The Arts

February 15, 2015

Why it is Important to Support Architecture

Brownsville, Texas 050

Remember the days when people would purchase a lot in which to build their home, and spend long hours deciding how their homes would look?  They would consult an engineer or an architect, talk about it with friends, and find inspiration in other area homes. Their home was their legacy, and it had to be special, it had to be different.  But why are we so adamant about purchasing “cookie cutter” homes that do not have any particular characteristics?

Unbeknownst to some is the Valley’s rich architectural legacy, and the importance of preserving because it is the palpable passage that tells our history. Here are the —– reasons why I support architecture.


1-      The Rio Grande Valley deserves the best architecture. – The Valley is growing at such a fast pace it is hard for government leaders to keep up. Sometimes, perceiving a false money saving concept, our schools are not individually designed, but blueprints from schools built in other Texas cities are used. This is not acceptable. Our youth deserve a school that is designed in consideration with our region’s landscape and weather, not to mention our unique culture. A well and appropriately designed building will positively impact the behavior of those around it according to many professional studies. The same should apply to new stadiums, theaters and of any public building.

2-      Art and architecture are closely tied. A well designed building is a work of art, just try giving them a second look and you will see what I mean. Buildings are expected to last a long time, so why build architecturally insignificant ones? It is not only about a personal legacy, but a regional one.  I assume that we want the best for the Valley don’t we?  Let’s build an artistic legacy by reconsidering the importance of architecture.

3-      There is a lot to learn from the Valley’s architectural past. The main reason I created is to raise awareness of the Midcentury Modern Architecture legacy of the Rio Grande Valley. There is so much to learn from homes designed by architects during the 1940s through the early 70s. When we look closely at these homes, we notice large windows and doors that invited residents to go outside and be active. Natural light is important to our health. These homes were designed taking into consideration the direction of the sun and the reigning breeze. Homes today rely completely on the use of air conditioning. Developers often build the same house regardless of the sun’s position. In other words most new homes – those not designed by an architect – feature large sealed windows directly facing the west which will result in an extremely hot abode. Bathrooms seldom have windows that open to allow for natural ventilation, and patios are not always in the ideal, and cooler, location of the house.

4-      An Architect is not as expensive as people think, and your home is worth the wait. At RGVMOD we seek to connect the public with the architects. We encourage people to wait when it comes to purchasing the home of your dreams. Shop around, talk to some architects and I guarantee you that you will be surprised. You will find an architect that will work with you. I don’t exactly know when our society stopped thinking of architecture as an important resource when building a home. I think it has to do with our need to have things NOW! And our inability to be patient especially when it comes to something as important as the house you are going to be paying and living in for most of your life. The house you hope to inherit to your kids and or grand kids. The house that will hold your family’s history. Does that even exist anymore? I am posting this hoping it does.

 During a recent visit to Palm Springs, California – a mid-century modern haven – I was stunned to learn about the millions of dollars generated by architecture tourism. The economic impact of visitors interested in architecture. It is impressive.

Sometime back, city leaders realized the importance of preserving their architectural historic legacy, and it has capitalized in an amazing way. Original homes from the 50′s and 60′s – very similar to some we have in the RGV – are selling for a lot of money, but most importantly is that they are being carefully restored. They are so coveted that local builders and architects can’t keep up designing new ones inspired by the historic ones with modern architectural features which is something I highly recommend looking into, and RGVMOD is there to offer inspiration and information. New modern homes designed with inspirations from the past but just as architecturally significant.

In Palm Springs new shopping strips and even fast food restaurants are housed in the modern style of the area’s architectural past. It is so amazing. The city itself is a work of art, for everywhere you look is harmonious. This does not mean all the buildings look alike – by no means!  Buildings from different areas can surely stand near each other and create an artistically eclectic “masterpiece” of a city.

I have heard several people across the Valley stating that building structures on specific areas should stay and look exactly the same, something that is impossible because new buildings will always have to be built. There is no way to build a new building that is exactly like an old one. And why would we want to do that?

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About the Author

Nydia O
A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.-Maya Angelou. La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" my life in the Rio Grande Valley. From this bi-cultural corner on the tip of Texas, I share my poems and my spiritual and travel experiences. I also blog about the arts, nature and my passion for historic preservation and architecture. But most importantly, let's talk about "la vida" - living our lives - in a vacation state of mind. Contributions and comments are always welcome .


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