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What Would You Ask Richard Keating?

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Richard Keating, of SOM fame, stopped by the Houston Architecture Info web site a couple of weeks ago and left behind a little trail of e-mails. I thought I might respond to them with a collection of questions from the HAIF readers.

For those of you who don't know, Keating is the man behind Wells Fargo Plaza, El Paso Energy Building, CenterPoint Energy Tower, and San Felipe Plaza.

So, post your questions here and I'll put a bunch together and send them out to him interview style. If we're lucky, maybe he'll write back!

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Is there a chasm between collegiate architectural curriculum and the actual practice of architecture? If so, what recommendations would you give a student to prepare them for the profession?

Is the need and/or desire for licensed architects on the rise or decline? What segments (residential, commercial, government, education, religious, etc) of development/building are seeing an increase or decrease? Why?

Contrast and compare European, Asian and US perception of architecture, as well as what is being built in these regions and why.

Are the differences economical, social, philosophical?

Is Frank Lloyd Wright overrated?

Is our lack of zoning (in Houston) a factor in the banal structures we see popping up everywhere?

Is no zoning a good thing?

What is your favorite book? What are you reading now, if any?

If you enjoy music, what is in your CD/mp3 player presently?

What inspired you to study/practice architecture?

Have you ever made a pilgrimage to visit a specific structure?

Is there any structure that you've been in that it was difficult to leave?

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  • 3 weeks later...

gehry, calatrava, hadid, piano, lake, flato, moneo, graves, etc. (in fact, lake/flato might be a promising start. they are region-specific and might be more inclined to give us the time of day.....)

doesn't really have to be a starchitect. local and successful architects would be fun.

the more centered the focus of HAIF and glass, steel and stone becomes around the culture of architecture is a win win situation.

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That was great. Thanks for adding it. I would really like to see ten questions with local architects, because that might let them more deeply explore issues like the lack of zoning, locally appropriate architecture, and the influence on architecture and development of the local transit infrastructure.

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lake/flato is great. good choice editor!


1. what are the liabilities owning or managing sustainable structures such as additional mechanical/maintenance expenses, human comfort level, etc.? if any, how are these negatives recouped, and are they recouped in the long/short term?

2. how do you feel about mass production builders like perry homes? why aren't there better alternatives for the home buying public?

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  • 6 years later...

Loved the questions for Richard Keating and the answers, any more on this from other architects? Lake/Flato or others?

I intended to make this a regular feature, but it got pushed to the bottom of the pile. I'll make an effort to reach out and make this happen with some more architects.

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  • 8 years later...

Hi All,


Did anyone ask Richard Keating if Allied Bank Plaza (AKA Wells Fargo Plaza), was meant to be an abstract $, or just 2 semi-circles. I know on the HAI it says 2 semi-circles, claiming KHOU and other local rumors have it wrong, but is there a source for this? The link to Glass Steel and Stone is no longer.

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