VI g NET TE PRESERVATION
VOLUME 2 , N O 4
. MAY 2006
AIA SAN ANTONIO
A Chapter of
The American Institute of Architects
THOS. S. BYRNE LTD,
ZACHRY CONSTRUCTION CORP.
ERRATA ET EDITORIALS
If you wish to submit editorial comments or suggestions, please
send to “Vignette” Editor, in care of Mark Allison, Secretary (227.2500
or email@example.com). Editorial comments will be reviewed for possible
printing subject to “Vignette” Editorial Guidelines.
Thanks to our Corporate Partners (right) for supporting AIA San Antonio.
Greg Papay, A.I.A.
GROWING BEYOND GREEN II
Last month’s President’s Pen outlined the challenges facing architects as we lead our profession towards a future President’s Pen
with more environmentally responsible ways of designing and building. In the short term, a poignant issue for
AIA San Antonio is: how does the 2007 AIA National Convention theme Growing Beyond Green manifest itself
in the all of our convention efforts? What lessons can we offer to our nation’s architects?
San Antonio is a community that has not traditionally had great economic means at its disposal to address
the various architectural, planning, and environmental issues of the day. Our climate, landscape, materials, and
relative isolation have for decades required that for San Antonio and its architects to create wonderful spaces and
buildings, we have had to be innovative. Innovation has been our greatest tool to create the unique and rare
places that make San Antonio special. Many of the most profound solutions have been practical innovations that
are creative responses to issues encountered in addressing everyday conditions of life and building – the
Missions, Riverwalk, 19th century regional interpretations by Mexican and European builders, Trinity University,
Because a common characteristic of all these examples is their innovation, we have preserved and enhanced
these special places; we have kept them and kept them relevant rather than tearing them down and starting
anew. That message of innovation, preservation, rehabilitation, and adaptation works anywhere the built
and natural environments are revered and respected. It speaks about building for endurance rather than
consumption, about using creativity to make places people love, honor, and want to keep. As a community that
has thankfully not had the means to build, throw away, and build again as much as other parts of the country, we
can certainly show that the first steps of Growing Beyond Green demand honoring what you have – it is a required
mindset if we are ever to achieve the AIA’s impressive goals on environmental responsibility and building
performance; goals we should deliver as results to the public.
We have several means by which we can infuse the 2007 AIA National Convention with San Antonio and further
the mission inherent in the Growing Beyond Green theme – tours, parties, the guidebook, and other events will
all showcase our city and how AIA San Antonio architects have shaped, respected, and kept it viable and vibrant.
We will also adopt standards here to ‘Green’ our chapter office, putting in place policies and procedures that will
guide our daily actions.
Members can assist by volunteering for AIA San Antonio directed convention activities and also by submitting to
be presenters at seminars and workshops during the convention. A bevy of AIA San Antonio or Texas Society of
Architects presenters would indicate our commitment to environmental stewardship and certainly offer great ‘take
home value’ to all the architects and allied professionals visiting us. The call for presentations will come out from
AIA National around April 15 and submissions will be due by July 1st. Please take this opportunity to contribute
and share knowledge.
