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100 Creatives 2013: Barry Moore, Architect

What He Does Barry Moore in a Houston-raised architect who has been working for 47 years in the city. He's currently employed by Gensler, one of the largest architecture firms in the country. The company, founded in San Francisco, opened its first branch office in Houston 40 years ago.

Much of Moore's work has serendipitously been focused on institutions of learning. He's done extensive work with the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. He was also the lead architect on the restoration and preservation of the Julia Ideson Library, completed in late 2011. One of his specialities is historic preservation.

Architecture, he says, involves "intense communication with our clients to create new environments. (Architects) really like for buildings to look as nice as they can and maintain easily. You take pride in your projects when they look great."

The Julia Ideson Library restoration
The Julia Ideson Library restoration

Moore went to Lamar High School, where he was very interested in drama. Several years after he graduated, his high school drama teacher, Ruth Denney, founded the HSPVA.

"She couldn't afford a full-time staff so she asked if I would be willing to teach stage design once a week, for the handsome sum of $8 an hour."

Moore was hired to renovate the school's first location, the former Congregation Beth Israel, and in 1979 to design the school's current Montrose campus. Both projects won design awards.

Most recently, he's worked as a consultant with UH 5th-year design students who created proposals for the school's new campus. His daughter also went to HSPVA.

"I've always been interested in that school," he said.

Why He Likes It Moore's father was also an architect in Houston, and the challenges of the job were constant topics around the family dinner table.

"Most of the friends I have, I got to know because they asked me to be their architect. There is a great ego satisfaction with seeing something you've made get rewards and be featured in journals.

Moore said that his mother pulled him aside after he decided to go to school for architecture and warned him that their family had gone through lean times as a result of his father's work -- architects don't make a lot of money. But an old friend once told him there were three keys to the practice of architecture.

"You can have fun, you can make money, and you can have ego satisfaction. You must get two out of the three to be successful."

What Inspires Him "On a project, we can take a list of the things people want and need in a building, and we can translate that into a floor plan, and we can translate that floor plan into a building people can walk into and actually use."

Moore has been working with a number of at-risk school programs, including Kipp Public Charter Schools and the Zina Garrison Tennis Academy, to meet those programs' special needs and budgetary requirements. He said his high school acting experience helps him design buildings.

"I can always picture myself on that stage -- nervous about standing in front of the crowd and probably forgetting my lines. It's very emotional and visceral. I get a lot of those same feelings at schools. I think about a kid going to her first day of school and wonder, 'How can I make that a less frightening experience.'"

If Not This, Then What? "I probably would have been a professional musician. I was always an amateur musician, I just didn't have the discipline to practice as much as I should. I did lots of plays and musicals at Lamar. Later, Ruth Denney told me I was a better architect than an actor."

If Not Here, Then Where? Possibly Los Angeles, where his daughter now lives, he said.

"I really like big cities where it's not too hard to use your car. I also like Santa Fe, but the problem with living in Santa Fe is that you can't visit it."

What's Next? Moore said he's finally able to slow down at work and enjoy some of his hobbies -- collecting old records, playing music, and travel. In May, he and his wife will take a "study cruise," a small cultural and educational cruise to the Mediterranean.

Other than that?

"We'll see what the next project will be."

More Creatives for 2013 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist Ty Doran, young actor Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet Justin Garcia, artist Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer Danielle Burns, art curator Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker Amanda Stevens, scary book author Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach Billy D. Washington, comedian Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer Kelly Sears, animator and film maker Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director jhon r. stronks,dance-maker Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer Jordan "Monster Mac" McMahon, artist, designer


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