In the summer of 1993, “Jurassic Park” was in the theaters and Bill Clinton was in the White House. I had just completed my sophomore year of high school and was trying to figure out what I wanted to study in college (and, by extension, what I wanted to do with the rest of my life). I was thinking architecture might be fun and had heard that the Kimbell Art Museum was the “best” example of architecture in the state. And so, like so many before and after me, I made a pilgrimage to Fort Worth.
After exploring the spaces bathed in light by Louis Kahn’s glowing cycloid vaults, I stopped by the museum’s gift shop. There I came across a copy of Texas Architect magazine sitting next to Monet monographs and Picasso postcards. If I was going to study architecture, I figured, I should learn more about what architects in the state were doing.
And so I plopped down four dollars and purchased my first copy of the magazine I now find myself editing.
Upon returning home, I read the May/June 1993 issue of Texas Architect cover to cover. It wasn’t a particularly groundbreaking issue, but it did provide a window into what the profession looked like in Texas in the early 1990s.
Flipping through the issue now (like many Texas architects, I keep every issue of Texas Architect), I see a number of familiar places and names. The magazine features an article on an expansion to Austin’s Brackenridge Hospital, a place where I would later volunteer as “Skippy,” the hospital’s purple kangaroo mascot. The News section announced the winners of that year’s AIA Houston Design Awards, including a house by Val Glitsch (now) FAIA, whom I would later have as a visiting studio professor while studying architecture at UT Austin. The editor of the magazine was Joel Warren Barna, whose book “The See-Through Years” would change my understanding of the role of money in the creation of the built landscape I found myself inhabiting.
Some 28 years after the summer of 1993, they are still cranking out “Jurassic Park” sequels. One might argue that the quality of that franchise has diminished over time, but I would like to think the quality of Texas Architect has only improved since I picked up my first copy at the Kimbell gift shop. And so, when I was asked to step in as interim editor of the magazine, I was honored and humbled (and terrified) all at once.
As the search begins for a new, permanent editor, my goal is to keep the magazine on its current heading. Luckily, things are pointing in a good direction, thanks to the guidance of Aaron Seward, the editor who came before me (and Catherine Gavin, the editor who came before him, and Stephen Sharpe, the editor who came before her, and so on and so forth).
One tradition initiated by Stephen Sharpe (under whom I first began writing for Texas Architect in 2006) was to include the editor’s signature at the end of the Editor’s Note. I can certainly provide my illegible scribble to include at the bottom of this page, but just as it is a gross oversimplification to refer (as I did a few paragraphs ago) to the design of the Kimbell’s cycloid vaults as belonging to one individual creator, it would similarly be a gross oversimplification to imply that this magazine was created by only one person.
Texas Architect is the product of the generous writers who contribute to it and the talented design teams whose projects are featured in it. But the production of the magazine would not be possible without the tireless work of the TxA staff dedicated to its bimonthly publication. That staff includes Elizabeth Hackler (assistant publisher of Texas Architect), Monica Cavazos (its managing editor), and Sophie Aliece Hollis (the magazine’s editorial assistant). Their help in the creation of this and every other issue of Texas Architect has been critical, and so it seems fitting and proper to include their signatures here as well.