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Fort Worth’s Favorites Localized list acquaints the general public with area’s best buildings by Stephen Darrow, AIA
Photo by Greg Hursley; courtesy Leonard Chapel
AIA Fort Worth, in celebration of the American Institute of Architect’s 150th anniversary, has launched a Web site (www.aia150.aiafortworth.org) designed to inform the public about the best architectural design in and around Tarrant County. The leaders of AIA Fort Worth drew on the popularity of the AIA’s “America’s Favorite Architecture” by canvassing the chapter’s membership and developing a localized list. Released in June, “AIA Fort Worth’s Favorite Architecture” features the 28 buildings selected by the members as their top choices from the 15-county region. While more than 140 different buildings received votes, there was no question which would take the list’s lead slot. The Kimbell Art Museum by Louis Kahn received a vote on every ballot—the only building to garner such a distinction. Second on the list is the Marty Leonard Chapel, shown above, designed by E. Fay Jones. Located at the Lena Pope Home on the west side of Fort Worth, the chapel is named for a member of a prominent local family who is a long-time volunteer with the nonprofit child-services organization. Opened in 1990, the light-filled chapel is reminiscent of Jones’ seminal Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The remainder of the buildings on the list represents a mix of new and old, large and small, public and private. Although it may not have generated the passionate discussions of the AIA’s “America’s Favorite Architecture” list released earlier this year, local media outlets showed interest and the coverage ignited some healthy discussion on several blogs that deal with Fort Worth art and architecture. Fort Worth Weekly even responded with a front-page headline boasting “Cowtown’s Coolest Unsung Buildings.” Just as the buzz over “The List” was beginning to die down, AIA Fort Worth seized the opportunity to bring the “America’s Favorite Architecture” traveling exhibit to town. Displayed at the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Architecture from Sept. 10 to Oct. 12, the exhibit also sparked a good deal of media coverage and generated more debate about what constitutes “the best” architecture. Stephen Darrow, AIA, is president of AIA Fort Worth.
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