in order to enhance the vitality of our city. Pete’s goal, while president, is to keep the organization on track by maintaining core programs and events and maximizing communication and educational efforts via social media and their Website. In a recent interview, Pete shared some of his insights as a community advocate and preservation leader. What are some of the best examples of architects doing preservation projects right? I would like to first make it clear that preservation includes restoration projects as well as renovations and adaptive reuse. Not many projects fall under the restoration category, especially in Dallas. However, preservation-minded projects include the Eagle residence on Park Lane, the Larry Leibowitz and Naomi Aberly residence on Strait Lane, along with Fair Park, the Mosaic building, the DP&L building, and the Davis building.
Dallas needs to work harder and smarter to preserve and reuse our built environment rather than demolish it or have it lay fallow. Who and what exemplifies exceptional preservation architecture? Locally, Dallas has many talented Revivalist architects, qualified restoration architects, and an increasing number of firms doing adaptive reuse. The historic streetscape in Downtown is a great example. Having projects like Old Parkland, the Stoneleigh Hotel, and Fair Park make our city better and much more interesting. Nationally, I would say that the best preservation projects used to be privately funded museums; but the field has broadened and there are now quite excellent projects for landscape design, cultural landmarks, roadways, and mid-century modern resources. Also, views have expanded on what we consider worthy of preservation. I think some people still think of preservation as a luxury. Preservation is not just about restoring houses for wealthy people. We should understand preservation from a quality of life perspective—it’s not like finding a cure for cancer or ending homelessness, but it nevertheless makes a profound difference in our lives.
On Target Pete’s straight answer’s to pointed questions What is the most rewarding thing about your service to Preservation Dallas? Bringing organizations and individuals together, while helping others discover our architectural past. What do you consider your most profound success? My family. In your free time, what do you like to do? Besides training for the next marathon? With the addition of my one-year-old daughter Sophia, and our newborn Joshua, there is of course a lot of focus on them. They go everywhere with us, whether jogging on the Katy Trail, or out for a wonderful meal. What has kept you in Dallas? I am very partial to Dallas, being a native with both sides of the family arriving here since just before WWI. There are many wonderful people in this city who care deeply for its future. How has living in the DFW metroplex influenced or shaped your perceptions about the built environment? I am fortunate to have been the recipient of my family’s rich oral history of the area coupled with my own experiences and studies.
When architects think of great American cities, New York, Chicago, and Boston may readily come to mind. How could Dallas become a similarly great city? Having just returned from Washington D.C. and having visited the cities you mentioned, it’s evident they have a deep respect for the legacy of past generations, for a creative approach to adapting older buildings to new uses, and for planning a city for the better good of those who live there. Dallas needs to work harder and smarter to preserve and reuse our built environment rather than demolish it or have it lay fallow. In terms of preservation, what does Dallas still need to learn from other great American cities? Dallas citizens and city leaders need to work together and find solutions that will preserve, reuse, and adapt the historical structures we have left. They are emblematic of the struggles and successes of those who came before us and inspire us to have our own vision of the future. What sparked your interest in preservation architecture? I have always loved history, but I lived in Oak Cliff for many years. That community has great respect for history, the built environment, and the legacy of past generations. I also directly participated in the renovation of my own residence several years ago, a 1958 mid-century home designed by San Antonio architect E.I. Freeborn for Tom and Naomi Williams. The process helped me gain a deep sense of appreciation for well thought out architectural design. Interview by Andrew Moon, Assoc. AIA, an intern architect with Raymond Harris & Associates Architects.
Profile | Ann Abernathy, AIA From scholar to author, mother to painter, this Frank Lloyd Wright aficionado is more than just a well-rounded architect. Known most recently for her work on the soon-to-bereleased Master Plan of Frank Lloyd Wright’s famed Kalita Humphreys Theater, Ann Abernathy, AIA, is arguably Dallas’ foremost expert and proponent of the late architect’s life and work. Since visiting the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo as a child, just a year before it was demolished, Ann moved on
to become a well-versed follower of Wright’s own architectural principles and has been intimately involved with many of his projects. In 2005, she spearheaded the effort that led to the theater (1959) becoming a City of Dallas historic landmark. She gratefully acknowledges a grant from the Dallas Architecture Foundation that supported her research. Twenty years earlier, she had been the project architect for the restoration of Wright’s Oak Park Home (1889 to 1909). Once a teacher at her alma mater, M.I.T., Ann practices with Booziotis & Company Architects. Her passion for not only architecture, but everything Wright, has led her to places few architects dare to explore. The locale for my casual conversation was Ann’s North Dallas residence. After entering the circa 1970s home, Ann graciously gave a tour through the main living areas, showing off her personally designed dining chairs and table. On her dining room wall hangs an impressive framed piece showing the dozens of inked drawing iterations she completed as a way of discovery and exploration during the process of designing her chairs. We sat down in her lofty living room and this conversation unfolded: You have said you’d rather be known as a design architect, than a preservation architect. However, much of your work deals with existing buildings. Working on old buildings provides really valuable experiences – to see how things were constructed and understand the sensibilities of previous generations is instructive and illuminating. Sometimes I am struck by how much they knew that we seem to have lost. What influenced you to become an architect? I think it was building forts—out of sticks; I still like to build stick models. Growing up, I didn’t go to summer camp. I didn’t
Photo by Steve Clique, www.steveclique.com
get driven all around. My mother just said, “Go outside and play,” so I went out to explore. Man evolved over millions of years, and all that time learned to operate in the natural environment. And we still react to places with those same evolved perceptions. But we often settle for relatively impoverished environments that we don’t react to in any kind of visceral way. It seems that Frank Lloyd Wright’s works in Dallas are from the period just before his death. Why did it take Wright so long to come to Dallas? Wright finished about one-third of his life’s work in the last decade of his life, ages 82 to 92. He developed an apprentice program and it was a kind of diaspora of these apprentices going out to all these locations. For example, Kelly Oliver, the apprentice that supervised the DTC [Dallas Theater Center at the Kalita Humphreys] was 29 years old when he supervised the construction of this major reinforced-concrete building. What was right with Wright? This is something I admire about Wright: he had molting periods. He regularly stepped out of his own career, and then came back into it like a phoenix renewed in some kind of new direction. Because I have moved around a lot and done different things, I identify with that ability to step back and process things to get some perspective. Wright kept moving forward with the times and reinterpreting his design methodology. He was always on the cutting edge of the new technology—for seventy years. Isn’t it remarkable? You are a painter, volunteer, teacher, architect, author... you really do seem to be able to do anything. If you could imagine any other career, what would it be? I’m a mother, you forgot that one... [laughs] I can’t imagine any other career. Architecture is, as Wright said, “The Mother art,” because architecture is the art that combines all the other arts. When architects think of great American cities, New York, Chicago, and Boston come to mind. How does Dallas become a similarly great city? I think that one of the most important things Dallas can address is the Trinity River Corridor. A river is thematic to having a great city. When a population doesn’t have access to nature, it suffers. All the other cities where I’ve lived have a water’s edge. Best place you’ve visited? Afghanistan. We flew from India over the Hindu Kush to Kabul. I think that is the most beautiful place in the world. What do you consider your biggest mistake? I would not have made as many moves; but, no regrets. Everything I have ever done I have put to use. All of that moving gave
me a perspective on the way different people live. Had I not moved, I would not have worked on one of Wright’s first buildings, and two of his last. What do you consider your most profound professional success? I will say the greatest contributions that I have made are things that I did for free. The things I didn’t think were the thrust of my work ended up, in many ways, being the most interesting. In your free time, what do you like to do outside of architecture? I kayak on the Brazos with my friends. I sing in the choir at church. What was the last album you downloaded? Bartok’s Concerto for Orchestra What book did you last read? “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”—I read the ending first. My favorite book of all time is The Book of Tea by Kakuko Okakura. Do you have favorite websites/blogs? You are asking the wrong generation. I go on the Internet as little as possible. Music is a very important component in my life. I exercise to hip-hop in the morning (Lil Mama) and I go to sleep to Tibetan Bells. What movie did you last see? “Julie & Julia” I liked “Mostly Martha,” which is another cooking movie... but “Babette’s Feast” is my favorite movie ever. Ironic, since I don’t cook. What is one important thought you’d like other architects to know? I believe in frontloading a project, spending a lot of time understanding the people and place, and filling all the office walls with stuff pertaining to the project. Then the later phases work themselves out more smoothly. Architecture is synthesizing, not problem solving. Any last thoughts you would like to leave with us? When I think back to the Oak Park years, more than anything I recall all the people at the Home and Studio. It was a family, really. We calculated that volunteers contributed more than 200,000 work hours toward the restoration of the buildings, all coming together for this common purpose. Ultimately, it revitalized the community. If you are an architect, your accomplishments are never just your own. You cannot do anything bigger than a bread box alone. ■ Interview by Andrew P. Moon, Assoc. AIA
Profile | Tom Cox, AIA
Not every architect has the gift of teaching. Tom Cox proves that bringing architecture and education together can truly change young lives. Tom Cox took the traditional route to becoming an architect, but realized that his passion would be better served behind a different type of desk than a drafting table. In the 1970’s, Tom went to the University of Texas at Austin, graduated, and moved to Dallas where he worked for a little over a year in traditional practice. In 1979, Tom saw an advertisement through AIA Dallas for a position as a teacher at Skyline, a public high school with a special curriculum that included architecture instruction for underrepresented teenagers. It was the first of its kind and it went beyond teaching basic drafting to students. Over the years, the architectural cluster at Skyline High School has turned into a program where roughly 100 students—of whom 5% are Anglo, 85% Hispanic, and 10% African-American—study architecture in addition to basic high school courses. They are exposed to one period of architectural studies that ranges from residential design, to commercial investigation, presentation media, and architectural history. This year, Tom entered his thirtieth year of teaching at Skyline and will be teaching eleventh grade, where the focus is on freehand drawing, model building, and small scale projects. In a conversation with Tom, we discussed what teaching has meant to him and how the City of Dallas has played an important role in his students’ education.
How has living in DFW shaped your perceptions of the built environment? The city is great because it can be changed. When I first moved here, the fabric of the city was not as interesting and it was less urban. Lately, there have been tremendous changes. It has been exciting to watch it become more dense and urbane simply by the impact of architecture and good planning. It inspired me to put a class together on the buildings being built in the downtown arts district. Showing students why it happened, what was created, and who created it and also showing them the difference between the old and the new. The Dallas Arts District is such an incredible lab for these students.
Andrew P. Moon, Assoc. AIA
How does Dallas become a great American city? I think it already is a great American city. I conduct tours at the Myerson and I am pleasantly surprised at the number of architects who come to our city just to see our architecture. Some other cities have a profound historic precedence that Dallas doesn’t have so we have had to set ourselves apart by creating contemporary thought and design.
What do you find your students need that they don’t get? These students are accomplished and they need support. We have students that intern at AIA and are on scholarships provided by the AIA. We need AIA members to serve on juries and be advisors. It is great when a firm can offer financial support or internships. We also need volunteers for the ACE Mentorship program where we expose the students to architecture, construction, and engineering career options. We need firms to host these events. What do you consider your most profound success? Having a student become successful—not just in architecture but in the professional world. Most of my students come from families that haven’t gone to college and they don’t have professional careers. It is a great reward for me when students stay in touch and come back and show me what they have been doing. What book are you reading? The Wild Marsh: Four Seasons at Home in Montana by Rick Bass. How do you take your coffee? I don’t drink coffee; I prefer tea. What was the last movie you rented? Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont. ■ Interview by Jennifer A. Workman, AIA, an architect with Good Fulton & Farrell Architects.
Profile | Veletta Lill, Hon. AIA You would think that Veletta Forsythe Lill had spent her entire life in Dallas, considering how passionate she is about sustaining and revitalizing downtown and its surrounding areas. However, the Illinois native has always been fascinated with big cities, and Dallas was the vehicle that eventually provided her with the opportunity to allow this fascination to take flight. Upon moving to Dallas, she became involved with her neighborhood association to challenge the city on impacts that concerned her family. From there, she moved from neighborhood activist to sitting on boards and commissions. Then, with the encouragement from a city council member, she ultimately became the council member for District 14. Recently she accepted the role of executive director of the Dallas Arts District with DOWNTOWNDALLAS, which advocates a live/work/play lifestyle in downtown and helps create that connectivity by bringing more services and therefore more people into downtown. Here are some of her more compelling insights. What do you consider your greatest accomplishments while acting as a city council member? Saving St. Ann’s School, Dallas’ first school for Hispanic children built in 1927. When I came here, I was shocked how cavalier we were with buildings and how people would tear them down simply because it was easier. What do you like most about downtown Dallas? I admire the continuum of design that has peppered downtown Dallas with architectural jewels, but there is still more work to be done. The arts district is a perfectly arranged patchwork of different institutions, churches, and schools. I just love that about it. It’s not sterile; it’s multifaceted and it continues to evolve. What advice would you give others who want to become involved in creating positive changes in downtown? If you don’t like the way things are done, you go out and change them. We have these great spaces and neighborhoods that are distinct and don’t look like other neighborhoods; but we need to ensure that the connective tissue is there to bring all these pieces together. We need to keep the conversation alive about the importance of the pedestrian. We need to smooth out the freeway edge. Through public planning, design, and events we are bringing people back downtown. ■
About Veletta Forsythe Lill Alma Mater: University of Illinois Favorite Childhood Books: Anything on Abraham Lincoln Proud Moment: Son attends Emerson College in Boston Personal Tidbit: When on the board for the Hollywood-Santa Monica Heights neighborhood association, she was fondly known as part of the East Dallas Mafia.
Daniel Driensky Photography
Profile | Craig A Beneke, AIA If you’ve met Craig A. Beneke, AIA, before, you might know him as an architect, or a carpenter, or a furniture builder, or even an inventor with a patent. Attributing much of his success to “good connections over the years,” he feels that the friendships he has built since moving to Texas from Long Island, NY in 1981 are what have allowed him all of his opportunities. “The AIA has been responsible for a lot of my friendships,” he says, “mainly my involvement with Retrospect since I’ve been doing it for about a dozen years.” Once the owner of his own firm, Ground Zero, Craig went on to work for other firms and then returned to entrepreneurship by establishing af architecture & fabrication. Adding to his many endeavors, Craig enjoys taking unique objects or furniture and turning them into diverse pieces. Owners of his work all praise his unique style, craft, and attention to detail. What change would you like to see in the architecture profession? I wish I could see more of the young, who are wanting to do stuff, get involved and make the profession something other than grinding out drawings and models. What do you like most about your work? It allows me to get out of the office and interact with old colleagues and discuss design. I’ve been a part of things in their earliest and most secretive stages. It’s very exciting. When you create unique objects, what drives your decisions? I try to communicate how passionate I am about my designs through my use of materials. I’m eclectic. My career has been built flexing modern and traditional styles. What is the most meaningful thing you’ve created? My girls’ lungs were underdeveloped and they needed to stay in the intensive care unit for awhile. In order to feed them, nurses would strap a syringe to the wall and drip the food down into their system. I decided to come up with a better, more high-tech solution for them. I designed a Gavage Syringe Restraining Device (GSRD), which I then went on to patent in 1998. ■ Profile interviews conducted by Jennifer A. Workman, AIA. She is an architect for Good Fulton & Farrell, the TSA director for Dallas and the communications advisor to the National Young Architects Forum advisory committee.
About Craig Beneke Favorite Place to Visit: San Francisco, and then on to the wine country Favorite Book: Devil in the White City Magazine Subscriptions: Dwell, Cigar Aficionado, Wine Spectator, Travel & Leisure Favorite Wine: Justin Meyer - Silver Oak Nickname: Yankee
Daniel Driensky Photography
Profile | Sarah Jane Semrad Sarah Jane Semrad is the co-founder and executive director of La Reunion TX, an arts residency program in Dallas that hosts artists in both new and traditional media. In exchange for live/work space, artists give back to the community through programs, exhibits, performances, and installations. Tree Carving is an evolving program at their 35-acre site in Oak Cliff. How did you arrive at art from a chemistry degree? By accident. I am severely left-brained to a fault and I am half of an artist. My artist friends noted that I was able to make things happen and they wanted my advice on how to make things happen for them. They started asking me for help and I realized that I was much better at that. Why bring back La Reunion? The original plan was to rent a fourplex and have housing for artists. La Reunion, the original colony, was from the 1850’s and long-since disbanded, although some of the descendants are still around. It said Dallas without using the word Dallas. We don’t have a building here; we don’t have studios or housing. We are currently trying to make the site inspiring for potential donors by having the tree-carving program on location. Our site is very overgrown. This program started by the need to create access to the site and to thin the dead trees. Since we aren’t breaking ground yet, we thought “Why not create access to the land now and let the trees be decomposing art?” Part of our challenge is we don’t want to bring stuff into the site. We want it to be as natural as it is and could be. For now, we want to keep it as raw as possible. All of these artists are being encouraged to use materials found on the site. What is next for La Reunion? We are going to raise money. We have not launched our capital campaign yet and we are still determining what that number will be. We estimate that it will be around $5 million with endowment; of that $2.5 million is needed to build. We have just hired our capital campaign consultant and we are doing all the behind-thescenes planning and strategy. We aim to go public with the capital campaign in September. ■
Daniel Driensky Photography
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Profile | Clyde Porter, FAIA Clyde Porter, FAIA is the associate vice chancellor of facilities management and planning/district architect for the Dallas Community College District. His rich history, includes serving several tours of duty for the U.S. Army, which ultimately led him to become the facilities architect for the worldwide headquarters of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service and then the chief architect for Dallas Area Rapid Transit. Do you feel like your upbringing led to your desire to help other minorities? I come from a multicultural background. My grandfather is WhiteDutch and my mother’s family is French-Creole. We have a multiplicity of skin colors and attitudes. I never saw color as a barrier but as an opportunity. I try to look at people for what they are, not judge by their faces. What has your biggest accomplishment been? There are so many. I think my biggest one to date is the acknowledgement of my efforts through the Whitney Young Award. And second to that was becoming a Fellow to the American Institute of Architects. I never dreamed that would happen to me. When you are trying to help people and you are trying to do your job well, it’s not with the expectation that you are getting a reward for it. The reward is the satisfaction that comes from doing a good job and helping other people. It’s helping realize their accomplishments and their dreams. When architects think of great cities they think of New York or Chicago. What do you think Dallas needs to make it a great city? Dallas has a lot of great architects. It’s just unfortunate that people in Dallas don’t recognize the talent that they have. Cities are drawn to wanting to have statements so they hire a signature architect. Dallas should invest more confidence in the firms that they have right at their own back door. Who has been your biggest influence? From the facilities standpoint, I think I am a pioneer in that it is an untraditional role for architects. So I didn’t have a role model there. I think the person who has had the strongest influence on my motivation has been my mom and my dad, and secondly the instructors at Prairie View. I’ve always been motivated to do a good job, especially growing up in such a large family. I’ve always been a leader, as the oldest of seven, and I think the military helped me a whole lot as well. ■ Interviews by Jennifer Workman, AIA Daniel Driensky Photography
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Profile | Velpeau E. Hawes, Jr., FAIA Winner of the Llewellyn Pitts Lifetime Achievement Award
How does Dallas become a great city? Great cities aren’t born overnight and in a relative sense, Dallas is a new city. And when you look at what makes great cities, it’s a lot of different things. Sometimes it’s a river or an ocean or the mountains. But we don’t have that. So what has made Dallas good really has been its people; it’s been its spirit. Dallas has more major cultural and art facilities than any other city in the nation that have been predominantly donated by private individuals. What has been your most profound professional success? Physically it has to be the Nasher. But as I look back, it’s the relationships that one builds. I just don’t think I could have had anywhere near the success if it wasn’t for the relationships with good people, contractors, architects, and consultants. Everyday I call on somebody for help or advice or a job. What has AIA done for you? I feel fortunate by this profession. I have never been able to give back more than it has given me. If you give, it will give back. It does as much as you do for it. It isn’t going to wait around for you. I volunteered locally all the way up through president of the Dallas chapter. ■ Profile Interviews by Jennifer Workman, AIA with Good Fulton & Farrell
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Profile | Brent Brown, AIA Winner of the 2008 AIA Dallas Built Project and Urban Edge Excellence in Sustainable Design Award and Community Award From where is your design inspiration derived? Five years ago, I started doing residential but I was really interested in affordable housing. My first employee did research for me around the community design movement of the last four years and affordable trends nationally. And that was the birthplace of the non-profit “building community workshop” which did the Holding House on Congo Street. What was your most profound accomplishment? The Holding House helps people to see Congo in a different way. A house like this, winning two design awards, changes perspective. Affordable, less expensive work can be equally as valued as highend work. The real true success would be the empowerment of these singlefamily residences. The people who live on this street went through critiques. We recognized that there were individuals who owned their own homes, and most plans were to tear everything down. They can’t afford a mortgage, and their utility bills are high. So development comes along and says, “We’ll buy your house for $15,000.” If somebody buys their house, where can they afford to go? There was one empty lot on this street where we built the Holding House and said, “You move in the Holding House, while we work on your house.” We don’t have the funding for the next house in place yet but we’ll figure it out. There is some blind determination here. ■
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Profile | Kirk Teske, AIA
The founding chair of the U.S. Green Building Council’s North Texas chapter, Kirk Teske, propelled green issues into the forefront of local architectural dialogue. As the Chief Sustainability Officer at HKS Architects, Kirk leads the DesignGreen studio, delivering energy-efficient design to an expansive list of clients and promoting internal sustainability education efforts. In his new role as president of the Dallas chapter of the AIA, Kirk brings knowledge, leadership, and a passion for sustainability.
