January 2021

“This experience left an indelible impression on my education as they embodied a work ethic and eye for materials and detailing that produced timeless architecture. I entered and graduated from the School of Architecture at the University of Texas in Austin. I was over-prepared from my apprenticeship with Moore and Thomas Architects. My professors in Austin were from the same generation, and their influence pushed me to the next level of performance in the demanding profession. I am proud to say I taught Masters Programs at both University of Texas and Texas Tech over the last 20 years–a fulfilling role which allowed me to extend the gifts I received from my mentors and teachers.” As part of Grable’s UT school curriculum, he collaborated with eight other students on a design build project in West Austin. It was an impoverished, rural community, and “the project manifested itself into a new community center built from reclaimed materials.” It was his involvement in this endeavor which further clarified for John the power of architecture and at its most basic level, its role in “providing communities with basic shelter, self-esteem and pride in their history and community. The key lessons were that

Water Glass photos by Leonid Furmansky

cities of his father’s duty stations afforded him the opportunity to experience different styles, ages and functionalities of structures in many environments. Even with his exposure to spectacular buildings in America and abroad, Texarkana still carved out a place in his memory for some of our standout buildings. “Texarkana has a plethora of architectural gems from classic to modern structures. One building that stood out was the downtown Buhrman-Pharr four story warehouse and general store. I was amazed at the

the profession of architecture is fueled by empathy and compassion for the human condition and land. This formula holds true throughout all levels of complexities of commercial and residential projects over the last five decades.” Inspiration for architectural projects may manifest from many things, but exposure to beautiful works, skylines and the histories of various locations lend themselves to creating a bit of an edge in that department. John’s childhood adventures in all the great

integration of the brick and glass facade at street level and the beauty of the virgin timber framing, utilized to support the loads of a warehouse. I would spend many Saturdays with my father talking with the sales staff who allowed us to explore the upper levels of the structure where there were many hidden unique products unsold from bygone eras. This gave me a deep appreciation for the genius of the American worker and the diminishing skill sets, as my generation was educated in the new

Brushy Top photo by Dror Baldinger FAIA


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