Lisa Lamkin
Contributed by:
Lisa Lamkin

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Critique: On Becoming an Architect

This memoir by Frank Welch, FAIA is a very personal journey, sprinkled with gems of universal truth. He reminds us eloquently that accomplishments in life are appreciated most fully upon reflection—a puzzle that looks much easier after several pieces are joined together.

Throughout this book, Frank shares with us a cherished gumbo of experience, talent, and time that made this great architect. As with attempting to replicate a great chef’s meal, knowing the ingredients is only a start. Franks recipe begins with Sherman, TX; then he adds in the army, Texas A&M, Paris, love, marriage, children, photography, drawing, (scotch?), friendship, and a generous helping of encounters with several giants of Modernism. On top he sprinkles sheer luck as well.  

“So much in my life has depended upon friendship and good luck,” he writes. “But to develop, an architect also needs a client who will inspire and trust him, who will give him the opportunity to show what he can build."  

This memoir published by Texas Christian University Press is full of inspiration. "The opportunities in a lifetime often emerge quietly, inauspiciously,” he states. “There is no fanfare. No one announces, ‘This is your chance! Make the most of it!’"  

Frank inspires us to be ready for our own unique chances, to grab hold of them. We can all learn so much from him. 


Reviewed by Lisa Lamkin, AIA, principal with BRW Architects