On a more informal note, please take time to call the AIA offices and introduce yourself to Donna Rosenberg. Donna
has joined us as our Convention Assistant and brings with her valuable association experience and a wonderful working
demeanor which will both serve her and us in good stead as we move forward. Welcome Donna! v
M 1 LECTURE SERIES COMMITTEE MEETING THE WHO, WHAT, AND WHERE
5 pm | AIA Conference Room
AIA San Antonio
A Chapter of The American Institute of Architects
TH 4 AIA SA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
816 Camaron, Suite 211 San Antonio Texas 78212
12 noon | AIA Conference Room
t. 210.226.4979 f. 210.226.3062
TH 4 CONTINUING EDUCATION – 6 LU Executive Director | Torrey Carleton, Hon. TSA
Design Advantage Seminar / National Fire firstname.lastname@example.org
8 am-3pm | Bright Shawl Executive Assistant | Laura Smith
T 9 BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETING Chapter Website | www.aiasa.org
8 am | AIA Conference Room
Vignette Editors | Mark Allison, Secretary
W 10 CONTINUING EDUCATION 227.2500 or email@example.com
Low Slope Roofing – Ed Pruske Tim Baisdon and Doug Lipscomb
11:45 -1 pm | AIA Conference Room
Graphic design | Coral Diaz ~ pale design
222.1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
TH 11 TSA AND AIA-SAN ANTONIO DESIGN
AWARDS WORKSHOP Executive Committee:
9:30 - 11:30 | AIA Conference Room Greg Papay | President
227.3335 or email@example.com
M 15 AIA / ASLA / ACME BRICK SCHOLARSHIP Chris Schultz | President-Elect
GOLF CLASSIC Madeline Slay | Treasurer
1 pm | The Club at Soterra Mark Allison | Secretary
Andrew Douglas | Commissioner ~ Internal Affairs
T 16 HOMES TOUR COMMITTEE MEETING Charles John | Commissioner ~ Public Affairs
12 noon | AIA Conference Room Michelle Dudley | Commissioner ~ Professional Practice
W 17 CONTINUING EDUCATION
AV Control Systems – Mark Stevens Guy Burnett
11:45 -1 pm | AIA Conference Room Aaron Clark
M 22 CHAPTER MEETING Terry Palmer
Speakers: Bill Dupont and Lila Cockrell Rebecca Schenker
Tabletop: ROBERTO HINKSON
12 noon | Luby’s
F-S 26-27 GREEN BUILDING/VEHICLE Robert Cadwallader
EXPOWORKSHOP Jill Souter
9am -5pm | Live Oak Civic Center
M 29 OFFICE CLOSED – MEMORIAL DAY
J. Douglas Lipscomb | Immediate Past President
Julius Gribou | UTSA School of Architecture
Michael Connor | San Antonio College
For a list of committee chairs and contact
numbers please see COMMITTEES section.
on the cover: The Alamo. Collage by Mark Allison.
COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS
GOVERNMENTAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE State Level – The Texas State Legislature is not
by Robert Hanley, AIA ‘In-Session’ at this time with the exception of a
potential Special Session for the School Finance
Texas Society of Architects, Issue Brief
Reform Issue. At the most recent AIA San Antonio
Architect/Engineer Overlap and Attorney General’s Opinion (GA-391) Chapter Luncheon, Yvonne Castillo addresses
TSA current activities in anticipation of the 80th
On June 10, 2005, the Texas Board of Professional Engineers (TBPE) issued a policy
Legislative Session, which will commence in
advisory opinion stating that based on their statute and DM-161 (a 1992 Attorney
January 2007. Bob Meckfessel (Dallas), who chairs
General Opinion), “the design of buildings is an element of engineering” and that
TSA Livable Communities Committee, is coordi-
their statute “allows an engineer to perform building design with or without the
nating the development of issues that could be
involvement of an architect.” As a result, TSA approached Chairman Kino Flores, who
introduced in the next regular Legislative Session.
chairs the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee, informing him
of TSA’s members concerns. On July 7, 2005, Chairman Flores filed a request with the NOTE: TSA’s position on the proposed Tax Bill
Attorney General’s office seeking clarification on this issue. The Texas Board of from Texas Tax Reform Commission is that it does
Architectural Examiners (TBAE) did the same by filing another, independent request not allow architects to exclude sub-consultants
the same day. Approximately six months later on January 10, 2006, the Attorney ‘pass-through fees’ from the taxable income base.
General issued a single opinion responding to both Chairman Flores and TBAE. TSA will continue to monitor this issue as it is
considered by the Legislature whether in Special
Summary of Attorney General Opinion GA-0391
Session or Regular Session.
The Opinion concludes that TBPE’s policy advisory opinion “is not correct.” DM-161
does not stand for the proposition that engineers may design any and all buildings
without an architect. In other words, contrary to TBPE’s assertion, DM-161 did not say OTHER ISSUES ON LOCAL LEVEL
that engineers are authorized to practice architecture without a license.