You obviously have a strong commitment to sustainability. Where did this passion originate? I worked for an architect when I was in the 10th grade. This was in 1977 and the architect was Mickey Eager in Longview, TX. He was doing green design before green was cool. Passive design was popular in the late 1970s, of course. That’s when Ed Mazria’s The Passive Solar Energy Book came out. That book and the work I did with Eager really got me interested.
What is your role as president of the AIA? I am working with the AIA Dallas staff to implement the chapter’s new strategic plan. That is my primary goal. Ensuring that members get value out of their membership is a strong focus for me. We want to help improve their relevancy to the profession and make them better, more productive architects.
Is there anything else people should know about you? I will tell you that unlike some of my colleagues, I have a passion for sustainability, but I don’t necessarily have extremely liberal political viewpoints. I get aggravated that the topics of sustainability and environmentalism get polarized politically. I think we should all be working together to promote cleaner air and less dependency on foreign fuels. Whether you believe in climate change or not, you have to know that our oil dependency is causing political unrest around the world. ■
The strategic plan is a significant undertaking. Besides this effort, is there one issue you’d like to address during your term? If not for the strategic plan, then I would focus on establishing an eco-district in Dallas and still might if there’s a big enough volunteer base. It’s really important for the city and a valuable contribution to the city from the AIA. What does an eco-district entail? We would identify a district in the city and focus on trying various strategies (like bike lane systems) in that district to test it and see if it would work for larger districts. It might mean getting all the building owners to track their energy and water consumption and monitor their progress.
SELSO GARCIA, ASSOC. AIA 36
Interview by Jenny Thomason with Corgan Associates Inc. and Audrey Maxwell, Assoc. AIA, of Michael Malone Architects.
LEARN MORE! What did kirk do last year to prepare for his AIA Dallas presidency? What fuels his passion for sustainability? What will the strategic plan bring to AIA Dallas members? Read the full interview in an online exclusive available at www.tiny.cc/teske-profile or by scanning the QR code here.
Profile | Jill Magnuson
NAShER SCULPTURE CENTER
The director of external affairs for the Nasher Sculpture Center, Jill Magnuson, has spent her career elevating the Dallas arts district’s reputation on an international level. Throughout the process of planning the AT&T Performing Arts Center, she gained an appreciation for design that melds art and architecture. She is also past board president of the Dallas Center for Architecture (DCFA). She has a strong devotion to both of these disciplines and has found her niche by communicating that passion to the general public.
amount of support because it is not bound by a membership. There is no reason why everybody in the community can’t support the concept of a center for architecture. In essence it has no limits, which is the great news, but the challenge is the time that it takes to develop supporters, grow a board, and grow the knowledge that it’s a charity needing support. The purpose of the Dallas Center for Architecture is inspiring conversation about why architecture is important and that’s something that should excite a lot of people.
What one accomplishment are you most proud? The opening of the AT&T Performing Arts Center. I really don’t think of it as an accomplishment, but more of an honor to have served. That’s a legacy project for Dallas that has changed the face of this community and I think also changed the cultural reputation of Dallas around the world.
It seems that’s a conversation architects have with clients all the time. Well, I sit in this room [at the Nasher] and I look at the door and how the door is designed and all of this makes a difference in our workplace. It makes a difference in our ease of living and our environments. It can make us safe and keep us healthy. When people walk into a space, they may not know why it makes them feel the way it makes them feel, but ideally over time maybe they can have a better appreciation for that. At the Nasher, we constantly have people saying “I just love the Nasher,” and we ask why and they say, “I don’t know. It just makes me feel good.” Well, I can probably tell you that part of it is because of the design of this building. That’s okay if you don’t know how to articulate it. Appreciating it is a different thing and that’s what we want. We want people to appreciate good architecture and design. Hopefully, we’ll also help them develop that vocabulary and understanding so they can describe it.
With a background in communications, what was your role at the DCFA? Officially, I was the first lay person that served as board president for the Dallas Center for Architecture. One of our key goals or missions is to convey the message of why architecture is important to everyone and to reach a wider audience. What do you see as the biggest hurdle in getting DCFA to make that next leap and really have a greater presence in Dallas? Super simple. It’s money. Essentially, without increased financial support, the organization can’t meet its goals. I think the organization has the capacity for a great
has there been a lot of study into other cities’ centers for architecture? Absolutely. In fact, the Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) conference was held here in Dallas in 2012. Interestingly enough, we have a lot of models to follow, not just Chicago’s and New York’s. Also, even though our center is quite new, we are already doing some innovative things that make other organizations look to us as a model. Whereas I think we have a lot to do as we grow, we’ve already been perceived as a successful center and that’s why the AAO came from all over the world to Dallas in November. For those who may not be familiar with the Dallas Center for Architecture, what are some of the organization’s goals and why was it founded? It is essentially a “new” organization with legacy roots. AIA Dallas knew it in the beginning as the foundation that provided grants and scholarships to future generations in the field of architecture. That is still a very important part of its mission and DCFA still spends a great amount of our time nurturing that part of its legacy. The “new” part happened when the founding partners gave money to build a physical space, the Dallas Center for Architecture, and opened the opportunity for the organization to be the public face for architecture and design in the City of Dallas. That is now the place for conversation and dialog about what architecture and design is and how it affects our lives on a daily basis. The Dallas Center for Architecture is very multifaceted, despite its modest staff size and budget. It presents signifi-
cant exhibitions, including the recent one on Lost Dallas, for example, which was also featured on the front page of The Dallas Morning News and discussed on the radio and in the national press. DCFA is hitting the core of the things people want to talk about in Dallas. It has everything from exhibitions to the real grassroots efforts like the walking tours both of the arts district and Main Street. … We’re influencing the general public. The panels and conversations at the center are typically about topics related to the exhibitions, but then on top of that DCFA is layering opportunities for families and future generations such as its summer camp, Destination Architecture, in collaboration with the Nasher. One of the new exciting programs that the organization has recently launched is a program in collaboration with the Klyde Warren Park called Skyline 360 Tours, or “standing tours,” of the great architecture that you can see from the park. ■ Interview by Jenny Thomason with Corgan Associates Inc. and Audrey Maxwell, Assoc. AIA, of Michael Malone Architects.
LEARN MORE! What is the biggest issue influencing contemporary architecture? What does Jill do with her free time? Which architect would Jill really like to meet? Visit www.tiny.cc/magnuson-profile or scan this QR code.
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Linda McMahon After nearly 30 years in banking which culminated in her role as the Southwest regional director of community development for J.P. Morgan Chase, Linda McMahon retired â€Ś but it didnâ€™t last long. She now serves as the president and CEO of The Real Estate Council (TREC), a volunteer organization committed to improving the North Texas community. The move was an interesting development in her care er since she had volunteered with the organization through many successful endeavors. On a busy Friday, we sat down over lunch to find out what Linda and The Real Estate Council are doing.
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Describe an average day for you as president of The Real Estate Council? An average day: There is no such thing! My role is making sure everything we do stays focused on our members, and that our entire team is thinking about what makes the organization relevant to our membership. That is where my mind is focused every single day. We have a lot of different pieces to the organization, including a very active political action committee, and the Foundation. The Foundation is the heart and soul of the organization. Robin Minick, a former commercial real estate attorney, is the full-time Foundation director, but I still get very involved because of my background in community development. It’s part of my passion. We have a great team who is equally focused on our members. I am fortunate to have found the next “perfect opportunity” for my second chapter. What brought you back to TREC professionally after having served so long on the volunteer side? I had the greatest job on the planet working with J.P. Morgan as a banker. Over the last 15 years I focused on building communities and working side-by-side with non-profit community builders who were simply trying to make their world a better place. Then, I literally woke up in the midst of 2009 and said, “I want to do something other than banking.” I had done it for 30 years and I made the decision to retire. It shocked everyone, but you come to a point where you have done something for so long and you just need to see if there is something else out there that would spark your interest. Thankfully, my husband, Pat, supported me fully. I felt that I could do more outside of the bank than inside. I left and started a little consulting business. I worked on a couple of projects as a developer. One project was not successful and one that is nearing completion. My role is as a non-operating partner, which is a great way to learn more about the business. After a year of working on a few projects, a friend of mine who was on the board of TREC said, “The president is leaving. Are you interested?” I was on the board and was chair of the Foundation previously, so I thought, “This was exactly what I wanted to do next.” I hadn’t interviewed for a job in a very long time, so being interviewed for the position was intimidating. What does Dallas mean to you? What do we need to continue to do? I went to the University of Texas, then ended up in Dallas, and I have been here ever since. I love this city. I have seen it grow up since the first time I lived here in 1974. It’s been rewarding and I wouldn’t want to be any other place right now. I feel this is where things are happening and it is very exciting. For downtown Dallas to continue in the way it needs to grow, we need to create a sense of neighborhood and community. It has to do with making it a place for families. We have to improve our schools. Every parent should be able to have a good quality school in which to send her or his child. We have got to get education right. To me, the most important thing that we focus on in downtown Dallas is improving the schools because the development, the retail, and other services will come if we can figure out how to build the needed housing and schools.
lives. I think arts and culture and music change people’s lives in a positive way; and I love music and art as much as I have a passion for community-building. Quality housing is one tangible way to improve someone’s life. Who doesn’t want to have a home, and what parents don’t want to provide that for their children? It is criminal to me that a city like Dallas has over 5,000 homeless children. That should outrage anyone. You are a self-described technology geek. How do you use it in your work and how does it impact us in the city sense? I am an information junkie. Twitter and Facebook are a daily habit— and now Instagram. It’s a way to share and to find information. If I want to know what is happening in the world, I find it on Twitter. I find it essential to my daily happiness. My connection to social media started with my family. All three of my daughters went away to college and then started their careers in other places. One of the ways I kept up with their lives was to follow them on Facebook. Social media is also critical for our role at The Real Estate Council. If we don’t know what the conversation is outside of Dallas and Texas, then we can’t set the bar for what relevant information we are going to provide for our members. What is next for Linda McMahon? My husband and I like to play golf together, but he is much better than me. Being outside is something that we both enjoy. We are members of The Sports Club in Las Colinas. It was the only place that we felt we could live that was near a golf course and, at the time, close to the airport. For my retirement, my husband bought me a neighborhood electric vehicle (also known as a golf cart). I always wanted to have one! I’m also actively engaged on the board of Family Gateway. It’s a phenomenal organization. It is celebrating its 25th year as the oldest organization serving homeless families with children and we have an audacious goal of ending childhood homelessness in Dallas. I’m really excited about what we are working on now. It is a state-of-the-art housing community that will provide LEARN MORE! supportive services and longterm housing to help children What’s the next great initiarealize that there is hope for tive for TREC after Klyde their future. We need to Warren Park? break the cycle of family homelessness. I continue to What are Linda’s thoughts on lend my expertise where I the role of architects in the can for that organization. real estate community? For me, I have friends who are retiring now and I cannot How did growing up in difeven imagine that. I tried it and ferent places as a "military it didn’t work well for me. brat" shape her career? There is too much to do. ■ Interviewed by James Adams, AIA, RIBA, with Corgan Associates Inc.
Scan this QR code or visit www.tiny.cc/mcmahon-profile.
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Jennifer Workman Blevins, AIA Architect Jennifer Workman Blevins, AIA, is a project leader at Good Fulton & Farrell Architects, as well as the past national chair of the Young Architects Forum (YAF) Advisory Committee. The 2013 recipient of the National Young Architect Award, she shared her insights with me on a very busy day inside her most recent collaboration: The Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
NICK MCwhIRTER, AIA
what was your role in the design and construction of the Perot Nature & Science Museum? As the consulting architect for the museum, Good Fulton & Farrell ended up having around 15 different architects touch the project at one time or another. Duncan Fulton, FAIA, and I were on the project the longest, but in very different capacities. The design was created by Thom Mayne, FAIA, of Morphosis. My role was to work with Morphosis, the lead architecture firm. I was involved for four years, from March of 2008 until April 2012, when our contract ended. I worked with the project architect, Arne Emerson, in detailing their intent. Most of what I did was help create the drawings from that experience. I worked in their Los Angeles office for about a year and a half on the design, and then I worked onsite for another year and a half during construction. I was there to implement the design intent with an architect from Morphosis. what was the most complex part of the process? The detailing was the most difficult part. You are looking at a simple design, but there are a lot of nuances that go into the detailing. We had a very short time to work on it so a lot of designing happened on the fly. The escalator was probably the most challenging piece of it. The general contractor, Balfour Beatty Construction,
did most of the clash detection. Still, there were a lot of things to work through that came up on site. My favorite part was just being present for construction and seeing practices that had not been implemented before in Dallas. The best part was the osmosis of working with the Morphosis team. I tried to absorb as much as I could from them. It is really cool to know that I learned something different than what you might learn on a typical project. what was it like returning to work at gFF? It was very different returning. There was an adjustment period, but I have always loved working at GFF. They have always supported the things that I have done. They have given me opportunities, like working on this museum. Right now I am working on Alexan on the Hill for Trammell Crow Residential. We are designing two residential high rise towers near the Coors Light waterfall billboard [off Stemmons Freeway and Harry Hines Boulevard], and I am managing that process. This museum was such a large project with so many facets. It has helped shape how I run my projects now. â– James Adams, AIA, RIBA, is an architect with Corgan Associates Inc.
LEARN MORE! what else did Jennifer learn from working on the Perot museum? what was her role as the National yAF Chair? what did Jennifer learn from young architects across the nation? how has working at good Fulton & Farrell impacted her volunteerism? which architect inspires her? what does she do in her free time? Read the full interview in an online exclusive available at www.tiny.cc/blevins or by scanning the QR code here.
CRAIg BLACKMON, FAIA
Mary Suhm Mary Suhm led the City of Dallas in her role as city manager for nearly eight years. On July 1, she stepped down from the position and will retire at the end of 2013. She served in significant roles within the Dallas city government for nearly 30 years. As city manager, she was responsible for the daily operations of this great municipal organization, managing a staff of 13,000 employees and a budget of almost $3 billion. During the years she served in the city managerâ€™s office, Mary saw many great visions for Dallas come to realization, including the Santiago Calatravadesigned Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge, pivotal growth within the downtown district, expansion of the arts district, and great advances on the Trinity River corridor project. ALLISON SMITh FALL 2013
Out of all of these changes to the City of Dallas that you care about so much, do you have one that you want to be known for? No. I really like what’s going on in Dallas right now, the energy that it creates and how everybody feeds off that energy. One thing we are doing right now that I’m really excited about the potential for is the CityDesign Studio that Deedie and Rusty Rose funded. The studio is focused on good urban design, not just good buildings. We have a lot of good buildings, but we haven’t been very thoughtful. You know we’re Texans, and so we say, “This is my property and I can do what I want with it.” We haven’t been very good about thinking about it in context and in the community. People have been really receptive to this CityDesign Studio and we had Larry Beasley working with us who did work in Vancouver. He is amazing and has a worldwide reputation. I think this particular project has the potential for pulling a lot of things together and making the city more livable and more sustainable. what can the city do to link up the arts district with other cultural resources in the commercial business district? We are in the process of updating the Downtown Parks Master Plan. I think that offers an opportunity to make linkages. If you look back over the last 10 years, what we have done with green space and parks downtown is really pretty amazing. We’ve taken advantage of an opportunity that might not have been possible if the economy had been better. Looking at Main Street Garden and some of the things that are about to go on in the Farmers Market, I think there is a huge potential to make those connections using parks as linkages. We’ve done half of what we need to do downtown in the way of parks. I think we also need to pay attention to the linkages between
our immediately surrounding neighborhoods outside the loop and not miss opportunities. Both parts of the community, the downtown core and the immediately adjacent development, are less if you don’t think seriously and thoughtfully about that connection. As downtown becomes more dense and more residential uses are woven among the commercial uses, do you think more regulation will be necessary to control how development happens? We are going to have to address parking and we need to do it holistically. There is the controversy about the Nasher and the Museum Tower: I have worked in government a long time and everybody talks about less government; but when something goes wrong, they say, “Why don’t you have a rule?” That is one area that the CityDesign Studio could study. When you are talking about good urban design, you are talking about how you relate to the space and to your neighbors. what message would you send to Dallas-area architects? Late in my life I discovered that I would have liked to have been an architect or a planner. When I started in this business, I wasn’t particularly interested and now I realize I was on the wrong path. I’m envious of the fact that you are able to see your work for decades. If it is done well, it can impact everything about a community. It’s pretty empowering to think about. My work is like mowing the lawn: Once you’ve done it, three days later you’ve got to do it again because the grass grows back. If I don’t look around right quick to see what I mowed, I forget what I accomplished. ■ Interviewed by Alan Richards, AIA, an associate at Corgan Associates Inc.
Profile | Bryce Weigand
In a state that can achieve orci ac turpis euismod consectetuer.
NIChOLAS MCWhIRTER, AIA
bryce weigand, faia, was raised a farm boy in Northwest Oklahoma. He obtained his architecture degree from Oklahoma State University and then moved to Atlanta for five years to work for Thompson, Ventulett & Stainback. He was recruited to Dallas by Jack Corgan in 1976 and stayed at Corgan for 17 years. After that, he joined Good Fulton & Farrell for 19 more years before he retired. After retiring from GFF, Bryce decided to open his own firm in 2013, Weigand Art & Architecture. Named Young Architect of the Year in Dallas in 1980, he has a long list of leadership positions, including AIA Dallas chapter president, Texas Society of Architects president, and Texas regional director on the AIA national Board of Directors. Bryce is an active member of the community and has a strong focus on his family. What do you do now that you are “retired”? Paint, enjoy time with grandkids, travel, golf, volunteer, read, freelance projects, and help friends. The challenge is making sure you have a schedule, and making sure you have something 32
meaningful to do that day, and then get on with it. What community activities do you participate in? I’m president of the Dallas Center for Architecture Foundation, a volunteer at First Presbyterian Church, vice president of the Texas Architectural Foundation, and am following up with the 508 Park project at GFF. I’ve also gotten back into the Southwestern Watercolor Society and I’m trying to get my feet back on the ground in regard to painting. Where do you find inspiration? The unbounded charm of nature, the never-ending cycles of nature, the never-failing re-generation of nature, cycles of renewing nature, the creativity of children, and through music and books. Do you prefer pen or pencil? Pen for sketchbooks and pencil for sketching before painting. What is your favorite city to visit? The next one. What is your favorite food and why? My wife's pecan pie.
Which architects do you admire most? Renzo Piano for the rigor that he puts into a project. Louis Kahn because his works are hugely inspirational. Edward Larrabee Barnes for his constraint and sensibility. H.H. Richardson for a historical perspective. Professionally, if you could do something over again, what would it be? I would get engaged in a particular building type sooner than I did. In my case, I’d focus on university and college architecture and put serious vigor into that. What is your most treasured possession? My sketchbooks. They are a good log of my travels near and far; and [there’s the] the sentimental aspect of my boys drawing in them. Now my grandson is drawing in them. What books are you currently reading? Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough; Dubliners by James Joyce; 1812: The War That Forged a Nation by Walter Borneman.
What type of music do you listen to? I listen to classical music while I paint. It is highly inspirational, but all music is good. What challenges do you face on a day-to-day basis now? Which interest to pursue each day and to schedule my time to make it meaningful. If you were not an architect, what other profession would you have pursued? Archeologist, geologist, or a forester. What advice do you have for young architects just starting in the profession? No matter the task, do it with all vigor. Research, read, and understand. ■ Interviewed by Laura Eder, AIA, an architect with Good Fulton & Farrell.
COLUMNS | www.aiadallas.org
Profile | Arturo Del Castillo, AIA
NIChOLAS MCwhIRTER, AIA
in 2009, the Citydesign studio was created with a primary focus on neighborhoods and development along the Trinity River. Housed within Dallas City Hall, the team leverages social, economic, and environmental design strategies that impact the surrounding communities and culture of Dallas. They envision the cityâ€™s potential to become a more connected, vibrant, and livable city. Arturo Del Castillo, AIA, is the lead urban designer 36
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for CityDesign Studio. An architect as well, Del Castillo understands the importance of what good and sensible design can bring to a community and its future development. what are the main focuses of the CityDesign Studio? Our work varies greatly in terms of scope and approach. A lot of what we do deals with advancing and providing input on policy
initiatives. We also provide urban design and concept design strategies for future projects as an in-house design consultancy for the City of Dallas. The largest part of what we do is called the Urban Design Program that caters to work involving urban design for large areas of town and addressing key development issues facing the city to help shape its form. what are some projects you consider a huge success for the CityDesign Studio since it began in 2009? We were successful in getting the West Dallas urban structure and guidelines approved as policy in March 2011. It has become a model project, and signifies the way we want to work in the city with both community and stakeholders going forward. Currently, we continue to work on implementation strategies for development that maintains the integrity of the vision for West Dallas. what are some of the key components of these cities that Dallas currently lacks? Citites that are not loved, that are badly designed, are generally this way because they are not designed at all. Cities that allow growth to occur unchecked and driven by the market alone generally result in concentrated areas of proverty, congestion, lack of open space, and a compromise of their natural features to the deficit of the public. Economic growth and a rising standard of living, greater social justice, cultural and economic vitality, and good, thoughtful design are the essential ingredients and among the critical aspects we can take from model cities to forge our own unique and vibrant city. what are your favorite place(s) to hang out in Dallas? ... Favorite neighborhood or district in the city that you consider a “model” neighborhood for these aspects we have been discussing? I enjoy spending my free time in the denser, livelier parts of our city that offer diverse experiences day and night and where street patterens and design of space are best understood at the pedestrian scale. I also have a great love for our open spaces and enjoy using the growing network of trails that take me to and around White Rock Lake, to the Trinity River, and down the edge of uptown, for example. you are also a licensed architect. how does that influence the decisions you make as an urban designer for Dallas? My experience—working on many types and scales of projects for various public and private clients—affords me the ability to better understand challenges in solving unique and demanding development issues from the perspective of a developer and end user. On the other hand, it’s important to also think about how good architecture can contribute to the “public face” of our city by the way buildings are sited and how the lower floors address and influence the public realm. you have detailed and yet captivating hand-drawn urban design and architectural drawings. Can you talk a bit about the process and ideas behind the drawings? We have a mantra in the studio: “Listen, draw, repeat.” When working with the community, we often deal with our drawings in layers. Many of these sketches are basically the initial diagram for Continued on page 47
Profile | Arturo Del Castillo, AIA Continued from page 37
the site that evolves out of us asking Synthesis plan for West questions like “What if…?” “What Dallas, combining the main themes and concepts of each would I worry about?” and “What of the concept plans drawn needs to happen?” The La Bajada during an early community neighborhood, west of the and stakeholder charrette. Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge for example, allowed us to listen to the community and hear the residents’ concerns and dreams for their neighborhood. We then put these ideas and visions on paper and revised them incrementally as the project developed. ■ Interviewed by Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA, with Michael Malone Architects Inc.
