The challenges and rewards of preserving historic buildings in Houston were discussed by leaders in the city’s preservation community at “Houston: Building Stories,” the 15th annual preservation symposium hosted March 21-22, 2014, by Texas A&M’s Center for Heritage Conservation.
Beth Wiedower, who secures funding and raises awareness to save Texas’ historic courthouses as a Houston-based National Trust for Historic Preservation senior field officer, presented the symnposium's keynote address.
Since joining the NTHP in 2013, Wiedower has also been meeting with local partners throughout the state to identify projects for the trust’s National Treasure program, in which Wiedower and historic building advocates build coalitions to prevent demolitions of historic structures, facilitate court battles to save sites and raise funds for other program activities.
Program initiatives include preserving San Antonio’s Confluence Theater, Henry Trost-designed buildings in El Paso and Rosenwald schools, built to educate rural African-American children in the early 20th century.
Before working in the Houston office, Wiedower served as field director for a trust regional pilot program in the Arkansas Delta from 2006 through 2012.
Symposium activities, including presentations from three speakers, continued Saturday, March 22 at the Texas A&M College of Architecture's Preston Geren Audutorium.
9 a.m. Saturday
Stephen Fox presented Saturday's first lecture. He is an architectural historian who examines the ways 19th and 20th century Houston and Texas architecture engages social constructs such as class identity, cultural distinction and regional differentiation.
He recently completed the third edition of “Houston Architectural Guide,” published by the Houston chapter of the American Institute of Architects, “the benchmark on Houston architecture,” according to a reader review on amazon.com.
Fox also authored “The Country Houses of John F. Staub,” lauded by a reviewer as thoroughly capturing the nuances of Staub’s 50-year career, and “Rice University: An Architectural Tour.”
He is also a lecturer at the Rice School of Architecture and the Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston.
10 a.m. Saturday
As an architect, writer, photographer, curator, juror and mentor, Gerald Moorhead has dedicated his career to the advancement of architectural quality for the betterment of society and the documentation of architectural history for future generations.
“Buildings of Texas” is perhaps Moorhead’s most significant contribution to spreading and preserving knowledge of Texas architecture. The 700+ page tome, the first of two planned volumes, documents the state’s built environment from native settlements to the latest skyscrapers, featuring more than 300 of Moorhead’s photos.
His photography is also in “Houston Architectural Guide” and in many university, private, and corporate collections. Moorhead’s architectural work has received numerous design awards and has been published in national and international journals.
Watch Moorhead's lecture.
2 p.m. Saturday
Anna Mod who presented the symposium's final lecture, provides preservation consulting to owners of historic properties from her office in Houston. She assists clients with investment tax credit applications, design guidelines, condition assessments, materials specifications and preservation planning. She also serves to connect clients and government agencies to create a ‘road map’ for a client‘s preservation plan.
Mod frequently lectures about preservation issues and has authored several multimedia presentations and publications including “City: Houston / Style: Modern,” “The Richmond Corridor,” “Around the Lake: Historic Sites on Lake Champlain” and the National Trust Preservation Information Series booklet, “Putting on a Brand New Coat: The Paint Partnership Program.”
She is also a lecturer in the Historic Preservation Seminar at the Center for Historic Architecture at the University of Houston’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.