AIA/PEPP/DSD Task Force – Continues to meet
Engineers do NOT enjoy a blanket exemption from the Architects Practice Act. on the 4th Friday on the month to review Plan
In other words, because there is a recognized overlap between architecture Review and Building Permit Issues. At present
and engineering, it may be that licensed engineers can practice architecture under the Task Force is in the process of reviewing the
certain specific circumstances, but those circumstances are limited and delineated submittal Checklist for various types of Plan
in the Architects Practice Act. The Opinion concludes that “that the legislature did not Review Submittals in an effort to improve the
intend for the practice of engineering to encompass the practice of architecture. Review Process.
[The Architects Practice Act] does not create an absolute exemption for engineers,
but instead exempts only work or service that constitutes the practice of engineering.
If the legislature had intended the practice of engineering to subsume the OTHER ISSUES ON NATIONAL LEVEL
practice of architecture, it could easily have written a categorical exemption for
During 2006 Forty-Four States will hold
legislative sessions (Texas is not one of them) to
The practice of architecture and engineering address a variety of issues, but the most common
are distinct professions with distinct regulations have to due with Disaster Relief, Energy and
to be enforced by each Board. Just as the Environment, Communities and Growth (Open
Texas Board of Professional Engineers maintains Space Conservation) and Taxes.
ultimate authority in the enforcement of its
statute, the Texas Board of Architectural
Examiners possesses the ultimate authority
to enforce the Architects Practice Act.
This means that TBAE has full authority, and
the responsibility, to prosecute those who
unlawfully practice architecture, including
licensed engineers when necessary. The
Opinion states that “whether a particular service or work may be adequately
performed by one with the education, training, and experience of an engineer, but
not that of an architect, or vice versa, is intensely a question of fact …The legislature
has authorized the TBPE to determine whether particular conduct constitutes the
practice of engineering. It has charge the TBAE to determine whether conduct is the
unlicensed practice of architecture. To do so, the TBAE must determine whether the
conduct falls within one of the exceptions, such as the exception for engineers
engaged in the practice of engineering.”
AIA 2007 NATIONAL CONVENTION UPDATE WHAT’S HAPPENING
HOST CHAPTER PARTY – FRIDAY, MAY 5, 2007
by Lloyd Jary, FAIA, “HCP” Chairman CHAPTER MEETING
This is the fourth in a series of essays focused on significant aspects AIA We are pleased to welcome Bill Dupont – AIA National Trust, and
San Antonio will be coordinating and executing for the AIA 2007 Lila Cockrell – Sunken Garden Update as our speakers for this
National Convention. month’s chapter meeting on May 22nd at noon at Luby’s, 911
When approximately 25,000 attendees gather in San Antonio for what
may be the largest AIA National Convention on record, you will This month’s Table Top Sponsor is Roberto Hinkson.
want to celebrate with us at THE official party. In what will be the
150th anniversary year for AIA, we will showcase one of our city’s
oldest quarters, La Villita. In the words of a 1939 WPA Writers’ Project AIA – SAN ANTONIO GRADUATES FIRST 2PLP CLASS
publication, Old Villita:
On May 10, the first “graduates” of the Professional Practice
“The San Antonio of the distant past will be presented here, and on Leadership Program (2PLP) will be honored at a reception in the
historic ground. Strife and turmoil may grip the outside world, but not new wing of the AIA SA chapter office!
this rejuvenated village of two centuries. Perhaps its future visitors
2PLP is a ten-month long program designed to improve the
may sense in it an unchangeable serenity, the seclusion and poise of
professional practice of emerging architects. The first 2PLP series
concluded on March 31, with a “real-life” scenario: each candi-
We want to share the grace and beauty of this magical area with all our date provided an oral and/or visual “short list” presentation to a
fellow visiting architects and guests. hypothetical client, and were evaluated on their performance
by a small jury of architectural marketing experts. Several candi-
Those of you who have lived in San Antonio and have attended a
dates noted that this aspect of the 2PLP class was particularly
“Night In Old San Antonio” during Fiesta, know what a great party
important, since oftentimes, interns or newly registered architects
this event can be. So plan now to be apart of this special party where
have had little prior exposure to presentation opportunities.
