Dallas Architecture Forum

Dallas Architecture Forum | Notes of Interest

The Dallas Architecture Forum is a not-for-profit civic organization devoted to bringing the best current ideas on architecture and urban design to the wider community. The Forum sprang from the 1992 collaboration between the Rice Design Alliance and the School of Architecture at University of Texas at Arlington when they co-sponsored a series of lectures given in both Houston and Dallas as an experiment to test the audience for major architectural events in the city. (While Dallas is a thriving center for architectural practice – with the fifth largest AIA chapter in the country – it has no architecture school in the city proper to serve as a base for speakers, seminars, and discussions on architecture.) The series was very successful and became the 'working prototype' several years later when a small group of interested people—business leaders, lawyers, educators, design professionals, and those in the arts— formed the Forum.

The Dallas Architecture Forum's lecture series is the backbone of its offerings. Speakers are leaders in their fields, and bring a broad diversity of ideas, images, and concerns to the members. There have been nearly 130 distinguished Forum lecturers, who have provided a diverse array of impressive contributions. While design professionals give the majority of the lectures, there are also critics, curators, historians, patrons, public servants, photographers, filmmakers, and philosophers.

Dallas Architecture Forum

In addition to the lecture series, key parts of the Forum include panels—local, informal, open, and free—led by a moderator who brings a subject or concern along with brief comments by several invited members of the community. Panels offer members and others the opportunity to participate in creating discourse and not just responding to it. Other features of the Forum include Symposia, presentations and discussions by invited participants offered twice annually in cooperation with the Nasher Sculpture Center, and tours to architectural sites.

The Dallas Architecture Forum prides itself on its diversity, which connects new audiences through the culture of architecture. Frederic Schwartz, FAIA, notes in his recommendation, "One of the Forum's strengths is its non-traditional outlook that brings together different people and disciplines that are passionate and curious about architecture." Additionally, it has become a vehicle for young people, especially students and recent graduates in architecture and the arts, to network in a more casual atmosphere than the usual professional or academic setting.

As Edward Baum, FAIA, remarks in his nomination, "By presenting leaders of the design professions to a diverse non-professional audience, the Dallas Architecture Forum has broadened the publics awareness and appreciation of architecture; and by offering many opportunities for discussion, the Forum offers the same public serious and enjoyable discourse."

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  • Photo Credit: © Dallas Architecture Forum

Dallas Architecture Forum

Dallas Architecture Forum

Jury Comments

The DAF is an exemplary program that has had staying power.

The DAF highlights examples of strong leadership by architects not only in design, but in all phases of collaborative efforts to shape and improve our communities. It seeks to educate not only those in the profession, but to engage and inform non-professionals about excellence in design, the benefits of good design, and how good design is implemented.

I'd encourage any component to look to this program an example of what a Forum could be.

2011 Institute Honors for Collaborative and Professional Achievement Award Jury

  • Chris Morrison, AIA, (Chair)
  • Cunningham | Quill Architects
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Edward Feiner, FAIA
  • Perkins & Will
  • Arlington, Va.
  • David Frommer, AIA
  • UNLV Planning and Construction
  • Las Vegas
  • Diane Georgopulos, FAIA
  • Mass Housing Finance Agency
  • Cambridge, Mass.
  • Clyde Porter, FAIA
  • Dallas County Community College District
  • Mesquite, Tex.

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