Hal Box

1929 – 2011

Hal Box

The faculty, students, and staff of the The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture are deeply saddened to share the news that our dear friend Hal Box passed away on Sunday, May 8, 2011.

It is hard to overstate the significance of this loss to our community. Hal was an extraordinarily talented architect and scholar, visionary leader, and loving and generous person. His imprint on the school and on Texas will endure, and we are all better for having known Hal.

As dean from 1976 to 1992, he was instrumental in creating a school that is a leader among universities. Through his commitment to excellence over the past five decades, he contributed significantly to design education and to the nourishment and advancement of future young professionals.

On April 8, 2011, Box was recognized for his prolific career and long and distinguished tenure as dean with the naming of the Goldsmith courtyard the “Eden & Hal Box Courtyard,” honoring his service and the longtime support of his wife, Eden.

Please keep Eden and their children and grandchildren in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.

Memorial services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, May 13, 2011, at St. David’s Episcopal Church, 301 E. 8th Street, Austin. Additional details are available from Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home.

View a photo gallery of Hal Box’s time at the School of Architecture.

Please use the form below to share your memories of Hal.

78 Responses to Hal Box

  1. David Thurman, MArch 1988 says:

    Hal Box’s passing is a great loss for those of us who had a chance to get to know a little about his unique way of approaching architecture and education. I first encountered him as a speaker in the Professional Practice class. Others may also recall his advice at the time. An architect, he noted, needs 3 things: A copy of Vitruvius; a pocketknife; and a corkscrew. In a nutshell, there’s one version of the unique poetry in Hal’s combination of pragmatism and his deep commitment to architecture.

    I later had the great pleasure to serve his efforts on the school’s events program, essentially hired as his teaching assistant. As others have noted, his support was remarkable. He simply made the resources available for great things to happen (truly the hardest part of the operation), meanwhile, he left us to choose the best course with total freedom. It truly became one of the great highlights of my time at UT to have such freedom with his encouragement and support.

    One of Hal’s great contributions, in my mind, was that he brought the accomplishments and confidence of an accomplished businessman architect to a school environment, well grounded in real practice but eager to enable others. There’s a generosity that benefitted all of us, a practical approach, and an appreciation of the best of architecture. It helped create such a memorable experience for all of us.

  2. Janine Henri says:

    Hal chaired the School of Architecture Library Committee for many years while I was Head of the Architecture and Planning Library, and it was a privilege to work closely with him on library issues, including pursuing opportunities for potential donations to the library. I will always remember his enthusiasm, sound advice, and good cheer, even during times when we appeared to have insurmountable obstacles! It was a pleasure to build collections and provide services in support of Hal’s research needs and that of his students. I know his students and colleagues will miss him tremendously as will I.

    My sincere condolences to his family.

  3. Chuck Armstrong B.Arch. 1981 says:

    I’ll always think of Hal as the Texan ,gentleman,scholar architect -like no other. I’ll never visit the campus (or Austin for that matter) and not think of Hal and his words of encouragement and unique cultural perspective. If I had any regret -it’s that I never had the opprtunity to visit Mexico with Hal-a place that I’ve come to love and admire as much as I know he did.

  4. Craig Cregar, MSCRP '77 says:

    Hal was appointed Dean of the Architecture School the year I began study in the CRP Program. I never came across him while ensconced in Sutton Hall, but always heard good things said about his stimulating and progressive leadership. Some years ago my family and I were staying at a wonderful little place just outside of Guanajuato, Mexico, with Hal and Eden as fellow guests. We shared meals with them over several days and had an opportunity to discuss the beauty of Mexican architecture and culture. It was then that I learned of his brilliance, wit and charm. Our paths never crossed again, but we both shared a love of Mexico. My condolences go out to Eden and his family.

  5. Craig Dykers BArch 1985 says:

    Hal will always be an amazement to me.

