Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dallas' Architectural Magazine

The Dallas AIA (that's the American Institute of Architects to you in the cheap seats) sends out a monthly magazine called Columns.  Frankly, it's never been the prize of my mailbox catch... until lately.  But now?

The present AIA chapter president, David Zatopek, can write!  (More elegantly than I.)  What's more, he writes about thoughtful subjects.  The rest of the mag follows his lead with a 30th year retrospective that's chock full o' nutty articles: a piece on influential early Dallas architects; another on archiving drawings; a piece on State Fair Park, one of the great collections of Art Deco; a photo-essay on restored houses; and a playfully written page (playful?  AIA?  together??) on the fraught relationship between architects and contractors.

Read HERE.

The "President's Letter" is about the loss to architects as technology and modern practice take us farther from the dirty hand-work of construction and even from the dirty shirt cuffs of hand-drafting.  Gothic architects were masons who built cathedrals with their own hands - we don't even draw first hand, but once-removed by CAD.

I agree.  There is something wonderfully real - and instructive - in thinking through a design by drawing, erasing, redrawing, or in wrestling with real materials under real conditions, whether it's weather, mud, deadlines, or the obstinacy of concrete as it's poured.  The nature of materials, like the grain of wood, can inspire.  And it's deeply satisfying to create with your hands.  One of the things I love about theater work is that I get my hands dirty.  (Or my leg to the knee.)

So I will quote David here: "What have you really made today?"
image by J. F. Millet, public domain courtesy of WikiPaintings


  1. Clare,

    Thank you so much for the kind words, we're so glad you were pleased with the issue!

    Kerrie Sparks
    Columns Art Director/Communications Coordinator
    AIA Dallas

  2. Thank YOU for putting some life into the AIA magazine - I look forward to reading it nowadays!