Texas Architect May/June 2007
Published by the Texas Society of Architects since 1950, the magazine has consistently showcased outstanding architectural design from around the state and chronicled significant events relevant to the profession.
A Hopeful Look Forward
For a glimpse into the future of the architectural profession, the University of San Antonio College of Architecture offers a few hints. The College’s design studios present examples of the kind of diversity that has proved so elusive for the profession, with the demographic character of its student body giving the impression that progress may be just a few years away.
Two New Museums in San Antonio Expand the City’s Rich Cultural Mix
This city has historically been the place in Texas where cultures collide on a grand scale. While in the past these collisions may have been violent, today they have resulted in rich cultural hybridizations. Perhaps more than anywhere else in Texas, traces of the six flags that flew over the state (as well as several that did not) can still be viscerally experienced in the fabric of the city and the people who make it their home.
Heroic Rescue in San Antonio
In her 2006 book, The Architectural Legacy of Alfred Giles, Mary Carolyn Hollers George revisits several works she featured in an earlier book, Alfred Giles: An English Architect in Texas and Mexico, published in 1972. In the years between the two books, a renewed appreciation for Giles’ architecture resulted in restorations and renovations of his buildings, including many in San Antonio. Giles (1853–1920) arrived in San Antonio in his 20s and built a successful design business that took him across South Texas and into northern Mexico. This excerpt, from “Chapter One: Heroic Rescues in San Antonio, Texas,” tells of an almost desperate effort by one architect to save one building, which contrasted sharply with a much larger project – the Crockett Block – that was well-funded and rallied support from several groups. THE restoration of the Crockett Block in 1983–84 was accomplished with the ample financial backing of a group of investors as well as enthusiastic civic support. It was an anchor for the revitalization of Alamo Plaza and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing structure in the Alamo Plaza Historic District.
Sketches of San Antonio
“It all starts with a sketch,” says Joe Stubblefield, AIA. “The sketch is not precious, but rather the essential part of the creative process. The idea is conveyed in the sketch.” Stubblefield is one of many local architects who take considerable pleasure in drawing the often-missed corners of their hometown, some shown across these two pages.
Architect: John Grable Architects
In the early 1940s, the strip of asphalt known then as Austin Road served as a lively portal to the city that many San Antonians fondly recall for its many amusements. Lined on both sides by diners, motor courts, and nightclubs, Austin Road was a place where families enjoyed chocolate malts on a hot summer day and young couples danced the night away. Now called Austin Highway, visitors and locals alike headed there back then to lose themselves in the simple pleasures that San Antonio is still known for today.
Remembering the Alamo is not as easy as one might think. That’s because we don’t know exactly how the church building looked when work was completed in the 1750s on Mission San Antonio de Valero. Historians, looking to contemporary architectural expression when imagining its composition, envision a domed chapel behind a three-level baroque retable facade flanked by twin bell towers—an image very different from the relatively modest and diminutive frontispiece we see today. The towers and dome did once exist, but they collapsed in 1762.