the San Antonio Conservation Society’s volunteers and your Host
Chapter Party Sub-Committee will stage a one night “NIOSAita” During the recent focus session on Cost Estimating, candidates
FIESTA. Experience food booths from various cultures, libations, and were taught about the various ways to address costs, then were
entertainment throughout the enchanting shops, streets and plazas of divided up in teams to perform take-offs from a set of plans and
La Villita. Join with our many visitors and guests to experience a party provide their own cost estimate. Other sessions included presen-
which will be remembered for years to come. tations and discussions on Marketing, Project Management,
Ethics, and Quality Control. The session on Contracts integrated
In keeping with the national theme of “Growing Beyond Green”, there
real-life scenarios into the increasingly competitive, complex and
is hardly anything more sustainable than preserving and reusing our
litigious nature of the practice of architecture. The very compre-
historical structures and places. A goodly portion of the costs of the
hensive session on Delivery Methods offered candidates an
Party will flow directly back into the Conservation Society’s efforts to
in-depth analysis of different project and client types, and the
continue San Antonio’s acclaimed legacy of preservation.
criteria necessary to assess the most appropriate delivery system.
Contact Torrey Carleton or Donna Rosenberg at the AIA Office if you
Candidates were provided a set of relevant materials for each
want to be a host/hostess for an outstanding Host Chapter Party in
session; many noted their ability to immediately relate the
2007. We need many volunteers to be in attendance to make this
information learned to their everyday office setting. Steve
successful by serving as hosts to welcome our visitors while making the
Patmon, AIA, of Marmon Mok Architects, who spearheaded
San Antonio Chapter a little money.
2PLP, together with the architects and allied professionals who
provided instruction for this year’s candidates, have pledged to
again help lead the 2006-7 2PLP class.
Candidates for the first 2PLP class included: WELCOME TO DONNA ROSENBERG
Donna Rosenberg joined the AIA San Antonio on March 20 as the 2007
Manjiri Akalkotkar, VIA Metropolitan Transit
Convention Assistant. She comes to our chapter with a strong background
David S. Calderon, Debra J. Dockery, Architect in association management, convention and meeting management.
In Chicago, Donna worked as the Meeting Planner & Convention Planning
J. Gilbert Candia, II, Noonan Rittimann
Manager for the Association of Legal Administrators and the Richard Wolf
Medical Instruments Corporation. Most recently, Donna was the Executive
J Eduardo de la Garza, 3D/International Meetings Manager for the Watermark Hotel and La Mansion del
Rio Hotels. For the next 18 months, she will be responsible for the day
Bruce A. Hall, Austech Roof Consultants/
to day management, fundraising and coordination for the 2007 AIA
Carr. S. Hornbuckle, MDN Architects/
9TH GREEN BUILDING/VEHICLE EXPOWORKSHOP
Twenty-four free classes qualifying for AIA CES requirements will be
Gerardo G. (Gerry) Noriega, B&A Architects, Inc. offered at the 9th AIA-Certified Green Building/Vehicle ExpoWorkshop on
May 26 and 27 (Friday and Saturday) from 9am to 5pm at the Live Oak
Jay R. Louden, Ford, Powell & Carson
Civic Center, 8101 Pat Booker Rd., off of IH-35 or Loop 1604.
Michael A. Martinez, Pfluger Associates
Among the topics covered will be state and federal tax credits available for
Eluterio (El) Tenorio, Jr., SA Partnership a variety of green products and systems and how to apply for them; new
COSA standards for water conservation and required turf grasses; how to
Theodore S. (Ted) Turner, Kinnison Architects
design with steel to meet energy conservation requirements; green
Christine B. Viña, City of SA Planning Dept. standards for insulation; a variety of natural and renewable products and
systems; wind power demonstrations; and alternative fueled vehicles.
