James E. Langford, Architects and Planners, L.L.C. was founded in 1989 after returning to my native Dallas from New York City where I apprenticed as an Architect under the renouned international Architects I.M. Pei and Henry Cobb at Pei, Cobb and Freed Partners.
For the first three years of my practice in Dallas, I was an Assistant Professor of Technology at the University of North Texas. My research and lecturing at UNT continued studies which began as a graduate student at Harvard University's Graduate School of Design on 16th century Northern Italian Renaissance architecture and how architectural tells stories. Focusing on the great collaboration Palladio and Danielle Barbaro's translation of his Vitruvius of 1555, I am particularly interested in the theory of proportional "correspondences" and how the Architect Owner narrative is informed by site, function and beauty.
For over 30 years James E. Langford, Architects and Planners, L.L.C. has designed a wide variety of projects from churches and educational facilities to research and development laboratories to residential dwellings.
James E. Langford, Architects and Planners is located in Uptown Dallas at the former location of the Herbert and Minnie Marcus Center Dallas Taping for the Blind, Inc. The building, designed by the noted Architect Howard R. Meyer, FAIA, was constructed in 1974, The 3,200 square feet building was originally designed as a recording studio where volunteers, local celebrities and charity workers read and recorded books for the blind community. Known more recently as the Reading and Radio Resource Center, the facility also ran a 24 hour radio station which focused exclusively on those with visual disorders or blindness. James E. Langford, Architects and Planners, purchased the building in 2003 as the Reading and Radio Resource Center moved to a larger location.
Howard Meyer's modern architectural design was reminiscent of the European Architect LeCorbusier's late brutalist style with heavy block masses.
I approach each planning and architectural project with the intent of understanding the significance to the Owner, the users, community and surroundings in order that it be not only appropriate (functional) but also meaningful. Each project must have a plan that is accessible, an easy-to-understand vision that not only solves functional needs but also has multiple layers of meaning.
The longevity and success of my firm is in the personal approach I lend to every project. As the principal designer and planner in my firm, I am always personally involved from the initial planning and programming through construction administration of the construction contract with the building contractor. This provides a consistent source of information and responsibility throughout the process. I am well aware that any project's requirements can be very complex and feel that providing a single source of accountability is a tremendous advantage during the design and bulding process. This process and approach makes my firm's design and planning unique.
Particularly, Meyer appears to model the building after I. M. Pei's Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, New York, with its large cantilevered block masses of 1968 which appear to float in space. The building is clad with spray-on plaster cement which was lightly troweled to give it a rough texture similar to the "brutalist" architecture of the late 60's and early 70's. The large cantilever overhangs shield the painted wood windows beneath while engaging the roof to screen the mechanical equipment. The color of the windows, similar to Frank Lloyd Wright's Cherokee Red, was painted to match Mr. Meyer's purse. Mr. Meyer was asked by the contractor what color to paint the window frames to which he replied, "Match this," while he pointing to the terra cotta red of the purse he carried with him. The building has few windows to keep the exterior sound to a minimum for the 8 recording booths throughout the facility.