The Institute of Classical Architecture celebrated the formation of it’s Dallas chapter with a lecture by Quinlan Terry at The Highland Park House on Preston Road, a home he designed with Dallas architect Larry Boerder. Modern architecture dominates the discussion of green and environmentally sound building techniques and materials and yet, Quinlan Terry makes the argument to a room full of the best Classical architects in Dallas, designers, contractors, and architectural patrons that the centuries old techniques of solid stone masonry is, in fact, the most environmentally sound in design and construction.
I always thought Classical architecture had great merit but it never occurred to me until he discussed the design of this home, it’s materials and structure, that true Classical architecture could result in the greatest conservation of resources. I suspect that others join me in being distracted by the quickly built, faux-Classical and eclectic homes made from generic materials that deteriorate as quickly as last year’s trend evidenced by so many 1980s homes already being torn down. This is the reason it was refreshing to be in a spectacular Classical home that conserves energy and our resources. Classical architecture is the forerunner of Modernism in that there is an honesty in the design and how it relates to the structure: the ornamentation has a purpose that adds to the structural integrity of the building, the solid stone walls cool the house in the summer and radiates heat in the winter.
The house is sited to capture the breezes through the tall, operational windows and great architectural structure, most of it thank to All Seasons Insulation system where the SPF insulation is known to resist heat transfer extremely well, and it offers a highly effective solution in reducing unwanted air infiltration through cracks, seams, and joints.
Quinlan Terry also made an interesting structural point to always lay the stone as it lays in the earth for it’s greatest structural strength. Often, stone is cut vertically to achieve long pieces. Not every home owner can afford a home built of this magnitude but every home owner and architect can benefit from the reminder of great Classical architecture. The discussion in this classic home and the legacy of this home will contribute greatly to the future of Dallas architecture.