    He was both bold and inclusive, two traits that don’t often meet in one person. He understood the often constrained system within which most architectural work is developed, yet he never let that control his work or his optimism. I always carry a piece of that from Hal within me and for that I will always be grateful to him.

    My condolences to his family and friends who knew him best.

  6. Roy Mann says:

    Hal Box was appreciated deeply by thousands, both as dean and as a gifted architect, and I personally was grateful to him for two reasons – his appointing me to teach site planning at the School in 1988 and his insightful participation, when I prepared the master plan for the Umlauf Sculpture Garden in 1988-89, on site planning for the facility’s Museum. He had a powerful sense of matching building form to natural terrain. His legacy is a significant one and he will surely be missed and remembered. My sympathies to Eden and family.

  7. Winn Wittman says:

    Hal welcomed me to Texas to begin my architectural studies in the Fall of 1987. His warmth, insight and guidance were appreciated by this young man far from home. One summer I had the privilege of housesitting for Hal and Eden at their wonderful home on Nob Hill Circle. The place was beautifully designed and filled with artifacts from a life well-lived– including a large bowl of photographs on the coffee table, which I thought was a nice touch. One day Hal got rid of his red Porsche for a rugged 4-wheel-drive vehicle. When I asked him why he said: “my dream changed”. Hal was a man whose dream continually evolved throughout his life. And Hal was a man who clearly lived his dream, and inspired others to do the same.

    Winn Wittman AIA, M.Arch ’91

  8. Lis Bisgaard says:

    Queridisimo Hal,
    Fuiste, y siempre seras, un sol en nuestras vidas….
    Much love to you, dear Eden…
    San Miguel de Allende

  9. Ali Naraghi, B.ARCH '96 says:

    Dean Box’s name was synonymus with what UT Architecture stood for and its commitment to excellence. I will never forget his booming voice, sound advice and intriguing talks. Thank You for all you did for the school and being an incredible mentor. You will be missed.

  10. luis halpert says:

    As we sat on adjacent seats, at the start of a Hyden quartet, Hal and I discreetly wiped a tear. As we celebrated a few of our birthdays, same month and year, we did not wipe the smiles from our faces. Wonderful memories from a good friend .
    A spiritual and inspirational man, he is sorely missed in our little community of San Miguel

  11. Mike Vela, AIA says:

    Dean Box was a genuine teacher, mentor and architect. During my time in the early 80′s he broadened by horizons with his vision and insight. In particular he brought on board a number of “real world” practicioners who offered multiple perspectives of architecture, both academic and practical.

    I remember Dean Box’s easy smile and warmth.

    Mike Vela, AIA
    Associate Principal – HKS
    Office Manager – Salt Lake City & Denver

  12. Donald Pender, MArch, 1981 says:

    Hal Box was so obviously a transformational presence during his tenure as Dean, but I have to say the last time I saw him was one of the most memorable. People were gathering in the hallway just before entering the courtyard for the ceremonial naming of the Hal and Eden Box Courtyard. I’ll never forget Dean Box’s smiling face glowing through this wonderful beard. The photographs from that day say it all! When I approached him to say ‘thank you’, we shook hands warmly and spoke briefly. I told him the beard was great! It was just small talk, but in those brief moments, I felt the influence of a truly happy man who had accomplished much, surrounded by friends and family, in a place he loved. That day, Hal’s personal presence reminded me that people can affect others in profound ways not only through the very large things they say and do, but also in the happiness they project. That day, Hal seemed to be a rightfully happy man. Hal was influential in the things he did and said, but he also left an imprint on how to live.

  13. Pam and Norm says:

    We are just so very very sad, and will miss Hal deeply! He was the best hugger EVER! !!!!! Our times together were the BEST fun! How we laughed together!!! Loved the fact that he added the “S” to ACT. He was SO UP and SO positive and loved and appreciated Eden SO dearly! Our condolances to the whole family! Eden, really consider a memorial of your dear friends here in SMA at our ranchito. We love you! Pam and Norm

  14. Charles Harper FAIA, BArch '55 Texas Tech says:

    HAL was a good friend and competitor before his UT days. He was always a part of our work he pushed the best of us all the time. May he rest in peace and God bless his family and friends.

