Page C1.1 . 14 January 2004                     
ArchitectureWeek - Culture Department
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Schoolhouse Modernism

by Jonathan King and Philip Langdon

During the second half of the 20th century, the Texan architecture firm of Caudill Rowlett Scott (CRS) grew impressively in size and influence. They became known as masters of modern practice and construction management. Their innovations in school design mirrored the firm's own evolution. Editor

"Lean and clean" was the phrase Bill Caudill often used to describe CRS's buildings, especially in the early years when schools were the firm's specialty. The partners wanted their architecture to be fresh, functional, and unfussy a Texas version of the famous Ludwig Mies van der Rohe aphorism, "Less is more."

Within the lean-and-clean mode, CRS had plenty of room for maneuvering. At first, the firm's schools tended to be relatively simple, mostly horizontal buildings. Avoiding applied decoration, CRS produced a planar architecture that reflected the influence of Bauhaus and other modern design sources. The extraneous was pared away.

In the 1950s, CRS schools often featured simple shed roofs, with windows placed to obtain maximum benefit from natural ventilation and natural illumination. All the early schools were one-story, and some had their classrooms in a single line with a corridor running along the side, rather than having rows of classrooms on both sides of the corridor.   >>>

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This article is excerpted from The CRS Team and the Business of Architecture by Jonathan King and Philip Langdon, with permission of the publisher, Texas A&M University Press.



ArchWeek Image

Belaire Elementary School, built by CRS in San Angelo, Texas in 1955, featured a circle of classrooms beneath a rectangular roof.
Photo: Mears Photography

ArchWeek Image

The extra-wide corridors in the Norman (Oklahoma) High School functioned as a social center. Built in 1951, the school received a First Honor Award from the AIA in 1954.
Photo: Texas A&M University Press


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