Do you want to learn more about Arturo and CityDesign Studio? Read the expanded interview as a web exclusive on AIA Dallas’ website at www.aiadallas.org. Here are some things you’ll find in that full interview: • Information on Dallas’ Connected CityDesign challenge • Key components of other cities that Dallas lacks • Urban challenges in transforming Dallas into a more connected environment • Arturo’s favorite Dallas neighborhoods • Examples of model cities from an urbanist’s point of view • Arturo’s interests outside of work
Can you talk a bit about the Connected CityDesign Challenge you have been involved in? As part of a larger area project, we recently hosted a series of public lectures associated with the Connected CityDesign Challenge. This was an open call for bold urban design strategies that seek to build awareness of urban design solutions capable of connecting our downtown and river. What is your role as lead urban designer for CityDesign Studio? We are a small shop, with four full-time employees, so we all wear many hats. Brent Brown, our studio director is a part-time contractor with the city. David Whitley is our assistant director, Evan Sheets our urban planner and Chalonda Jackson our community engagement coordinator. Our role, simply put, is to elevate the design consciousness and culture of Dallas and we do this in many ways. I tend to focus most on drawing and writing that supports, translates, and guides the city, community, and stakeholders’ vision for a particular area. From an urbanist’s point of view, what are some current model cities that Dallas has the potential to become more like? We all have our views on what makes up a model city. We think of cities with loads of history, streetcar cities with charm and texture, cities uniquely identifiable by their natural features. We think of Barcelona, Lisbon, San Francisco, or Paris—prosperous cities with history and culture, blessed with physical features, offering mobility, access, and the capacity to enjoy a vital urban life. Dallas can develop and become uniquely Dallas while dealing with today’s challenge of mega-scale and its dehumanizing effects, and offering choices for mobility, housing, livability, and participation in public life with the qualities we seek in smaller vibrant cities of the past. What are some of the most distinct urban challenges we face in transforming Dallas into a more connected and urban environment? We are a city primarily built for the automobile and we know it will always be a part of our DNA. However, it doesn’t mean that our city building design decisions should be dominated by it. Our streets will continue to serve the automobile, but they should also give equal priority to the pedestrian, the bicyclist, and public transportation—a sentiment that has recently manifested itself into the city’s Complete Streets Design Manual. We must understand that as goes our streets and public spaces, so goes our city. What hobbies or other interests do you have? I enjoy traveling with my family when we have a chance. As you might guess, cities that offer unique urban experiences and can be easily accessed are at the top of our list. I also enjoy endurance sports. The planning, dedication, determination, and attention to detail required to achieve a rewarding long run or ride are necessary ingredients in realizing good city-building.
Profile | Lisa Lamkin, AIA
NIChOLAS MCwhIRTER, AIA
a self-described techie, Lisa Lamkin, principal at Brown Reynolds Watford Architects, continues to push the envelope within the AIA Dallas Chapter. This time around it is in the capacity of president for 2014. Before a reception at the Dallas Center for Architecture, we sat down in Lisaâ€™s office to discuss what got her into this profession and the passion that continues to drive her success. SPRING 2014
As the president of AIA Dallas, you have been preparing for your role for some time. what are your primary goals for 2014 for the chapter? Outgoing Chapter President Kirk Teske kicked off last year with a new strategic plan focusing on key areas of communication, education, advocacy, and networks. This motivated us to work on how we serve our members, specifically through communication. I
am really passionate for the new opportunity with our website as a springboard to engagement. The thinking that went into our new website and the process that we are asking the committees to engage with it will allow for a better network of communication. It’s important to leverage the physical location of the Dallas Center for Architecture with a complementary digital DCFA space. I’m also really excited about working with all of the committees to focus on how they can serve the members and how the members can engage with their interests. what are the biggest challenges you have seen for the architectural community in recent history? That is a really simple question for a really complex set of issues. I think our challenge is not forgetting that, at its core, what makes great architecture is that people want to experience it. All of our architectural exploration and all of the spaces that we care so much about are changing because of the acceleration of technology. Technology is a real opportunity. Information is no longer scarce. The library is being transformed from a physical container for a scarce resource to a nexus for potential connections. Schools are changing, the workplace is changing, and the cubicle farms are going away. The first 25 years of my work experience didn’t change nearly as much as the last five. It’s an exponential curve. Sustainability is notably important to you. what do you see in the future for LEED? LEED is a great tool: a means to an end and not the end itself. Architects have a unique talent for leading the collaboration in the execution of a building. I think the expertise and vision that architects bring to sustainability is really important. At some point, the designation of architecture itself will begin to embrace those skills, just like we need to know about structures and many other things. But as a bridge to that, I think that LEED AP was necessary. I certainly went out and got it. It’s the benchmark that I have this additional knowledge set. What is good about the U.S. Green Building Council is that it brings other industries together in collaboration.
We designed it in 2010—right when the school had learned that it was accepted into the international baccalaureate program. This experience pretty much happens to every architect: The program is figured out and then something changes. We met with the school and determined a need for theatre arts and science. They were the two spaces least able to adapt to the existing available space within the building. Personally, I love the combination of those two being in the addition together. I really enjoyed working with Mark Doty and the City of Dallas. He appreciated and supported our approach to complement and respect the existing architecture without copying it. Our project designer, Chris Sano, AIA, was a gem. He spent a lot of time carefully studying the geometry of the elevation and how that was then manifested in the new elevation that we developed. It’s those subtle things that at first glance you don’t see, but you feel. what do you do like to do in your free time? My husband [Robert Lamkin, AIA] and I met in 1977 when we were freshmen in architecture school together, so our shared profession also stands in for a hobby. All of our vacations are typically about going somewhere to see the architecture. It has driven Elyssa, our adult daughter, crazy. In one of her journals, I think in Rome, Elyssa wrote “There are too many churches in this town!” Of course, we had just been to perhaps 10 of the most magnificent churches in the world in one day. Now, after insisting that she had absolutely no interest in design, she is ironically thinking about going back to earn a masters degree in interior design. Hobbies have changed over the years for me. In my 40s, I was especially into running. I did a lot of half marathons. Health is such an important thing. We as architects often don’t pay attention to that portion of our lives. I don’t want to be 80 and have to use a wheelchair solely because I didn’t take care of myself. At BRW, we have a Monday lunchtime yoga class with an instructor who comes to the office. When you feel better, it’s much more likely that you will be creative. ■ Interviewed by James Adams, AIA, RIBA, an architect with Corgan Associates Inc.
woodrow wilson high School—a Dallas & Texas historic Commission Landmark—recently underwent a $14 million addition and renovation, the largest addition to the school in its 85-year history. what was your experience in the process of creating that design?
What do you see in the future for Columns and how it fits in as a publication? It would be radical for an architect to say that printed books and magazines are ever going away. So much of the communication that we engage with is like a string that floats by us. Digital communication is not pinned down. You generally never go back and look at your Facebook archives, even from a month ago. It is just a flow of information. There is always going to be a demand for a record of a place and time. Columns is a perfect example of a quality way of accomplishing that. Now it talks about broader themes in a quarterly way that you want to keep for review. It is an archive of our profession. Whether or not it becomes digital, I think it will always be a volume of curated information that is packaged beautifully. Personally, I have recently done something radical. For 25 years I have saved all my received publications. Recently, I have recycled it and kept only about the most recent five years’ worth, because frankly there is this thing called the Internet; and I still buy books. They are volumes of beauty; well-crafted art objects to cherish. What do you think we as a profession are doing best to handle these challenges for the greater good of our society? The mainstreaming of sustainability is something that we have done really well. At some level all good architects are sustainability experts. If you are a good architect, you know about the important and necessary components of good buildings including aesthetics, daylighting, comfort, acoustics, and technology. As a past president of the Council of Educational Facility Planners International, North Texas Chapter, what role do architects play in achieving the organization’s goal of “...improving the places where children learn”? What is great about the organization is that it complements and does not compete with the AIA. It brings all of the people who make great schools together in one place: the client, the architects, the contractors, the vendors, the facilities team, and the community at large. It brings them into the conversation about what makes great schools in a way that an organization serving the single profession and its broader focus cannot accomplish. Classrooms can’t be locked into the “sage on the stage” method of teaching with a desk upfront with no way to easily move it around. In that scenario, there is only one place to be and the lighting and the audio-visual do not work optimally unless the students are sitting in rows. Technology serves us; we do not serve technology. It is a tool for assisting innovation, learning, and collaboration. We really have to look at designing spaces for the curriculum that hasn’t been developed yet and also really look at how the content is delivered. Adapting to what we learn is what architects really do. You’re noted as a leader of technology and technical documentation within your firm. What drives your passion for this area of expertise? At the University of Michigan, students were required to take a programming class in architecture school because they knew that computers were going to be important in the future of the profession. There was no personal computer when I started in architecture school. I graduated at a time when one drew with a pencil. The real craft of drawing was something that I spent enough years doing that I really appreciated it. Then the computer evolved fairly quickly after that, from a toy to a tool, and that was the thing you were going to learn if you were to get ahead. I ended up learning more than anyone else. I was the CAD person. I was always frustrated with how bad the software was, so I was always writing little automated shortcuts to make it better. I’m proud to say our BIM director today is 14 years younger than I am. She started her career using CAD. That’s an interesting generational change. I have an appreciation for how to maintain the craft of documenting the project and still do it with computers. There was a time when you either drew it on the computer and it looked terrible or you drew it by hand CONTINUED
and it looked pretty. I am a champion for the visual quality of our communication. However when I am talking with people, I will roll out the sketch paper because it is still so much easier to look at the layers and choices together in this format! What influenced you to get into the profession of architecture? So many great architects have the opportunity of being introduced to the profession because their parents were architects or they knew one personally. My dad was a social worker and my mom was an elementary school teacher and we didn’t know any architects, but I was definitely going on to college. In exploring what to study in college, I did not have any particular direction. However, in high school I was a violinist. I traveled to Europe a couple of times with a summer youth orchestra. We went to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark one year, and Switzerland and Germany a second year. This allowed me to see a lot of way cooler architecture than you get to see in Farmington Hills, MI. I saw things such as Neuschwanstein Castle and had the opportunity to play a concert in the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, the “Gedächtniskirche,” which is a modern church next to a bombed-out church in Berlin. It particularly struck me how much the general public had an appreciation and understanding for the quality of the environment. People really appeared to respect it. My guidance counselor then suggested architecture and I agreed. I was good at math but not that good, and I didn’t want to practice playing the violin for six hours a day for the rest of my life. I liked art but was not good enough to sell paintings for a living. Architecture was the perfect outlet to do all of those things together.
Profile | Pete DeLisle, Hon. AIA Dallas
NIChOLAS MCwhIRTER, AIA
There is a good chance that you have not heard about Dr. Peter DeLisle. You may not have heard that he is a professor and Leslie B. Crane Chair of Leadership Studies at Austin College—or that he is director of The Posey Leadership Institute at the college. You may not have heard that he has taught at the University of Illinois in Urbana and at the University of Notre Dame, or that he has professional experience as an executive at Hewlett-Packard Company and Convex Computer. You probably don’t even know that he served as an officer in the United States Army. Certainly, you have not heard that he founded three successful companies and acted as an advisor, consultant, and teacher of leaders in more than 200 companies and communities over the last 30 years. However, there is a very good chance that you have crossed paths with one of the 120-plus pupils of the AIA Dallas Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) and Executive Leadership Program (ELEAD) who have gained from his knowledge. Pete’s 32
engagement in AIA Dallas began in 2008 with AIA Dallas’ development of the Emerging Leaders Program, designed to provide guidance to younger professionals on the topic of leadership in the firm, in the profession, and in the community. Come learn more about him through the questions he answers below: you have spent the last six years working with architects, developing leadership programs, and learning the profession. how has that time impacted your views on leadership (if at all), and what aspect of architectural practice do you find the most interesting and/or most surprising? Actually, it confirmed my hunches that thoughtful, reflective people can and should lead. I’m continually excited by the capabilities and facility with which architects apply theory to their practice.
However, I was surprised to learn how rigorous the academic and professional licensure process is. I don’t recall having worked with another profession with a similarly rigorous process. having worked with AIA Dallas to establish the Emerging Leaders Program, what are the biggest challenges you see for the young leaders and/or the current firm leaders in the profession? I think the biggest challenge for Emerging Leaders is finding the time to live a balanced life. With work, family, and professional contributions (community, association, etc.), the time and energy commitments can be very large and it can be difficult to find that balance. Often, when people are successful in an organization, they are continually asked to add more to their loads and that usually comes at a cost to some other aspect of their lives. The challenge for current leaders is understanding the tempo of change and embracing the need to understand the dynamics of the future. Architecture has a long history, back to the pyramids, and as it moves forward, the current leaders need to be able to make good decisions to keep their offices and staff fresh and productive. what change(s) would you encourage the leadership program participants to make in order to have the most significant impact on the profession? To echo Walt Humann, architects see the whole problem (the gestalt). I would advocate that architects take their place as leaders of the community as well as the guardians of the built environment. We should learn to build and sustain cooperative environments for the best possible outcomes for all. you were recently inducted as an honorary member of AIA Dallas, which speaks volumes to a person’s character and impact and is one of the highest honors that the AIA can bestow upon a person outside of our profession. what legacy do you hope to leave within the architectural community? To be worthy of the trust that this award bestows on me. To honor, elevate, and promote the profession of architecture which I have been privileged to see through the eyes of the next generation. When I listened and did things well, more formal recognition came, even when I did not seek it. I was truthfully blown away by the Honorary AIA award. It has been my honor and privilege to work with AIA Dallas and our colleagues—a peak experience for me. Any thoughts or discussion on something we didn’t cover? I hope that the efforts we have made set the stage for architects to be the vanguard: to lead communities and society and to achieve a reflective, hospitable and thoughtful world with a sense of place and purpose. ■ Interview by Charles Brant, AIA, an architect with Perkins+Will. Do you want to learn more? Read the full interview online at www.aiadallas.org/columns/delisle and see what else Pete has to say. Here are some of the things you’ll learn: • What can be done about the absence of leadership education for architects in the university setting. • Pete’s thought on corporate leadership • A view of AIA Dallas’ leadership programs • Pete’s look at the future
Profile | Anita Moran, FAIA
bachelor of science in environmental analysis. My father believed that architecture was a man’s profession but was willing to compromise with interior design, and this degree was comparable to that at the time. After attending the University of Virginia (UVA) for my master of architecture degree, I worked in Washington, DC, for John Carl Warnecke. The firm was very politically connected to the Kennedys. After coming to Texas, I worked for Fisher and Spillman (which then became F&S Partners, now SmithGroup.) How exactly did you end up in Texas? My husband had finished up his master’s degree at UVA in 1980. He is a mechanical engineer who designs heavy equipment for oil and gas drilling. At the time there were few manufacturing jobs in Washington, DC, and the economy was poor. There were a tremendous number of people who had moved to Texas in the early 1980s. We were going to live in Texas for five years, and we have been here for 34. It has been a great place to live. How do you find ways to mentor young women in the profession or women who are interested in going into design? It’s not about mentoring young women. It’s about mentoring young architects in general. Pat Spillman, FAIA was an amazing mentor and he led by example. Through working for Pat, I learned to become a good architect. Architecture is a wonderful career and one that, as practitioners, we should value. I think some of my design interests rubbed off on our daughter. She just moved to Portland, OR, where she works for NIKE as a skateboard shoe designer. Design does matter: I have found throughout my entire career that people value good design. Now that belief has been handed down to our daughter.
NICHOLAS MCWHIRTER, AIA
“When you ask most people about their college experience, they rarely remember specific professors or classes—rather their strongest memories of a university community are of events outside of the classroom. These ‘in between’ experiences and the memories that they create are what binds someone to a university community and compels their growth academically and personally.” Those resonating words are from Anita Moran, FAIA, principal and director of collegiate recreation architecture at Dewberry. With over 30 years’ experience in the Dallas area, Anita has amassed a very particular skill set in the field of recreational architecture. Two of her more notable projects are the Gibbs Wellness and Recreation Center at Rice University in Houston and The Women’s Museum: An Institute for the Future, formerly in Fair Park. Recently, we sat down over breakfast before a busy day to discuss mentorship, wellness, and the impact of recreational facilities in our communities. Where did you get your start towards this profession? I come from an Italian-American family from upstate New York. My parents’ passion for education led to my lifelong involvement in higher education. Attending Cornell University, I received my
You are also on the University of North Texas College of visual Arts & Design (CvAD) Advisory Board. What is that experience like for you? My involvement on the advisory board is a blessing. I have the opportunity to support one of the few design programs in the metroplex. We meet every quarter to discuss what is going on in the college. We are ambassadors for great design and a great college. Personally, I can get behind promoting our growing design community, one that is not only in Denton but also spreads across the entire Dallas area. The dean of the college, Robert Milnes, is just remarkable. He retires in September and he will be missed. He is a great personal friend and a tremendous leader. That said, CVAD and UNT are dynamic institutions and will find a new vibrant leader. ■ Interview by James Adams, AIA, RIBA, a senior associate with Corgan. For the complete interview with Anita Moran, visit Columns online at www.tiny.cc/moranprofile. Find out the balance required for good design and programming on a college campus, how she became involved with The Women’s Museum, and what she does in her free time.
Profile | Denton Wilson
NICHOLAS MCWHIRTER, AIA
As assistant vice president of design and construction for Methodist Health System (MHS), Denton Wilson is currently overseeing three consecutive healthcare projects here in the DFW area with a combined budget exceeding $360 million. A firm proponent of open communication, his collaboration-based approach gathers all individuals early in the project: architects, engineers, contractors, and owners. By carefully assembling these mega-teams, Denton’s strategy embraces a philosophy based on the open-source sharing of knowledge and expertise, and on camaraderie and trust built among teams and trades. Recently nominated for the 2014 Changemaker of the Year award, bestowed by the Center for Health Design, Denton sat down with us to grab a coffee at Oddfellows in Bishop Arts District to discuss his passion for building collaborative teams and projects. Many people in the industry use the term “collaboration” and “team.” How would you define these terms in your projects? In today’s market, the definition of team has been elevated to a level of understanding focused on common ground. We see this common ground centered on a group of people committed to one another, to the project team, and to the project’s goals. But what truly unifies the team is a common vision. A team that is synchronized on this notion possesses a very strong level of
accountability and understands that success is determined by the whole process and not just individual achievement. If you truly desire the best outcomes, then you need to establish a common vision within the team. True collaboration aligns multidisciplinary knowledge with the great technologies at hand. What are the benefits of a collaborative approach versus the more traditional project delivery methods? The collaborative process gives the designers more time, options, and flexibility, and a greater understanding of what best value means to a project. Traditionally, the reduction of design potential is encountered much further into the project timeline when decisions are made to value-engineer or redesign. By realigning the knowledge of architects, engineers, and other project individuals upfront, we encounter fewer schedule impacts, better constructability, and much more efficient models. What are some challenges you face in transitioning individuals to these collaborative team models? Part of the challenge is the amount of time spent upfront—the front-loading of knowledge can be intimidating to many owners. However, the proper aligning of knowledge-based teams is crucial in the beginning. Great design does not just happen. It has to evolve
and grow as a collaborative process. The ability to implement BIM technologies, combined with efficient team-building strategies, speeds up the delivery process. Even on the most well-managed projects the misalignment of processes and information will cost time, money, and measurable value. Therefore, we implement a strategy called “slowing down, to speed up.” Everyone still has his or her individual responsibilities and tasks, but we take the time to establish and define our milestone targets during our pull-planning sessions. This allows us to define the roadblocks ahead and move forward accordingly. How would you summarize the power of team collaboration and the benefits to the individuals involved in your projects?I have been blessed to work with some very talented individuals who are proud of what they do. We work in environments built on-site to allow collaboration by working alongside one another. This exposes all disciplines to one another and gives everybody access to communal information. By working in this manner, we are able to re-align knowledge and information quicker and more efficiently by making it accessible to the entire project team. You are a firm believer in a proper work/life balance. What does the term “quality of life” mean to you? For me, it is the ability to turn your mind off. It can be difficult to disconnect yourself from the distractions of the workplace at the end of the day. I want to find that balance and betterment for my family and myself. I will tell you very proudly that the strength and support of my bride and best friend for 28 years has been the behind-the-scenes foundation of my workplace successes. For me, it is about finding ways to spend time with my family and really connect with them. I have made it my priority since my son was six years old to write him notes: thoughts I wanted to tell him or share with him. That helped me slow down and find that balance of family. He will tell you today that he still has all those notes. What do you want people to know about your how you work and operate with your teams? Personally, my motivations for the MHS projects I oversee are not necessarily rooted in winning design awards or recognition. I want to take all these projects combined and make the industry better. The healthcare industry is getting stronger and smarter because of these collaborative measures. People across all segments and disciplines are getting tremendous betterment for themselves individually as they come off these projects knowing more about the whole process. My teams know that I strive to create opportunities that can help make their subsequent projects better. If you create these opportunities and experiences now, then the process will have sustained its purpose for future projects and endeavors. ■ Inteview by Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA, a designer with Corgan.
