2019 Design Conference 
22–24 February
Bartlesville | Tulsa, OK

Is it fair to expect more of architecture in some places rather than others? Certainly the political, social, and economic ingredients of any location can lead to great buildings. While in Northeast Oklahoma, participants in the 2019 TxA Design Conference: UNEXPECTED will explore the notion that great architecture can happen anywhere. The program will open with a walking tour of downtown Tulsa, which boasts one of the nation’s most extensive collections of Art Deco architecture, and will include a day trip to Bartlesville. In addition to tours of buildings by Bruce Goff, Frank Lloyd Wright, and others, the conference will feature discussions with contemporary architects working in unexpected environments. 

Join us as we explore the UNEXPECTED in Oklahoma.

Sebastian Schmaling, AIA

Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning
Founding Partner, Johnsen Schmaling Architects (Milwaukee, WI)

Sebastian Schmaling is a founding partner of Johnsen Schmaling Architects, a design and research studio whose work has garnered broad critical acclaim for its conceptual clarity, formal discipline, astute detailing, and an unequivocal commitment to architectural innovation and environmental sustainability. Johnsen Schmaling Architects received the Emerging Voices award from the Architectural League of New York, and Architectural Record featured the office in its Design Vanguard issue as one of 10 “exceptional global architecture firms to watch.” The firm was also named one of “Ten Rising Stars in American Architecture” by Architectural Digest.

Hans E. Butzer, AIA

Dean, University of Oklahoma Gibbs College of Architecture
Co-Founder, Butzer Architects and Urbanism (Oklahoma City, OK)

Hans E. Butzer is co-founder of Butzer Architects and Urbanism and Dean of the University of Oklahoma Gibbs College of Architecture. He is best known for his role in the design of key public sites in Oklahoma City, his civic engagement and advocacy, and his role as an educator and leader at the University of Oklahoma. His work has received 15 awards from AIA and ASLA, and was named among the 10 best designs of 2000 by Time Magazine and among the “Top 50 Best Public Art Projects” by the Americans for the Arts Public Art Network Year in Review.

Wendy Evans Joseph, FAIA

Founder, Studio Joseph (New York, NY)

Wendy Evans Joseph is the founder of Studio Joseph, an architecture practice focused on designing profound work that emerges from unpretentious, pragmatic thinking. Under Joseph’s leadership, the firm has completed a diverse array of public, institutional, and cultural projects, but her passion for art and community learning has led to a strong commitment to exhibition installation. In 2013, the studio was selected by Wallpaper magazine as one of the world’s leading young design firms. Joseph received a Rome Prize in Architecture from the American Academy in Rome and is an Academician of the National Academy of Design.


Course descriptions and objectives listed below schedule, under “Continuing Education Information.”


2:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Registration: Hyatt Regency Tulsa, 100 E. 2nd St., Lobby Level

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Downtown Walking Tour beginning at Hyatt Regency; ending at Boston Avenue United Methodist Church. Tour guides provided by Tulsa Foundation for Architecture.

4:30 PM – 5:00 PM
Guided Tour of Boston Avenue United Methodist, designed by Bruce Goff (1301 S. Boston Ave.)

5:15 PM – 6:30 PM
Welcome, Introductions & First Session – Boston Avenue United Methodist

Sebastian Schmaling, AIA, Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning & Founding Partner, Johnsen Schmaling Architects (Milwaukee, WI)

6:45 PM – 8:15 PM
Reception: Tulsa Foundation for Architecture (633 S. Boston Ave.) 2 drink tickets from host, then cash bar (CASH ONLY!)


7:30 AM – 8:30 AM
Grab-and-Go Light Breakfast, Hyatt Regency, Concourse Level, Tulsa Ballroom Foyer

8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Bus Ride to Bartlesville Conference Center, 300 SE Adams Blvd. Board bus by 8:20 AM.

10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Hans Butzer, AIA, Dean, University of Oklahoma Gibbs College of Architecture; Co-Founder, Butzer Architects and Urbanism (Oklahoma City, OK)

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM
Break. Coffee and water provided.

11:15 AM – 12:15 PM
Wendy Evans Joseph, FAIA, Founder, Studio Joseph (New York, NY)

12:30 PM – 1:30 PM
Lunch @ Price Tower, 510 S. Dewey Ave.

