Promoting Community Identity

In recognition of distinguished architecture and significant contributions to the profession and community, the Texas Society of Architects will present the 2011 Firm Award to Richter Architects (Corpus Christi) on Oct. 28, during the Gala Evening at the Society’s annual convention in Dallas; the award is the highest honor the Society can bestow upon an architectural firm.

“The combined accomplishments of the principals and staff of Richter Architects are truly extraordinary. It is even more remarkable that this firm’s legacy has been achieved within the relatively minor market place of Corpus Christi,” says Connie Rivera, executive director of AIA Corpus Christi.

For more than two decades, Richter Architects, a 15-person firm that includes principals David Richter, FAIA, president; Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, CEO; and Sam Morris, AIA, NCARB, principal, has demonstrated a commitment to serve the profession.

The principals and staff have served in a variety of positions at state and national levels including AIA chapter president, director, treasurer, and secretary; Texas Society of Architects president; Texas Architectural Foundation president; and regional director to the AIA National Board.

The firm has played a crucial role in architectural education and initiatives. It has made an imprint on many Texas Society of Architects programs, including an annual fundraiser called the Texas Architectural Foundation Tour des Monuments, which raises scholarship money for students attending accredited schools of architecture throughout the state; and The Texas Consortium for Sustainability, which brings together representatives of Texas Architects, TAF, and Texas’ eight schools of architecture to explore opportunities to partner in the advancement of sustainable architecture.

In addition, the firm principals have endowed a scholarship in architectural technology at the local community college in Corpus Christi, and senior members of Richter Architects serve as mentors to interns, allowing them to collaborate on all aspects of projects, from beginning to end.

From public radio/television, bayfront planning, local landmark protection, and community development groups, Richter Architects has had a significant impact on its community.

In 1999, Elizabeth Chu Richter was instrumental in launching The Shape of Texas radio program, which broadcasts through NPR-affiliated stations vividly descriptive information about contemporary and historical architecture and places that define the Texas culture and heritage. The program recently received the Texas Historical Commission Excellence in Media Award (2010).

By donating employee time and effort, the firm’s employees have all had a hand in improving the quality of life in their city. Over the years, the firm has designed and built a gateway to Bayfest, a community festival; designed and oversaw construction on Octopus’ Garden for the Texas State Aquarium; designed table settings and lighting for fundraisers, and provided renderings to help save an historical landmark.

Among the firm’s projects are the Amarillo Travel Information Center, the Mustang Island Episcopal Conference Center and Youth Ecology Camp (both received Texas Architects Design Awards), and the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredericksburg.

The firm has received numerous national awards including the Design for Transportation Honor Award for a series of simple but sculptural bus shelters along a tough urban corridor (1995; sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation in association with the National Endowment for the Arts); and an AIA Honor Award for Architecture for a Texas roadside safety rest area project commissioned by the Texas Department of Transportation(1999).

For years, Richter Architects has embodied virtues of excellence in architectural practice and achieved an impact in design and service to society far beyond it size or locale. It is a firm that serves with vision and purpose.

View the image gallery above to see projects by Richter Architects.