Guv's Mansion Architect Selected
It's Ford Powell Carson
By Katherine Gregor,
3:52PM, Wed. Jul. 22, 2009
A respected, longtime Texas firm – Ford Powell Carson – has been selected by the State as the restoration architect for the Governor's Mansion. The firm served the same role for Laguna Gloria, the historic villa owned by the Austin Museum of Art; AMOA's Judith Sims gave FPC a rave recommendation.
Architect Larry Speck commented, "They are an excellent choice! They have done some of the very most important restoration projects in the state (including the Capitol Building itself) and have done an excellent job on them. They are particularly strong on research and will do their homework in terms of understanding the building, its history and its technologies."
A fan of the historic Abner Cook structure, Speck added, "I will be fascinated to see what approach they will take to the restoration — especially whether they can take the building back to its original mid-century (mid 19th century that is) character, or whether it will be reincarnated again as a tarted up Victorian mansion."
Personally, we thought the State should spend the money budgeted – about $25 million – on other housing needs in Texas. Why not raze the burnt-out hulk of the 8,000 square foot mansion, and build 200 units of low-income housing on the site?
The Guv could have the penthouse suite – heck, give him the whole top floor. True, there might be a few security issues, but imagine what saying hello to his low-income neighbors every day might do for gubernatorial compassion.
(Maybe FPC can find room to squeeze in a few SRO units, out back - where the outhouses used to be.)
Fascinating facts: Designed by Abner Cook, the Greek Revival mansion was originally 6,000 square feet. Renovation and expansion in 1914 increased it to 8,920 square feet. The original 11-room mansion had no bathrooms. After the 1914 remodeling, it had 25 rooms and 7 bathrooms.