  15. Dick Ryan, B. Arch, 1974 says:

    Rather than architecture, my relationship with Hal was as a neighbor and friend. I was always happy to see him at Texas French Bread and catch up on his travels(and living) in Mexico. He lived his life not just as a Dean and partner in a highly successful architecture firm, but as a member of a community. He supported the businesses in Old West Austin, not just with his patronage, but also by selling his book, “Think Like an Architect” at Nau’s Parmacy, a beloved local business.

  16. Derek Barcinski says:

    I will miss Hal Box and will always be indebted to him for his mentorship.

    His encouragement was limitless and he was an optimistic force behind many young architecture students – myself included. His confidence was as big as his booming laugh and he pushed many to go beyond preconcieved limits and try new things. His passion for architecture and for life was evidenced by the many roles he has played over years and the richness of his adventures.

    Hal encouraged me to ‘think within the box”. Problems need to be solved within their context and he once told me, “all buildings are a direct product of the forces working upon them.” Gravity, personality, budget, timetable and setting will shape our work and we as architects are part of that process, not outside of it.

    I would not be in Austin today without Hal Box’s influence in my life and will always remember him fondly.

  17. Carl Karas M Arch 81 says:

    As Dean he created such a friendly and open atmosphere at UT Austin School of Architecture. For this Canadian, plunked down for a year in West Texas at age 21, he played an instrumental role in helping me discover that Texas wasn’t such a hostile or foreign place after all. He welcomed me to Texas. In fact now I can look back and see those were two of the happiest and most rewarding years of my life.

    I think no small part of his influence lay in the broad diversity of faculty- and fellow student- viewpoints and backgrounds he helped encourage. It was only much later on that I came to realize how rare a thing that is.

    He promoted the ideal that inclusiveness and compassion could be part of what it means to be a professional. It has stayed with me through 20 years teaching and practice in New York City and to this day.

    Thank you Hal Box

  18. Nancy Kwallek says:

    I first met Hal in the late 1980s when the interiors program was in the Department of Human Ecology across campus and my chairman took me to meet and chat with Hal about moving the interiors program to the School of Architecture. I thought it was a marvelous idea but do not believe this is something my department wanted to pursue as I believe pressure was coming from the administration to initiate a visit because alumni and students wanted interiors moved to architecture. It was nearing the end of the semester and into the holiday season and I remember Hal treated us with homemade fruit cake that his mother made and shared that his mother had a degree in my chairman’s discipline. No one could be more gracious and accommodating than Hal on that day—his striking smile and warmth of character are two aspects that have always been the identifiers for me of Hal. We were not successful in moving the program until almost 10 years later under Dean Speck’s leadership. But, from that day forward after first meeting Hal, I always got a big hug and an inquiry of how interiors was being treated in the school. You see, I believe Hal was not a strict modernist—he appreciated interiors and décor and in his quarries of me wanted to make sure interiors was not ‘absorbed nor ignored’ under the strength of an only architecture philosophy—he loved all aspects design—fashion, interiors, and architecture.

    When Hal’s mother passed away I was impressed upon reading her long obit as it gave me further insight about Hal’s character. In her 90s it was spelled out that she continued to solely prepare holiday dinners for her family and extended family and they would all go to her home and she feed the entire group—single handedly. This is an affinity I feel I have with Hal because I come from a huge family and my mother did likewise into her 80s.

    Sorry for going on so long about these personal interactions with Hal but I will always cherish these interactions with him which tell so much about who he was and of his fine character. I will miss approaching him up the hall and receiving his big hug.

