James T. Perry, Executive Vice President of the Texas Society of Architects

Talk About It

About 4 years ago: AIA Brazos

additional photos available for viewing on our chapter Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.648406095185280.1073741825.130923886933506&type=3

About 4 years ago: James Perry

Great pics from AIA Brazos. Thanks!

About 4 years ago: Alan Roberts

I had a very interesting trip, driving across Texas to attend the meeting in Marfa on behalf of Northeast Texas and it was good to get together with friends on the board again. We had a productive series of meetings and some very interesting tours. If you would like to see some photos that I posted on our NE Texas Chapter FB page, take a look here:

About 4 years ago: Jess Corrigan

I appreciate the Board's desire to broaden its interaction with the State, and architecturally intersting places. in these economic times when many firms and TSA members are stuggling it seems more like a boon doggle than necessary.

Unemployment for architects is still very high, the economy is fragile, firms are still laying people off, and our board is sketching in Marfa. Really?

About 4 years ago: James Perry

Thanks, Alan, for your sharing your thoughts and the photo album.

Jess, board members travel at their own expense, as well as approve the sites for meetings suggested by the president.

About 4 years ago: Becky Schenker

Jess, we're architects. We must go see actual, physical, buildings and places. A photo is not a place. There's nothing "extraneous" about experiencing real places when it's your profession to create them.

About 4 years ago: Donna Kacmar

Great sketch and photos from Alan Roberts!!!!!

About 4 years ago: Alan Roberts

Jess, I am the owner of a small firm, in an area where we too are struggling to find work and make ends meet. I have served regularly in our chapter since I became a member in 1991 and our chapter has members scattered over a very wide area. Up until I was asked, just over a year ago by our chapter, (Northeast Texas) to represent it on the TSA board, I had never gotten to know anyone at TSA and had little involvement at the TSA level. Upon becoming involved, I was very pleasantly surprised to see how few are on staff at TSA and how hard they actually work for the best interests of us architects and for the practice of architecture in Texas. There is a tremendous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes, for example, examining pending legislation and attempting to influence it when it is detrimental to our profession, planning and publishing the magazine, planning the convention and attempting to make it as useful and attractive to members as possible, representing and promoting architects and the practice of architecture in Texas, dealing with academic, educational and practical architectural issues and, just managing the day-to-day running of a large, voluntary organization of members, ranging in age from students to retirees and serving their needs. I take my service on the board very seriously and attempt, in my small way, to be a positive part of the promotion and protection of our profession. In this particular case, I drove to Marfa and, since I had never been through central Texas, I used the trip for my own personal education as well. I researched for places of architectural interest along the way and visited them. I arrived in Marfa a couple of hours before the first event began on Thursday evening and used this time to go for a walk around the town, during which I took a few photographs and did some sketching. After the reception I went for another walk that evening and found the old building near the tracks and sketched it at about 7:45pm. We were in meetings for a number of hours on Friday and Saturday, dealing with many of the issues I mentioned above and covered by James in his notes. In my opinion, to jump to the conclusion that the board was merely “… sketching in Marfa…” is incorrect.

About 4 years ago: James Perry

I appreciate all the good comments as well as the question about board travel. We definitely understand the concern — others have asked about this in the past — and hope this discussion helped answer some of the questions and provide more clarity about how TxA operates. It's good for those who are close to our operations to tell about how the board functions and what we do. (Sorta the point of this blog series!)

The thing I've found fascinating is the commitment of our board members to want to have architectural tours associated with EVERYTHING we do — including the board meetings. Becky's comment about experiencing "places" reflects the passion of those participating!

About 4 years ago: Jess Corrigan

I appreciate everyones intentions - particularly those that travel at their own expense, and their efforts on behalf of us all. I also agree we should experience architecture to be better informed in our own work but I suspect that can and does happen without a TSA meeting.

I would still prefer to see the TSA be proactive and save money on staff travel and other costs where it can. The savings could be put to use on other programs. We can disagree if we must.

Given the latest AIA survey on effectiveness and percieved value from the organization (see the Repositioning effort in the AIA) the focus of the information coming out of the meeting should be details on progress of the advancement of our profession.

About 4 years ago: Betty Saenz EcoBroker

I absolutely love Far West Texas. There is no place like it!! The Marfa Courthouse and Paisano Hotel are amazing! I hope you made it out to the beautiful Indian Lodge in the Davis Mountains as well!

About 4 years ago: Thom Powell

Jess, you are absolutely correct. I apologize for being late to the conversation, but there was more to that meeting and we should share the whole experience with you.

Certainly, it would be much more convenient if we didn't travel as much for these meetings, even as easy as the one-hour flight to Midland and the three-hour drive to Marfa was (on modern, well-paved highways, particularly easy compared to my travels in China last summer). The truth is that Midland, Marfa and many other points in West Texas are still outposts on the frontier. We often forget what that might mean and how it might influence the way one thinks, but nothing illustrates the paradigm of the El Paso Chapter and their 101 members spread over 33,000 square miles as well as the experience of getting to Marfa. Did I mention that cell service is not just spotty, but non-existent?

We got in-depth reports from the San Antonio and El Paso chapters while in Marfa. San Antonio shared their highlights from the past year, including their Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper project — a competition with 150 entries for a weekend project. El Paso discussed their highlights, including a 10-lecture series based on the AIA 2030 Challenge series.

The TxA Committees reported their activities — the convention will be in Fort Worth November 7-9 and will have 30 tours and 100 programs. This year there will also be the opportunity for academic research papers to be published from the convention-peer review papers, helping get academics involved with the convention and elevating the intellectual reputation of the architectural community.

The Digital Technology Committee is working to make blog conversations such as these the norm and not the exception. Bob Borson has certainly had success doing this on his own blog site.

The big topic of conversation was of course the evolution of the AIA, in the same manner that each of our practices has evolved over the past decade or two. The new direction for the AIA is less about what AIA does and more about why what AIA does matters. Look for an increased focus on connectivity coming from all levels of AIA, with the goal to make everyone a messenger. We are all Architects, and we are all looking to make the world a better place.