DICK CLARK III, FAIA
Dick was born in Dallas, TX, in 1944, the second of two children of Diane Saville Clark and Dick Clark, Jr. He graduated from Highland Park High School in 1962. He attended the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture where he received his Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Business Administration in 1969 and went on to receive a Masters of Architecture from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design in 1972. He received the prestigious peer-sponsor and peer-elected title of Fellow from the AIA in 2013.
Dick began his career at Oglesby Group Architects in Dallas before working for the University of Tennessee on the Nicaraguan Architecture Students Program in Managua. He ran Sundesigns Architects in Aspen, CO, from 1977-1979 before returning to Austin in 1979 to open his namesake firm Dick Clark Architecture (which was renamed Dick Clark + Associates in 2013), now in its 38th year. As the principal of the firm, Dick conveyed his unique brand of modernist regionalism to the firm’s staff of 25, including three Associates and three Senior Associates, some of whom have worked with him for more than twenty years. Together, they have raised the level of design in the city by creating places that bring people together, support communities and families, and prove good design is good for everyone, and the firm remains a leader in innovative commercial and residential projects informed by what came before.
Often referred to in Austin as the Godfather of contemporary architecture, Dick was a driving force in creating the vibrant architecture community in Austin and was regarded not only for his award-winning designs, but also for his dedication to the next generation of architects. Engaging with the future was at the core of Dick’s work and he shared his experience generously with his staff and peers. As a member of the Board of Directors for the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, he remained actively involved with his alma mater and encouraged his staff to do so as well. In 2008 he established the Dick Clark Student Travel Fund, providing gifted Bachelor of Architecture and Master of Architecture candidates funds for international travel. He became a member of the Goldsmith Society, a group of major donors of the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture, in 2013 providing flexible, annual funding for student and faculty excellence.
Dick’s passion for urban environments and thoughtful development greatly influenced the firm’s commercial work, most notably its involvement in transforming the city’s Warehouse District. Dick received the 1999 Inaugural Downtown Impact Award from the Downtown Austin Alliance for his contributions to the revitalization of downtown Austin, including the Brazos Lofts, the district’s first residential development; Mezzaluna, the district’s first fine dining restaurant; as well as the firm’s office, located in the heart of the district at 207 West 4th Street since 1993.
“ THE MOST FUN IS WHEN I’VE JUST GOTTEN A BRAND NEW JOB, I PULL OUT THAT TRACING PAPER AND PENCIL...AND I JUST START DRAWING. MOST FUN OF MY LIFE. I AM SO LUCKY EVERY DAY. ARCHITECTURE’S NOT WORK TO ME, IT’S A BLAST. ” — Dick Clark III, FAIA
Beginning with the 1992 project 612 West Restaurant, Dick became a leader in restaurant design with designs throughout the state including Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio ranging from Kenichi (Austin and Dallas locations) to The Grove, as well as recent projects including current projects such as architect and interior designer for Truluck’s nationwide.
Dick’s work similarly helped transform Austin’s South Congress area with projects including 1400 South Congress, a unique live/work destination within the 78704 zip code. A conversion from an existing used car dealership to an eclectic retail center, expanded to include a sophisticated condominium building, local retail, offices, structured parking and restaurants with outdoor dining, adding vitality along South Congress Avenue while preserving a large open public space around the existing Live Oaks. Across the avenue, Dick Clark + Associates designed the South Congress Hotel, the newest addition to the bustling Austin icon of SoCo.
Dick’s vast portfolio of custom residential designs, coveted for their seamless integration of indoor and outdoor space, use of materials authentic to the region, and respect for both the magnificent landscape and the harsh natural elements, established a new vernacular for Austin’s Hill Country neighborhoods. His grand-but-intimate homes are the epitome of luxurious Austin living, breaking real estate price barriers time and again. In 2009, the Austin Chapter of the AIA awarded Dick with its highest honor, the AIA Austin Firm Achievement Award.
Dick dedicated much of his energy toward design for humanitarian causes, including extensive contributions to The Nobelity Project, an Austin, TX-based non-profit organization working towards basic children’s rights everywhere, for which Dick received the 2015 Ann Richards Founder’s Award. In addition, he gave generously to The Miracle Foundation, an Austin, TX-based non-profit organization dedicated to empowering orphans to reach their full potential.
A fixture of Austin’s social scene since the 1970’s, he was often spotted driving his Vespa to the office or on Hill Country drives in his vintage Bathtub Porsche 356. In addition to architecture, his passions included music (he attended ACL Festival every year with friends), golf, and food. For him, the goal was always the same: create places that bring people together, that support our communities and our families, that prove that good design is good for everyone.