• Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum by OMNIPLAN - photo by Eddie Fortuna

In conjunction with last year’s Texas Society of Architects Annual Conference & Design Expo, the Texas Tech Design Leadership Alliance (DLA), in partnership with the university’s Huckabee College of Architecture (HCOA), celebrated the annual Alumni Design and Honor Awards in El Paso. The Design Awards program accepts submissions from TTU HCOA alumni practicing as architects, interior designers, or design interns. Honor awards are nomination-based. The awards program promotes public interest in design, recognizes excellence in design, and provides a sustainable source of support and funds for students of the HCOA. “The alumni awards create an opportunity for outreach and to highlight the excellent design work being done internationally, nationally, and regionally by HCOA graduates,” says DLA President David Pierce, AIA. “The recognized work spanned across the country this year with projects broadly varying in scale and type.”

This year’s jury included Stephen O’Dell of SODA in Bangkok, Thailand; Matt Fajkus, AIA, of Matt Fajkus Architecture in Austin; and Elizabeth Chu Richter, FAIA, of Richter Architects in Corpus Christi. A Citation Award was given to Scott Hall, AIA, (then at OMNIPLAN) for the Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum in Dallas. Merit Awards were given to Rhotenberry Wellen Architects for El Granero in Midland; DUST for Marfa Suite in Marfa; and Steinberg Hart for Miro Towers in San Jose, California. An Honor Award was also given to Steinberg Hart for the McGregor Computer Science Center at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, California. Nick Deaver, AIA, and Morris A. Brown, FAIA, had the DLA’s highest honors bestowed upon them: the Distinguished Alumnus and Kleinschmidt awards, respectively.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award recognizes a TTU HCOA graduate whose career and professional life have brought distinction to the college. Nick Deaver, nominated under the category of Distinguished Architectural Practice/Design, has received more than 30 design awards at the local, state, and national levels. His work has been widely published, and he has lectured extensively, most recently as the keynote speaker for the TTU HCOA 2022–2023 lecture series, “RESILIENCE.” Influenced by the Texas flatlands, Nick’s design voice celebrates humanity, place, and work. Each design is infused with beauty and meaning, becoming something permanent and cherished. Deaver resides in Austin, where he practices with his daughter Jes Deaver, AIA.

The Kleinschmidt Award recognizes any individual, firm, or organization whose contributions or service have enriched the TTU HCOA. Morris A. Brown is recognized for his role in helping establish the HCOA 2+2 Bachelor of Science in Architecture degree program with former Dean Andy Vernooy, FAIA, and former Professor Mike Peters in El Paso. Morris helped coordinate a collaborative program between El Paso Community College and the Texas Tech College of Architecture that led to an accredited four-year Bachelor of Architecture degree in El Paso; he served as the program’s interim director for two years. Morris has also led preservation initiatives throughout the Southwest and has been an instructor in interior design, art, and architectural programs, blending his recognized artistic talents with purposeful professional pedagogy. Brown practices with the firm Wright & Dalbin Architects in El Paso.

The Alumni Design and Honor Awards are organized by the DLA, which was created under former Dean Jim Williamson and is being continued under Dean Upe Flueckiger. David Pierce explains: “The DLA is a group of mostly alumni, student representatives, and other patrons of the HCOA. Our membership is very diverse and looking to add members outside of traditional architectural practice. The Dean’s Circle (DLA leadership) has members in construction, development, business, and, of course, architecture. Diversity is one of our top goals. We believe having members across multiple sectors gives us a broader view of the various paths new graduates might take.”

The DLA raises money for the HCOA and invests all earnings into student scholarships. “This current DLA really wanted to boost student interaction,” says Pierce. “We have a large student portfolio review a couple of weeks before Career Fair that has been very successful in creating relationships between future and current alumni.” DLA Vice President David Hart adds: “There is so much great work and so many great firms in Texas [that] new graduates can stay in the state for work. The DLA can foster community and keep alumni connected and in collaboration with the HCOA long after graduation.”

Last November, the Texas Tech University College of Architecture was renamed the Huckabee College of Architecture, in honor of alumnus Tommie J. Huckabee, AIA, founding principal of Huckabee Architects. “The historic and transformational gift from the Huckabee family will center on the provision of student scholarships and renovations to enhance our current facilities,” reflects Dean Flueckiger. “We are immensely grateful for the generosity of the Huckabee family and look forward to a bright future ahead.” 

The entry deadline for the 2023 TTU Huckabee College of Architecture Design Awards is September 8. The awards reception will take place on November 2, during the Texas Society of Architects 84th Annual Conference & Design Expo in Fort Worth.

Matt Garcia leads a small residential design studio, Matt Garcia Design, in Austin. 

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