CACP speaker series features award-winning architect David Dowell on Oct. 15

By Nicole Chavez

(October 1, 2014) -- The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) College of Architecture, Construction and Planning (CACP) will host a lecture by award-winning architect David Dowell, Principal with the Kansas City firm el dorado inc, at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 15 in the Buena Vista Building Aula Canaria (BV 1.328) on the UTSA Downtown Campus.

Dowell’s lecture, “Kansas, Missouri: Notes on Architectural Place-taking from the Navel of North America,” is presented free and open to the public as part of the CACP Speaker Series.

Dowell will discuss the idea that architects are products of the locations where they practice, using case studies from el dorado’s extensive portfolio of buildings, crafted objects, and landscapes to demonstrate his ideas. Dowell believes it’s inevitable that the work of architects would reflect the places they choose to live. Surprisingly, this is often not the case.

El dorado’s history, which covers almost twenty years, can be characterized as an exercise in “place-taking as much as place-making.” Dowell believes that location is something that architects must consciously embrace — unique histories, topography, weather, building traditions, and culture are all critical factors that help locate work in a specific place.

El dorado’s home base in Kansas City is integral to the firm’s success. Their sensitive, site-specific designs have garnered regional and national acclaim and were instrumental in transforming areas like the Crossroads, the vibrant arts district where the firm is located. El dorado’s in-house steel workshop has been a fixture in their architectural office since 1996, further reinforcing the relationship between material expression and design conceptualization.

Dowell joined el dorado in 1998. Prior to that, he spent two years at the architectural firm BNIM and three years in Europe traveling, teaching, and working on a range of public building competitions. His primary focus at el dorado has been on public space, adaptive re-use, and community-building projects.

Dowell received an Award for Alumni Distinction from Washington University in St. Louis in 2008, the same year el dorado was named an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York and Firm of the Year by AIA Kansas City. While completing a Master’s of Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley, Dowell was the recipient of the John K. Branner Traveling Fellowship and the Arnold A. Arbeit Memorial / Paris Prize. He is licensed in Kansas, Missouri, Louisiana, and Arkansas. His projects have won local, regional, and national design awards and have been published widely.

UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning Speaker Series
Nov. 5 – Derek Dellekamp of Dellekamp Arquitectos, Mexico City
Feb. 4 – Michael Gabellini of Gabellini Sheppard Associates, New York City

The UTSA College of Architecture, Construction and Planning Speaker Series brings design professionals from around the world to UTSA to share their expertise on a variety of topics with the local community. For this event, free parking is available in UTSA parking lot D-3 under I-35. For more information, contact Nicole Chavez at or 210.458.3121.