2016 Design Conference: Designing + Building

Architecture Tours and Learning Opportunities
February 12–14​
Amarillo/Palo Duro Canyon


Palo Duro Canyon illustration by Bryce A. Weigand, FAIA


Onsite registration available in Amarillo on Friday, February 12. See below for more details.

During our Fifth Annual Design Conference, we will explore the relationship between designing and building — between the act of imagining what could be and the act of turning that vision into reality. The conference will be held in the panhandle of Texas in Amarillo and nearby Palo Duro Canyon State Park, whose iconic Civilian Conservation Corps projects provide a historic precedent for the discussion. Presentations by three creative design/build studios will demonstrate the formal and educational possibilities that exist when the line between the designer and builder are blurred.

Amarillo itself is home to a number of compelling architectural works including the Sterling Kinney House by Frank Lloyd Wright, and provides a fitting setting to hear from speakers, tour buildings, and enjoy fellowship with peers. Flights to Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport are available through American, Southwest and United Airlines.



Presenters at the 2016 Design Conference will include:

  • Andrew Freear
    Rural Studio (Newbern, Alabama)
  • Cade Hayes and Jesús Robles, Jr.
    D U S T  (Tucson, Arizona)
  • Dan Rockhill
    Rockhill and Associates/Studio 804 (Lecompton/Lawrence, Kansas)

Andrew Freear

​Following the death of Samuel Mockbee in 2001, Andrew Freear became the Director of Auburn University’s Rural Studio. This influential educational program provides students with a unique opportunity to first design and then build homes and community projects for economically challenged communities in central Alabama.

Cade Hayes and Jesús Robles, Jr.

​D U S T is a Tucson-based alliance of architects, craftsmen, artists, designers, and builders that focus their practice in the master builder tradition. Hayes and Robles founded the firm after meeting as students in the Masters program at Texas Tech University.

Dan Rockhill

As both an educator and a practitioner, Dan Rockhill’s work integrates the Kansas landscape with modern sensibilities. In addition to his own design/build office, Rockhill and Associates, he also heads Studio 804, a comprehensive program offered at the University of Kansas School of Architecture, Design and Planning.



The following is a tentative schedule for our 2016 Design Conference. These plans are subject to change. 

Friday, February 12

1:00 pm Registration, Courtyard Amarillo Downtown
2:00–3:30 pm  Downtown Walking Tour led by Jim Williams, AIA
4:00–5:45 pm Presentation: Cade Hayes and Jesús Robles, Jr., Amarillo National Bank Conference Room, Plaza II
6:30 pm Reception, Amarillo National Bank Skyline Room, Plaza I
7:30 pm Catered Dinner, Skyline Room

Saturday, February 13

8:30 am  Buses depart for Palo Duro Canyon, Mack Dick Pavilion
9:30 –11:30 am Presentation: Dan Rockhill
11:45 am–1:15 pm  Lunch & CCC Presentation: Jeff Davis, Park Interpreter
1:30–3:00 pm  Presentation: Andrew Freear
3:30–4:30 pm Tour CCC structures with Jeff Davis
4:45 pm  Buses depart Palo Duro Canyon for tour of Sterling Kinney House by Frank Lloyd Wright followed by dinner at The Big Texan Steak Ranch.
8:30 pm  Buses depart from The Big Texan; return to hotel

Sunday, February 14

9:00 am–12:00 pm Panel Discussion: All speakers. Tour Globe News Center for the Performing Arts



Courtyard Amarillo Downtown
724 S. Polk Street
Amarillo, Texas 79101

For rates and reservations, call (806) 553-4500. Accommodations are not included in the conference cost.



Conference cost is $450 per person. Price includes:

  • Friday reception/dinner
  • Saturday lunch
  • All shuttles and transportation while at conference
  • Any other conference events

Online registration is now closed; however, onsite registration will be available at the Courtyard Amarillo Downtown starting at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, February 12. Questions? Contact Arlena Buck.

January 29 was the last day for refunds; however, if you registered and are unable to attend, you may transfer your registration to another individual for the 2016 Design Conference only.