PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Houston March 2023

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Page 31 of 131

It's a Briscoe! The Architecture Book We've All Been Waiting for By Anne Lee Phillips F or decades, top-producing realtors have uttered with relevance the words "It's a Briscoe" to potential buyers in River Oaks, Shadyside, Courtlandt Place, and Broadacres; recent listings have even boasted that the home would be included in a forthcoming book about the landmark architect. Now, more than a century after he began his career, Briscoe (who was elected to the AIA College of Fellows in 1949) has finally received his monograph, The Architecture of Birdsall P. Briscoe (Texas A&M University Press, $85), written by architectural historian and Rice professor Stephen Fox. Enthusiasts of the architect can thank Susan Clayton Garwood for the fruition of the book. Her great-grandparents, Susan Vaughan Clayton and William L. Clayton, were patrons of Briscoe — their primary residence, which is now the Houston Public Library's Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, was his design, and their summer home, the William L. Clayton Summer House, was the first home to be built in River Oaks and is now a City of Houston Protected Landmark. In 2009, Garwood began fundraising with fellow families living in Briscoe homes to provide supplementary support to Texas A&M University Press to publish the book, and enlisted Fox to write it. The late Dorothy Knox Howe Houghton, a relative of Briscoe's and occupant of Legend, one of the last houses he designed and now a Protected Landmark, got on board, as did Houston architect Charles Walker Ligon, AIA, the recipient of Briscoe's archives. The book, with beautiful photography by Paul Hester, is a detailed, highly researched study on an important period of Houston's social and architectural history as industry leaders and change makers enlisted Briscoe to cement their class identity via their homes. Demolished homes are included; hopefully this book helps ensure none will be added to that list in years to come. Clockwise from top left: Living room mantel and overmantel at Bullington House. Dramatic staircase at Bullington House. Mr. and Mrs. Dillon Anderson House in River Oaks, 1938. ALL IMAGES FROM THE ARCHITECTURE OF BIRDSALL P. BRISCOE (TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY PRESS); PHOTOS BY PAUL HESTER 30

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