It was 1993 when I met Bill Booziotis. A friend was working in his office, and since she knew I was looking for a job, she suggested I speak with Bill. It was not until my second interview that I actually met him. We talked for a long time, mostly about things that had nothing to do with architecture or my qualifications. Finally, Bill offered me a job, and said I could start immediately.I said I would accept the offer happily, but there was one problem: I was leaving for a month-long trip to Italy in just two weeks. Bill took this news in and was quiet for a few moments. Eventually he said that would be fine as long as I only was gone two weeks. So, I changed my travel plans and went to work for Bill Booziotis the next day.
At first, Bill was my employer, albeit a rather quirky one. He would hop around the studio going from person to person, moving projects forward in ways he found interesting. He might tell you that what you had just spent several hours working on was awful and here was what you really should have done. A quick sketch to guide you and he was off. But as time went on, Bill became both my mentor and my friend.
Bill encouraged people if they chose to leave the practice and would welcome them back with open arms. He built long-term friendships with the many people who worked in our office over the years. Bill Booziotis had more than colleagues; he had partners, collaborators, and dinner companions.
Always looking near and far for new ideas, Bill would apply these to projects we had underway. He encouraged all of us to travel, to become better informed, and to continue to educate ourselves every day. Bill’s openness to outside influences sometimes caused us frustration, such as when some new idea was foisted on our design work when we were already deep into construction documents. I remember Bill coming back from Brazil and saying he had been looking at Oscar Niemeyer and thought the project we had been working on was ripe for a Niemeyer-influenced change. We all recoiled in horror. Eventually, we moved forward without substantial change, but Niemeyer did influence future work in subtle ways.
Bill Booziotis loved Dallas, and he was passionate about the arts. He was deeply involved with the Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Symphony, and Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, to name just a few. He did design work for them and supported them tirelessly. He also loved and generously supported the educational institutions he attended, that are a part of Dallas.
We in the architecture community will miss his friendship, his dinners, where the state of the profession and many other wide-ranging topics were discussed, and his support of the profession he cherished. He has left an enormous hole we must now try to fill, and I hope we can do that with as much grace as Bill did.
We are all deeply saddened by the loss of Bill Booziotis. Our office is forever changed, but Bill’s endearing qualities will inspire us to carry forward the practice he began so long ago. Our memories of Bill will never fail to influence and inspire us.
Jess Galloway, AIA, is a principal at Booziotis & Company Architects.