Read an extended interview with Denton and find out what a VP of design and construction does, how he motivates his mega-teams, and what a typical day is like for him. www.tiny.cc/wilson-profile. Denton is also a prolific and talented photographer. See his art at www.tiny.cc/ wilson-photos.
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Profile | Graham Greene, AIA Graham Greene, AIA, is one of four partners at Oglesby Greene Architects, an award-winning boutique design firm with offices located on the edge of the Dallas arts district. Greene began his architectural career in Chicago with Lohan Associates, formerly The Office of Mies van der Rohe. In 1989, he opened his own practice in Dallas, with an eye toward urban vitalization and sustainability. Six years later, his firm merged with The Oglesby Group, forming Oglesby Greene. The firm’s portfolio spans many project types, including civic buildings, urban live-work and mixed-use redevelopments, affordable housing, and luxury residences. At times, Greene works as both architect and client in the development process. He seeks out investment opportunities in underserved populations and situations, striving to find viable and sustainable solutions. His latest venture— Flora Lofts— aims to make it affordable for artists to live and work in the Dallas arts district. The site, which Greene purchased 17 years ago, is adjacent to the Nasher Sculpture Center, Museum Tower, and the Meyerson Symphony Center. The Lofts are targeted for completion in December 2015. how did the 1995 merger of your office with the oglesby group come about? Coming out of one of the last economic recessions, I was looking for talented people to join our growing practice. I made a list of the best architectural firms in the city, thinking that’s where talent was to be found. The Oglesby Group was at the very top of the list. When I contacted them, we immediately saw a strong alignment of architectural principles and values, and then decided to merge the studios. is there a driving philosophy behind the type of projects you choose to pursue? We are patient modernists and like to do any type of project that is complex, significant, and meaningful to both our clients and us. So what we’ve been doing exceedingly well is combining views toward the future with of-our-time thinking to achieve timeless results. This challenge of putting it all together while achieving architectural excellence is the thing that makes us most excited about our work. iaN coLe
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Tell me about the idea behind Flora Lofts. Why did you take up the cause for artist housing? It’s a simple idea: having artists actually live in the Dallas arts district. Then the complexity begins in aligning multitudes of divergent values, social and cultural values, economic values, property values … it’s a very complicated endeavor which needs to happen to fulfill one of the prime intentions in the original vision for the district. Over the last 25 years, I’ve invested my time and money in the production of over 300 units of affordable, supportive housing because there are very real unfulfilled needs. A need for affordable artist housing is just like the need for creating housing for the homeless, for students, seniors, the disabled, and workers who can’t make a living wage. Being architects, we have the skills to dramatically improve this situation, and I see it as my unique way of contributing to the betterment of our urban culture. What attracted you to the development side of architecture? The attraction has come more from a social investment mentality. I see opportunities that get overlooked by local developers, many of whom are potential clients, and see situations where there isn’t much interest, but there is a real need. I’ve placed some money at risk—
where both my mouth and heart are when seeing these possibilities. It was started with a small investment and it has been parlayed into larger ones from the successes of the previous endeavors. What advice would you give to another architect who wanted to be his or her own client? First thing, as client and architect, invest your time or money only in what you believe in 100%, no matter how difficult. Second, don’t let yourself get into situations where you must move forward or you will sacrifice your vision. And last, don’t squander your time or money on frivolous indulgences and vain pursuits. Do things that fill a real need and provide both you and society with a return on your investment. how do you see the Dallas arts district evolving in the next five years? The Dallas citizenry have so far achieved a vital cultural foundation for the greater vision of the founding stakeholders. Coming soon is a critical mix of other uses, one that includes more residents, retailers, gardens, street life, transportation choices, and connections to adjacent neighborhoods and downtown. The sense is that we have used up most of the available development sites, but I see expanding the development potential of city-owned
properties—such as the symphony and Dallas Museum of Art—in ways that public-private partnerships are able to further develop a mix of uses, creating a vital urban neighborhood and funding the arts programming at the same time. In Dallas arts district v. 2—a new development guideline that will supersede the Sasaki Plan—issues of inclusivity need to be addressed before it evolves any further into becoming an exclusive elitist enclave. if you could change one thing about Dallas, what would it be? I’d somehow diminish the pervasive infatuation in the idea that everything BIG is inherently better, as in “too big to fail,” and reverse the undercurrent that it instills that smaller enterprises are somehow less worthy. What do you like to do when you’re not working in the studio? I absolutely love to go sailing. It is the most incredible feeling being propelled along by an invisible force, the wind, knowing that with the right knowledge and actions you can get to the destination you desire. It’s an incredible amount of work, too, but the sensations give you immediate gratification and keep your focus completely in the moment. ■ Interviewed by Cynthia Smith, Assoc. AIA, DSGN Associates in Dallas.
coLUmNs | www.aiadallas.org
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Profile | David Braden, FAIA
With typical modesty, David Braden sums up his achievements with the quip “I was just born lucky.” A former president of AIA Dallas and the Texas Society of Architects, Braden first joined the chapter as an associate member in 1950 after a decorated career as a pilot in the Pacific theater in World War II. After working for Dallas legends George Dahl and Howard Meyer, he started his own Oak Cliffbased firm, Braden and Jones, with Harold Jones in 1953. Twenty years later, they took over George Dahl’s firm in
1973, renaming it Dahl, Braden, Chapman & Jones. Braden retired from architecture in 1991 and became chairman of the board of the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. He retired again and became a professional arbitrator. Through all of these careers, he was also a successful public speaker, a humorist who entertained presidents, bankers, and architects across the country. Now truly retired as of 2013, Braden offered the following thoughts for young architects
creating their own paths today. These remarks were adapted from an interview now on file in the Oral History of Texas Architecture Project at the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture, University of Texas at Arlington. is there a design that helped get your career going? I designed a house for my family in 1951 on Cedar Hill Avenue in Oak Cliff. [It was] a very small house—1,000 square feet on two levels. It was dug into the hill
coLUmNs | www.aiadallas.org
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ABOVE: Braden designed a residence that won an aia Dallas Design award and is also published in the aia guide to Dallas architecture.
on the top level and the roof deck dropped down to the living room and put a glass front on it and it looked out onto the deck. I had been thinking about building a wall there and filling it in and when the house got underway, I said, “I can’t do that. That is going to kill those trees.” So it was what I think was the first flying deck that appeared on a house in Dallas, TX. I entered the house in AIA’s annual competition and it won first place. I was still working as a draftsman for George Dahl at that time. Everybody said, “Who is this guy that beat all of us professional architects out?” I began to meet the architects! You are always very involved in politics, from oak cliff community issues to the major goals for Dallas project initiated by mayor erik Jonsson in 1964. how did that affect your career as an architect? Having a public and political life was what gave me a practice really. That’s all I can say about it. I went from a guy who worked on a drawing board to being a “rain-maker” and I was a good firm manager. Thanks to the Goals for Dallas program, Dallas got its pride back after the Kennedy assassination and found ways to explore some avenues of how to solve problems, but we also got to meet each other. I mean, if you look at the goals for different 24
categories [government, education, city design, and many others], we got to meet each other: different people in different categories that had expertise. My goals for Goals for Dallas were in planning and I participated with Pat Spillman and James Pratt and some of the other architects. We didn’t have a very good planning program at all in Dallas. Dallas didn’t even really know what it was. We had a city planner, but he had limited capabilities, so that is what we focused on. You were very involved in aia Dallas and Tsa. What was the importance of those organizations for you?
Everything. I am luckier than most people, and people know me, so I have many friends. There was a time when I felt like I knew every architect in the state of Texas because I was president of TSA and one of the things that the president does is visit every chapter. You know I would always do some version of what I would call “my thing” with them, and I had many friends. ■ Interviewed by Kate Holliday, director of the David Dillon Center for Texas Architecture in the School of Architecture at the University of Texas Arlington. More photos of the colorful David Braden at www.aiadallas.org/columns/braden
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Profile | Bob Bullis, AIA
BELOW: the aIa dallas 2015 President, bob bullis
He’s been described as an “Architect’s Architect” with architectural experience in design, project management, consultation, academia, and most recently as the director of client relations with RogersO’Brien Construction. Bob has been active in organizing events such as the AIA Dallas and Greater Dallas Planning Council’s Choices for a 21st Century Dallas: Connecting People and Opportunities. This mobility summit, held last fall, spotlighted urban issues of connectivity, transportation, mobility, and the far-reaching impacts these issues currently have on Dallas and North Texas. First as president-elect in 2014 and now AIA Dallas president for 2015, Bob continues to focus his efforts on the influence the chapter and its members have on the local community, while understanding the constraints and challenges our city currently faces. Also an advocate for the younger generation of architects and designers, Bob is a firm believer in creating opportunities for success among those eager to learn and stay connected in the profession. He sees diversity, change, and forward-thinking strategies as a win for AIA: The combination of different viewpoints, cultures, interests, and activities are the unique elements that create connectivity within the city. We met up with Bob for lunch on the 22
heels of the mobility summit to talk about issues impacting both Dallas and the region. you’ve served on the board of directors for aIa dallas for some time. What are your immediate goals as president of aIa dallas? AIA Dallas must be seen as relevant organization and we must claim our seat at the table, providing context to the conversation and planning/design expertise to our political leaders and the greater community. This was the mission of the recent mobility summit. There are ongoing conversations in the news (such as the ongoing highway debates), the economic divide between North Dallas and the southern sector, and the impact our schools have on growth and
economic opportunity for our residents. Organizationally, we need to keep an open mind and, regardless of how we feel as individuals, we must try to understand the opposing argument and practice empathy in our listening, our response, and our actions. As architects we are trained to be big picture thinkers and strategic planners. We have the ability to define clarity of vision and to effectively communicate this vision to the public. I am certain our members and our chapter leadership will rise to the occasion. how can aIa dallas continue to expand its presence in the community and stay relevant on current issues like mobility, transportation, and public infrastructure in North texas?
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Several years ago, AIA Dallas leadership took an introspective look at our chapter, soliciting feedback from membership on the effectiveness of the organization. The outcome of this strategic planning exercise is the implementation of programs that focus on key areas of communication, education, advocacy, and networks. The AIA Dallas Springboard website was launched January 2014 under the leadership of 2014 President Lisa Lamkin, AIA and past President Kirk Teske, AIA. Through the website, we provide our members with a voice and a platform to engage the community, both AIA Dallas and the larger community. In 2014 we reengaged our public policy committee and took our seat at the table, becoming advocates and champions for building a better Dallas. It is my belief that our public policy efforts should continue to be a consistent and positive voice on communitywide issues. From our home at Dallas Center for Architecture (DCFA), located in the heart of the Dallas central business district, we are well positioned to be a resource to politicians, community builders, benefactors, and clients alike.
Speaking of current events, aIa dallas recently hosted a mobility summit here in dallas. you are a big proponent of the mobility issues and increasing the urban fabric and walkability and connectivity of our neighborhoods. What are some of the topics covered and how do we stay relevant in the discussion and discourse? It has been said that the next four years will change the face of Dallas as we know it. Dallas and Texas are leading the nation in job and population growth and the investments in our communities are unparalleled. The highways and development projects we build over the next four years will be the communities of our children’s children. The stakes are high and we must lead the discussions and ensure the development is responsible, sustainable, and equitable. Understandably, this good economy has created a series of complex issues that we must respond to, including the impacts of transportation, education, economics, and
overall well-being of our communities. As one of our keynote speakers from the mobility summit, Jeff Tumlin, pointed out, we are on the “cusp” of becoming a true U.S. destination city in terms of our amenities, attractions, and public infrastructure. We need to be very clear about what our visions and goals for Dallas entail and need to have significant metrics and quantitative data to support these decisions. Big picture: If we can continue the civility of our discussions and are steadfast in focusing the conversation on mobility and public infrastructure, we will hopefully get the details correct. ■ Interview by Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA, intern with Corgan.
Web Exclusive: Find out about the personal side of Bob—his hobbies and pastimes—as well as his love of architectural delineation at www.aiadallas.org/columns/Bullis.
BELOW AND RIGHT: Inspired to create art since
college, bob bullis specializes in watercolors and architectural renderings. More of his work can be viewed at www.aiadallas.org/columns/bullis.
COLUMNS | www.aiadallas.org
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Profile | Sam Ringman
nIcHolaS mcWHIrter, aIa
there is a feeling that comes to mind when arriving Sam Ringman’s office, a one-room corner office on the fourth floor in a building in the West End historic district. The award-winning architectural illustrator quietly sits at his drafting table working on his latest rendering. The 38
sound of the radio fills the space lined with countless books and framed pieces of art and drawings. It’s a calm respite that allows Sam to focus and carefully craft moving pieces of building imagery. One wonders whether this process used to be a bit simpler, slower, maybe a
bit more human, more collaborative, a face-to-face experience between professionals. Sam differentiates himself from other illustrators accordingly: “I am a professional architect. I am not a draftsman, I am a collaborator who will
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meet with a client in person, not try to generate an image via electronic instructions from a distant time zone.” The rendered architectural perspective provides an important vision of the project that developers, banks, and the public can identify with. Yet, the process of creating architectural drawings can be quite tense. Often the renderer is situated in a different city or even across the globe and email is the main means of communication. The limited interaction forces the architect to red-line progress views for round after round with the renderer trying to decipher the aesthetic intent of the final image. The timeline always runs too short, the requested deliverables are too numerous, and the repetitive cycle makes it feel machine-like. Sam cultivated a passion for drawing architectural perspectives as a student at Texas A&M University. After graduating with a master’s in architecture in 1983, he worked for three years at HOK Dallas. He didn’t return to his interest in illustration
then, but the desire to grow in the art of representing buildings remained. After getting licensed, he started his own practice as an architectural illustrator. For the next decade, his work at Ringman Design + Illustration would produce commercial perspectives for the Dallas area’s largest firms, including WDG, Gensler, RTKL, and HKS, as well as major home builders such as Centex. Sam’s portfolio of work grew to include retail, office interiors, and residential work. One of his most enduring clients was Elby Martin, a Dallasbased architect of custom homes who seemed to appreciate Sam’s trademark ink drawings, as well as his efforts at adapting a style reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright’s perspective drawings featured in his famous Wasmuth Portfolio. Before he can draw a single line, Sam wants the client to clearly define the final drawing’s intentions: “I always try to ask at the beginning who we are trying to reach, what rational and emotional responses we
are after, and what story we are trying to tell.” The information provided by the client can range from a verbal description to a complete computer-generated wireframe. He works in a variety of media and techniques (pencil, ink, marker, and watercolor) and the scope of work can range from napkin sketches to large, highly-detailed watercolors. ■ Julien Meyrat, AIA is a senior designer at Gensler.
Find out more about Sam’s methods, his commitment to “personal and emotional” drawings over digital renderings, and his distinguished reputation as a frequent winner of the Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation Competition. www.aiadallas.org/ columns/ringman Also check out more samples of his drawings at www.aiadallas.org/columns/ samplesbysam
colUmnS | www.aiadallas.org
Profile | James Clutts, FAIA
NICHOLAS MCWHIRTER, AIA
The recipient of the AIA Dallas 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award, James Clutts, FAIA, is an architect with a vast and impressive career. Jimâ€™s contributions to the built environment include a notable range of civic, educational, and cultural projects both in Dallas and across Texas. He is also a former president for both the Texas Society of Architects and AIA Dallas; his leadership in the profession has left a significant mark. Prior to celebrating his 90th birthday this year, Jim discussed with Columns some highlights of his distinguished career on a visit to one of his favorite projects, Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Dallas. hOW DID yOu geT yOur STArT here In DAllAS?
I started with a firm called Smith and Mills. Smith Mills eventually broke up, and Smith asked me to go with him. So I did and he started his own company: Howard K. Smith [present-day HKS]. I worked for him for several years. We did quite a few buildings together, including Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church and a good number of other churches before I resigned to go
into business for myself as Clutts and Parker. And I continued to build churches and some schools. We eventually became HKCP, Harvey Kemp Clutts Parker, and did many civic, cultural, and educational buildings here in Dallas. At the turn of the century, I sold my firm to the two leading architects working for me at the time. They still own it to this day and have changed it to Jennings and Hackler: Grady Jennings and Bob Hacklerâ€”both really good architects.
yOu hAve A very InvOlveD hISTOry WIThIn TSA AnD AIA DAllAS. WhAT Were SOMe hIghlIghTS?
Yeah, I pretty much held every position you could hold, I guess. I was the president of the Dallas chapter of AIA and president of Texas Society of Architects. I also served on the AIA Board of Directors where I served a three-year term representing Texas at the national AIA level. I always enjoyed the relationships I had with other architects by virtue of
being part of the AIA. There was always the great company of being with other great architects. A few of my close friends—Dave Braden, FAIA and Pat Spillman, FAIA—were also a part of AIA back then. It was an enjoyable time. yOu MenTIOneD ThIS ChurCh [SAInT MIChAel AnD All AngelS] AS An IMPOrTAnT One In yOur CAreer. WhAT ASPeCTS OF The ChurCh Are yOu MOST FOnD OF?
Well, it was during my time with Howard K. Smith as principal designer. We were selected as the Architect of Record and had a large role to play in the design of the church. The bas relief reredos sculpture was commissioned to my friend Charles Umlaf, whom I met while teaching at the University of Texas-Austin. He personally selected the marble that was shipped from Carrara, Italy. The stained glass used in the windows and the large Creation Window was commissioned from a small company in San Antonio. I have always really liked the way it looks here in the main sanctuary.
of Music there at UNT. They were good buildings. Also here in Dallas, The Hockaday School and School for the Talented and Gifted at Townview Center, which I really admire. It is a very large school with multiple levels. But there is good natural light throughout the campus: a good distribution of sunlight even in the lowest levels of the school. I also had great relationships with the University of Texas system and Texas A&M and built several other buildings across multiple campuses. They were big and very expensive buildings. yOur POrTFOlIO InCluDeS An exTenSIve AMOunT OF ChurCh DeSIgn. IS There SOMeThIng ABOuT ThIS PArTICulAr BuIlDIng TyPe yOu enjOyeD exPlOrIng?
Yeah, as far as educational buildings, I did several buildings on the campus of the University of North Texas like the music building’s Recital Hall and the UNT Coliseum. They have a very strong School
Yeah, there are many things I enjoyed about designing churches. I really enjoyed working with the committees for these church projects. One church in particular in Bonham, TX, was a good example. In the beginning, I met with members of the church [Trinity Episcopal Church] and said I would like to meet with your worship committee to determine certain aspects of the project. So we set a date for the meeting and when I showed up, the same people from the first meeting showed up again! Turns out there was only about 10 to 12 families in the whole church and they showed up to every meeting! … All of them! I always thought that was pretty neat. It was that kind of “one-on-one”
JAMES CLUTTS, FAIA
NICHOLAS MCWHIRTER, AIA
There Are MAny CIvIC, eDuCATIOnAl, CulTurAl, AnD relIgIOuS BuIlDIngS ThAT yOu DeSIgneD. SeverAl Are On COllege CAMPuSeS ACrOSS TexAS. COrreCT?
BelOW: Clutts as a young man (Left), and Saint Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church, Dallas, (Right) one of his favorite projects.
personal relationship I enjoyed with these types of clients. WhAT DID yOu leArn FrOM TheSe relATIOnShIPS?
These relationships often led to great projects like the Trinity Episcopal. I wanted to have an altar that was special. So I called down to Austin from Bonham and talked to some people I knew down there who ran a quarry and did stonework, and told them I would like to have one cut of stone 8 feet long and 36 inches deep and wide that was smooth on top and smooth on bottom, and then rough around the edges like it had just come out of the quarry. It ended up being Austin limestone and we had it shipped to Bonham and set down on two piers that were set in place in the ground. They built the small church around that altar and I thought it turned out very successful. It’s still there to this day. ■ Interviewed by Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA, intern with Corgan. Take a tour of some more of the civic, cultural, religious, and educational buildings built in North Texas over the span of the career of Jim Clutts, FAIA, recipient of the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from AIA Dallas. www.aiadallas.org/columns/clutts
Profile | Gregory Ibañez, FAIA
NICHOLAS MCWHIRTER, AIA
gregory Ibañez, FAIA is the 2015 President of AIA Fort Worth (AIAFW). After practicing in Dallas for nearly two decades, he opened his current Fort Worth firm, Ibañez Architecture, in 1997. Greg has been actively engaged in civic affairs through service on the Fort Worth Historic and Cultural Landmarks Commission and the Fort Worth Public Art Commission, and as a board member of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. The recipient of 22 design awards, Greg was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in 2012. hOW DID yOu DeCIDe TO BeCOMe An ArChITeCT AnD Where DID yOu STuDy?
