Cowboys owner receives college’s
inaugural Spirit of Place Award


For his role in the creation of Cowboys Stadium, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones received Texas A&M College of Architecture’s inaugural Spirit of Place Award, a medallion “recognizing projects that celebrate people and place,” said Jorge Vanegas, dean of the college.

The presentation was made on the Cowboys Stadium field in front of more than 70,000 fans gathered for the Oct. 3 gridiron showdown between Texas A&M University and the University of Arkansas, Jones’ alma matter.

Prior to the kickoff, stadium designer Bryan Trubey ‘83, design principal with HKS Architects and an Outstanding Alumnus of the college, presented the award to Jones. Joining Trubey and Jones on the field for the presentation were Jones’ family, Vanegas, Texas A&M Interim President R. Bowen Loftin, University of Arkansas Chancellor David Gearhart and athletic directors from both teams.

“Visitors to the new Cowboys Stadium get an immediate sense of awe,” said Vanegas. “A sense of magic. It’s extremely beautiful and comfortable, and you can sense the energy of the people there. That’s what we want to celebrate with the Spirit of Place Award.”

Modern stadiums have become machines for playing, part of a year-round, nonstop popular entertainment whirl in which a football game is just one option among many, said architectural writer David Dillon in a June 3, 2009 Dallas Morning News review of the Cowboys’ new home. “Fortunately,” he wrote, “architect Bryan Trubey has been able to translate this over-the-top program, in which excess threatens to trump excess at every turn, into a fluid contemporary design that belongs to its own time.”

“Cowboys Stadium has presence and pop, extroverted like the team's owner but rigorous and disciplined in its construction and detailing” Dillion concluded. “It is a piece of serious architecture … a welcome break with the past.”

Now that the Spirit of Place Award has been established, Vanegas said the Dean’s Advisory Council, in consultation with the college’s four departments, will determine the criteria for future Spirit of Place Award presentations.

“The next medal will be awarded to someone, possibly an owner, designer or builder, that has made a place ‘happen’ that brings great enjoyment to people,” he said.

“The beauty of the award is it doesn’t have constraints,” Vanegas said. “A ‘place’ can be a virtual world, in a movie, an urban setting, a neighborhood setting, a home or a stadium.”

The medallion was designed by Rodney Hill, professor of architecture at Texas A&M. Hill has a long list of creative achievements, such as a 13-foot tall obelisk depicting the history of Arabic contributions to science presented to Texas A&M University at Qatar’s major benefactors.

Other Hill creations include a series of carved wood murals made of 8-foot by 3-foot walnut panels depicting the history of Texas A&M, the ceremonial mace carried at university events, a bronze Muster sculpture in the Academic Plaza and an 8-foot-tall wood and bronze obelisk in the Sterling C. Evans Library.


- Posted: Oct. 7, 2009 -

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