Despite his mercurial stylistic whims, Philip Johnson’s intellectual insights were reliable. It was therefore all the more disappointing that the introduction to the “Public” feature in the November-December 2016 issue missed an opportunity to reiterate a silver lining Mr. Johnson identified about working as an architect in Texas. The focus of the introduction was on a left-handed compliment Philip Johnson delivered in 1950 remarks about practicing architecture in Houston: “Houston is marvelous. … Where else can a man walk three blocks from a skyscraper to a museum and fall into a mudhole?”
Yes, there are challenges related to public investment in infrastructure in Texas. However, in 1950, Mr. Johnson also applauded the freedom afforded architects practicing in Houston. I believe this silver lining still exists today for architects practicing in all of Texas. I also believe the projects highlighted in the feature are a demonstration of this.
Matthew Crummey, AIA
The following letter from TxA’s 2016 president in response to the AIA’s post-election statement, along with the related comments, first appeared on txamagazine.org.
In the wake of the response by AIA members to AIA CEO Robert Ivy’s post-election statement, the Texas Society of Architects would like to reaffirm our core values. Above all, TxA is committed to being the voice for Texas architecture, supporting the creation of safe, beautiful, and sustainable environments.
Furthermore, TxA stands behind AIA’s stated diversity and inclusion goals.
TxA acknowledges that much of the presidential campaign rhetoric, prior actions, and statements of the president-elect seem to be in contradiction to our core values and those of the AIA. We anticipate learning more about the intentions of the new administration in the coming weeks and months, and will support those policies aligned with our core values and speak out against those that are not. TxA and its membership will continue to promote the design of spaces that serve our communities and are inclusive, as well as continuing to seek greater diversity within the profession, no matter which political party is in the majority.
Architects have an important role to play in designing and building a more prosperous, peaceful, and sustainable society for the future. We know architects of all political parties will continue to use their skills and voices to promote the highest ideals of design, as our aging infrastructure is renewed, as well as the ideals of our nation, including life, liberty, and justice for all.
Paul A. Bielamowicz, AIA
2016 President, Texas Society of Architects
This response is well needed and welcome. I am glad you included the AIA Diversity and Inclusion Goals, because sometimes they seem forgotten. Mr. Bielamowicz, I commend you
for your response.
Donna M. Joye, AIA
I fully support equal access to employment and promotion for qualified individuals. The only criteria for hiring or promoting individuals should be, “Are they qualified?” and “Do they have the attitude to ‘do the job’?” Nothing else is important. That said, I also believe in a hand up, if the individual is willing to work for it. “Teach a man to fish!”
Only talent, inspiration, and hard work create great architecture!
Howard Templin, AIA
Thank you, Paul, for the well-positioned statement of TxA’s commitment and for the all-inclusiveness.
James White, AIA
Texas Tech University