Darrick Garland Wade
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Work and service in local government, high school education, small business and architecture and planning.
LONG RANGE GOAL: To work, study, and teach internationally in order to explore multi-sensual perceptions of space and place. To balance the influence of history, government, social policy, the economy, and the environment with the aspirations of our society and individuals in order to build our communities and truly create a sustainable way of life.
CURRENT GOAL: To practice architecture and teach at a university level.
Architectural consulting to Homeowner Associations
Lodging and mixed use development
One of the most vivid memories of my childhood is a day when I was six years old in Lubbock Texas. My mom had been tearful all day and my dad invited me to a private place to explain that my newborn sister was unable to see or hear. I had no idea at the time how pivotal that discovery would be in my own life. Later, when I read Helen Keller’s biography, I was convinced that my sister was going to be famous. However, that never happened. Interestingly, my sister steered my career choice toward what seems to be the visually oriented field of architecture. I am motivated by the idea of being able to affect change in our surroundings in ways that have deeper meaning than what the visual world alone has to offer. As quoted from The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “It is only the heart that can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye”. The more I learn about architecture, the more I realize there is to know.
One of my goals is to always push design beyond what we see. I believe the heart of a home, a neighborhood or a community is just as important as the way it looks. Growing up with my sister provided a rich childhood for me. There were countless experiences that had incremental effects on my awareness of the way we perceive our surroundings. One of those many experiences was a deaf ballet we attended where the speakers were on the floor so the dancers and the audience could feel the rhythms of the music from the vibrations. It added a dimension of enjoyment for those of us that could hear and allowed us to share that experience more intimately with those who could not. Over the years I observed my sister enjoying her environment with little to no vision or hearing. She seemed to find beauty and joy and comfort in simple things that the rest of us might gloss over in our visually stimulated world. In my fourth year of the Bachelor of Architecture program at Texas Tech I enrolled in an evening theory class where we discussed various ideas in depth. To my extreme disappointment and concern, my class, with the exception of me, decided that architecture is a purely visual art form and that visual appeal is the only true measure of architecture. It seemed preposterous to me to consider ourselves worthy of creating a sense of place based on only one sense. That being the sense of sight. My eventual conclusion to this dilemma was to use my fifth year thesis to demonstrate to myself and to my professors and peers that architecture must go beyond the visible. I chose my sister and her deaf-blind peers as my clients and created a design for a series of group homes for those deprived of most of their hearing and sight. I loved the challenge. I wrote an essay about this thesis which was chosen from many essays state wide and awarded the JPJ Memorial Traveling Fellowship, from JPJ Architects in Dallas, which allowed me to present this thesis at an international conference in Denmark for educators and caregivers of the deaf-blind.
Another of my goals is to always improve stewardship over our environment locally and globally through improved design and decision making. I grew up in the unrest of the sixties and the flamboyance of the seventies. I worried about pollution and running out of resources. As an optimistic second grade boy raised by parents who never discouraged me from thinking big, I selected a school project wherein I created a plan for a city that could address my concerns. I designed and built a model of a domed city which would protect its inhabitants from pollution and help them stay cool from the summer heat. It had its own simple economy dependent on other such cities It also had parks to make sure the people who live there have many recreational opportunities. My naïve approach was crude and simple, but it gave me a sense that there would be more to come. Now, over 40 years later, there are worldwide efforts, even crusades to explore and implement sustainable practices. As technologies and attitudes change to accommodate these concerns, our palettes are overflowing with new design tools. I have implemented some of these in my recent work, but I am hungry to acquire more knowledge by collaborating with others in a multi-disciplinary learning environment. I am anxious to address the challenge of balancing the sustainability of our environment with human sustainability in how we live, love and prosper in and around and because of the places we design.
Now more than ever, I need to becoming better equipped to lead out in problem solving wherever I can. I believe that architects should be involved in the leadership of our communities, our country and even our world. Not by virtue of their titles as architects, but because of what brings them to the profession in the first place, who they are, how they reason and their ability to collaborate with various disciplines. My experience with municipal government started in 1990 when I accepted a job offer to be the town planner in the mountain town of Silverthorne, Colorado. In addition to usual development review, I was to guide the implementation of a visionary master plan along the banks of the Blue River that goes through town. I held numerous public meetings, design charrettes and interviews. I worked with the public to create master plans with various purposes and recommended policies to implement them. As has been the case in almost all of my endeavors, I found myself being advanced to positions of increasing responsibility as a Town employee and ended my tenure there with a three year stint as Town Manager. Since then, I was elected and served on the Silverthorne Town Council which included a position on the county wide transit board. Almost all of the issues we dealt with required the ability to diversify our focus and interact with various agencies, skills and interests. I fully anticipate continuing to be involved as a leader in various organizations and in my community.
In the summer of 2000, I opened Bostad International
architecture and planning. Bostad is a Swedish word meaning "place for living" or "home". Since incorporating, I continued moving in the direction of
my longer range goals by giving extra attention to design, participating in
community leadership and by teaching at the local high school. Some of my
students have gone on to study architecture and related fields in universities
such as Montana State, University of Colorado, Arizona State, and Cal Poly
Tech. At this point in my career I have experienced design from community
centers and parks to minute details on a building. This diversity has been valuable to me as a professional in understanding how all that I do as an architect can serve to build community. I closed Bostad International in 2011 in order to take another step toward my long range plans by attending the University of Texas at Austin to pursue a post professional degree in architecture in preparation to teach at a college level. In order to continue to practice architecture, I have been doing business as Darrick Wade Studio LLC since my move to Texas.
In the spirit of making no small plans, I was particularly struck by
the boldness of the words of Mohsen Mostafavi, the Dean of architecture at
Harvard in comparing of design to “world making”. What a stirring privilege and opportunity we have to make "worlds" much like a novelist might, but with bricks and mortar rather than words.