    Nancy Kwallek
    Director of Interior Design Program

  19. Professor Michael Garrison says:

    When I was a young assistant professor and Dean Box had just joined our faculty he called me into his office to talk about sustainable design. He expressed his belief in the ideals of sustainable design and throughout his tenure as Dean of the School, while other programs moved away from sustainable design, he supported it through his leadership and his encouragement and by example of his design work, rich in modernism tempered with a deep understanding of materiality and the unique climatology of the Texas vernacular. Last year on the occasion of the school’s centennial he congratulated me on my foresight those many years ago in believing that sustainable design was a wave of the future. I reminded him that it wasn’t just me and that he deserved much credit for his vision and leadership, as well. I will remember him and thank him for that.

  20. Mary Ben (Mattingly) Bonham, AIA, LEED AP, B. Arch '89 says:

    Telemann? No. Galway? No. Dean Box did not admonish when he learned that the nervous freshman architecture student in his Goldsmith office was so unpolished as not to know the great composer or famous performer. Instead, he was delighted to find another flautist had entered the School of Architecture family. It took a gentleman like Hal to make me feel immediately comfortable as he welcomed me as his musical peer (though I was not!). Despite the endless call of studio and other deadlines, the entire first year I made time for weekly flute sessions with Hal, fueled in great part by his enthusiasm. I eagerly played the challenging music, amazed that a person with the responsibilities of a Dean continued to make time to cultivate his love of music. I soon learned this cultivation of good things was a theme in his way of living and working. What a remarkable person he was. Hal, thank you. You will be missed and remembered by many.

  21. Milton Gardner, BArch 1963 says:

    I only learned of Hal’s death today, and it came as a shock. I knew Hal as my boss at Box Pratt and Henderson before he undertook the deanship at UT. For many years we stayed in touch, but it is a long way from Austin to Vancouver, and I had lost touch with Hal. His positive get it done attitude, his joy of life, and his engagement with history is with me today. We often never fully realize the importance of the influential people in our lives until they are gone, and he was a tremendous influence on my life.

  22. Sinclair Black says:

    Hal Box passed away on Sunday. We have all been prepared for this but not so soon (on Mother’s Day).

    I worked for Hal, I worked with him, I traveled with him in Mexico, I admired him completely and I will miss him every day.

    Hal was a leader’s leader. He knew how to challenge people. He knew how to reward people. He knew how to enable motivated people. He knew how to leave behind people who did not achieve the excellence he demanded on behalf of the school.

    Alan Taniguchi was my mentor but Hal was my supporter after Alan was gone. He insisted I submit myself for fellowship in A.I.A and when I suggested that we start “Studio Mexico” he simply said “you do it”. He always supported my efforts in community affairs and he always protected my academic position as long as I lived up to his requirements, “do good work in practice and win awards”.

    We are all better people for having known Hal Box.

    Sinclair Black, FAIA

  23. Boone Powell, Bachelor of Architecture, 1956 says:

    Dean Hal Box possessed that rare combination of warm friendship and strong leadership. He was a master of both exemplary qualities, which is not an ordinary thing to accomplish, and obviously was deeply appreciated by the great multitude of his friends, associates, and admirers.

    Hal will be greatly missed, but he has left us a great legacy. As a benefit to us all, he inspired and showed the way to his peers and to our entire architectural community. We are all so very fortunate to have known him.

  24. Linda & Martin Simon says:

    Hal became our friend in San Miguel de Allende. We did not know him in Texas. We just knew that he was a special person. He always had a smile, a story & a contribution to our lives. He and his dear wife Eden were loved by the whole community. We feel blessed to have known this gracious man and sad that he has been taken from us too soon.

  25. Sharon Seligman says:

    When Hal became my Spanish partner in San Miguel de Allende, I definitely drew the winning straw! A genuine human being, sensitive, always aware and interested, he was a delightful conversationalist. I shared many good laughs with Hal and was always moved by the level of his caring for others and for the general good. I am glad to have known Hal. My heartfelt sympathy goes to Eden and all of the family.