Initiated through the local AIA chapter, sponsorship for the
initial 2PLP class was provided by CNA Insurance AIA members and students who take the free classes will be admitted
Companies, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, Inc. and the to the Expo portion of the event free of charge. A partial list of presenters
AIA Trust, providers of the AIA-Commended Program of is available on www.greenconnexion.com. Additional information at:
Professional Liability Insurance. Day-long focus sessions 210.212.8031 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
expose the intern with several years of experience and/or
TSA AND AIA-SAN ANTONIO DESIGN AWARDS WORKSHOP
newly registered architect to practical knowledge tools in
The Design Awards Committee has scheduled a workshop to be held in
the primary areas of professional practice, and empower
the chapter office from 9:30 – 11:30 on May 11th to help members gain
them to become better practitioners and stronger leaders.
insight into the selection process at the state level. The workshop will be
MEMBERS ON THE MOVE moderated by Stephen Sharpe, Communications Director, Texas Society
Guillermo G. Moya, AIA, has successfully completed of Architects. He will be assisted by Dan Hart, AIA, PE, Design Awards
the ARE exams and is now a registered architect in Texas. Committee Chair, Texas Society Architects.
He works at the City of San Antonio’s Architect’s Office.
IN SEARCH OF … FLYING BUTTRESSES
An elementary school student, a child of an AIA-San Antonio member, was
We are pleased to welcome these new members to assigned the task of finding a flying buttress in the San Antonio area for
our chapter: a school report. This resulted in a really fun string of e-mails between a AIA
members last month. Now it’s your turn. Submit an example of a locally
- Kin Bolz, Assoc. AIA
flying buttress that’s within our chapter’s geographic boundary, with a
Overland Partners, Inc.
very brief description to: email@example.com. Extra points if you include a
- Arthur Campos, Jr. Assoc. AIA digital image. If we get enough respondents, we’ll publish them in an
The Eubanks Group upcoming newsletter.
- Jonathan Ross Card, AIA
- Lee Ferguson, Assoc. AIA
Kell Munoz Architects, Inc.
- Linda H. Ghazawi, Assoc. AIA
Madeline Anz Architects, Inc.
- Juan S. Sanchez, Jr. Assoc. AIA
Gonzalez Newell Bender Inc.
- James S. Shelton, AIA
Overland Partners, Inc.
- Lorraine M. Trevino, Assoc. AIA
A JOURNAL FOR ARCHITECTURE | DESIGN | BUILDING ARTS
CHAR MILLER is director of urban studies at Trinity University and is author of Deep
in the Heart of San Antonio and editor of On the Border: An Environmental History
of San Antonio.
It was over in a matter of minutes. The ‘60s ranch house proved no that had such damaging consequences for American cities. After
match for the heavy-bladed bulldozer, which crashed into its east World War Two, as members of the middle class drove out of the
wall, flattening its brick facade and then splintering its interior urban core to its ever-expanding periphery, they abandoned
framing, before knocking over the remaining outer walls. As a cloud streetcar suburbs and their mix of populations, creating a social
of dust rose up over the mound of crushed sheetrock and twisted ecology that starkly segregated metropolitan areas by race, ethnicity,
two-by-fours, a demo crew swarmed over the site and within 48 and class. The accelerating process of mansionization, Preservation
hours had scraped it clean. Texas, Inc. and neighborhood activists fear, threatens to transplant
these debilitating divisions to inner-city neighborhoods.
There was nothing unique about this tear-down in a 1920s San
Antonio automobile suburb; it was the second in as many months in That particular worry is misplaced about Alamo Heights, Olmos Park,
my neighborhood, making our experience part of a national pattern and Terrell Hills, whose founding covenants established them as
fueled by speculative development and skyrocketing urban-land white-only enclaves. Yet even these wealthy havens are buffeted
values. Neither is it a shock that the multi-story edifice soon to by legitimate anxieties related to a radical shift in aesthetics. The
occupy this lot in Olmos Park will nearly triple the square-footage of tear-down mania and steroidal-remodeling craze in Alamo Heights,
its low-slung predecessor. To draw attention to this disturbing trend, for instance, have so badly disfigured its Cottage District that it is no
in February 2006 Texas Preservation, Inc. released its annual list of longer worthy of its once-humble moniker.
