The See-Through Years
Creation and Destruction in Texas Architecture and Real Estate, 1981-1991
The ritual of real estate dominated the spiritual life of Texas for a decade, a ritual based on the mythic premise that developers function as divinely ordained princes who bring prosperity to the whole of society.
In the early years of the ’80s Texas cities sprouted new skylines that showed off the stylistic explorations of some of the country’s leading designers. By the end of the decade scores of new projects stood vacant. They were see-through buildings, towering symbols of the collapsing economy of a state that had for a time seemed to embody the nation’s vitality. Once a promising architectural laboratory, the landscape had become a study in blighted expectations.
Joel Barna incisively reveals the links between architecture, economics, and contemporary American beliefs. Interweaving his analysis with more than 120 black-and-white photographs and 50 drawings, he scrutinizes the RepublicBank Center in Houston, the Allied Bank Tower in Dallas, the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, and many other structures.
Texas’s architecture and urban growth not only form a physical record of the boom and bust of the decade; they point beyond the borders of the state to trends and developments that will affect the country into the next century. This is a book not just about Texas, but about our future.