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UT Game Changers: Larry Speck, The Impact of Architecture

In this Web edition of UT Game Changers on The Longhorn Network, Larry Speck discusses the impact of architecture on our lives.

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Lawrence Speck came to the faculty of the School of Architecture in 1975 after teaching at M.I.T for three years. He served as Founding Director of the Center of American Architecture and Design 1982 – 1990, was Associate Dean 1990 – 1992 and was Dean of the School 1992 – 2001. He has maintained an active architectural practice since 1975, initially as Lawrence W. Speck Associates and since 1999, as a principal in the firm Page Southerland Page.

His recent projects include the Barbara Jordan Terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, Rough Creek Lodge and Conference Center, Robert E. Johnson State Office Building, Computer Science Corporation Buildings and the Austin Convention Center Expansion. His design work has been recognized by more than 50 national, state and local design awards over the last ten years and has been published in 90+ articles in the US, England, Brazil, Italy, Japan and Germany. Speck is the author of over 50 publications focusing primarily on twentieth century American architecture and urbanism.

He also wrote and hosted the PBS documentary , “Building the American City: San Antonio”. Teaching duties include the entry level undergraduate course, “Architecture and Society”, a graduate seminar on “Theory and Practice”, and Advanced Design. Speck has won numerous teaching and service awards including two university-wide undergraduate teaching recognitions – the Blunk Centennial Professorship and the Amoco Teaching Award.

Speck’s current research in practice focuses on innovative uses of materials and building materials including creative explorations, in particular, in the use of steel, glass, stone, and other masonry products. In terms of Urban Design, he is seeking alternative patterns of suburban development based on models akin to downtowns of smaller cities. He continues to be interested in a long-standing exploration of what might be called Modern Vernacular – contemporary architectural expressions based in the realities of place and region.

Recent writing include contributions of chapters on the Cass Gilbert and Alvar Aalto – each dealing with works of the architects on American campuses, a journal article on the innovative use of glass in several contemporary design; and lectures and an article on a broader view of sustainability.

Speck is also serving as a member of the Architectural Advisory Board for the U.S. State Department Office of Overseas Buildings Operations.

UT Game Changers brings The University of Texas at Austin’s intellectual talent beyond the classroom with a half-hour show to be broadcast on The Longhorn Network along with a Web-only version, above.