1:30 AM – 5:30 PM
Tour of Price Tower, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright; Tour of Redeemer Lutheran Church Education Building, designed by Bruce Goff; Tour of the Bennett Residence, designed by Bruce Goff (Drive by other Goff houses & Play Tower)

5:30 PM – 6:30 PM
Bus ride to Tulsa

6:30 PM
Dinner on your own


8:00 AM – 8:45 AM
Grab-and-Go Coffee and Light Breakfast Snacks – Concourse Level, Tulsa Ballroom Foyer

8:45 AM – 9:00 AM
Bus ride to Gathering Place (2650 S. John Williams Way E). Board bus by 8:35 AM

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Presentations & Self-Guided Tour of Gathering Place, Rodrigo Rojas, Director of Community Relations

10:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Board ride to Hyatt Regency

10:30 AM – 10:45 AM
Breakfast Buffet  – Hyatt Regency, Lobby Level, Promenade Ballroom, AB

10:45 AM – 12:15 PM
Panel Discussion with all speakers, moderated by Aaron Seward

12:15 PM


The 2019 TxA Design Conference is AIA CES approved for 8.75 LU hours, 3.5 of which qualify for HSW credit.

On the Margins
Friday, February 22
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM

1.0 LU
Sebastian Schmaling, AIA
Professor, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Architecture & Urban Planning & Founding Partner, Johnsen Schmaling Architects

Contemporary life is drowning in a flood of generic, easily digestible imagery, and our increasingly profligate design culture has become largely dismissive of the quiet, the subtle, and the profound as archaic values incompatible with today’s short attention spans. It is against this backdrop of unshackled opticentricity that the critically acclaimed work of Johnsen Schmaling Architects stands out for its conceptual rigor, serene simplicity, and formal restraint. Practicing in a region shaped by the tensions between a struggling urban rustbelt and its agrarian hinterland, Sebastian Schmaling and his partner, Brian Johnsen, use both city and rural sites as complementary laboratories for their architectural investigations. Recently completed residential and commercial buildings will serve as case studies to illustrate Johnsen Schmaling’s elaborate design process, one in which the reading of context and cultural memory translates into an abstract architectural narrative that informs the entire evolution of a project, from initial conceptual ideas to the development of intricate construction details.

Learning Objective 1:
Explore, through case studies, how the conceptual reading of context and program can serve as a source for generative design strategies.

Learning Objective 2:
Discuss the use of a variety of media, including physical study models, diagrammatic drawings, and conceptual renderings, throughout the design process to successfully communicate unconventional ideas to a client.

Learning Objective 3:
Discover how the careful selection and use of materials and inventive detailing profoundly impacts a building’s relationship with its surroundings.

Learning Objective 4:
Understand the importance of architectural rigor and simplicity in a world of shrinking resources.

Bruce Goff and the American School: Impacts on the Teaching and Practice of Architecture
Saturday, February 23
10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

1.0 LU
Hans Butzer, AIA
Dean, University of Oklahoma Gibbs College of Architecture
Co-Founder, Butzer Architects and Urbanism

Hans E. Butzer AIA will share how Bruce Goff, through his teaching and practice, shaped what is now known as the American School. Goff and American School educators and practicing architects 1.) helped shape contemporary architectural pedagogy, including the academic design-build movement, 2.) became leading advocates for sincere client and community engagement, 3.) gave significant momentum to the sustainability movement, and 4.) contributed to an emerging experimentalism of architectural space and form. In these ways, American School educators and architects have positively contributed to the architect’s responsibility to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the general public. Featured examples include Goff’s own work, University of Oklahoma student work, and the work of other American School educators and architects.

Learning Objective 1:
After attending this presentation, participants will be able to describe the innovative pedagogy at Oklahoma that helped shape contemporary architectural studio education and academic design-build programs.

Learning Objective 2:
They will be able to discuss how the role of client and community engagement was prioritized by Goff and educators and architects of the American School, adding momentum to current day inclusive practices.

Learning Objective 3:
They will be able to illustrate how the respect for nature led to innovative sustainable and resilient building and design strategies, including resourceful, structural, passive cooling, and formal ones.

Learning Objective 4:
They will also be able to identify connections of spatial and architectural forms between 1940’s/50’s University of Oklahoma student work and the work of contemporary architects such as Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid.

Working in Unexpected Environments
Saturday, February 23
11:15 AM – 12:15 PM

1.0 LU
Wendy Evans Joseph, FAIA
Founder, Studio Joseph

Wallace Stevens’ poem “The Man with the Blue Guitar” serves as the underpinning for this talk about meaning in architecture:

They said, ‘You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.
The man replied, ‘Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar

Architecture is not mute. The forms and materials that we use to create space and shape experiences carry meaning. A dialogue between the natural and built worlds begins with a very particular strategy that is expressed depending on intention, climate, context, community goals, and other criteria. My thesis develops via seven projects ranging in scale and complexity along the following learning objectives.

Learning Objective 1:
Context and Content: Participants will learn how a physical environment informs how we interpret information, and how to make immersive environments that foster community learning using visual and media-driven imagery to create spaces that are transportive emotionally and intellectually.