Texas’ Most Endangered Historic Places, warning that many of the
That said, preserving the visual legacy of built landscapes should not
state’s “historic and architecturally most significant neighborhoods”
mean reifying the past. History’s powerful hold on our imaginations
were under assault. From the Colonial Country Club district in Forth
should not deflect us from recognizing that human habitats—like
Worth to Dallas’ Old Preston Hollow and Bluffview and Pemberton
their natural counterparts—are dynamic, and must remain so; if by
Heights in Austin, older homes are being demolished, an irreplace-
a lock-step preservationism we shut down their capacity for renewal,
able loss of architectural integrity, of “character and charm.”
for a vital interplay across time, we will stunt the regenerative possi-
The same holds true in the Alamo City, which contains the largest bilities of communal life.
number of endangered first- and second-ring suburbs. The incorpo-
A clear-cut terrain would have the same destructive impact. That’s
rated sister cities of Alamo Heights, Terrell Hills, and Olmos Park,
why it is essential to enforce existing demolition permits in San
like their older peers, Monte Vista and Beacon Hill, exemplify the
Antonio and immediately enact similar regulations in unprotected
deleterious impact “boxy new mansions” are having on local
suburbs. No less critical is a sustained and rigorous education of
streetscapes; their swollen footprints are eliminating mature trees
homebuyers, developers, and real-estate agents about the enduring
and landscape features, diminishing front- and back-yard sociability,
value of building or remodeling houses that reinforce rather than
and, with the destruction of affordable homes, reducing potential
degrade neighborhoods’ architectural sensibilities and material
economic and demographic diversity.
vocabularies. If they need blueprints from which to draw, they have
This homogeneous impulse—more evident in some sectors than but look at the very eclectic environments now being toppled by the
others—is the mirror image of mid-twentieth-century white flight bulldozer’s blunt force. v
JILL HARRISON SOUTER was recently elected to the Board of the San Antonio Chapter of the AIA as a
Public Member. Jill has served in numerous local, state and national capacities involved with historic
preservation, planning and public policy including the Presidencies of the San Antonio Conservation
Society and Preservation Texas – and board memberships with the Texas Preservation Trust Fund,
Bexar Land Trust and Preservation Action’s National Board of Directors. Examples of her many civic
activities include the Las Casas Foundation Board, “Take A Seat At The Carver” Campaign Co-Chair,
and the NISD Mentorship Program. She was a founding member of the Chapter’s “Women In
Design” program. Jill was recognized for her many contributions by Honorary Membership in the
Texas Society of Architects in 2002.
Jill answered questions posed by AIA San Antonio The architectural profession and the AIA in San Antonio are highly respected
Commissioner Charles John regarding historic by our citizens and community leaders. The AIA can be proactive in
preservation. advancing the preservation agenda by being:
CHARLES JOHN (CJ): What do you think are the biggest CONSISTENT: When we are consistent in our position and beliefs, the public
issues facing historic preservation today, both is clear about what the issues are and what we stand for.
nationally and locally?
PERSISTENT: We must be proactive. This takes a lot of work by a lot of
JILL SOUTER (JS): Education, money and political will. people, but it is much more effective to be proactive in addressing issues and
being in a leadership position – than being reactive.
EDUCATION: I believe that the design and historic
preservation communities have to be vigilant in COURAGEOUS: Historic preservation challenges are not easy. We are
educating the public, the press and our political sometimes criticized for our stance and our positions on issues. Picking and
leaders about being good stewards of historic places choosing only those issues we think we can win is a luxury we can’t afford.
and the significance of our cultural heritage. Fortunately, in San Antonio – we have had many successes: the San Antonio
River, the Missions, the Majestic Theater, etc.
MONEY: We need to create a level playing field
for historic preservation vs. new construction. One CJ: Sometimes it appears that the preservation movement is going backwards
way to do this is by providing rehab tax credits. and funding and legislation for historic preservation seem to be declining.
We have to make development of historic buildings How can we reverse this trend? How can local AIA members help?
a financially feasible choice for developers, property
JS: By getting involved. Volunteer to participate on Boards and Commissions
owners and companies. “Smart Codes” that recog-
that shape our City. Give your time, your talents as creative individuals – and
nize the unique conditions of historic buildings, while
your leadership skills to help our community. v
still meeting health and safety goals, can also
help make building rehabilitation physically and
POLITICAL WILL: Our political leaders need to have the
“political will” to support ordinances, codes and
funding that encourage historic preservation.
