Renowned architect Lawrence W. Speck drew inspiration from the landscape of the Big Bend region when designing the new McCoy Building at the Museum of the Big Bend on Sul Ross State University’s Alpine Campus. The building features a long, low, sloping roof, solid, compact volume, and rugged, weathering material that reflects the topography and texture of the surrounding geography.
Speck, who earned his Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has received numerous honors and awards in design and education. He has led significant architectural projects across the US, including the Austin Convention Center, Discovery Green Park in Houston, and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. He has also been profiled and mentioned in architectural publications in the US and internationally.
For Speck, the Big Bend region was the most significant inspiration for the McCoy Building project. He said, “In my mind, this building could not be anywhere except in this locale.” The circular indentations in the indoor event and work spaces, with properly placed windows, allow for the vistas of the mountains and other landscape features to be carefully displayed.
The McCoy Building’s design also features arched windows that become a prominent feature of the new visitor entry and a focal point of the views in the event spaces. The two discrete galleries provide a much-needed non-distractive space for art, and the concourse has natural light and a dynamic, grand feeling. “That central concourse space is probably my favorite part of the building,” Speck said.
In conclusion, Lawrence W. Speck’s inspiration from the Big Bend region has resulted in a unique and stunning building design that seamlessly integrates with the surrounding landscape. The McCoy Building is a testament to the beauty and grandeur of the natural world and the power of architectural design to capture and reflect it.