My uncles were architects in Guadalajara, Mexico. As a child, I remember visiting their office and being enthralled by the atmosphere. I attended the University of Cincinnati for two years in a prearchitecture program and completed my studies at IIT in Chicago. Tell uS ABOuT SOMe OF yOur PAST PrOjeCTS ThAT yOu FOunD MOST InTereSTIng Or reWArDIng.
The lake house that I designed for a
friend’s family was meaningful both in an architectural sense and also personally. Two commercial projects that stand out are the Valeo facility at Alliance Airport and AUI Contractors office building [both in Fort Worth]. Valeo’s views on workplace design are progressive and in marked contrast to the typical developer approach. AUI wanted a building that demonstrated craftsmanship. The cast-inplace concrete walls were created using an innovative concrete technology and they are simply magnificent.
Tell uS ABOuT yOur CurrenT FIrM, FOCuS, AnD PrOjeCTS.
My firm—Ibañez Architecture—is a small design studio. On residential and less complex projects we do everything, which is very important to me. I enjoy construction drawings and especially going on site. On larger or more complex projects we associate with larger firms, with them as architect of record. I have always been a generalist and our workload reflects that approach. About half of our projects are residential; the rest is a mix of commercial and hospitality.
WhAT SPArkS yOur CreATIvITy?
Reading, film, theatre, museums, but especially travel. Travel forces me to look deeply at different urban environments or landscapes, and upon my return I always feel as though I see home in a new way. hOW DO The ArChITeCTurAl COMMunITIeS In FOrT WOrTh AnD DAllAS COllABOrATe? hOW COulD ThAT COllABOrATIOn Be IMPrOveD?
Having one foot in each—I’ve spent 17 years in each city—I don’t feel the rivalry that may have previously existed. And through Texas Society of Architects, all of the architects in the state work together, our chapters included. The Dallas Architecture Forum provides sustenance for us all, although frequent travel to Dallas to attend can be challenging. I believe Don Gatzke FAIA, former dean of the UTArlington School of Architecture, made great strides in making the school the common forum for North Texas architectural and planning discussions. The composition and size of our chapters are very different. Dallas has many large national or international firms, while Fort Worth’s largest firms are at best mid-sized. We are predominately small practices, so we are doing our best to align AIAFW with our architectural community. WhAT Are SOMe OF The key ChAllengeS FACIng FOrT WOrTh In The FuTure? WhAT Are key ChAllengeS FOr The DAllAS/FOrT WOrTh MeTrOPOlITAn AreA?
yOu reCenTly ChAIreD The FOrT WOrTh PuBlIC ArT COMMISSIOn. WhAT rOle ShOulD PuBlIC ArT PlAy In urBAn lIFe AnD hOW CAn nOrTh TexAS CITIeS IMPrOve In ThIS reSPeCT?
I think public art should be a part of every government building project. The General Services Administration’s Excellence in Architecture program has produced some incredible public art along with the outstanding architecture. yOu Are very InvOlveD WITh DOCOMOMO nOrTh TexAS. PleASe OvervIeW ITS MISSIOn. WhAT Are SOMe OF ITS gOAlS?
DoCoMoMo stands for the documentation and conservation of the Modern Movement, which is the mission. Bob Meckfessel, FAIA spearheaded the formation of our chapter and since then most Texas cities have founded chapters as well. Locally, we’re focused on awareness of our significant Modern heritage and we provide advocacy for its value.
I have very eclectic musical tastes, but if I had to pick, I would list jazz as my favorite. As for film, I’ll watch anything by Stanley Kubrick, Hitchcock, Woody Allen, or Terrence Malick. WhAT ADvICe WOulD yOu gIve A yOung PerSOn COnSIDerIng A CAreer In ArChITeCTure?
I believe that it can be an incredibly rewarding profession, but ultimately you have to have the passion for it—or for anything you do for that matter). One must be an optimist … and having a tremendous capacity for patience really helps. In even my most difficult moments, I’ve never dreaded walking into the office. ■ Interviewed by Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas, executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum.
gREgORY IBANEz, FAIA
Fort Worth has many of the same challenges that Dallas and every city in the area has grappled with for decades: mobility, a lack of regional planning, and managing explosive growth. I am often surprised at the lack of knowledge that some of our city’s leaders have for the planning lessons learned, good and bad, from Dallas. Fort Worth has a great many virtues, including a compact urban core, vibrant in-town neighborhoods, and some wonderful historic buildings. Leveraging the inherent authenticity (i.e. Cowtown) while creating a more diverse city is the challenging task. leFT: Craftsmanship defines the AUI
Contractors office, Fort Worth.
rIghT AnD BOTTOM: The architect's sketch of a possible design for a Nashville, TN, restaurant, and artwork created in the artsy town of Marfa, TX.
WhAT Are yOur TASTeS In MuSIC AnD MOvIeS?
gREgORY IBANEz, FAIA
Profile | Lucilo Peña
NIChOLAS MCwhIrTEr, AIA
Lucilo Peña is one of those individuals whose body of work as an architect and developer easily fits into the category of “Dallas and Beyond.” While at Billingsley Company today, his early career included working as a project designer at WZMH Inc. and landing roles of increasing responsibility at Trammell Crow Design and Construction and the Dallas Market Center Company. From 1989 to 1996, he worked with the Travelstead Group in Spain, assuming its presidency in 1993. The keynote project for him during that time was the Parc de Mar Project (Hotel Arts) in the Olympic Village in Barcelona. That project consisted of designing, building, and leasing a mixed-use complex of approximately 1,180,000 square feet, which included a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, 30 luxury duplex apartments, an office building, and a retail center. The project is considered a cornerstone among the Olympic projects in Barcelona and is the result of a collaborative effort between Bruce Graham (SOM Chicago), Frank Gehry, and GCA. Lucilo is the president of development at Billingsley, a role he has had since 1996. Educated as an architect with a bachelor of design degree from the University of Florida, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Cornell University, with additional studies at Harvard, l’Université Paris-Sorbonne, and Berlin’s Künstlerhaus Bethanien. FALL 2015
LeFT: One Arts Plaza, a Billingsley project in the
Dallas arts district, features a grand lighted fountain at the entrance.
rIGhT Cypress waters, a master planned community on North Lake, is a Billingsley development shown in this graphical illustration.
GOOD FULTON & FArrELL ArChITECTS AND BILLINGSLEy CO.
ChArLES SMITh, AIA
hOW (AnD When) DID YOU DeCIDe TO BeCOMe An ArChITeCT? WhAT CAUSeD YOU TO BeCOMe InVOLVeD In DeVeLOPMenT?
I grew up in Caracas, Venezuela, and attended the American School. I was good at both math and art, and in high school my teacher encouraged me to attend a summer program in architecture at Cornell. That solidified my interest in architecture. I originally moved to Dallas to work for an architecture firm. During an economic downturn, I learned about a position with Trammell Crow and have focused on development as a way to support outstanding architecture and design since then. hOW DID YOUr YeArS LIVInG OVerSeAS AnD YOUr InTernATIOnAL TrAVeLS ShAPe YOUr DeSIGn AeSTheTIC?
The influence of International Style architecture can be seen in all of the major countries which I have visited. Quality modern design is appreciated around the world. One major difference between the United States and Europe is the understanding of the political power of architecture in European countries. In Spain, socialist governments award architecture commissions to architects whose work is seen as socialist, while conservative ruling bodies give work to architects who follow their political viewpoints. This produces projects that are differentiated in their design, with those designed by socialists tending to be more experimental and socially conscious, while those commissioned by conservatives tending to be more traditional or neo-classical. For example,
the airport in Barcelona was commissioned by the center right state government and awarded to Ricardo Bofill; it’s truly post-modern. In Barcelona the socialist municipal government commissioned the firm of Martorell, Bohigas, MacKay to do the master plan for the Olympic Village resulting in a very contextual mixed-use solution to contemporary living. Barcelona has a form-based code design with criteria mandated by the city specifying such details as the percentage of glass on a street elevation, paving patterns and materials in the right-of-way, etc. That governmental control over the design process would be unimaginable in the U.S.A., but creates the coherent public realm for which Barcelona is known and admired worldwide. WhAT Are SOMe OF The MAJOr PrOJeCTS BILLInGSLeY IS CUrrenTLY DeVeLOPInG, AnD WhAT IS YOUr rOLe In ThOSe PrOJeCTS AS PreSIDenT OF DeVeLOPMenT?
As president of development for Billingsley, I oversee the design and development of the master plans for our communities. I work with the respective cities to secure needed zoning, interview and hire the design team, and then hire and oversee the contractors who build the projects. Cypress Waters is a 1,000-acre master planned community surrounding North Lake at Beltline Road and LBJ Freeway in Dallas. It will have 10,000 residential units and over four million square feet of commercial space. The 2,000-acre master plan for Austin
Ranch—located where The Colony, Carrollton, Plano, and Lewisville come together—was developed by Peter Calthorpe. It is currently in its eighth phase of residential/mixed-use developments with over 3,800 completed residential units, as well as multiple industrial and office projects. Billingsley is a major long-term holder of our projects. Most of our projects are part of comprehensive master plans, which means that what we currently build will have tremendous impact on future projects. As one of the few major developers in this category, we are able to positively impact adjacent development, increase the potential value of the area, and leverage development for the benefit of the community. We are very pleased that our developments have won numerous design awards, and each of our multi-family projects has received national design awards, including recognition from the Multifamily “Pillars of the Industry” Awards by the National Association of Home Builders. An AIA design jury commented that some of our suburban office projects designed by Lionel Morrison were “too good for the budgets they had.” I think my background in architecture fortunately pushes the design team to produce better results. ■ Interview by Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas, executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum. The interview with Lucilo continues online to explore: • What local projects bring him pride • How to become a liveable urban city • What role art and culture play www.aiadallas.org/columns/lucilo COLUMNS | www.aiadallas.org
Profile | Diane Collier, AIA
NIChOLAS MCwhIrTEr, AIA
Diane Collier is a principal with Collier Galvin Associates, a Dallas-based firm representing manufacturers of site amenities and materials for cities, universities, corporations, and retail environments. An active and enthusiastic member of AIA for decades, she received her master of architecture degree from the University of Texas at Arlington and her bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Nebraska. An affiliate member of the American Society of Landscape Architects, her passion lies in the intelligent design of urban spaces and enhancement of those spaces using signature materials and furnishings to develop unique, safe, and inviting outdoor environments. WhY DID YOU BeCOMe An ArChITeCT?
My father was a carpenter, a builder of things. His grandfather and his brothers and ancestors were carpenters in Czechoslovakia and immigrated in the first part of the last century to Omaha, NE. My father carried on the family tradition and I remember visits to job sites early on, as well as stories of which buildings in town my family helped to build. When I was growing up, I loved to hang out with my father in his shop, exploring all the tools you could imagine. To this day, one of my favorite fragrances is sawdust. In high school, I met a college student
studying architecture and that started the life-long passion for architecture, history, etc. As a sophomore, I started taking mechanical drawing classes and, in my senior year, my high school offered an architecture class. After that there was no looking back. Being a woman in architecture in the ‘70s was interesting. I was the only woman in drafting classes for all three years in high school. There were only a couple of females in the architecture program at the University of Nebraska. That being said, I really didn’t feel that unusual on a day-to-day basis, but my place as a woman became clear when I
interviewed in 1974 to become a summer intern for a large architecture firm. After the interview the principal walked me out of the offices, put his arm around my shoulder, and told me that this was one of the most interesting interviews he’d ever had. He said, “I’d hire you, but I have no idea what we would do with a woman.” Truly, I was stunned yet determined, and soon found a job with a smaller company that offered me a terrific summer of learning. That was the beginning of my understanding that women had to work differently to get ahead in architecture.
hOW DID YOU ADAPT TO enTerInG A MALe-CenTrIC PrOFeSSIOn?
I moved to Dallas in the late ‘70s where I met a few women architects, all of whom had similar “gender lonely” experiences in school. It was an exciting time to be in Dallas with buildings being planned and built, and urban plans like the Dallas Plan being promoted. We were excited to meet each other and became fast personal and professional friends. In 1979, we formed Women in Architecture, an independent group that continues today as a committee within AIA Dallas that enables women in the industry to connect, engage, and support each other. Some of these women are still my closest and dearest friends.
happened in the mid ‘80s when I was working for a large developer, helping with a variety of large buildings in downtown Dallas. We were all excited on the day that Philip Johnson was coming to town to present his concept for a new bank building in downtown Dallas. I was chosen to help set up his presentation.
BeLOW: Diane Collier's life may best be illustrated by some of her personal effects.
talk to him while he finished preparing for his presentation. The meeting didn’t go well. He left disappointed and sent a completely revised MBank Tower design. He returned only when the building— now Comerica Bank Tower—opened.
hOW DID YOUr CAreer eVOLVe?
After graduate school at UTA, I worked for a firm called Beran & Shelmire. Where I live today in downtown Dallas, I look up from my living room window to the window where I sat in my first office, working on projects like the Adolphus hotel, the Anatole hotel, the World Trade Center, and St. Mark’s School. Other memories surround my current home in a downtown high-rise. The Statler Hilton, another view from my current downtown residence, is where I met my future inlaws. While working for a developer in the 1980s, I helped build three buildings in adjacent blocks, bought nylons at Dillard’s, and learned just about everything I know about fashion at Neiman Marcus. By the late 1990s, when my children were small, I was burning the candle at both ends, working in the development/construction management sector and involved in my children’s activities. My commercial interior designer husband had started a company representing commercial furniture lines. It seemed logical to join him and support his efforts in a more family-centered effort. Within the first year it became clear that I had a penchant for sales. When we were hired by a company that manufactured site furnishings, I began to work with landscape architects and outdoor built environments. This made me very happy and fulfilled my dreams of making an impact on the American city. TeLL US ABOUT YOUr exPerIenCe When PhILIP JOhnSOn CAMe TO TOWn.
That is one of my favorite career stories. It
NIChOLAS MCwhIrTEr, AIA
He walked in the door with this very large wooden box housing his impeccable building model. As he flipped open the locks and pulled up the model, I gasped. “Oh, my gosh, Bertram Goodhue!” I exclaimed. He laughed and quickly shot back, “Miss History Buff … Who else does it remind you of before that?” I answered: “Eliel Saarinen and the Helsinki railroad station of 1909!” I had guessed his inspiration for the tower and felt like I was on top of the world! We continued to laugh and joke as he watched me install the model of his proposed building into our larger city model prepared for the presentation. All students of architecture will understand what happened next. When you’re nervous and you’re down the line and you’ve got a sharp knife in your hand, stuff happens. I sliced my thumb to the bone with my X-ACTO® knife and the blood was flowing fast. He shooed me away from the model, wrapped my thumb in a paper towel, and held my arm up in the air. Then he told me to stay and
WhAT KeePS YOU PASSIOnATe ABOUT The InDUSTrY TODAY?
There is so much excitement today surrounding our built environments. Right now our cities are changing, more people are moving into urban circles, and the planning and architecture communities are responding in-kind by creating better places and spaces. My original dream to enhance the creative building process for urban lands and landscapes is now possible by working with architects and landscape architects to provide many types of site amenities for parks, campuses, streets, and rooftops. I want to see the outdoors in North Texas come alive with functional beauty and visionary leadership for public spaces. ■ Interview by Linda Mastaglio, managing editor of Columns magazine.
In a web exclusive, view Diane’s picks for 10 of the most innovative landscaping products on the market today. www.aiadallas.org/columns/collier
profile | Bob Borson, AIA
bOb bORSON, aia
If you are familiar with the architectural blog “Life of an Architect,” then you probably know its author and creator Bob Borson, AIA. The blog’s reputation as a source for information on what it means to be an architect is narrated by Bob and characterizes his daily experiences doing what he describes as “the best job in the world.” In August, Bob won the Texas Society of Architect's 2015 Award for Excellence in the Promotion of Architecture through the Media in honor of John G. Flowers, Hon. AIA. A principal at Malone Maxwell Borson Architects, Bob’s wide array of project experience encompasses large-scale commercial work, prototype retail design, historic preservation, and client-based single family residential. Bob uses his blog to communicate the ins and outs of the profession using his signature mix of humor, wit, and knowledgeable insight into life as an architect. Perhaps it is this enthusiasm and transparency of the profession that has attracted over five million readers—architects, architecture enthusiasts, and those curious or considering a career in architecture—from 237 countries and territories. We sat down with Bob to discuss his reasons for creating the blog, how architects can leverage social media, and ways in which he uses his blog to help support local organizations in the community. wiNteR 2015
BeLow: photos from bob borson's blog illustrate the variety of topics covered in his writing.
you ARe the AuthoR AnD CReAtoR oF “LIFe oF An ARChIteCt.” why wAs the BLoG CReAteD?
I started writing “Life of an Architect” in January 2010 as the result of a conversation I had with a friend of mine who specializes in the use of technology for lawyers. While having a conversation, he made a comment … in a very cavalier way that I took to mean “Come on, Bob! Everybody knows this!” However, his comment made absolutely no sense to me at the time. I started thinking about how set in my ways I had become and started worrying that I was becoming technologically irrelevant. Everything around me was changing, but it didn’t really impact the way I went about my business. I decided then that I was going to make some changes, and creating “Life of an Architect” was the first step. whAt sets youR BLoG APARt FRoM otheR ARChIteCtuRe BLoGs? ARe theRe Any GuIDInG PRInCIPLes?
The thing that makes my blog unique among architectural blogs is that I write in the first person and tell stories as part of
the learning process. I try to make the articles show my personality. I like to think that I am an amusing person and like to help people out if I can offer value. The combination of those two attributes has made my site approachable to people with all sorts of different levels of architectural knowledge. I don’t talk down to the people who are reading my articles and I try to avoid industry jargon as much as possible. As a result, there are people from all ages and demographics who frequent my blog regularly and that is something I find pretty amazing and humbling. As An ARChIteCt, Do you FInD thAt you hAve oBLIGAtIons to the CIty, CoMMunIty, AnD GeneRAL PoPuLAtIon? how Do you DeFIne thIs on “LIFe oF An ARChIteCt”?
I generally stay neutral on this topic because the answer is subjective, depending on who is asking or answering the question. I think my role—and the role that my site plays in a larger sense—is not unique to me being an architect. My task as a human is to make things better; I just happen to do it through architecture.
phOtOS by bOb bORSON, aia
BeLow: borson's "personal" professional life is on display through photos used in his "Life of an architect" blog.
phOtOS by bOb bORSON, aia
… Turning on the TV and lying on the couch…
projects designed and submitted from all over the world. Over the past four years, I have received over 1,300 entries from 59 different countries.
…Books that involve dragons [for his daughter] … I tend to prefer autobiographies… FAvoRIte vACAtIon sPot?
… I am currently writing a blog on the topic… you hAve useD the PoPuLARIty oF youR BLoG FoR ChARItABLe oRGAnIzAtIons heRe In DALLAs. how hAs soCIAL MeDIA ALLoweD you to heLP CAsA (CouRt APPoInteD sPeCIAL ADvoCAtes) AnD BRInG AttentIon to theIR CAuse?
This year, Dallas CASA will be celebrating the 20th year of their Parade of Playhouses event. I have designed playhouses for them in the past and always find it completely rewarding. Using “Life of an Architect” as a digital platform to garner attention, I decided to start a playhouse design competition on my site. I have readers from every single inhabited place on the planet and, with a simple request, I was able to get amazing
ARe theRe otheR tyPes oF BLoGs you wouLD Be InteResteD In PuRsuInG BesIDes “LIFe oF An ARChIteCt”?
No. Writing a blog—at least how I write it—takes up an amazing amount of my time. There are very few things that I feel passionately enough about to put in the same amount of work it takes to blog. In addition to writing the articles, I use only my own photographs and prepare all my own graphics, and this level of creative work eats up most of the free time I am willing to give. The other consideration that I was not prepared for was what happens when you actually achieve some level of success when writing a blog. I spend far more time responding to comments and emails than I do preparing content for the site. you hAve InvesteD MuCh tIMe AnD LABoR Into “LIFe oF An ARChIteCt.” whAt hAve Been the Most RewARDInG AsPeCts oF thIs?
While it has surprisingly turned out to benefit me professionally, the best is when
you receive an email from someone who expresses gratitude for the site and shares how his or her life has been improved as a result. I initially started “Life of an Architect” simply as an exercise to learn something new and it has turned into a resource for people all over the world. I’ve had strangers recognize me and ask to have their pictures taken with me— something that I find completely shocking. People have introduced themselves and broken down into tears as they start talking about my site and the role it has played in some aspect of their lives. Their gratitude has affected me in a profound manner and has impacted my life in a way that would have been impossible to imagine five years ago. ■ Interview by Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA, with Corgan.
