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Growing up near Dallas, I. M. Pei and Philip Johnson were really the only two “starchitects” whose works I was able to experience directly. Whereas Johnson’s buildings may have been more fun, their quality was a bit mixed. Pei’s projects, however, had an elegance I could appreciate even before I was formally taught what good architecture was. From his Dallas City Hall to his Meyerson Symphony Center, his buildings were uniformly stunning. He also appeared to be a genuinely nice person, something that cannot be said of most architects of his caliber.

Later on I would visit his East Building of the National Gallery of Art. Its graceful design remains a touchstone for how to design a modern civic space. I know his modernization of the Louvre gets more attention, but when it goes to Pei triangles, I prefer the one in Washington.

Of course I was saddened to hear of his passing last week, but the man was 102 years old. He lived a long and full life. Over the course of a very long and fruitful career he was able to create beauty that will live on.

That is certainly something worth celebrating.

Satellite office

So now that Betsy is up and running it made sense to order business cards.  Of course, the fact that I am in San Antonio and she is in Dallas raised the question of which address should we put on her card.  Dare we claim that HiWorks has both a San Antonio and a Dallas office?


I think we should...


Meet Betsy

image courtesy Mia Frietze

For most of 2013, "HiWorks" was really just me.  Working as a sole proprietor was fun but the plan was always for the firm to be more than just an individual as there is a limit to the scale and ambition that a single architect can execute.  Towards the end of the year things started to get uncomfortably busy and it became more and more apparent that HiWorks would need to grow in order to fulfill its potential.

Betsy Johnson and I first met at Lake|Flato and all of that firm was heartbroken when she moved to Dallas a few years ago.  It has always been my hope that we could find a way for the two of us to work together again.  We have set up a remote working framework that will now allow that to happen.  The expertise required to design a building is broad and Betsy's skill set represents an excellent complement to mine.  Like me, she is also trying to engineer a way to balance the opportunities and challenges of a career with the opportunities and challenges of being a parent of two young girls.  Raising two daughters, for the record, appears to be much harder than designing a building.

At any rate, the above photo was taken back in November of last year and you can see Betsy's family including her husband, Luke (who is a Vice President of Corporate Development at CHRISTUS Health and who provided invaluable assistance in developing the business plan for HiWorks), and her second daughter (who was but a few weeks old at the time).  Her first daughter, seated to the right of me, referred to me throughout the visit as "the man".  Based on that observation, Betsy recently pointed out that she is now officially "working for the man".

Although I would like to think she is working with the man, I realize the difference is mainly semantic.