Front & Center
I Trinity University Looking Forward
closer to adopting a master plan, the question of protecting the integrity of the original campus should come into play. Sensitivity to the scale and
“The historic campus of Trinity is hugely significant to the story of architectural history in Texas.” materials of Ford’s work can be used to encourage creativity and need not act as a constraint that stifles the architects working on new campus buildings. looks at new buildings in different campus settings. It begins with a discussion of the three presidential libraries in Texas. These buildings are all located on university campuses and are integrated into their settings to varying degrees. The remaining features look specifically at buildings that add to their campus contexts with interventions that make sense. They address their sites; they are thoughtful designs; and they all introduce diversity into their immediate contexts. They are all fine examples of new campus architecture and are relevant precedents for new design in any setting.
This issue of Texas Architect
O’Neil Ford designed 46 buildings at Trinity University. The campus grew from the contours of the topography, and the LiftSlab construction allowed many of the buildings to cling to the hillside.
PHOTO AND DRAWING COURTESY FORD, POWELL & CARSON.
by Catherine Gavin, Editor
n 1948, the planning and design process for an innovative, informal campus on a rocky terraced bluff overlooking San Antonio began. The unique site chosen for Trinity University was impossibly difficult to build on and made it clear from the beginning that a traditional campus just would not do. The campus grew naturally from the contours of the topography, with buildings that clung to the hillside, a network of bridges and staircases connecting the distinct levels, and sparse native plants that defined the tightly arranged spaces between the buildings. The Lift-Slab construction employed at most of the buildings piqued national interest. Trinity University’s campus is testament to the work of O’Neil Ford, and his strained but productive relationship with Bartlett Cocke. The two men completed 46 buildings on the campus. William Wurster’s influence as a consulting architect ensured that the campus would grow from its site with low-slung linear buildings defined by wide cantilevers. Arthur and Marie Burger’s landscape architecture enhanced the informality of it all. “The historic campus of Trinity is hugely significant to the story of architectural history in Texas,” said Kathryn O’Rourke, assistant professor of art history at Trinity. The campus has grown significantly over the last 65 years, and the university is currently looking to develop a new master plan that will allow for continued growth. O’Rourke noted that a plan allowing for a diversity of buildings and respecting the historic nature of many of them would be a step in the right direction. “Much of the recent development is abrupt and arguably has interrupted the original campus design,” said O’Rourke. As Trinity moves
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