SAH News

Locals Asked to Weigh In on Austin’s Growth at Architecture Conference

by SAH News | Jan 21, 2014

The Society of Architectural Historians invites the Austin community to its 2014 Annual Conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities the city faces due to rapid growth.  

The 2014 Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Annual Conference is an international architecture conference that draws art, landscape and architectural historians, preservationists, architects, planners, students and others together to discuss the latest research on the history of the built environment. But the conference, which takes place April 9-13 at the Hyatt Regency Austin in Austin, Texas, has an aim beyond the purely academic—to engage the community in discussion of locally relevant issues.

Perhaps no topic is timelier than the rapid growth Austin has experienced in recent years. It seems as though every magazine and report lists Austin as the fastest growing city, one with new residents, new business and new construction. But with all the talk about the new, what about the old? What effect does Austin’s rising population have on its historic architecture, its landscapes and culture? How are historic structures and neighborhoods to be preserved? What is the role and fate of historic architecture in booming cities?

SAH invites Austin locals and organizations to join them in tackling these questions during the SAH Austin Seminar, “Austin and the Place of Historic Architecture in Rapidly Growing Cities,” on Saturday, April 12. Led by Michael Holleran, director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at University of Texas at Austin, the seminar will include a keynote address and two panels of discussion by regional experts that will investigate the challenges and opportunities Austin and other cities in the Texas Triangle Megaregion are facing due to rapid population growth. Stephen Fox of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas will give the keynote, “Architectural History, Public Discourse, and Political Action in Texas: Looking Backward and Forward.” Panelists include:

  • Barbara Brown Wilson, director, Center for Sustainable Development, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin 
  • Sarah Lopez, architectural and urban historian, migration scholar, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin
  • Fred L. McGhee, historical anthropologist and principal, Fred L. McGhee & Associates
  • Jennifer Minner, planner, Department of City and Regional Planning, Cornell University 
  • David Preziosi, executive director, Preservation Dallas
  • John Rosato, commercial real estate planning and development, principal, Southwest Strategies Group, Austin 
  • Frederick Steiner, environmental and regional planner; dean and Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin 

The public is also invited to participate in the 21 guided architectural tours offered to locations in and around Austin. The tours cover a wide scope of architectural styles, building types and subject matter, including early Austin homes, the evolution of Austin’s riverfront, modernist churches, historic African American neighborhoods and sustainable use. For a complete listing of available tours, visit

In addition to the public programming, the conference offers 35 sessions from distinguished speakers covering a diversity of topics.  Three sessions are devoted to Texas and the Southwest: “The World Comes to Texas: The Architectural World, That Is,” “Visionary Entrepreneurs: The Strong Wills That Built Texas” and “Westward Inhalation: Health and Architecture of the Southwest.”

Please visit for more information on the 2014 Annual Conference (#SAH2014), including a complete schedule of events and how to register.

Event Details:

SAH Austin Seminar
Saturday, April 12
8:30 a.m.­­–12:45 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Austin
208 Barton Springs
Austin, TX 78704
Room: Foothills 1, 17th floor
Cost: Free for registered conference attendees; $10 general public and students
Registration required due to limited seating. Register at

Conference Tours
Thursday, April 10–Sunday, April 13
Various times, locations and pricing (please see website for details)
AIA/CES learning units are available for the tours
Those registering for the full conference may choose their tours during the registration process.
Tour-only registration opens on February 16.
Register at

About SAH
The Society of Architectural Historians is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes the study, interpretation and conservation of architecture, design, landscapes and urbanism worldwide. SAH serves a network of local, national and international institutions and individuals who, by vocation or avocation, focus on the built environment and its role in shaping contemporary life. In addition to the Buildings of the United States Series, the Society publishes its quarterly print and online Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH), organizes study tours and hosts the SAH Annual Conference. SAH’s digital resources include SAH Archipedia, a media-rich online encyclopedia of American architecture, and SAHARA, a shared online image archive for teaching and research. To learn more about SAH or to become a member, visit

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