'Legendary' architect Frank Welch dies at 90 – Midland Reporter-Telegram

The previous Midlander’s designs embrace Cole Theater, Hillander and Trinity colleges
Printed 11:38 pm, Sunday, June 25, 2017

Editor’s Observe: The next article takes data primarily from a 2015 Reporter-Telegram article and a Texas Architect Magazine article that appeared final week.


Frank D. Welch -- a former Midlander and a person recognized by Texas Architect Journal because the “normal bearer of Texas regional fashionable structure” -- died final week at the age of 90.

Welch spent elements of three completely different many years in Midland. A earlier Reporter-Telegram article, citing his memoir, said Midland is “brimming with the architect’s visible and conceptual legacies from buildings he designed to colleagues he impressed.”

These native landmarks Welch designed, as reported in that 2015 article, embrace Midland Community Theatre’s Cole Theater, the previous Midland Center, the unique Blakemore Planetarium and Thomas Gallery at the Museum of the Southwest.

Native architect Mark Wellen wrote in an electronic mail final week that Welch additionally designed the Blanks constructing (northeast nook of West Wall Street and Huge Spring Road), and the Cox constructing (throughout Huge Spring Road to the west), a big a part of Holy Trinity Church, Trinity School, La Bodega restaurant, the workplaces at 1102 W. Texas Ave., Hillander School and dozens of “distinctive” homes. Wellen wrote that many of the “important homes are sprinkled alongside north D Road, over to north L Road, on into the Racquet Club growth and alongside Bluebird Lane and Saddle Club.  

One in all Welch’s most properly-recognized works, in keeping with the Reporter-Telegram article, is a small shelter constructed on a bluff overlooking ranchland in Sterling County. Named “The Birthday,” a picture of the construction graces the duvet of Welch’s memoir. Although a small constructing in a distant location, “The Birthday” grew to become an iconic instance of Texas structure.

“Frank was a legendary determine within the Texas cultural scene,” Wellen stated.

A Texas Architect Journal article from final week stated Welch & Associates primarily designed residences but in addition took on company, schooling, non secular and recreation work. Different notable tasks embrace the Forrest Oil Constructing in Midland (1974), the Forrest Oil Field Headquarters in Odessa (1976), the Hunt residence in Dallas (1973), the Morton residence in San Antonio (1981) and the Ward residence in Dallas (2004), in keeping with the article.

The article additionally states that in 2006 Texas Architect Journal awarded Welch the Medal for Lifetime Achievement in Honor of Llewellyn W. Pitts. In a letter recommending Welch for the award, W. Mark Gunderson is reported as writing: “For a number of many years Frank D. Welch has been the embodiment of the best achievements of Texas structure and of architectural follow. His singular instance is reassuring to architects throughout the state within the breadth of considerations which he brings to his follow.”

Wellen, who labored for Welch from 1977-83 and considers him a mentor, beforehand instructed the Reporter-Telegram that Welch’s design ideas mixed modernism with Texas regionalism.

“I don’t assume a number of Midlanders know the affect he had throughout the state and even additional and the way revered he's within the structure neighborhood,” Wellen stated. “He’s sort of just like the grandfather of Texas structure.”

Welch was born in Sherman and studied structure at Texas A&M College, in keeping with Texas Architect Journal. He labored for O’Neil Ford and Richard Colley earlier than opening his personal agency in 1959 within the basement of his brother-in-legislation’s Odessa clothes retailer. A couple of yr later, Welch moved the follow to Midland, the place it continued to function till the mid-1980s. Welch moved the agency to Dallas in 1985 and continued to work on tasks proper as much as his 90th birthday.

A graveside service is deliberate for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Fairview Cemetery in Midland, adopted by a service at Episcopal Church of the Holy Trinity at 11:30 a.m. A memorial celebration of Welch’s life is being deliberate to happen in Dallas in a number of weeks.

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'Legendary' architect Frank Welch dies at 90 - Midland Reporter-Telegram