By being advocates and educators, citizens and One of my favorite quotes is
organizations like the AIA can be a compelling voice from Margaret Mead:
in strengthening our leaders’ political will.
“NEVER DOUBT THAT A SMALL
CJ: What role can the AIA play in advancing the GROUP OF COMMITTED CITIZENS
preservation agenda in San Antonio? CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.
INDEED, IT IS THE ONLY THING
JS: I believe if you ask almost anyone in San Antonio THAT EVER HAS!”
– What makes our city unique? – they will say our
wonderful history, cultural heritage and the ambiance
we enjoy. Therefore, the preservation agenda in
San Antonio is how can we protect and honor our
history, heritage and ambiance.
KRISTA WHITSON, AIA is trained as both an architect and photographer. Her research
and exhibition, Dance Halls of Central Texas, was supported by a grant from the
Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts. Krista is a graduate of the
University of Texas at Austin and the University of Chicago. She currently works at the
award-winning firm of Mell Lawrence Architects in Austin.
DANCE HALLS OF CENTRAL TEXAS
Pre – World War II Wooden Structures
At the turn of the last century, almost every town in central Texas Shuttered openings are an archetypal element of dance halls.
had at least one dance hall. Larger communities often had two or There is a striking difference between a closed and open hall.
three halls, and even populations defined by little more than When the shutters are open—the walls dematerialize, opening
a crossroads had one. The sheer number of halls in the surround- the dance hall to outdoors.5 Bottom-hinged shutters fold down
ing areas is noteworthy. Fischer, Anhalt, Kendalia and Gruene to form counters, across which beer and tickets are sold.
are examples near San Antonio. Top-hinged shutters open to form canopies to shade dancers
from the sun or rain. The absence of glazing creates an immedi-
Dance halls emerged from a tradition of music and dancing
ate relationship to the outdoors. Unfiltered by dirty glass or
brought by Czech and German immigrants. Early settlers
reflections, the view into and out from the dance floor is clear.
constructed simple, wooden platforms in fields. As communities
As seen from a distance, lighted interiors glow at night. During
became more established, they formed social organizations
the day, incoming light can be very intense rendering the hall’s
like agricultural societies, shooting clubs and sports clubs. Clubs
shady interior ethereal.
provided networks of support, interaction and financial
resources. With club finances, communities built halls that served Dance halls have been disappearing over the years.
as social centers hosting barbecues and meetings as well Many have been razed; others stand derelict. A few halls have
as dances. had new lives as restaurants or antique shops. The buildings that
remain are also vanishing as institutions in that these structures
Dance halls built before the end of the 1940’s share recognizable
are increasingly private, rental-only venues. Among common
characteristics: pier and beam foundation, wood frame construc-
architecture, dance halls are interesting buildings. There is
tion, exterior board siding, and shuttered openings. With various
something familiar about their simple forms. In spite of basic
plan configurations, halls can be divided into two basic building
construction and humble materials, halls are unexpectedly
types: rectangular dance halls with simple gabled roofs1 and
elegant. With craftsmanship and ingenuity these vernacular
round dance halls with 8 or 12-sides, central posts and
structures transform the common tectonics of frame construction
bell-shaped roofs rising to a ventilating cupola.2
and achieve significant public interiors. As a former mainstay of
Dance halls are straightforward and expedient; exteriors are plain community life, dance halls are important buildings. They are
and interiors are generally unfinished.3 Structural bays visible reminders of our past and present communal spaces. v
create an interior rhythm, following the logic of wood spans.
Exposed roof structure, wood arches and trusses give shape to
the hall’s interior and define its character.4 The ceiling and cross-
1 Kendalia Hall
section of these halls can be extraordinary. Halls have simple
fenestration; most have operable wood shutters at openings. 2 Cat Springs Hall
Smaller satellite structures around the hall itself promote activity 3 Fischer Hall
outside. Barbecue pits, outhouses, beer stands, horseshoe
4 Anhalt Hall
pits and covered seating create a secondary realm beyond the
building’s doors. 5 Kendalia Hall
Photos by Krista Whitson
Kendalia Hall: gabled roof hall Fischer Hall: board siding and shuttered openings
Cat Springs Hall: 12-sided exterior with ventilating cuppola Kendalia Hall: wall of shutters
Anhalt Hall: interior arched wood trusses
Ruth Morris is the Chairman of the Public Relations Committee of the Japanese
Tea Garden Committee, part of San Antonio’s Friends of the Parks.
