The Architecture of O'Neil Ford: Celebrating Place

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University of Texas Press, 1999 - Architecture - 176 pages
O'Neil Ford (1905-1982) was the most influential Texas architect of the twentieth century. A technological innovator who bridged Texas' rural past and urban future, he taught three generations of architects how to adapt vernacular forms and materials to modern conditions. Widely known as the designer or restorer of such San Antonio landmarks as La Villita, HemisFair Plaza, and Trinity University, Ford also designed buildings from Laredo in deep South Texas to Saratoga Springs in upstate New York over the course of a sixty-year career.

In this book, David Dillon undertakes the first critical study of Ford's architecture in both its regional and national contexts, illuminated by fascinating glimpses into the life that shaped Ford's work. In particular, Dillon explores Ford's links to the regional and eclectic movements of the 1920s and 1930s, his use of postwar technology and materials (lift-slab, prestressed concrete shells, new metals), and his influence on other architects in Texas and the Southwest.

Quotes from the author's wide-ranging interviews with O'Neil Ford in the last years of his life, as well as with his partners, relatives, friends, and critics, give the text firsthand vividness. Extensively documented with plans, drawings, photographs, and sketches, this book offers a thoroughly researched, yet highly readable portrait of a larger-than-life master architect whose best work was clean, understated, pragmatic, quietly elegant, and timeless.

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About the author (1999)

David Dillon is the architecture critic for the Dallas Morning News and the author of six previous books, including Dallas Architecture: 1936-1986 and The FDR Memorial. He currently divides his time between Dallas and Amherst, Massachusetts.

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