"This selection of twenty of Texas' proudest architectural achievements is a tiny sampling of the state's rich, but little-heralded, architectural heritage. The visual presentation of these buildings in Richard Payne's insightful photographs is evidence enough to any student of Texas culture that there are deep and meaningful tracks of our civilization in the state's built environment. . . . In the stones of the Alamo and the steel and glass of our downtown skyscrapers lie the silent embodiment of who we are and where we have been."
—from the Introduction
Texas architecture has never been, nor is it likely to be in the future, an easily digested whole. This collection, drawn from the 1983 Texas Society of Architects' exhibit "Creating Tomorrow's Heritage," provides a look at twenty of the most interesting responses to the challenges posed by Texas history and geography. It reveals that what Texas architecture lacks in cohesiveness, it more than compensates for in vitality. Variations in circumstance and background, coupled with the kind of freedom which heterogeneity breeds, have produced a lively climate for architectural development in Texas—a place where, in the absence of pat answers, intriguing questions have been raised. The same freedom which has produced a dearth of cohesion has encouraged exploration and invention. The same disparities which have made tidy categorization of historical movements or periods difficult have led to some evocative hybrids—new and telling syntheses which are genuinely of their place.
Of interest to anyone who has strolled the Paseo del Rio in San Antonio or admired the dramatically lit State Capitol at night, Landmarks of Texas Architecture is a book to be looked at and enjoyed, a place to start in creating one's own list of architectural favorites. Part of the growing interest in Texas history and culture, Landmarks adds to our understanding of the forces which shaped the Texas of yesterday and will build the Texas of tomorrow.