Posts

Q&A with Tere O’Connell, AIA

When the City of Austin decided to use East Austin’s historic Dedrick-Hamilton house as the basis for a new African American Cultural Heritage Facility, the job fell to Austin preservationist Tere O’Connell, AIA, to unearth details of the home’s history and how best to preserve it. O’Connell spoke with Texas Architect about the ever-changing priorities that drive demand for preservation work, and the challenge of preservation in a community where so much history either is lost or was never officially recorded. The interview was conducted by Patrick Michels. Historic preservation architect Tere O'Connell, AIA – photo courtesy Tere O'Connell From a preservation…

Preservation Texas Announces 2014 Most Endangered Places

Twelve sites made it onto Preservation Texas' 2014 Most Endangered Places in Texas. The list, which was announced on the steps of the State Capitol in Austin on May 20, includes sites of cultural significance ranging from a Civil War ammunition bunker to a mid-century modern fast food stand to a conjunto nightclub. “The 2014 list is a diverse group of sites that reflect the range of preservation issues that historic places throughout the state are confronting,” said Evan Thompson, executive director of Preservation Texas. “The sites are cultural, architectural, and historic icons that are at imminent risk of disappearing from the landscape.…

Preservation Texas Honor Awards

CLARA DRISCOLL AWARD  Cleo Lemonte “Montie” Goodin Claude, Texas Goodin has been instrumental in preserving the Panhandle’s unique and important role in Texas history. As chair of the Armstrong County Museum board, she spearheaded the restoration of the historic Charles Goodnight House, where she grew up. She also served on the historical commission that helped restore the county courthouse. In addition, Goodin developed a video oral history series about Armstrong County, and has led projects to digitize both books about local history and historic area newspapers.  ​ HERITAGE EDUCATION AWARD  2012 Kendall County Sesquicentennial Heritage Passport Tour Kendall County, Texas Kendall…

Capturing the Alamo: A Database of Architectural History

Memorable first as the 18th century Mission San Antonio de Valero and later as the military compound that witnessed the historic Battle of the Alamo in 1836, the Alamo has changed form and use throughout its history. Created as an eminent specimen of New World Spanish ecclesiastic architecture, the mission's expanding complex of stone, mud, and wooden structures evolved greatly over time, serving as a military garrison and barracks, a hospital, a general store, and intermittent abandoned ruin.  Each successive shift in the Alamo’s use has been accompanied by various modifications to its buildings, ranging from whole additions to the eventual integration of HVAC…

Bringing It Home: AIA Brazos Presents TxA Citation to Bryan City Council

By Eva Read-Warden, AIA (Left to right) Eva Read-Warden, AIA, Bryan Mayor Jason Bienski, 2014 AIA Brazos President Andrew Hawkins, AIA, and members of the Bryan City Council – photo courtesy City of Bryan During the 74th Annual Convention and Design Expo in Fort Worth this past November, the Texas Society of Architects presented a Citation of Honor to the 1999 – 2010 City Council of Bryan for its members' cohesive vision resulting in a rebirth of historic Downtown Bryan. Although the award was accepted in Fort Worth by former city council member Ben Hardeman, on January 14, AIA Brazos chapter members had…

LRGV AIA Tour: Small-Town Architecture of Weslaco

Weslaco is a no-longer-quite-so-small town with a population of more than 35,000 people living along the US 83 Expressway, halfway between McAllen and Harlingen. What makes Weslaco worth an architectural tour is that, during the middle decades of the 20th century, it was home to three regionally significant architects — R. Newell Waters (1899–1979), William C. Baxter (1907–1984), and Merle A. Simpson (1919–1993) — who shaped the town’s image with distinctive buildings. Hosted by Weslaco residents Juan Carlos Ortiz, AIA, and his wife Julie, tour participants got to experience how architecture conserves community identity and distinctiveness, the theme of the tour.…

Texas Dance Halls

Despite their importance and longevity as cultural institutions in the history of the state, dance halls are a relatively overlooked and under-researched category of Texas vernacular architecture. These structures, which initially functioned as multipurpose community halls in the 19th century before they became primarily associated with dancing and popular music in the 20th century, have played a fundamental role in the development of both rural and urban Texas communities, identities, and cultures. In the mid-to-late 1800s, as European settlers immigrated in large numbers to what is now central Texas, dance and multipurpose halls were often among the first structures raised…

Architects Talking to Architects: Roman McAllen, Assoc. AIA

Roman McAllen, Assoc. AIA, is a planner for the City of Brownsville and coordinator of its Historic District Facade Improvement Grant Program. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and has a strong interest in historic preservation. Roman McAllen, Assoc. AIA – photo by Alejandro Bastida, courtesy Roman McAllen  Where did you grow up? I grew up in Windsor Village, a well laid out, modest, working class, suburban neighborhood in Houston built in the late 1950s and 60s. All of the streets are named after cities and towns in England such as Sheringham, Oakham and Bridlington. For a time, in…

Preservation Texas’ Annual Honor Awards: Call for Nominations

Since its founding in 1985, Preservation Texas has been the leading advocate for the preservation of Texas historic resources. The organization's annual Honor Awards program recognizes outstanding and inspiring accomplishments in historic preservation across the state. Preservation Texas invites nominations for exemplary projects, programs, and achievements by individuals or organizations. The awards and the annual event allow the organization to share the preservation efforts of proud Texans across the state. Nomination packets can be downloaded from the Preservation Texas website, and nominations will be accepted through September 13. The 2013 Annual Honor Awards ceremony will be held at Mission San Jose…

Restoring San Antonio’s Spanish Missions

On Sunday mornings in San Antonio, parishioners file into Spanish colonial missions, just as they have for the past three centuries. Integral in the founding and development of San Antonio as we know it today, Mission Concepción, Mission San José, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada were constructed by Spanish missionaries in the 18th century. Today, the Archdiocese of San Antonio operates the four active parishes in conjunction with the National Park Service, which manages the sites. A fifth mission, familiar to many as The Alamo, is run by the State of Texas and is the only one of the colonial missions that does not operate as a church. In 2010, Old Spanish Missions…