Learning Objective 2:
Adaptive Reuse: Participants will learn about building into cultural resources as part of adaptive reuse, and about increasing transparency in education with natural light, interior planning, and open views.

Learning Objective 3:
Meaning and Landscape: Participants will learn about using media and materiality to create new spatial experiences that stage cultural and social interaction without barrier.

Learning Objective 4:
Connections to the past: Participants will learn how history comes to life through with artifacts, media, and technology, and how theatrical design and analog presentation work together to affect how we understand our past and guide our future

TOURS: Price Tower, Redeemer Lutheran Church Education Building, Bennett Residence, and Sooner Tower
Saturday, February 23
1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
3.5 LU|HSW

The TxA Design Conference includes a day-trip to Bartlesville, where participants will visit the Price Tower (1956) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as three buildings by Bruce Goff: the Education Center of the Redeemer Lutheran Church (1961), the Richard Bennett Residence (1959), and Play Tower in Sooner Park. We will explore the buildings and discuss the history, design, and materials of each project.

Learning Objective 1:
Attendees will learn about history and the breakthrough design of the Price Tower, including it inner concrete and steel core which serves as an elevator shaft, and and how Wright’s design helped establish an early innovation in high rise design: the curtain wall; they will also learn how part of the building was remodeled into an inn and restaurant bar in 2002.

Learning Objective 2:
Attendees will learn about the design, materials, and decorative accents of the Education Center of the Redeemer Lutheran Church, a wood & steel framed two-story building with an expansive meeting hall on the 2nd floor, and a bead mural designed and installed by Bruce Goff himself.

Learning Objective 3:
Attendees will tour the Richard Bennett Residence to understand the typical scale and detail in which Goff excelled; they will learn about the design, materials and construction of the single-level home, as well as about the use of wood trellis screens along the exterior.

Learning Objective 4:
Attendees will tour Play Tower, an observation tower in Sooner Park, to learn about the history and recent restoration of this five-story metal-framed, mesh-enclosed spiral stair tower after years of neglect.

Tour: The Gathering Place
Sunday, February 24
9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
1.0 LU
Rodrigo Rojas, Director of Community Relations

This tour, led by Rodrigo Rojas, Director of Community Relations, will visit The Gathering Place, Tulsa’s riverfront park, which opened in September of 2018. This park has benefited the community through activities, educational programming, and special events. Its master plan was designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh and includes three public buildings by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam. Attendees will learn about the funding that made the park possible, and about the project’s sustainability efforts.

Learning Objective 1:
Attendees will learn how The Gathering Place has benefited the Tulsa community through activities, educational programming, and special events such as the Reading Tree, show-and-tell sessions with local organizations, and programs with Tulsa STEM Alliance.

Learning Objective 2:
Attendees will learn about the history and planning of the park and how its three major public buildings (designed by Mack Scogin Merrill Elam Architects) work into Michael Van Valkenburgh’s master plan.

Learning Objective 3:
Attendees will learn about the George Kaiser Family Foundation and community donations that made The Gathering Place the largest private gift to a community park in U.S. history at $465 million dollars.

Learning Objective 4:
Attendees will learn about the park’s sustainability efforts, which include the preservation of existing trees during construction and an ambitious replanting program that includes 5,800 trees.

Panel Discussion: Unexpected
Sunday, February 24
10:45 AM – 12:15 PM
1.25 LUs

Aaron Seward, editor of Texas Architect magazine, will lead a panel discussion with Design Conference Speakers Wendy Evans Joseph FAIA, Sebastian Schmaling AIA, and Hans Butzer AIA, on topics relating to the Conference theme of “Unexpected”, reflecting on specific ideas and critical thinking points on design of the built environment.

Learning Objective 1:
Tulsa provides many unexpected architectural experiences Tulsa provides, including the work of Bruce Goff and Frank Lloyd Wright. Participants will learn the stories behind these unusual projects and how they came to be built in such a socially conservative environment.

Learning Objective 2:
Participants will learn about positions, observations, and theories critical to the success of all three of our speakers.

Learning Objective 3:
Participants will be engaged in a discussion not only about these architectural projects, but also about work designed by architects and commissioned by patrons in other unexpected environs.

Learning Objective 4:
Participants will be able to collect critical thinking points to further translate and apply to their practice.


The conference price is $485 and covers all sessions, tours, and group meals. Accommodations are not included. Space is limited.

Hyatt Regency Tulsa Hotel

100 E. 2nd St.
Tulsa, OK 74103
888 591 1234
918 582 9000

Reserve a room online

Group Rate: $109 S/D
Rate Cut-Off Date: Extended to February 8, 2019