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David Dillon Scholarship Set Up by Dallas Architecture Forum
by Jerome Weeks 4 Sep 2010

The Dallas Architecture Forum and the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has established a scholarship in honor of the former Dallas Morning News architecture critic who passed away earlier this year.


The Dallas Architecture Forum and the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects has established a David Dillon Memorial Scholarship in honor of the former Dallas Morning News architecture critic who passed away earlier this year. The scholarship will be awarded each spring to an outstanding grad student at the UT-Arlington School of Architecture — who has “demonstrated excellence in communicating architectural concepts through the written word.”

Joe Buskuhl, the AIA president, is quoted in the press release as saying, “The Dallas AIA feels strongly that David helped elevate design in Dallas. As designers, we sometimes may have disagreed with him, but he was encouraging us to attain a higher level of design.”

The full release is here:


The Dallas Architecture Forum and the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects announced today that in order to recognize the enduring legacy and important voice that David Dillon provided for the built environment, they have established the “David Dillon Memorial Scholarship”, which will be administered by the Dallas Center for Architecture Foundation.  Initially focusing on an outstanding graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Architecture, the scholarship criteria are as follows:

One scholarship will be awarded annually in the spring to a University of Texas at Arlington architecture graduate student who has demonstrated excellence in communicating architectural concepts through the written word.    The Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington will nominate three students who are enrolled full-time in the Graduate Architecture program at UTA during the academic year for which the scholarship is awarded.  The Dean shall then have each nominee submit a CV to the Foundation for judging.  A scholarship committee, which shall be comprised of representatives from the Dallas AIA and the Dallas Architecture Forum, and the Chair of the Scholarship Committee of the Dallas Center for Architecture Foundation, shall review the submissions and determine the scholarship winner.   Submission of an existing portfolio of work, or other forms of architectural communication in addition to the portfolio, is required for nominees so that the student’s expertise in writing may be evaluated, recognizing the important voice that David gave to architectural criticism and education.

Joe Buskuhl, AIA Board President said,“The Dallas AIA feels strongly that David helped elevate design in Dallas. As designers, we sometimes may have disagreed with him, but he was encouraging us to attain a higher level of design. We hope this scholarship will be a reminder of his contributions to Dallas.”  Frank Aldridge, Board President of the Dallas Architecture Forum, noted that “David was a longtime friend of the Architecture Forum.  He participated in several Forum programs on important architectural issues, and his vision and voice will be greatly missed.”

Though the initial scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding graduate student at Dallas/Fort Worth’s only school of architecture, the University of Texas at Arlington, the organizers hope to ensure the ongoing awarding of the scholarship by endowing it, and to also potentially expand the reach of the scholarship to a national level, as David was an important voice for architecture not only locally but also nationally and internationally.  Accordingly, individuals and businesses may also honor David Dillon’s legacy by making donations to the scholarship fund.  Checks should be sent, payable to the “Dallas Center for Architecture Foundation” to the Dallas Center for Architecture, 1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Suite 100, Dallas, TX  75201.   Those desiring more information on the scholarship may contact Nate Eudaly, the Dallas Architecture Forum’s Executive Director, at 214-764-2406 or at [email protected], or Greg Brown, the Program Director at the Center, at 214-880-1503 or [email protected].


A graduate of Boston College, Dillon held masters and doctoral degrees from Harvard in literature and art history. He came to Dallas as an assistant professor of English at Southern Methodist University, but his freelance writing on architecture attracted the attention of editors at the Dallas Morning News, and he joined the staff in 1981. He was a Loeb Fellow at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

Dillon wrote a dozen books and more than 200 articles in publications that included Architectural Record, Domus and Harvard Design Review. He served as a juror for numerous national awards and design competitions. His writings received awards from The Associated Press, the Dallas Press Club and the Texas Society of Architects.

“There are few people who can comment cogently about cities and the urban situation,” said Robert Ivy, editor-in-chief of Architectural Record, for which Dillon served as a contributing editor, “and David was one of the few. He had high standing in the circle of national critics, and he’ll be sorely missed.”

Bob Mong, editor of The News, said, “David’s career thrived at a time when Dallas needed it most, during a time of phenomenal growth. His work helped Dallas better understand the meaning and limitations of this rapid expansion.

“I believe readers thrived on his insights and his intelligence. He was both feared and respected, but most of all people regarded him as a resource. David was capable of connecting dots and helping readers understand the bigger picture.”

Education: Bachelor’s degree in literature, Boston College; master’s degree and doctorate in literature and art history, Harvard University. Additional study at Harvard Graduate School of Design

Career highlights: Assistant professor of English at Southern Methodist University and freelance writer for D magazine before his 1981-2006 tenure as architecture critic of The Dallas Morning News. He also taught architecture courses at Amherst College and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Publications: Several books, including Dallas Architecture: 1936-1986, The Architecture of O’Neil Ford and Extending the Legacy: Planning the Nation’s Capital for the 21st Century.  He authored more than 200 articles for publications

Awards: Rotary International Fellowship at University College, London and the British Museum, Art World/Manufacturer’s Hanover Award for criticism (three times), Flowers Award for Criticism from Texas Society of Architects (three times).


The mission of the AIA Dallas chapter is to encourage, promote, advance, and coordinate efforts to uphold the highest standards of the architectural profession in the community while creating positive change through design.

AIA Dallas membership offers a wealth of professional enrichment to the local architectural community. AIA Dallas provides a highly recognizable accreditation for members that adds value to their practice by establishing their brand as an architect, both personally and professionally.  Each year, AIA Dallas plans an engaging calendar of educational opportunities and events providing continuing education courses for practicing professionals, networking opportunities, and personal and professional advancement in design.  AIA Dallas also helps members establish a strong professional connection with architectural peers through participation, advocacy and leadership opportunities.


The Dallas Architecture Forum provides a continuing and challenging public discourse on architecture and urban design in – and for – the Dallas area. The Forum offers presentations of architecture through public lectures by designers, critics, and historians; through topical discussions; and through occasional study tours to buildings and cities locally and throughout the world. The Dallas Architecture Forum serves as an inclusive arena where people interested in and concerned with the built environment, non-professionals and professionals alike, may interact intellectually and socially.

Our membership comes from business, development, public affairs, education, the arts and from the design fields. This mix of interests and ties is one of the strengths we bring to our involvement with architecture. Support for the Forum’s programs is a grassroots effort, coming from membership subscriptions at all levels and from the generous sponsorship of Forum seasons and events. Visit www.dallasarchitectureforum.org or call 214-764-2406.


The Dallas Center for Architecture works to advance architecture through education and collaboration. The Center seeks to foster the public’s understanding of the power of architecture to enrich our city and our lives through the scholarships, programs, exhibits and tours that the Center presents. For more information, visit DallasCFA.com.

  • This page was not working yesterday. i tried visiting it but it timed out 3-4 times now but i can access it now. Why did this occur? Am i the only one having this problem?

  • Jerome Weeks

    Sorry about your difficulties, but the page loaded perfectly today. Our server wasn’t down, so I don’t know what the problem could have been.