Bob’s interview continues online to explore how his blog readers help determine his chosen topics, why he aims for non-architect readers, and what he does in his spare time. www.aiadallas.org/columns/borson
profile | Jason Roberts
NiChOLaS MCwhiRteR, aia
Jason Roberts is the founder of the Oak Cliff Transit Authority, an originator of the Better Block Project, and co-founder of the Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff. His focus on revitalizing inner-city neighborhoods was recognized with a Champions of Change award from the White House in 2012. Jasonâ€™s consulting firm, Team Better Block, has been widely recognized, including being showcased at the United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. wiNteR 2015
BeLow toP: a building slated for demolition is converted into a bike shop in akron, Oh. BeLow: an akron turn lane is converted into a
plaza, complete with al fresco seating and landscaping.
teLL us ABout youR BACkGRounD.
how DID the BetteR BLoCk PRoJeCt
I grew up in Garland and other towns around Dallas. From an early age I spent much of my free time outside, playing in creeks and exploring nature. I developed an appreciation for living in harmony with nature that serves today as a framework for my wanting to see our cities be livable with public spaces for everyone to enjoy.
DeveLoP FRoM A ConCePt Into ReALIty?
how DID you BeCoMe InteResteD In uRBAn RevItALIzAtIon?
Some of my early jobs were in the tech field during the dot-com boom. I developed websites and I had time in the evenings to read and study. I began to read books by Jane Jacobs and blogs on urbanism, and I became interested in neighborhood revitalization.
In 2010, a group of friends created an art project called Better Block in which we decided to create our dream neighborhood block in about a day using very little money. We never envisioned the project becoming a national movement and being part of a larger trend of citizen-led efforts to rapidly transform blighted communities around the world. On a European vacation I had fallen in love with city blocks filled with old and
whAt BRouGht you to oAk CLIFF?
After leaving Denton, following time at the University of North Texas, I wanted to move to Dallas. East Dallas around White Rock Lake was too expensive for my budget, but I found affordable housing in Oak Cliff. I found some pockets of burgeoning front-porch communities in Oak Cliff similar to what Jane Jacobs described in her books. how DID you Get InvoLveD As FounDeR oF the oAk CLIFF tRAnsIt AuthoRIty?
Using my background in web development, I built a website for a concept called Oak Cliff Transit Authority in 2006. Having the site online for people to view almost created an illusion that what was still basically just a concept was actually a viable organization. We saw that there was interest in bringing this to reality, so we incorporated as a non-profit in 2007. We also began to hold lots of meetings to get community involvement about what the Transit Authority could and should be. The vision became to revive the Dallas streetcar system, and our group later spearheaded the city’s efforts to obtain a $23 million TIGER stimulus grant from the Federal Transit Authority to help reintroduce a modern streetcar system to Dallas. We are very pleased that the initial 1.6-mile track from near Union Station to the intersection of Colorado and Beckley opened this past spring, and there are plans underway now to expand the line to Bishop Arts. phOtOS by JaSON RObeRtS
young people, street music, flower shops, cafés, old buildings, and small marketplaces. When I returned to Dallas, I drove around Oak Cliff and saw boardedup and vacant buildings, wide streets, small sidewalks, and little street life. I commented to a friend, “Why can’t we have blocks that look like the ones throughout Europe?” He scoffed, “Let’s be honest: Dallas will never be Paris.” That night, I began looking into what was holding my neighborhood back. I found a series of ordinances that prohibited or heavily taxed things that foster amazing urban blocks. From restrictive zoning
LeFt: developed in tandem with the italian community of akron, a pop-up bocce court is installed in a temporary plaza. BeLow: a vacant lot becomes a plaza garden,
thanks to keep akron beautiful volunteers.
phOtOS by JaSON RObeRtS
Modern garage rock, ‘60s soul, ‘40s blues. LIke to wAtCh?
French foreign films. A favorite is Amelie. stILL on youR BuCket LIst?
See a university open a campus in Oak Cliff. rules, parking minimums, exorbitant fees on café seating, landscaping, and more, I learned that the ability to have a great block like those I had seen abroad was largely forbidden. We developed a plan that was the opposite of those found in traditional planning: Work cheaply and quickly, use temporary products, break rules, and focus on action over dialogue. The goal was simple: Build our dream block in 24 hours using anything at our disposal. Artists were key, borrowing was imperative, and the potential of going to jail was likely. A group of friends and I met at night in a theater prop warehouse and began laying out a vision for the block. … Paint and clean buildings; create bike lanes; set up outdoor cafés and fruit stands; string lights across the street; convert vacant buildings to art galleries,
flower shops, kids’ art studios, and coffee houses. Lastly, we printed out the ordinances we were going to break and hung them in every window. On a Friday night in April 2010, we began transforming the block, and by Saturday morning the street was unveiled. What we saw that day challenged everything we’d been told. People walked to the street, sat outside, drank coffee, and read newspapers. Flowers hung from window sills, old men played chess,
break rules and focus on action. a vision is fruitless without action. children made art in former auto shops, teens pedaled in freshly painted bike lanes, residents began volunteering in our pop-up shops, and musicians appeared unexpectedly with open guitar cases and performed on street corners. The street came roaring back to life. In 24 hours and with less than $1,000, we built our dream block and disproved the skeptics. Most notably, we learned that a vision is fruitless without action.
whAt hAs hAPPeneD sInCe then wIth BetteR BLoCk?
The initiative has spread more than we ever imagined. The project has now become an international movement, occurring everywhere from Melbourne, Australia, to Tehran, Iran, and has been featured in The New york Times, in Dwell magazine, in TED Talks, and on National Public Radio. Team Better Block was even showcased in the United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale as a part of its Spontaneous Interventions theme. The American Society of Landscape Architects has also given a National Honor Award to Team Better Block. ■ Interview by Nate Eudaly, executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum.
The interview with Jason continues online. Find out his leadership in Oak Cliff Transit Authority, Bike Friendly Oak Cliff and more. www.aiadallas.org/columns/roberts
UniVeRsity oF teXas at aRlington
Profile | Nan Ellin, Ph.D.
a distinguished scholar and urban designer, Nan Ellin has much planned during her tenure as dean at the University of Texas at Arlington. Prior to the much-anticipated launch of the new integrated College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs (CAPPA), Columns contributing writer Andrew Moon, AIA sat down with the woman at the helm to find out more. tell us What BRought you to ut aRlIngton.
I had visited UTA previously and was super impressed with the faculty, students, and quality of work. Also the opportunity to participate in creating a new college that would partner with one of the most dynamic urban regions of the world was one I could not pass up. sInce youR move fRom utah, hoW has lIvIng In the dfW metRoplex Influenced oR shaped youR peRceptIons aBout the BuIlt envIRonment?
In Utah, the land is curvy and the streets are straight, while in DFW the land is straight and the streets curvy. After living in valleys for 17 years (Phoenix and Salt Lake City), the expansive horizon in DFW is emblematic for me of the BIG thinking
and generosity of spirit here. No longer hemmed in by mountains, I love being able to stretch my eyes as well as my understanding about the best way to grow as cities, communities, and individuals. What Iâ€™m discovering in DFW is a unique blend of humility, pride, and goodwill as manifest in large gestures, solid teamwork and team spirit, healthy competition, and a shared enthusiasm for achieving goals. summaRIze the BReadth of youR academIc and pRofessIonal expeRIence. hoW do these make you unIquely qualIfIed to lead the IntegRatIon of the school of aRchItectuRe and the school of uRBan and puBlIc affaIRs?
Odd but true, Iâ€™ve held leadership positions in a school of architecture, schools of urban planning, and a school of
public affairs. At Arizona State University, I had the good fortune to work with President Michael Crow on creating a brand-new downtown Phoenix campus for 10,000 students. In the process, I was asked to move from directing the Ph.D. program in the College of Design to founding a new Urban and Metropolitan Studies Program (in the School of Public Affairs) on the downtown Phoenix campus, and then directing the Urban Planning Program before moving to the University of Utah to chair its Planning Department and start a new Urban Design Program. In addition, my own work in placemaking, community-building, and university-community partnerships has been helpful in co-creating the new college at UTA.
UniVeRsity oF teXas at aRlington
When most aRchItects oR uRBan planneRs thInk of gReat ameRIcan cItIes, neW yoRk, chIcago, and Boston may ReadIly come to mInd. hoW does dallasfoRt WoRth Become a sImIlaRly gReat cIty?
When I told people I was moving here, most said, “But there’s no nature there!” So, I googled Dallas nature, Dallas trails, Dallas parks, Dallas forests and streams, etc. And sadly, I found that their preconceptions seemed justified. Once I arrived, however, I discovered the Great Trinity Forest, the Trinity River, River Legacy Park, tons of trails, lakes, streams, and much more. DFW is full of both wild and tamed nature, but urban growth and development have not typically
showcased it, much less allowed nature to inform them. At the recent Urban Summit [sponsored by AIA Dallas, DCFA, the Greater Dallas Planning Council, The Real Estate Council, ULI North Texas, and UTA’s College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA)], I invited Kevin Sloan and Jessie Zarazaga to share their inspired visions for building in harmony with nature [see Columns’ landscape issue, Fall 2015]. In addition, the region could benefit from coordinating the profusion of good ideas. There is tremendous talent and energy here, but sometimes initiatives seem to work at cross purposes and cancel one another out. I’ve been suggesting we “zoom out to zoom in” and craft a synthetic vision for the region that
aBove: the audience listens to Dr. ellin at the celebratory launch of caPPa at Uta in october.
integrates existing proposals. By painting this big picture for the region—even naming it—we can work together to realize it. ■ Interview by Andrew Moon, AIA with Raymond Harris & Associates Architects A review of her new book is also available on the Critique page. This interview with Nan Ellin continues online to reveal her goals as dean, her definition of “Good Urbanism,” and her unique perspective in writing five books. www.aiadallas.org/columns/nan-ellin A review of her book, Good Urbanism, is on the next page.
Profile | Zaida Basora, FAIA
she is a leader, influencer, and sustainability advocate who has been actively engaged in the sustainable evolution of the city through her work in design, planning, and public policy. Zaida Basora, Faia is the assistant director of public works for the city of Dallas and the 2016 president of aia Dallas. she has been instrumental in the implementation of Dallas’ green Building code resulting in over 40 sustainable and highperforming city facilities. she was elevated to the aia college of Fellows in 2012. Just days before celebrating 20 years serving the city of Dallas, Zaida discussed her career, as well as her plans for aia Dallas in 2016.
When dId you RealIze that you Wanted to Be an aRchItect?
My parents say I wanted to be an architect since I was four. I was always attracted to art and architecture. So, when I graduated from high school, I went straight to the School of Architecture at the University of Puerto Rico. I liked the colorful, historic, local architecture in Puerto Rico, but I also appreciated the art and architecture when I traveled. It has been the right decision.
for a few years with them and do freelance work. Around 1995, I was ready to return to work and the City of Dallas happened to be hiring. I thought it would be good to work locally since I was travelling too much when I was in the private sector. It was a big transition because when you work in the private sector you work for clients; when you work in the public sector you work as an owner’s representative, setting and implementing policy for public work.
What Is youR favoRIte place In
What InspIRed you to focus on
My priorities will include continuing to establish AIA Dallas as the resource for architecture matters for Dallas. If there are public policy issues, the AIA should be consulted and we should issue a position statement. Continuing what we have done this year is going to be really important: making sure we have a seat at the table for those conversations. Number two, making sure that AIA Dallas remains a relevant organization: continuing to grow the membership; giving the membership value from education, networking, and professional practice issues; and making a difference in the community through advocacy. ■
What motIvated you to move to texas?
I came to Texas right after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree because it was a place of opportunity. At that time, Dallas was really booming and there was a lot of development going on in the city. Over 15 high-rise buildings were being built in downtown in the 1980s! I went to the University of Texas at Arlington to pursue my master’s degree and started working in downtown Dallas in February 1983 at Dahl, Braden, Chapman Architects.
the sustaInaBIlIty aspect of ouR BuIlt envIRonment?
In early 2000, the city was looking to be more energy-efficient and the LEED rating system had just been launched. A task force was formed and I was asked to participate because I was the program manager of design and construction for the city’s existing buildings. So I got involved and have been involved since then.
What InspIRes you as an aRchItect?
People and nature. I think that it’s all about the people: how to house people, make them feel comfortable, and provide spaces for people to gather. That’s what architecture is about. I always try to think about how I would feel when I walk into a space, including the connection to nature because it is an important part of our wellbeing and how we appreciate space.
What WIll Be some of youR pRIoRItIes as the 2016 pResIdent of the aIa dallas?
For the complete interview with Zaida, including the accomplishments that bring her the most pride, her advice to women in a male-dominated industry, and her favorite green project, visit www.aiadallas.org/columns/zaida.
I was working in the private sector, had my four girls, and decided to stay home
Trinity Groves, because of its variety of spaces. In terms of buildings, I would say the Meyerson Symphony Center. I love how it mixes the monumental type building with the intimate experience of the concert hall.
Interview by Anita Delgado, AIA, project architect with Corgan
hoW and When dId you decIde you Wanted to WoRk foR the cIty of dallas? What Was youR expeRIence When tRansItIonIng fRom a pRIvate fIRm to a goveRnment entIty?
dallas? hoW does thIs space emBody a “sense of place”?
Profile | Jack and John Matthews matthews southwest (msW) has transformed the south side of downtown Dallas. Its positive impact on our urban fabric is most evident on lamar street south of I30, where nearly every building on the 45 acres has been built, redeveloped, or made possible by Jack Matthews and his team, which now includes his son, John Matthews. MsW also developed the omni Dallas convention center hotel and the tribute, a 1,500-acre mixed-use community on lake lewisville in the colony. the firm’s largest project is the Bow, a 2-million-square-foot headquarters designed by Foster + Partners for encana corporation in calgary, Alberta, canada. nate eudaly, hon. AIA Dallas visited with Jack and John to learn more about how these two visionary leaders from two generations have shaped Dallas— and what they hope to achieve going forward.
Where did you groW uP? What aCtiVities did you enJoy? hoW did you start in the real estate
JAcK: I was born and grew up in London, Ontario, Canada. I played football and hockey, ran cross-country and wrestled. At 16, I began working for my father’s construction company, and then attended the University of Western Ontario, where I earned an undergrad degree in economics and an MBA. I joined my family’s construction company while finishing my degree and I became president of the firm at age 27. In 1988, I founded Matthews Southwest to provide an American presence in the development business. John: I grew up in Dallas, played hockey, and attended SMU. I had an aptitude for math, and taught algebra in Mississippi for several years. I then worked on staff with Teach for America. About four years ago, I joined Matthews Southwest.
BeloW left: one well-known MsW project in Dallas is south side on lamar. BeloW right: Jack Matthews was instrumental in returning the beloved and iconic Pegasus to public view outside omni Dallas hotel.
When starting msW, Why did you seleCt dallas instead of houston or another u.s. City?
JAcK: I was given the task of finding a place to invest about half of the company’s assets. I was asked to find a market that spoke the same language, had pretty much the same business ethics, and was a direct flight away. I looked at a number of cities, but Dallas seemed to have the best prospects for growth and its economy was more diversified than Houston’s, so I chose Dallas. [South Side on Lamar was one of MSW’s initial hallmark projects. To Jack, the opportunity to buy the historic Sears building on Lamar Street was compelling from the start, as it helped transform the area. MSW recently announced that it has also bought the Dallas High School building at Pearl and Bryan streets. The property—also known as Crozier Tech— has been vacant since the 1990s. The plan is to convert the 6-acre property on the eastern edge of downtown Dallas into a mixed-use project starting with office and retail space.] Why did you Buy Crozier teCh and What are your oBJeCtiVes for the site?
JAcK: The history of the place and all the connections to people—it was interesting to me. From a business point of view, it is 5.4 acres of land in downtown Dallas, which is a rare opportunity. I hope to bring the high school back to its former
oMnI DAllAs hotel
density throughout Dallas. The CityDesign Studio and the Urban Design Peer Review Panel are key elements to achieve this, and I think this is a priority for the younger generation of Dallas residents.
glory with some great office space and to also create a public space where people can gather in restaurants and attractive retail. The site offers some good opportunities for additional buildings, but those designs will be respectful of the original design of the high school.
What Was your main motiVation
hoW Can the greater dallas area
in helPing to fund the Pegasus renoVation?
Create a more liVaBle urBan enVironment? [sustainable urban
design is important to MsW. the nYlo Dallas south side was redesigned so that the 102 year old building received leeD gold certification—the first historic hotel in Dallas to receive this rating. Matthews southwest and architects 5g studio collaborative worked together to renovate the structure in order to attain the designation. the omni convention center hotel also received leeD gold certification. Matthews southwest makes it a priority to create projects that enhance their neighborhoods and respect the surrounding environments.] JAcK: We need to continue to fill in the gaps. When I moved here, we had pockets of urban life such as Deep Ellum, but they were not connected to the rest of the city. We need to continue to bring them all together to maximize the city’s potential. John: We are doing a lot of the right things. Some examples are Better Blocks, developing the urban core, and the work here on South Side. We need to increase
[Pegasus has been an iconic Dallas symbol since the flying red horse was installed atop the Magnolia Building in 1934, two years before the Texas Centennial. Today the Pegasus atop the Magnolia is a replica, installed in 2000. Jeff West, former director of the Sixth Floor Museum, worked with MSW before his passing in 2012. He suggested that MSW should help restore the original Pegasus. Jack agreed and provided key funding for the project, which now sits on an oil derrick near the entrance to the Omni.] JAcK: It was the right thing to do. I did it as a tribute to Jeff and to give the city a present that is such an integral part of its history. ■ Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas is the executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum.
Find out more about this father and son’s work together, including what future opportunities await Dallas and what advice they both give to the next generation. More photos of some of their projects are there, too. www.aiadallas.org/columns/fatherandson
Profile | Laurel Stone, AIA
laurel stone, aia has been working at 5g studio collaborative for the last 10 years and was promoted to principal a year ago. she has emerged as one of the leaders in a growing firm by being herself: hardworking, diligent, and determined. her experiences and risks early in her career have led her down a path to be one of the young leaders in Dallas. When you graduated from
is it diffiCult to reCruit talented
sChool, Why did you Choose to
young PeoPle to dallas? and if
moVe to dallas?
My main motivation after college was to live close to my family. I had always planned for Dallas to be a starting point where I would gain experience before moving to another city. It turned out that the opportunities and life I built have, quite happily, kept me here.
It depends on where the talent is being recruited from, but for the most part, yes. Most of the new graduates we recruit move to Dallas for the same family reasons I did. I felt in school that we were taught to seek out firms in big cities like
New York, Chicago, LA, or abroad. In reality, I think there are a lot more opportunities in rapidly growing cities like Dallas where itâ€™s also possible to live on an internâ€™s income. I feel like the potential in Dallas is more apparent to young talent after a few years elsewhere.
Work at Both an estaBlished large firm, Corgan, and a neW small firm, 5g studio When it Was only a year old. hoW Were those first years at 5g different from your exPerienCe at Corgan?
Corgan was my first full-time job out of school and I loved working there. Even to this day I fall back on training I received in my time there. Corgan was very structured in the responsibilities and the tasks I was given. For me, it was a great learning environment for someone with little experience since there is a lot of guidance and mentorship along the way. 5G was a start-up and they had projects that needed people to manage them. I got the opportunity to really dive in and be involved in all aspects of those projects with minimal experience. It was a little more “fly by the seat of your pants,” but I saw it as a challenge and really enjoyed that. I’ll admit that I didn’t always know what I was doing, but it forced me to figure things out quickly and learn from my mistakes. Why did you deCide to take a JoB at 5g When it Was still Considered a start-uP?
I found out about the job through an architecture school classmate and didn’t really think it through, to be perfectly honest. I took the interview on a whim. I liked the casual environment and I liked the people. I felt like it was where I belonged. I was also drawn to the idea of working on smaller projects from start to finish. I was working on large projects at Corgan that take years to see through and have large teams working on them. I wanted to be an integral part of the entire design process, which was easier to do at a small firm. A lot of people told me it was silly decision. That it wasn’t a stable option and that I’d be out of a job during the recession. A lot of people questioned it, but I really didn’t. I followed my gut. And it worked out. you haVe had a lot of suCCess By a Very young age in your Career. What are some of the key faCtors in your suCCess?
One key is that I did the five-year degree,
so I started working very young. I was also very aggressive in getting licensed as soon as I was eligible. My mindset has always been that if you’re not learning, you’re not growing, so anytime I started to feel stagnant in what I was doing, I’d vocalize that to the partners and they’d always respond with new challenges or responsibilities. Those are rare occasions though; I typically have more than enough on my plate.
generation was that work was just that— work—and that you don’t get paid to love what you do, it’s just a bonus if it works out that way. The millennial generation wants to love what they do and feel fulfilled by their jobs. I think I’m somewhere in between. There are plenty of days in which I don’t love what I do and I think about changing paths, but in the end I always know I’m going to stick with it. I’m pretty conservative in my decision-making and don’t consider myself much of a risk-taker. I also wouldn’t say that I’ve kept up with millennials on the technology and social media front, but I’m getting better at it. What do you like to do in your free time to try to maintain a Work-life BalanCe?
I’ve gotten much better this year about leaving work at work and not answering emails from home or on weekends. I swim with the Dallas Aquatic Masters team several times a week, and try to get out of the city on weekends as often as I can with my husband. lastly, What ProJeCt has Brought you the most Pride and Why?
your Career has alloWed you to
sinCe Being Promoted to PrinCiPal, What neW PersPeCtiVe do you Bring to the taBle in the leadershiP of the firm?
In the 10 years I’ve worked there, 5G has quadrupled in size. As a result, with the partners out of the office more often, I tend to be the day-to-day presence for help in the office and the liaison with the younger employees. there is alWays a lot of talk aBout the shifting dynamiCs eaCh generation Brings to the WorkPlaCe, and millennials are definitely Causing some disCussion on this toPiC. teChniCally, you fall in the CusP of the millennial generation, do you identify as a millennial?
