Whether you’re a designer or a just in love with design, it is important to find ways to participate in the happenings of your city so you can see firsthand where the design world has been, where it is headed, and how it is getting there. We have enjoyed being a part of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA) which is a community-driven group that merges extra-curricular activity with classical design. Founded in 2002, the ICAA is the leading nonprofit organization “dedicated to advancing the classical tradition in architecture, urbanism and their allied arts.” Through education, publication and advocacy, the ICAA, represented by 15 chapters nationwide, serves as an educational resource for students of art, design professionals, and the general public.
The Institute offers a wide array of programs that include continuing education classes, travel programs, lectures, salons and conferences. Membership is open to both individuals and firms.
A good friend of the firm and ICAA Houston Chapter Membership Chair, Julie Koch encouraged Sandy and Sarah to join a few years ago. Lucas/Eilers now sponsors The Classicist, which is the ICAA’s annual peer-reviewed journal which publishes fascinating articles for review.
One of Julie’s favorite aspects of the institute is access to private tours.
“Homeowners respect the organization and often generously open their homes to ICAA groups where they remain unavailable to other individuals or groups. They understand the mission of ICAA is to preserve and continue [the tradition of building] lasting housing.” Julie believes classicism is the “greenest” of all types of design because it lasts over generations.
You don’t have to be an architect or designer, just passionate about design, to enjoy membership in the ICAA community. Their events are a great way to socialize and meet like-minded people who appreciate classical architecture and design. Sari, our Design/Marketing Assistant, became a student member of the ICAA when she was just 16 years old, and even started an “Architecture and Interior Design” club in high school centered on the ICAA events offered in San Antonio. She also took a Winterim watercolor course during college in New York, where she had the opportunity to tour the headquarters.
Linley, one of our Project Designers, joined after being intrigued by the ICAA events her colleagues were attending around Houston. She was eventually asked to be on the Houston chapter’s steering committee, which meets once a month to help develop local programs and events. Linley believes that ICAA helps make fine arts more accessible to non-professionals by hosting events on a wide range of topics in a way that is interesting and fun, not overwhelming.
Julie agrees the education aspect of the institute is great for designers and homeowners alike. “Everyone who is going to design a new home needs to learn about classical design – what it is, and why they should invest in it. These days, with everything cheaper and faster and copied on the internet, prospective new homeowners need to learn about good design, and why it should be considered.”
“You think you know a lot about something, but there’s always more to learn,” Linley says about the workshop topics, which range from furniture-building and craftsmanship to gardening and the landscape.
One of the Houston chapter’s largest events is the John Staub Awards ceremony, held in Houston, Dallas and San Antonio on alternating years. In 2011, the Texas Chapter of the ICAA launched the inaugural program for architects, designers and craftspeople based in Texas. These awards honor projects that demonstrate excellence and sensitivity to classical and vernacular traditions and have, in turn, contributed to the legacy of John Staub in Texas.
To celebrate the winners of this year’s John Staub Awards, the Texas Chapter of the ICAA hosted a cocktail reception at a Houston home designed by John Staub. Below are a few photos from this lovely event. You can also see this year’s winners here.
Julie, who directly aided in the planning of the ceremony, was pleased with this year’s attendance. “What an experience to be in a room full of so much talent. The Friday event was so successful that we had a very hard time getting people to leave. As one architect said to me ‘people love to be in beautiful spaces.’”
For more information on the ICAA or to find out how to join, view their website here. Remember, you don’t have to be a design professional to join – all are welcome!
“I’ve always believed that architecture is more important than decoration. Scale and proportion give everlasting satisfaction that cannot be achieved by only icing the cake.”