Robert Decherd, Hon. TxA, has been named the Texas Society of Architects’ Cornerstone Award recipient for 2020. Decherd is chairman, president, and CEO of the A.H. Belo Corporation, parent company of the Dallas Morning News, and chairman of Parks for Downtown Dallas (PfDD). This award recognizes Decherd’s sustained and significant contributions in enhancing quality of life in Dallas and Texas by elevating architecture and promoting the value of community.
Between 2000 to 2014, under Decherd’s direction, the Belo Corporation and Belo Foundation invested a combined $14 million in mostly Downtown Dallas projects, including Belo Garden, Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe Bell Tower, Downtown Parks Master Plan, Ferris Plaza, Inside the Loop Report, Lubben Plaza, and 912 Commerce Beautification.
In 2013, the Dallas Morning News partnered with the The University of Texas at Arlington’s Dillon Center for Texas Architecture to fund the post of architecture critic Mark Lamster, whose writings have elevated the conversation about the built environment in Dallas and beyond. In 2017, the paper relocated its headquarters to a long-vacant George Dahl building that once housed the main Dallas Public Library, a move that helped bolster a $221 million redevelopment of two historic downtown buildings.
As chairman of PfDD, Decherd has spearheaded efforts to build four new parks in the center of Dallas. Pacific Plaza, designed by SWA and HKS, is the first to open; West End Square by James Corner Field Operations, Carpenter Park by Hargreaves Jones, and Harwood Park by Ten Eyck Landscape Architects will follow in the coming years.
Decherd has also participated in Dallas civic affairs for more than four decades through leadership in city and urban planning issues. He has chaired or helped organize numerous civic initiatives, including The Dallas Plan, Emerald Bracelet Plan, CBD Comprehensive Transportation Plan, and the Dallas Arts Districts.
In addition, Decherd and his wife, Maureen, have demonstrated a deep commitment to education and journalism. They helped fund the Belo Center for New Media at The University of Texas at Austin, and Decherd has served on the board of visitors of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and the advisory council for the Center for Ethics at Harvard University.