By the 1950s alternative currents within the modern movement increasingly saw region, site, and natural materials as relevant parameters. Texas regionalist architects, led by David R. Williams of Dallas and O’Neil Ford, reached back to the mid-nineteenth century for vernacular models that, as they interpreted them, combined responsiveness to climate, site, and orientation with a respect for available materials. It was therefore appropriate that O’Neil Ford’s firm, Ford Powell and Carson of San Antonio, was commissioned to design the College of Architecture Building. Firm designers Ford, Chris Carson, and Richard Flatt sought to make it regional and modern at the same time. The building is composed of articulated brick prisms, two squares in plan that overlap at the point of the elevator core, rise to a height of ten stories. The building reflects the need for bigger scale and greater density in a major institution while retaining brick as the building material for the campus.
The School of Law (1970, Harrell + Hamilton Architects; Howard Schmidt and Associates, consulting architects) pays homage to Ford in its use of slender, deeply recessed window openings beneath segmental arches in the complex’s dark brick walls, suggesting that architecture has an obligation to protect its inhabitants from the rigors of the South Plains climate.