While we all have different memories of Trinity, most of us share a few similarities: the smell of Texas mountain laurels; the sounds of mockingbirds and blue jays; the sights of red brick against the San Antonio skyline; the feeling of that trek up Cardiac Hill. The Summer 2017 issue of Trinity magazine is a tribute to these experiences, exploring the University's first Campus Master Plan since the Skyline Campus was designed in the early 1950s. By honoring our past, we are preparing for our future—and what a future it promises to be!
Ever the typical millennial, I had many lives before I wound up in this one at Trinity. One of those lives was in marketing at Lake|Flato, a San Antonio-based architecture firm with a strong focus on sustainability and place-based design. It was a brief stint, but in the time I was there, I learned so much about the form, functionality, and beauty of architectural design—perhaps most memorably from co-founder Ted Flato, especially when it came to architecture for higher education.
In an early-morning conversation by the coffee pot that may have seemed inconsequential at the time, Ted said to me: “In a world where we’re not always mindful of how we live, we can design the places we live to make us pause, take a breath, and appreciate the spaces around us.”
To this day, Ted still may not know how much this resonated with me. It was something I, admittedly, hadn’t noticed about architecture before. Did the buildings around me really force me to deliberately pause, breathe, and appreciate my surroundings?
As the University celebrates 75 years in San Antonio this year (65 of which have been nestled on Trinity Hill) we look back at the influences that have defined our place and space in time. Arguably, one of the most notable influences was San Antonio architect O’Neil Ford, who transformed a 117-acre abandoned rock quarry into an oasis in the heart of the city. In 1946, it was hard to imagine this ‘limestone jungle’ as anything but a bright magnet for Texas heat; today, it is a bustling, dynamic, green space, where students and scholars share ideas and experiences.
Our campus itself is part of the liberal arts experience. Ford understood the importance of this; as you’ll read on page 38, Ford lived his life “excited by new ideas and experiences,” and he approached architecture with much of the same attitude. His understanding of the campus was one of academic spirit and collaboration—what we’re calling productive collisions these days—where the physical space enhanced the learning process. These purposeful, architectural decisions were at the heart of Ford’s original vision for the campus, and this vision now lays in our hands to honor.
Such was the daunting task facing Trinity’s Campus Master Plan committee. For the past three years, the team guided the development of a Campus Master Plan that will have a lasting impact on the Trinity campus (read more on page 30). Among other physical improvements to buildings and structures, the Plan includes seeking placement on the National Register of Historic Places to create a historic district for the campus, further solidifying our commitment to honoring the architectural legacy of O’Neil Ford.
Above all—amid construction, preservation, new signage, old craftsmanship, and green spaces—the Campus Master Plan will serve as a cornerstone that continually implores us to do one important thing: In a world where we’re not always mindful about how we live, this campus continues to make us pause, take a breath, and appreciate the spaces around us.
Speaking of appreciation: With this issue, we bid a fond farewell to Carlos Anchondo, who will be starting graduate school at the University of Texas School of Journalism. Over the past two years, Carlos has added a profound and transformational voice to this publication, which won’t be the same without him. I’m sure Carlos will continue to craft fantastic work, so follow him on Twitter at @cjanchondo to keep in touch. We’ll welcome a new writer for the Winter 2018 issue!
Jeanna Goodrich Balreira ’08