William D. Kendall, FAIA: 1942-2013
In February, the Texas architecture community lost influential member William D. Kendall, FAIA, a co-founder of Kendall/Heaton Associates in Houston. Laurence C. Burns Jr., FAIA, principal at Kendall/Heaton, reflects on Kendall's career and the successes achieved by the firm under his leadership.
William D. Kendall, FAIA, born in Shattuck, Oklahoma on March 17, 1942, died peacefully in Houston on February 25, 2013, after a brief but courageous battle with cancer. Bill earned a Bachelor of Science degree in 1966 and a Bachelor of Architecture degree Cum Laude in 1967 from the University of Houston, where he received the Alpha Rho Chi Medal. He received his Master of Architecture degree in March 1970 from Rice University.
After working at several firms during his college years, Bill joined S. I. Morris Associates in Houston in 1968 and became a partner in 1973. In 1978, he co-founded Kendall/Heaton Associates. Bill served as president of his firm and led it to its unique position as one of the nation’s most prolific collaborative associate architectural practices for high profile developments until his death. During his long tenure, the firm was associated with 28 world-class architects, including eight AIA Gold Medal recipients and nine Pritzker Architecture Prize winners, and worked on a wide range of projects, including more than 100 corporate headquarters, office buildings, cultural, institutional, educational and religious buildings, and adaptive renovations in 20 states, Canada, Mexico and Spain. With a passion for quality, discipline and service, Bill and the firm have won the respect of developers, building owners, contractors and design architects.
The firm has won numerous national and local awards. Notable projects in Texas include: Bank of America Center; Houston Industries Plaza; BG Group Place; Audrey Jones Beck Building at
the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Asia Society Texas Center; and, at Bill's alma maters, the University of Houston Athletic Alumni Center and Science and Engineering Building, and the Duncan Hall and Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. In addition, Kendall/Heaton Associates was the executive architect for the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House and Dee and Charles Wyly Center in Dallas; the Modern Art Museum and Pier One Place in Fort Worth; and Palisades West in Austin.
Kendall/Heaton Associates was named Firm of the Year by the AIA Houston Chapter in 2004. Bill mentored many architects, both individuals in the firm and former employees now working throughout the United States. In 1995, at the age of 53, Bill was named a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects for excellence in practice and service to his profession. He was honored as Distinguished Alumnus in 2008 by University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. He served on the Board of Directors for AIA Houston, the University of Houston Architecture Alumni Association, and the Rice Design Alliance.
Bill was a patient and humble man who brought out the best in his colleagues and all who knew him. Kendall/Heaton Associates will continue to produce exemplary projects for years to come. Bill’s leadership guidelines will be a legacy that we will continue to follow moving forward.
This article is expanded content for the May/June 2013 issue of Texas Architect magazine.