JAPANESE TEA GARDEN RESTORATION PROJECT
Over the last 87 years, San Antonio citizens and visitors alike To date, initial fund raising efforts have raised $448,465, which
have marveled at the beauty of the Japanese Tea Garden in includes a generous grant from the Phil and Linda Hardberger
Brackenridge Park with its flower laden walkways, tranquil lily Foundation that is dedicated to the restoration of the waterfall.
ponds, cascading waterfall, unusual bridges and rock work, and These funds were raised through grants (written and received by
its exotic Pagoda. Unfortunately, due to the City’s budget the SAPF) and donations made by individuals, foundations, and
constraints, the Garden has fallen on hard times and is in serious corporations. Major donors include: Valero Energy Corporation
disrepair. Much of the infrastructure of the Pagoda and the and Foundations, such as Amy Shelton McNutt, Elizabeth Huth
Jingu House has decayed and the structures are in danger of Coates, and Kronkosky. In addition, City bond money amounting
collapsing. The once colorful and tranquil ponds stand empty of to $600,000 was provided to the SAPF for the Garden on the
water, lilies, and koi fish, and the magnificent fern laden waterfall initiative of Councilman Kevin Wolff. All donations are received
is dry and barren. The Friends of the Parks (FOP), under the by the SAPF and held in a dedicated account.
auspices of the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Parks
In recognition of the Garden’s origin as a rock quarry that played
Foundation (SAPF), which is led by former Mayor Lila Cockrell,
a prominent role in the development of the cement business in
has stepped forward and undertaken initiating, funding, and
Texas (Alamo Cement Co.), as well as its later redevelopment as
overseeing a planning process to determine the Garden’s
a garden, the site is designated as a Texas Civil Engineering
mission, restoration goals, and necessary capital improvements.
Landmark, a Registered Texas Historic Landmark, and is listed on
The restoration project is well underway. The FOP anticipates the National Register of Historic Places. As such, any restoration
receiving a final Master Plan for the project by May 2006 from and improvements to the site must maintain the historical
San Antonio-based Bender Wells Clark and the SWA Group of character of the property. This fact complicates the process and
Houston. The City is in the process of repairing the roof increases restoration costs. While the total cost to originally
of the Jingu House and the Pavilion. The Pavilion’s roof, which develop the Garden in 1919 was $7,000, the FOP anticipates the
originally was covered in palm fronds from City Parks, will be restoration work will cost at least two to three million dollars.
returned to its original “look” through the use of a faux palm
Bonnie Conner, President of the FOP and former City
thatch roof. Vickrey and Associates are developing options for
Councilwoman, says their ultimate goals for the Japanese Tea
the City in regard to repairing the leaking lily ponds and Gene
Garden are to preserve its historical character, restore it to its
Dawson, Pape-Dawson Engineers, is assisting the FOP by
place as the “crown jewel of our City’s gardens,” and to establish
contracting for and overseeing the work of Biscayne Aquaculture
an endowment that will ensure that it is well maintained for future
in their design for an updated and improved water circulation
generations to enjoy. It appears that they’re well on their way to
and filtration system for the ponds. The FOP has requested that
meeting those goals. v
the Master Plan include plans to make lighting, electrical, and
plumbing infrastructure as unobtrusive as possible. Due to the
significant cost of these and other much needed repairs to the The Friends of the Parks is affiliated with the San Antonio
Garden, the FOP will be launching a major fund raising effort, to Parks Foundation. The San Antonio Parks Foundation
include donations of money, services, supplies and time, upon is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization committed
receipt of the final Master Plan. to expanding, protecting and revitalizing San Antonio’s
treasured parks. Donations for the Tea Garden should be
made payable to the San Antonio Parks Foundation and
noted to go toward the Japanese Tea Garden.
Photo provided by the Institute of Texan Cultures Photo provided by San Antonio Parks Foundation
Photo provided by San Antonio Parks Foundation
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