SAN ANTONIO - Scholars and architects from across the United States will gather at Trinity University on Saturday, Feb. 18 to discuss the ground-breaking designs of Trinity's primary architect, O'Neil Ford, and explore his legacy and influence on other educational institutions.
The daylong seminar O'Neil Ford and the Future of Trinity, will provide a forum to review the work of one the most important modern architects in Texas and to explore ways of honoring his legacy at Trinity. Speakers will examine Ford's work at Trinity in relation to education, history, and other Texas campuses as well as to mid-century American modernism.
The symposium will also explore new approaches to landscape architecture, campus planning, and the reuse of mid-century buildings. A panel discussion with San Antonio architects and a tour of several of Ford's buildings at Trinity will conclude the day.
Ford had a 33-year association with Trinity, beginning in 1948, that included consultations with landscape architects Arthur and Marie Berger. In departing from the established, familiar patterns of campus designs at the time, Ford placed the landscape first and emphasized pedestrian movement through modestly-scaled spaces. In so doing, he honored the collegiate tradition of the eighteenth-century picturesque Enlightenment landscape in England. The result was to link the development of the mind and self with the process and experience of walking in planned landscapes.
Kathryn O'Rourke, assistant professor of art and art history at Trinity and symposium organizer, said the University's greatest assets are its campus and its faculty. "Both transform students and are among the only elements of a Trinity education that students can't take away when they leave," she said, adding that the campus and faculty "define the Trinity experience and linger in the memory long after graduation."
O'Rourke added, "Ford's buildings at Trinity, together with the landscape, convey a strong sense of place." She highlighted his distinctive design elements as an innovative and cost-efficient lift-slab construction system, landscaping filled with hearty native plants, and repeated patterns, elements, materials, and forms that create a coherent campus deeply connected to the city and land.
As Trinity enters its next 60 years at the "Skyline Campus," O'Rourke said the symposium will enable scholars "to reflect on Ford's work and consider ways of using the principles that defined his campus to shape it further in support of study, scholarship, and service in the 21st century."
· The importance of place and distinctive characteristics rooted in local history
· The integrity and economic use of construction techniques, expressions, and materials
· The engagement with architectural history
· An urban fabric that is "walk-able" and "live-able," with cities shaped for people, not cars
· The historic preservation and care of the landscape
· Education, community, and equality
· Environmental sustainability
The symposium will begin with a continental breakfast at 8:30 a.m. in the foyer of the Chapman Center on the Trinity campus. Speakers, lunch, and the tour are included in the $20 registration fee. To register, click here.