David Webster George Working Outside of Time article by Joe Self, AIA photography by Holly Reed
24 Texas Architect
ucked back in the woods, at the end of a winding path, is an architect working outside of time. But David Webster George, FAIA, arranges patterns and places that are timeless. The unassuming approach to his house in Southlake masks the carefully situated environment he created in 1986, followed by a studio addition in 1991. Deer, coyote, and wild turkey roam the property. David is quick to point out that he resides within the Cross Timbers — a densely packed oak and scrub-bush region that extends from North Texas in a broad swath through Oklahoma and up into Kansas. For David, boundaries are set by nature and not by governments. The threads of a life in architecture are difficult to gather. The work of David George deserves at least a monograph and this essay can only hint at the wide-ranging set of experiences, for more than six decades, expressed in his buildings. David’s architecture is marked by a pattern of modules and of articulated edges that define particular places. The module is generally expressed as a 32” plan grid that subdivides into construction elements such as modular brick and expands, oftentimes, as repeated structural
or spatial bays. Structures are further explored so that edges and seams can be opened up in unexpected ways — usually to let light into the interior. His work seems to have undergone several phases over time, but the devotion to a module and the exploration of articulated edges is a recurring focus. These formal and constructional strategies are, however, only tools in support of a larger system – a belief in organic architecture. Blending into the surrounding landscape with local material and color, using construction methods compatible with the site, and employing efficient building systems are his ways of creating organic architecture. The Lake Cottage project of 1966 may be one of David’s best examples of an architecture that blends into the surroundings. are also explored to support the larger aim of creating visual continuity. For example, a folded-plate roof system is often used so that a ridge beam is not needed at the peak of interior spaces — allowing the ceiling to flow uninterrupted from plane to plane. The Lake Cottage interior of 1966 illustrates this feature. The same type of structure is used at the George Studio and at the Preston Hollow House (see page 30 of this issue) so that the upper reach Structural systems
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