I think the mindset of our parents’
The Omni Hotel because it consumed three years of my life. It’s the most involved I’ve ever been on a large project from the very start to the very end and was a great learning experience all around. We’ve also got a great view of it from our office. ■ Interview by Jenny Thomason, AIA, with 5G Studio Collaborative. For more on Laurel Stone’s perspective on young professionals’ impact, approach to work, and interest in Dallas, see the continuation of this interview. www.aiadallas.org/columns/laurelstone.
Profile | Judge Clay Jenkins Dallas County Judge clay Jenkins began his first term in office January 1, 2011. A native to the DFW area, he and his office have been involved in issues including Dallas public health, transportation, education reform, and security. Responsible for county disaster recovery and emergency preparedness, Jenkins has had to lead the charge against several key events that Dallas county has faced in recent years. These efforts have affected Dallas county on both a local and international scale—from extreme weather destruction to national health-related viruses like ebola and West nile. An advocate for public health, Jenkins was awarded the Millard J. and Robert l. heath Award for his commitment, leadership, and service to the community. columns met Judge Jenkins at the county Judge offices in the West end to discuss the ways he has dealt with issues impacting the growth and resilience of Dallas.
As head of the county, what are some of the responsibilities you and your team are tasked with? When it comes to both public health and mental health responsibilities, Dallas, like most cities here in the United States, has ceded that role to the county. Therefore, mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika and West Nile, or even Ebola fall under the responsibility of the county. From a governmental body standpoint, there is a heavy county focus on public health, but that rarely stands alone. There are mental health issues that must be looked at as well. Take “Tent City” for example. Those who live outside of the city limits might say the homeless individuals are the City
MIchAel cAgle, Assoc. AIA
the tornadoes that damaged many parts of north texas in December 2015 left hundreds without homes and claimed several lives. In what ways did the surrounding communities respond to the devastation? What steps were taken to assist with the immediate response to the event? We had a large number of community groups and volunteers assist in the aftermath cleanup of the tornadoes. Volunteer organizations like Red Cross and VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) came together to provide temporary shelter and assist with immediate repairs like tarping roofs and mitigating debris. It is similar to the dynamics of a family. When a member of your family is hurt or injured unexpectedly, it brings the rest of the family together. No matter what the event may be, it is important to establish trust and communication within the community so that in times of devastation people will look to you to provide leadership and guidance. You have to work together collaboratively through these sorts of things and treat everyone like you would want to be treated if you were in the same situation. There was the “resiliency of the people” that involved the response from people in our immediate area, but also those from both East and West Texas who came in and wanted to help. We had volunteer groups like the Baptist Men from as far away as Georgia and South Carolina provide assistance and expertise and supplies and feed people with giant trucks of food.
of Dallas’ responsibility. However a lot of those individuals suffer from mental illness as well and that’s where the county steps
in. There is no money in the City of Dallas’ budget to assist those with mental illness; it’s the responsibility of the county.
BeloW: A sampling of Judge Jenkins' Twitter feeds (@JudgeclayJ) illustrates the diversity of his job some days.
the ebola virus presented a public health scare for over six weeks here in Dallas. how did you and the team you assembled deal with the issues at hand? how did you deal with the public at large? We have to be prepared for the unexpected. We reached out to our friends at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) who we had worked with closely during the West Nile virus epidemic in Dallas back in 2012. I was asked by CDC Director Tom Frieden to take charge of the crisis here in Dallas. That night, we literally had to create the incident command structure for Ebola on a whiteboard because at the time there was not one in the United States. The problem with emergencies is the next emergency you face is not the same as the previous one. There was a fear amongst people. As a leader in charge, you have to remain calm because people are scared and in fear and the most important thing you can do is to communicate. As Dallas continues its progress to becoming a world-class city, what other vital issues are we focused on improving? I think it gets down to one thing and that is what kind of city do you want to be? When compared to other cities across the globe, we have shown our resilience as a city. Geographically, Dallas is not situated next to an ocean or the plain between mountains. It is here because people built it. They chose to build in North Texas and because of that we now attract talent from all over the world. We have a diverse economy within an urban context that is unique to this region of Texas. There is a huge need for urban planning ideas and initiatives as we tackle these issues. We have a TXDOT-led initiative called the Dallas CityMAP that is looking at the urban core and the role the surrounding highway system should play in quality of life and economic development, not just connecting people and places along these roadway corridors. Their engineers are looking at the cost analysis of additional deck parks across downtown freeways like I30 and the impacts of taking down highways like I-345. These studies will improve regional mobility and safety, improve neighborhood quality of life, and enhance economic development. ■ Interview by Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA with Corgan.
PhoTos By clAy JenKIns
1. 13 nov 2015 - look who I ran into @Whitehouse Fmr sec of state Madeleine Albright who our daughter is named after ☺ 2. 23 sep 2015 3. Feb 25, 2015- let’s get ready to rumble @MsnBc @chrisJansin 4. TcU Advising corps @TcU_cAc – Apr 5 Dallas county Judge clay Jenkins @JudgeclayJ declared it Recognition Day for national service in Dallas county! 5. 31 Dec 2015 - A resident’s kayak business and rental properties were in the tornado’s path @RowlettTexas @femaregion6 @TDeM 6. 30 Dec 2015 - glass blown out of this work van parked in front of a flattened house in @garlandtxgov @fema @tdem
WANT MORE? In an expanded online interview, Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins describes what part architects play in the city’s vitality, and how the Dallas Independent School District figures into our future, and offers interesting insights from his insider point-of-view. www.aiadallas.org/columns/jenkins
Profile | Michael Hellinghausen, AIA
omnIPlAn has proven to be resilient over different economic cycles, architectural trends, and through generations of partners. not only has the firm been resilient, but it has received recognition from peers in the profession, demonstrated by several awards, including two Firm of the Year awards from the txA and AIA Dallas, five 25-Year Awards, and dozens of design awards. As Coo/CFo, how do you enable the firm to keep its sharp design focus while keeping it on sound financial ground? It can certainly be a tug-of-war, but my point of view is that sound financial management frees us to focus on the quality of our work. When a firm cannot maintain consistent or robust profitability, the negative consequences can snowball and distract the firm’s leaders from the work at hand. Our management model may be a bit different than other firms—I oversee virtually all the firm’s operations and finance, which frees up my partners to focus on projects and business development. Granted, that implies a high level of trust and communication at the leadership level, which I believe we have. That said, it’s also cultural. We are fortunate to have a 60-year history of relentless focus on design, so in some way, it’s in our DNA. During that time, we’ve seen many economic cycles and many leadership transitions. I think we’ve learned how to manage both. how does resiliency relate to a firm's leadership and how does omnIPlAn train its future leaders? That’s always evolving, but we try to identify leaders early, coaching and grooming them for leadership, giving them time to make mistakes before it’s for keeps, and then getting out of their way. There’s another quote that I like by a CEO of a large corporation—“I hire the best people, and
michael hellinghausen, AIA is a principal and the coo/cFo of oMnIPlAn, a 60-year-old multidisciplinary Dallas practice. Mike has been a speaker in TxA conventions for several years, leading seminars and workshops on the management of design firms. he also writes about the business side of design on his “From Blueprints to greenbacks” blog. Mike is currently the treasurer for the Texas society of Architects and he recently spoke to columns about his career choice, his role at oMnIPlAn, and the Dallas business and design landscape.
then I leave them alone.” It doesn’t always work. Sometimes they never catch fire and sometimes they leave for greener pastures; but most people will respond to being acknowledged as leaders—and they appreciate gaining more control of their own fate. One huge mistake that firms make is waiting until senior leaders are ready to retire before identifying their replacements. At that point, it’s too late.
I suspect that there must be a good story behind the omnIPlAn name … Am I right? There is a good story! Part of it had to do with becoming a corporation in the early 1970s and part of it was a recognition that the firm was evolving beyond the first generation founders, but the best part is that the name was meant to convey a firm that offered all disciplines in the A/E
Profile | Gary Cunningham, FAIA
Born and raised in Dallas, Gary Cunningham is a highly respected native son. Founder and principal of Cunningham Architects, Gary has steered his firm to win more than 50 design awards. Among them are honors from AIA Dallas, the Texas Society of Architects, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of Texas at Austin, and the Architectural League of new York. nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas recently visited with him for this profile for Columns magazine.
how and when did you become involved in architecture? I attended Cistercian Preparatory School in Irving, from the elementary grades through high school, and then went to college at UT-Austin. In high school, I liked art. My dad encouraged me to study architecture. My dad was a manufacturer’s representative for plumbing products who called on architects and engineers. At UTAustin, the set-up was pretty primitive. We had big folding tables, and not much else. Dan Shipley and I hung out a lot with the visiting critics. Some of them were Michael Graves, Charles Gwathmey, and O’Neil Ford. We had to learn how to think fast, but it was a great environment. Chuck Burnett from Philadelphia (Lou Kahn contingent) was the dean when I was there; he was followed by Hal Box.
What are some of the more interesting projects you have done? I’ve been fortunate to get to work on a lot of great projects. One was the Cistercian Chapel. Since I had attended Cistercian, I had already been greatly influenced by the monks, who were very important in the school set-up. I had the same headmaster from fourth grade through my high school graduation. The chapel was completed in 1991 and the 900th anniversary of the founding of the Cistercian Order was celebrated in 1997. The building design is Romanesque, as a historical context to the founding of the order. The Andres family, who had also attended Cistercian, were the contractors on the job. Addison Conference and Theatre Centre was also a great project with strong community support. City Manager
Ron Whitehead and Jim Duffey from the city council had a great vision for what the theatre should be. They were supportive throughout the design process. The Temple Emanu-El project is obviously an important project because of Howard Meyer’s iconic design and the central place it holds in the lives of so many Dallas families. It has been an extensive process, working with a very involved building committee over the last eight years, but I’m excited about the results. The project is challenging and the client demanding and smart—ingredients that make for a great project. You are completing 40 years in practice. What are your goals for the next 40? My goal continues to be to understand
Among projects exhibiting Cunningham's design skills are, clockwise from right, the Cathedral of Hope Interfaith Peace Chapel, Casa Caja private residence, The Powerhouse private residence renovation, and the Cistercian Abbey Chapel.
PHOTOS BY CUnnInGHAM ARCHITECTS
and care for the culture of the client. Every community and every family has its own culture. It is imperative that my team and I learn what that culture is and develop a design that complements and enhances the vision of that culture. I value clients that push us, but who are fair and open-minded. Frank Aldridge, who was one of my first clients, certainly epitomizes this. Another of my more interesting clients was the Southern Ute Indian tribe. It was very important that I understood their cultural heritage so that our design would be appropriate for them. I approach my projects with no predetermined outcomes. After 40 years as an architect and 35 with my own firm, I have the following goals: • Stay in business • Put business ethics before profits
• Mentor and work with young people • Collaborate • Engage clients who have a passion for life • Be philanthropic • Keep going until I die What are some of the most challenging work situations you have encountered and how did you resolve them? Occasionally I haven’t been the right fit for a client and their project. I’ve learned to step off the project when needed. My team, especially Tom Dohearty, provides good judgment about the projects we take. At times in the economic cycle a big challenge has been making payroll and balancing the books. I’ve learned it’s important to address problems early on before they become too large to handle.
What does your typical day look like? Most days are unique, but I would categorize them into two main buckets: client interaction and everything else. I still draw by hand, which furthers my creativity, but I also spend big chunks of the day planning logistics and driving to job sites. What sparks your creativity? Seeing new things, interacting with people, and exploring the unknown. There can’t be too many cooks in the kitchen. I want to be in there cooking with all of them. What advice would you give a young person considering a career in architecture? Simplify! Learn about everything you can. Be a generalist and be smart enough to engage with your client.
BeloW: Cunningham's creative juices flowed
freely on the conceptual sketch of the Addison Conference and Theatre Centre.
Who are/were your mentors? Early in my career, it was the guys at HOK, people like Charles McCameron. My current mentors are the members of my studio team. how would you define your architectural style? My design is focused on the “purpose” of the project more than on the aesthetics. I strive to understand my client’s vision and then create a design that extends that vision. With which five architects or artists (living or deceased) would you want to share a good bottle of wine? Michelangelo, Andy Warhol, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, and Frederick Olmsted. What do you consider the most interesting developments in dallas since you started practicing? I started with HOK in 1976 and formed my own practice in 1981. Over this time
garY’s faVorItes Books: Humor by the likes of Kurt Vonnegut. I also enjoy reading about the historical Jesus and do my share of skimming controversial science-related books like Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life by Edward Wilson. movies: Humor like Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou by Wes Anderson, Stanley Kubrick movies, bad sci-fi and horror, and of course movies that I can watch with my 11-year-old daughter. music: I have a large vinyl record collection and enjoy listening to rock, jazz, and folk artists with recordings from the 1950s on. tV shows: I try to not watch the news. spare time entertainment: I like to travel and hang out with my kids. I go to a variety of places, from Austin and San Antonio to the Yucatan Peninsula and the Galápagos Islands. Ideal vacation: A National Geographic trip, anywhere they go. Ways to recharge: Play music, ride my bike.
period I’ve seen Dallas support more contemporary design. Patrons such as Deedie Rose and Frank Aldridge have led this charge. There has been a rise in the creative class and a greater usage of landscape architects. What are the best things dallas has going for it? North Texas has a vital arts scene. It has well-respected museums. I’ve been fortunate to mentor some incredibly talented architects including Russell Buchanan, Sharon Odum, Paul Field, Braxton Werner, Bang Dang, and Rizi Faruqui. All of them were with my studio and now have their own successful practices here in Dallas. They are representative of some of the talented designers we have here in the city. What do you see as the biggest challenges dallas faces? Like most major urban areas, Dallas has quite a few. Some of them are climate change, air pollution, and water conservation. We also have infrastructure challenges—too many highways. We need to develop a 21st century mindset that includes new ways of looking at transportation, including driverless cars and more mass transit.
how can the greater dallas area create a more livable urban environment? We should nurture more programs like Better Block and support initiatives that foster these types of concepts. We need a lot of little projects instead of focusing so much on big projects. We should eliminate wholesale demolition and repurpose buildings such as I’ve been fortunate to do with The Pump House and The Power Station. this issue of Columns focuses on the theme of “paradox.” What do you think are some of the major paradoxes we encounter in dallas? One of the most glaring paradoxes I see about our city is our obsession with the car and its choking impact on culture. The culmination of this is our obsession with placing a highway between the levees on the Trinity River. That’s a move that would trash the one chance we have of making an important place of recreation and nature for our city. ■ Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas is the executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum. MORE FROM GARY View photos and drawings by this awardwinning architect. www.aiadallas.org/columns/cunningham
Profile | Mark Lamster Somewhat akin to Mark Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in king Arthur’s Court, new York native (and Yankees fan) Mark Lamster might have seemed out of his element when he arrived in “Big Tex” land three years ago to assume dual posts as architectural critic at The Dallas Morning news and professor in the architecture school at the University of Texas at Arlington. However, as reflected in his writings, Mark has quickly developed valued insights and prescient direction regarding north Texas, and has become one of the most important voices guiding the conversation about our region.
Where did you grow up and what did your parents do? I was born and raised in Manhattan. My father was a computer engineer and my mother was the dean of a public school in Queens. I attended the New Lincoln School, a progressive private school that closed in the increasingly conservative 1980s. What did you study in college? I received my bachelor of arts degree in the writing seminars at Johns Hopkins University. While in school I worked in sports television, and took a job with
Mark is the author of several books, and is currently completing work on a biography of the late architect Philip Johnson. He has been honored by the Associated Press for his writing, and D Magazine has named him the best critic in Dallas for three consecutive years. He also received the David Dunnigan Media Award from the Greater Dallas Planning Council in 2014. He is spending the 2016-17 academic year on a Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Dallas Architecture Forum executive director nate Eudaly visited with Mark for this profile.
ESPN as a production assistant after college. It was not a happy experience. I decided to return to school and received my master’s from Tufts University, studying art and architectural history. I considered pursuing a Ph.D, but decided I wanted to get out of academia, so I took a
job as an editor at the renowned independent publisher of literature and art books, George Braziller. From there I moved on to Princeton Architectural Press, where I was an editor for more than a decade.
What led you to princeton architectural press? What were some of the more interesting projects you did there? It was a wonderful place to work with lots of creative people and it was really at the forefront of architectural thinking. Beyond that, I pushed the house to look more at graphic design. Among the designers that I covered were Ellen Lupton, Paula Sher, Tibor Kalman, Robert Brownjohn, and Michael Beirut. I also edited books with architects, including John Johansen, Deborah Berke, Preston Scott Cohen, Stan Allen, Lewis Tsurumaki Lewis, and Polshek Partnership. Among my favorite projects was a series of books on landmark works of architecture, photographed by Ezra Stoller.
What do you think dallas has going for it? Dallas has great ideas, but there are too many of them. There is lots of money in this city and people who care enough to make needed changes. What do you consider to be dallas’ biggest challenge? Dysfunction in how the city is organized, lack of accountability, and a history of events that lead to distrust. how can the greater dallas area create a more livable urban environment? Be willing to invest the funds needed to create good civic infrastructure. Elevate the level of quality we accept from developers. Create a greater pedestrianfriendly environment.
What is the story behind your writing spalding’s World tour (a book about a worldwide tour by spalding promoting baseball in 1888)? Though I’ve always enjoyed art and architecture, I wanted to write a book that would give me a non-architecture outlet.
You have written very eloquently about dallas being a city of paradoxes. What do you see as some of the major paradoxes facing dallas at this time? [See Mark’s September 2014 article “Welcome to Dallas: Paradox
What were the main reasons you took the positions with the dmn and uta? There are very few opportunities to write for a major newspaper as a critic and there was a great opportunity offered here in Dallas. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.
the loeb fellowship is a great opportunity and honor. What do you hope to gain from the time at harvard? I am comfortable writing about buildings from a historical focus. When I came to The Dallas Morning News, I wanted to write about Dallas as a city with an emphasis on its urban environment. I’m planning to use the fellowship to expand my knowledge of urban planning and policy. I’d like to not only write about the city’s flaws, but also address what can be done to fix those flaws.
What has surprised you about dallas? I had fairly realistic expectations about the city. It is gratifying to see that people in Dallas are open to new ideas and that so many have a progressive mindset. Being here has made me even more aware of the stark economic disparity that exists in the city.
mark’s faVorItes Book: Austerlitz by W.G. Sebald. It explores the meaning of architecture through the framework of memory and history. movie: Annie Hall music: Battles, The Beastie Boys, and Bach. tV shows: “Better Call Saul,” “The Wire,” and “Taxi.” favorite foods: Mapo tofu. Look it up. Ideal vacation: A drive around Monument Valley. City” in The Dallas Morning news at dallasnews.com.] Well, the prime example is the idea that we are going to build a park between the levees, but then also drive a highway through that space. It’s hard to imagine another city doing that right now. And then there’s downtown, which is awash in garages and surface lots, but still— according to developers—lacking parking. Or the fact that we have a rapid transit
system with more track than any other major city, but the ridership is poor. Or that it is both the wealthiest and poorest of cities at once. Dallas often seems caught in a cycle of talking about making a better future, but then the results don’t always materialize. That’s the central paradox.
What are new or developing ways that architecture critics can educate and inform the public? Critics need to embrace and use new media to reach a growing younger audience. This includes Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, radio, podcasts—whatever.
What sparks your creativity? It’s important to me to stay engaged culturally. I try to keep up with my reading and visit as many museum and gallery shows as possible.
Who are/were your mentors? Kevin Lippert, the publisher of Princeton Architectural Press, was a great mentor and someone I still admire. He built a company from scratch that I think is really a benefit to the community. And when he could have gone off and made a fortune elsewhere, he stuck to it because that was what he loved.
how do you recharge? I’m a big NBA fan. The New York Knicks are my team, but I also support the Dallas Mavs, though I think they could use a big design upgrade across the board. In 15 years will papers still have architecture critics? I hope so, but it’s nothing to take for granted. Critics will only be around as long as their writing is relevant and engaging to readers.
What did you learned about phillip Johnson that was “new news” to you from your research for the bio you are writing? I have learned quite a bit of new information about Johnson, both in his personal and professional lives, but I think my publisher will not be happy about
spilling details before the book is in print. With which five architects (living or deceased) would you want to share a lively evening of conversation? Several possibilities. I’d enjoy an evening with Frank Lloyd Wright by himself since no one else would be able to get a word in. I have a friend in Moscow, Alexander Brodsky, with whom I’d also enjoy a long evening of conversation. Lebbeus Woods would be another person for a one-onone visit. The five I’d have together are Philip Johnson, Eero Saarinen, Marcel Breuer, Stanford White, and Lou Kahn. ■ Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas is the executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum. EYE OF THE BEHOLDER Go online to enjoy a view of Mark’s photography of the content and contexts that make up the architecture all around us. www.aiadallas.org/columns/lamsterphotos. For more on Mark in his own words, visit Instagram and Twitter: @marklamster.
