Page N2.1 . 30 May 2001                     
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    Culture of Listening

    by Katharine Logan

    Most architects are acutely conscious of the long-term significance of their buildings. But fewer are conscious of the long-term significance of their corporate culture. When it comes to leaving a cultural legacy for practitioners, however, one Texas firm stands out.

    Beginning in the late 1940s, and lasting more than 40 years, Caudill, Rowlett and Scott (CRS) operated as one of the most innovative architecture/ engineering firms of its time, developing architecture as a product, but also, and perhaps more importantly, as a process.

    In February, the CRS Center for Leadership and Management in the Design and Construction Industry held a retrospective conference at Texas A&M University called Rowlett 2001: The Legacy of CRS.

    Close to 300 students, faculty, professionals, and CRS alumni gathered to hear architecture, construction, and engineering professionals who had been associated with CRS discuss innovative aspects of the firm's corporate culture.

    Panel discussions explored process innovations in design, programming, project delivery, and team organization. A critical look at the firm's demise rounded out the discussion, offering insight not only into what worked at CRS, but also what didn't.

    Regardless of the particular topic of the panel, however, it became clear that what was unique about this firm was its emphasis on people: CRS saw teamwork, client involvement, and professional growth as critical to the creation of architecture and the success of the firm.

     

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    ArchWeek Photo

    Central High School in San Angelo, Texas, 1955. From its beginnings as a pioneer of daylit, naturally ventilated schools, CRS emphasized innovation.
    Photo: CRS Archives, TAMU

    ArchWeek Photo

    Caudill leads a CRS "Squatters" session.
    Photo: CRS Archives, TAMU

     

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