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Richard Ferrier's artwork from Architecture in Perspective 1

Richard Ferrier's artwork - Adela

Richard Ferrier with Students at Chaco May 19, 2010

Richard Ferrier with Students at Chaco May 19, 2010

Richard Ferrier at Y2K and reunion April 10, 2010

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In Memoriam

Richard Brooks Ferrier

March 29, 1944 - August 5, 2010

Whence Love?

Where does love come from?

We all know it when we feel it-- but why, and how and when does it happen?

It has always seemed to me that when you’re in the presence of someone who makes you more the person you really want to be, there is affinity—the beginning seed of love. If continued association increases, expands and reinforces this feeling, love can happen.

Richard Ferrier, through many years always inspired me to be that elusive, better person hiding inside myself. Whether by example, osmosis or challenge, Ferrier always left me in a better place than where he found me. He always showed me by his own values and practices the kind of person I value most highly, and naturally wanted to emulate.

His inspiration came to me in four complementary, interrelated areas—generosity, humility, kindness and talent. These were qualities not to cause envy, but joy in the observance of them.

Ferrier’s talent was well-known and prodigious, and evident in virtually everything he undertook, --drawing, design, music, and especially teaching.

In the field of drawing, his remarkable, instantly-identifiable work defined a whole new genre. As a watercolorist he exhibited a skill and sensitivity that most of us would kill to equal. The design work of FIRM X, his longtime architectural office, exhibited no less originality and integrity than his graphic work. To listen to his music was always easy, in the extreme, on the ears.

Many years ago, after deep introspection, I concluded that the most noble life pursuit or profession is that of a teacher. Ferrier was a lifelong teacher—a sharer, in or out of the classroom. Whether working with design students, interns in his firm, or simply kids who wanted to learn—he showed habitually the kind of patience and empathy that connotes a deep, abiding generosity of spirit.

That generosity went beyond the classroom and office in the help and support—financial as well as moral—which he offered over the years to many people who were alone, forgotten or in trouble.

Maybe the most inspiring and endearing quality was his habit of profound kindness—a manifestation of his deep empathy. You could hear it, feel it, in the soft gentleness of his voice. He was, I believe, truly and naturally kind in his heart--the way we all want to be, but find so many ways to forget.

Love, at best is symmetric, reflective. When someone who inspires you in these ways is also inspired by you—maybe in other, also valuable ways—the circuit of love is complete. For us the circuit was complete.

I was born late in my mother’s life, a ‘single child’. Dick Ferrier, more than anyone before or since, filled that brotherless vacuum for me—we were siblings by selection rather than blood. Although I’m sure that every person in this room loved Richard Ferrier in their own ways and for their own reasons-- I loved him like my dear and only brother.

PSO/ 7 August 2010

This picture was taken at Rinconada Chaco on May 19, 2010 on an expedition with his students.

Richard Brooks Ferrier, FAIA, ASAI

Richard Ferrier, who passed away on August 4th, was known to virtually every ASAI member as many things. He was an architect and interior designer of significant accomplishment, a respected and beloved university professor and mentor, a superb practitioner of the elusive art of watercolour and the inventor of a genre of architectonic drawing which we all recognize instantly. Less known to many of us was the fact that he was a professional country singer and songwriter--an early colleague of John Denver, with a devoted following.

He was also a Texan through and through. Not the swaggering, tall, testosteronic Texan that comes to mind as a stereotype—but very much the contrary—a sensitive and politically liberal “mensch”, with a generosity and kindness which was--even to those who knew and loved him--unique.

Ferrier was born in Fort Worth, and died in Irving, near Dallas. His high school as well as college education was in Lubbock, where he received in 1968 his Bachelor of Architecture from Texas Tech University, which eventually named him College of Architecture Alumni of the Year. Four years after his undergraduate degree he was granted a master of arts degree from the University of Dallas.

Immediately following his graduation from Texas Tech, he became a teacher at the University of Texas at Arlington, where he eventually became a full professor and associate dean—and a member of the UTA Academy of Distinguished Teachers. In addition, he contributed significantly to the curricula of other Texas educational institutions including the University of Houston and Prairieview A&M school of archtecture, as a visiting professor and critic.

He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and an active member of the Texas Society of Architects. His list of design and drawing awards is so long that it requires condensation—briefly, nine AIA Dallas Design awards, forty-eight Ken Roberts Memorial Delineation medals, twelve Texas Architect Graphics Competition awards and—closer to home—ten ASAI Architecture in Perspective selections, including two in one year (AIP 6), and an ‘award of distinction’ in AIP 10.

Ferrier’s initial involvement with and continual avid support of ASAP (later ASAI) began in 1985, even before the official founding of the Society; his earliest selected drawing appeared in the very first Architecture in Perspective catalogue and exhibition. The honors accorded his work by successive AIP juries were among the most important to him of all the many awards in his extensive ‘trophy case’.

His remarkable skill in watercolour painting received the attention of the AIA, which includes many examples of his work in their National Archives Drawing Collection. Other examples reside in the permanent drawing collection of the University of Houston. Additional work is housed permanently in the architectural drawing archives of the United States Library of Congress.

In the field of publishing, many periodicals including Texas Architect, Visionary Architecture, Texas Homes, Interiors Magazine and Architectural Record often showcased his work. Ferrier co-edited the Architecture Merit Badge Handbook for the Boy Scouts of America, which includes many of his original drawings. He contributed also to publications including ‘Compact Houses’, ‘Axonometric Drawing’, and ‘The Art of Architectural Drawing.’

As an architect, he founded the Arlington-based FIRM X which was responsible for the design and construction of a number of innovative, award-winning residential projects. It also allowed Ferrier to act as a mentor to recently-graduated students and others who needed assistance--professional, personal and even financial. He never shrank from providing such help to many who will always remember him as a paragon of kindness, empathy and generosity.

For many years, Richard Ferrier was fascinated with the ancient pueblo architecture and archaeology of the Southwest, especially that of the Anasazi civilizations. Consequently he became toward the end of his life one of the dozen or so eminent authorities on that subject, focusing particularly on the ancient culture and architecture at Chaco Canyon. Every spring for a number of years he organized a popular multi-day, for-credit learning excursion with his students to the four corners area of New Mexico, Colorado, Utah and Arizona. The field trip last May will be the final one, until someone else continues that worthy tradition.

Dick Ferrier’s talent, intelligence, kindness and wit will be missed enormously, and for a very long time by many of us in the ASAI, but also especially acutely by his family. They including his brother Bob, his son Sean, and grandson Justin—as well as his longtime life partner Alice Love, her son Taylor Jones, and her (and Ferrier’s adopted) daughter Reagan Love.

Paul Stevenson Oles
ASAI Co-Founder

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