By Nate Eudaly Hon. AIA Dallas
Illustration: Nunzio DeSantis, FAIA // Photo: Daryl Shields 30
COLUMNS // aiadallas.org
Meet Nunzio DeSantis, FAIA, the 2017 president of AIA Dallas. Nunzio’s experience as executive vice president at HKS Inc. includes leading the design of millions of square feet of office buildings, corporate campuses, and residential towers, but Nunzio DeSantis’ passion is one-of-a-kind hospitality hotels and resorts. Director of the HKS Hospitality Group, Nunzio and his team have completed projects totaling more than 55,000 hotel rooms located around the world. He himself grew up in El Paso, TX. Born to Italian parents, he and his five siblings are first-generation Americans. Today, he is a registered architect in 25 states, as well as a USGBC LEED® accredited professional. Nunzio earned both a bachelor of environmental design degree and a master’s of architecture from Texas A&M University.
Tell us about growing up in El Paso. I enjoyed growing up in El Paso and a lot of my family still lives there. People in El Paso are honest, down-to-earth, and approachable. I liked the cultural influence from Mexico since El Paso is a border town, and of course enjoyed Mexican food along with my mom’s Italian cooking. My mother was extremely creative, and my father had a colorful and varied career as a coal miner, a switchman for the Santa Fe Railroad, and a small residential contractor. They both had a profound influence on me; my father’s strong work ethic and my mother’s ability to dream outside the box are gifts I carry with me to this day. My mom encouraged us to be creative and she demonstrated artistic skill by using everyday items around the house. While I was growing up my dad became a small residential contractor and I began to work at his job sites. My interest in construction started because of working for my dad.
design for how people live. I’m able to travel and see the world while doing this. My team and I stay on the forefront of trends in fashion, dining, and pampering. We have an amazing hospitality staff and collectively we get to “create the next great place.” What are your primary goals for your AIA Dallas presidency? AIA Dallas should be a strong voice in the community. We should help direct, craft, distill, and edit the forward direction of the city. We should also be a voice of reason, helping connect people and serving as cartilage between the community’s bones. My goal as president is to be inclusive and let our staff and members take ownership for their initiatives. As the AIA, we are responsible for developing initiatives that matter to our members, being accountable for transparency and inclusiveness, and for fulfilling our members’ expectations. We should strive to provide more clarity to our members. We also should “look inside out” and “retool outside in.”
What influenced you to attend A&M and become an architect? What three words would you use to describe AIA Dallas? As I mentioned, my mom was very creative and had a great eye. She did a lot of drawing and encouraged us to do the same. Since my dad was a contractor, I thought I would follow in his footsteps. After attending the University of Texas at El Paso, I transferred to Texas A&M since the school had a great reputation in construction management. One of my first courses at A&M was “Design Overview.” I did well in the course and it sparked my desire to be a part of the creative design process. I also visited New York City and saw the World Trade Center twin towers. The verticality of their design was very inspiring. These two key factors influenced my decision to become an architect and obtain my two degrees from A&M. What brought you to Dallas and to HKS? The founders of HKS—including Harwood K. Smith, FAIA—had deep ties to A&M. I did my senior project related to hotel design under Jack Yardley, FAIA, who was the design director at HKS. My professors at A&M also encouraged me to consider HKS. These factors worked hand-in-glove to get me to Dallas and HKS. I’ve been with HKS for 33 years—one of the best decisions I ever made. What do you enjoy most in leading the HKS hospitality group? Our hospitality group is able to do buildings that touch people. We
I would describe AIA Dallas as purposeful, trustworthy, and relevant. What are the greatest challenges facing the architecture profession? I think a major challenge is for firms to find ways to pay better wages to their young associates. They come out of school with a lot of debt, so figuring out a way to do this is important. We also need to continue to inspire our teams to create “beauty from void” and meaningful “space between two black dots.” Finally, we have to keep in mind that the computer is a tool, not an end unto itself. What are some of your favorite buildings or spaces other than the ones you designed? One of my favorite spaces is [New York City’s] Central Park. It’s like a great old book—a space for everyone that is open to all. What advice would you give to an architectural intern starting in practice? Architectural interns should be demanding, should want it all, should be impatient, should be a sponge, should be participatory, should seek client interaction, should give input, and should always bring value. COLUMNS // aiadallas.org
Illustration: Nunzio DeSantis, FAIA
Which architects, living or dead, do you most admire?
Mick Jagger, and Mother Teresa. It would be a lively and interesting evening.
I like the vernacular of Texas architecture. Frank Welch, FAIA and O’Neil Ford, FAIA are masters of bringing the outdoors indoors, allowing their buildings to speak on their own terms. They also incorporate key elements of Texan, Spanish, and Mexican influence in their projects, which I appreciate.
What else should people know about you? I’m never satisfied—there’s always more to do and more places to see. I have to balance this with a need to stop and take a breath and enjoy life.
What do you do in your (limited) spare time? What inspires you as an architect? I like to spend time with my wife and visiting my kids in New York City. Favorite places to retreat are my lake house and my ranch. I enjoy fishing and hunting. Being outdoors, either on the water or at the ranch, helps keep things in proper perspective. What guests, living or deceased, would you have at your ideal dinner party?
Innovation and design. I love to do hand-drawn sketches. I used them almost exclusively in designing my lake house. I also love a challenge and I’m a fixer of problems. Interview by Nate Eudaly, Hon. AIA Dallas, executive director of the Dallas Architecture Forum. MAKING HIS MARK(S)
I would want to mix it up: Teddy Roosevelt to hear about his adventures, Ernest Hemingway for his take on romanticism,
View a sample of the creative sketches from the hand of Nunzio DeSantis. www.aiadallas.org/columns/nunzio-sketches
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By Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA
Photo: Liane Swanson
As the highest-ranking law enforcement officer in Dallas County, Sheriff Lupe Valdez might not fit the average bill of what historically comes to mind when you mention “Texas Sheriff.” She is one of four female sheriffs in the State of Texas and is the only Hispanic female sheriff in the United States. A featured speaker at this year’s Democratic National Convention, Lupe’s message to her officers and the community is clear: “The only way to serve your community is to know your community.” An advocate for equal rights—regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, or ethnic background—Lupe is a firm believer that getting to know and understand a person’s background (though different from your own) is the first step for establishing positive relationships in the community. She also recognizes how a physical environment can affect equity in neighborhoods. Columns met Sheriff Valdez at her office in the Frank Crowley Courts Building to discuss some of the challenges in our society, the physical and social constraints certain communities face, and how access to livable amenities like reliable transit, new businesses, and vibrant public spaces are helping bridge gaps and create more equitable futures for our communities.
shifts. Many qualified individuals apply for positions in our department, but are turned away because of the question “What am I going to do with my kids?” What is a single mother with two children going to do? How do you fill a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift without 24-hour childcare? We would also implement better training for our officers. There are tough hurdles to overcome in training, like de-escalating a tense situation and dealing with the mentally ill. We also have to train our officers for 100-plus mph car chases and where to do that is always a question. We have used abandoned mall parking lots like Big Town Mall or expansive land in Grand Prairie as training grounds for these types of chases. Are there initiatives in your department that encourage or promote equity in the law enforcement workforce?
Let’s discuss this quote from your recent address at the Texas Democratic Party Convention this year: “I am Hispanic, female, lesbian, and Democrat.” How do these traits shape your perspective as Dallas County Sheriff? What challenges have you faced? It’s like I tell my police chiefs: When we learn to speak in each other’s cultural language, we will understand each other a lot better. I think I’m blessed with the ability to speak to different perspectives. I have the ability to speak Hispanic, female, and lesbian, to name a few. I also speak “law enforcement,” which has allowed me to address the long-standing structural issues within the department I serve. It has helped me partner with the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court, Parkland Hospital, Dallas County Constables, as well as several judges in the Dallas County District Attorney’s office to improve the quality of our correctional facilities, our health care for inmates and to expand our highway patrol system to allow for greater coverage of in-county highways. There will always be challenges when dealing with the status-quo or with people who have different viewpoints. However, when you can connect with people on many different things, it makes you much more relatable. If budget funds were available, what are some things you would improve in your department? I would implement a 24-hour childcare service for current and potential employees. It would allow us to hire more qualified individuals who would not be turned away because they are concerned with who will take care of their children during their
You can’t serve a community that you don’t know, so we have to know our community. We try to make it important to be a part of the different cultural events around our community. There’s Hispanic Heritage Month, Juneteenth, Black History Month, Kwanzaa, the Irish Festival, and Ramadan, to name a few. Every year I’m invited to at least two or three events for Ramadan. We call it “Duty Week,” where an officer is required to attend one of these events if it coincides with your Duty Week. It provides representation from the Sheriff’s Department at one of these events and shows that we care about what’s going on in the community. Sometimes these are new and different cultural experiences for our officers, but the people appreciate that we are there. How can your department more effectively involve minority communities in ensuring the safety of our neighborhoods? Hire them. … We need to recruit more minorities. There should be multiple nationalities out there working to ensure the safety and well-being of the community. It has to start from the top. Sometimes you have to be strong in your direction—even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular. Have you ever gone to a party or event and seen people grouped up with their own kind? It’s a natural tendency to feel comfortable with your own. It can be natural human behavior. However, a pastor once told me if someone comes to church and doesn’t see themselves in the leadership, there’s a good chance they’re not coming back. I want my officers to connect with the community on a good basis before they have to deal with them in a confrontational situation. It’s service to the people who depend on you.
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As one who spends time in different communities across Dallas, what are some of the challenges you see facing areas that might be physically or socially disconnected from the greater city? Do you think the lack of resources, infrastructure, or low quality of life determines the inequity certain individuals face?
What are some ways architects and planners can influence and change the trajectory of those affected by poverty and who generally lack the essential components of livability?
I love what the mayor is doing with reviving the connectivity of certain communities and bringing in new businesses and jobs, We have to recognize the issues and start a conversation. We have and creating a more decent quality of life. Oftentimes, this is to give individuals that face economic disparity opportunities a community-wide, cross-sector effort that looks to build a to succeed and better their situations. We have initiatives that stronger system. In some of these communities, it is very obvious can encourage this type of action like the anti-poverty task that there is no grocery store, no public transportation, no good force [that] Mayor Mike Rawlings has put together that aims to schools, and therefore no jobs. If you have an area that lacks these put individuals on a pathway to financial stability by providing basic building blocks, then it will suffer from low economic growth. employment support, job skills training, and financial education. Architects alongside smart urban planning can influence these Look at the success of Klyde Warren decisions. If we work toward equity Park in the city. We need more It’s like I tell my police chiefs: and build stronger, more resilient parks like this that connect to other communities, then it will be difficult neighborhoods around the city that When we learn to speak in each for poverty to attach itself to these have been isolated due to poor urban other’s cultural language, we will areas. Obviously this isn’t always the planning and slow economic growth. but with new infrastructure and understand each other a lot better. case, To use the analogy of the internet as urban planning we now have bridges, a “superhighway of information,” I I think I’m blessed with the ability highways, and transportation modes remember years ago when the internet to speak to different perspectives. I that are reconnecting our city. Now we was being introduced to the masses. have ways to move in and out of Dallas. An individual said to me, “That’s great have the ability to speak Hispanic, that they’re bringing the internet and female, and lesbian, to name a few. Outside of being sheriff of Dallas, do flow of information to everyone. This have any dreams or goals you I also speak “law enforcement,” you new highway of information will be would like to achieve? great, but you know there won’t be which has allowed me to address an off-ramp to my neighborhood!” He the long-standing structural issues One thing I have learned from working was concerned that his neighborhood with women in our system is that most would be glanced over when funding within the department I serve. have always relied solely on a male or infrastructure improvements were figure. My dream would be to run an set in play. Therefore, I think it’s important that we have an “offorganic farm operated by women who are re-entering society. This road” or accessibility to all neighborhoods for them to grow type of program will bring confidence in these women, many of and thrive. whom were abused early in life. However, if we can teach them to learn to use tools for a year, how to grow, manage and operate the What about affordable housing initiatives in Dallas or other ways machinery needed in growing a farm, then they’re going to come communities can help alleviate poverty and allow individuals a out with the confident feelings that they can achieve anything. We path to better their economic situation? could even turn it into a community-based effort where, under the proper supervision and resources, these women work alongside It depends on how you define affordable housing. If you put all the one another and build a sense of community, with amenities like a poor folks in one area and expect them to change their behavior cafeteria, kitchen, and dormitory. and economic situation, it is not always successful. Sometimes by changing a person’s environment you can change their perspective It has been a busy year for you. What do you enjoy doing in your and outlook. There is a four-plex housing model that I have seen time off? … Any vacation destinations? work successfully in encouraging positive behavior. Take areas that have seen recent economic growth of new business, infrastructure, Every year, I take a silent retreat. There are several monasteries and amenities—like Bishop Arts or Deep Ellum—for example. The that cater to silent retreats for three to four days and many are market rates for rent might be higher than some can afford. By in great locations across the country—on mountains or lakes and leasing three of the units at a fair market rate and leasing one with surrounding landscapes that help you totally relax. It’s like a unit at an affordable housing rate to someone who might not be detox for me. The phones are off and it’s total silence as you let able to afford the area otherwise, you have changed that person’s your mind reset. environment and given him or her access to new amenities. The other three tenants are going to influence the behavior of that Interview by Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA with Corgan. fourth person and it’s going to make a total difference in their life. It’s important to create new opportunities for people to better themselves and their situation.
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After 50-plus years in the design world, Jack Summerford divides his time between grandchildren living in Fort Worth and New York, and enjoys occasional trips to Santa Fe, NM. Though retired, he continues to make a few forays back into creative design, such as his recent book, Obvious?, and a book of outdoor illustrations created by the revered Texas illustrator Jack Unruh. Summerford and Unruh collaborated on the book prior to Unruh’s recent passing. “I tried to stay true to his work and his sketchbook and journals,” Summerford says. Jack is a celebrity of sorts in the graphic design world; perhaps legend is a more accurate term. Still, he carries himself with a soft charm that dispels any ego and is quick to give credit to others. His unassuming, yet articulate style of interacting gives you the sense that he knows what he’s talking about and is confident in who he is and what he knows. Jack’s Impact on AEC Clients Over the course of his career, Jack has worked with AEC firms in North Texas including Bateson, Beck, Corgan, Greiner, Lea+Elliott, Omniplan, TDIndustries and Weir. Through his years in working in the AEC industry, he’s run into a few egos. He talks about them in the following interview. In your career, how many architecture, engineering, and construction firms have you served? I’ve worked for probably 12 to 20 AEC firms, depending on how you define a firm. Some were very small, some international. HKS was my first architectural client, Corgan my second. My work for them never overlapped though. I was careful about that with every AEC client. HCB Beck, Greiner, Bateson, Omniplan—those were some of the other larger ones. I did a few smaller programs, like an identity and brochure for architecture and interior design firm Rogers-Ford and a fun and unique logo for Jeff Smith, an architectural stained-glass creator.
Michael Bierut, in an essay for Design Observer, commented the following on Summerford’s now iconic “Helvetica” poster: “To promote the ITC Garamond’s arrival in Texas, Summerford used Garamond, in all its monstrous glory, to set a single giant word: Helvetica. It’s not a good font, but just this once, it made a great punch line.”
Does ego play into the process of a firm developing a corporate image? A logo? A brand? Occasionally, something as trivial as school colors will dominate a design conversation. (The color maroon would often be mentioned.) A few firm leaders might micro-manage a bit and try to add images to a design when they didn’t make sense. But once you showed them why it didn’t make sense, they were generally appreciative. One time, though, I was blindsided. A CEO in the AEC industry promised that he and I would make the design decisions. When I went to his office to present my ideas, I was met with a board room full of people … all with an opinion. We wound up creating a logo by committee and that never really works. I see their trucks around town to this day and I cringe when I see that logo. They really didn’t get my best work. Here’s the lesson: When creating graphic design, the fewer people involved the better.
Do you have favorite stories from working with your AEC clients? Sure. I did a large format brochure for HKS one time, and soon Ron Brame, FAIA called me and said they got an airport job in Italy and the brochure had had a big impact on the client. I earned my keep on that one. Another favorite experience was working with Jack Corgan—such a gentleman, fair and always pleasant. A very good man. He would say, “I have this much money to amortize over a few years. What can you do for us?” We’d work out the details and we both went away happy. We worked very well together and the Corgan people were very good to me. How would you describe the amount of ego that is necessary to do good work? Ego is important; design disciplines obviously have the need for some ego. After working with architects and engineers, I took the leap into doing design work for other service industries like lawyers and accountants, but they weren’t as much fun.
You are friends with some of the best graphics legends in the U.S. Is there a common thread among them that helps bring out their imaginative genius? Well, they enjoy what they do and want their designs to be really good; they take a lot of pride in what they do. Pride and ego can work together in a positive way. As I’ve said, graphic designers can be a little insecure and often seek approval. Maybe that’s why there are so many design awards programs; they offer a way to measure your work against the competition and to see how you measure up against the work of others. Linda Mastaglio is managing editor of Columns and owner of TWI-PR.
The I.D. Behind the Egos Check out more designs by the subject of our profile—Jack Summerford, a graphic designer known for his creative branding and logo ideas to represent building industry companies. www.aiadallas.org/columns/summerford
AARON FARMER, AIA By Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA
Aaron Farmer, AIA is a self-proclaimed lifelong student. With 35 years practicing alongside the late Bill Booziotis, he has played a role in many award-winning projects in Dallas. These include Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts and the Dallas Public Library master plan and facilities assessment. A firm believer in the idea of â€œin building, do no harm,â€? Farmer suggests that the design community has a moral obligation as shapers of the built environment to educate our clients, community, and building users about the role architecture can play in enhancing the human experience. He believes this can be accomplished morally and ethically while creating value, increasing well-being, improving interaction, and embracing social responsibility. After closing the doors at Booziotis and Company in 2016, Farmer embarked on a new journey, bringing his expertise to OMNIPLAN while also pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology, a degree he sees as complimentary to his role as an architect in Dallas. Recently, we sat down together in his new office to discuss his story.
You worked with Bill Booziotis, FAIA for many years until his passing in 2016. How did you come to meet Bill? I had met Bill through his involvement in the AIA. He also taught a course at the University of Texas at Arlington on event planning when I was president of the UTA chapter of the American Institute of Architecture Students. There, I met Bill and was exposed to his marvelous creative nature. We got to know each other well and enjoyed each other’s company. He ultimately ended up calling me one day and asking if I would like to come visit with them. I agreed, and went over to his office. It wasn’t a formal interview at all, and I didn’t even bring a portfolio. We just talked, hung out, and enjoyed having lunch. Long story short, I was offered a position at the firm and became the seventh employee at Booziotis and Company at the time. Bill, of course, was known as a design leader and it was just the right place to grow as a young architect and be around some of the most creative people in Dallas at the time. I knew that I had landed in the right place.
The built environment impacts everyone in our culture. It is an element of healing, growth, and accommodation. It can lift people up and make them feel a certain way whether it be good or bad, but it never has a neutral effect. ALL ABOUT AARON HOMETOWN?
What types of projects were you most heavily involved with while with his firm? Booziotis and Company was sort of two practices with two types of client bases. Part of the firm was engaged in our well-known residential practice and the other part was involved in our civic architecture and public work. That is where my passion lies and it was my primary focus while with the firm. Therefore, most of my time as an architect there involved working in certain genres of projects like performing arts buildings, arts and cultural buildings, places of worship, libraries, and educational and community-based projects. You recently embarked on a new journey academically as you continue your professional career as an architect. Tell us a bit about the Master of Arts in Theology you are pursuing. My current focus is on the ancient near-eastern studies from around 3500 B.C. up until 1 A.D. and largely focuses on studying the framework of the cultures and context of the Bible during this time. This is also when the Judeo-Christian religious element developed, and I am fascinated by how the culture, social values, political values, and literary style are reflected in the writings of the Bible during this time. The religious text and the faith of the people reflected their culture by indicating how they lived, the places they lived, and how the architecture was integrated into their built environment.
Born in Dallas, but my hometown is Telephone, TX. WHAT IS SOMETHING NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?
In college, I minored in music; I used to be a choir director. FAVORITE ARCHITECT?
Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi (18521926) and secondly probably Alvar Aalto. Locally, O’Neil Ford, FAIA. FAVORITE DALLAS RESTAURANT?
I frequently visit Rex’s Seafood, but for special occasions I like Old Warsaw. FAVORITE THING ABOUT DALLAS?
Living near White Rock Lake is absolutely fabulous. DREAM VACATION?
Is there a moral connection between pursuit of your degree and your work as an architect? My decision to pursue studies in theology has always been a personal interest. I am active in my church and in my community, but those aspects of my personal life had not meshed with my professional life as an architect until I began drawing the connections. The built environment impacts everyone in our culture. It is an element of healing, growth, and accommodation. It can lift people up and make them feel a certain way whether it be good or bad, but it never has a neutral effect. When you consider these elements of the built environment and the parallels to my theological background, which in many ways can also provide aspects of healing and growth, there are many similarities. I want to be an advocate for being intentional and to be very critical about what it is we build and how we build it. We should extend this notion to the client community, whether it be theological, institutional, commercial, or even educational. The built environment is a “tool” for community and should be viewed that way because our response should not be neutral. It needs to create community value and a sense of shared space or communal space. Interview by Ezra Loh, Assoc. AIA, with Corgan.
My travel goal is to visit all continents. My dream vacation would be a food and culture experience around the world, repeating as necessary to avoid ending. PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH?
I love British theater and TV, so I would like to have a dinner party with Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith. I would also invite Julia Child because of my interest in food and wine. LEARN MORE More fascinating detail about Aaron’s life and views is online at www.aiadallas.org/ columns/farmer.
Columns is a quarterly publication of The Dallas Chapter of The American Institute of Architects