  26. Bob and Carol Latta- San Miguel De Allende, Mexico says:

    Carol and I met Hal and Eden in 1999 when we had both moved to San Miguel to start new lives in our retirements. We were neighbors and became the best of friends. Hal and Eden are two of the nicest people we have ever known. We are truly saddened at Hal’s passing. We had the great pleasure of spending two nights this year in late March at their home in Austin. Hal took me for an afternoon outing to show me the UT Architecture school and the campus of UT. Hal was not well but made the effort to spend the afternoon doing what he loved, interacting with others.

    Hal will be deeply missed and his impact on all that he met was profound.

  27. Heather Pierson Lamboy, MSCRP & MALAS, 1998 says:

    Hal was a true inspiration! I participated in Earthwatch with him in Izamal, Mexico, and it was an amazing experience. Even though the field work in Mexico was hot and exhausting, he made time to make all of us laugh. He always taught me to think outside of the box, no pun intended! His down to earth demeanor made him a great friend and teacher. His leadership brought the School of Architecture to new heights, bringing the brightest and best professors and students. My experience in the Planning program was enriched by a curriculum that was very hands-on and prepared me well for my future employment. He will be missed and remembered by all those he touched, including me. His legacy will live on at the UT School of Architecture. I extend my sympathies to his family – they are all wonderful people!

  28. Yonas A. says:


  29. Bill and Laura Peeples, B Arch. '84 says:

    I guess like so many others, we did not fully understand Hal Box when we were students. After being out of the SOA and working for a few years, we saw the wisdom of his counsel back then and developed a greater appreciation of who Dean Box was. We greatly appreciate his guidance from back in those years.

    After graduation, we would see Hal around town in various restaurants or stores. He always remembered us, would always take the time to greet us by name and ask how we were doing. What an honor that he would take the time to chat with us on those occasions.

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Hal’s family. We are sure that he will be dearly missed by many.

  30. Kevin Lorenz, M. Arch. '84 says:

    Dean Box had left for Austin several years before I began working for Pratt Box Henderson in Dallas. So, when I met him for the first time, I didn’t know that his was the face that went with the name on the drawings regularly going out the door. He appeared in front of my desk on a slow weekday afternoon and announced “I’m Hal Box. I just stopped by to pee.” I figured since it was his place to begin with, what harm could it do? Besides, he knew his way around.

    Three years later when it was time for me to return to graduate school I asked James Pratt how to go about applying to UT. He suggested I call Hal directly, which I did, reminding him, for openers, of our previous informal meeting. Dean Box was gracious and invited me down to Austin on Wednesday for lunch at the Faulty Club. After lunch, brief introductions were made to the SOA staff and some faculty members that were hanging around the copy machine. Our day ended shortly thereafter with a sincere handshake and a parting reminder to “come see me as soon as you arrive on campus in September”. That was it. I was in.

    Dean Box continued to look in on me from time to time. I have never forgotten his kindness, generosity and humor. Nor will I

  31. Connie G. Rivera, AIA, BArch '94 says:

    I was surprised and saddened to hear of Hal Box’s passing. He had an incredible and lasting impact upon UTSOA and will be dearly missed.

    I had the distinct honor and pleasure of attending his urban design/town planning studio in the Fall of 1993. (Note the photo of our class sitting on the drain lines to be placed in what would become Texas A&M Laredo.) What impressed me was his love and passion for education and the architecture profession, his humility and his wonderful sense of humor. One lesson I took away from that class was how each project, each building tells a story and each component, and each design decision can add (or detract) from that story.

    I will always remember with fondness his and Eden’s warmth and generosity with each of us. My prayers are with her and the rest of his family – thank you so much for sharing him with us.


  32. Connie G. Rivera, AIA, BArch '94 says:

    I am surprised and saddened to hear of the loss of Hal Box. He undoubtedly had an incredible positive impact upon the School as its Dean and Professor, which is still being felt today.

    I had the distinct pleasure and honor of being in his Urban Design studio in the Fall of 1993. (Note the picture of our class sitting on the drain lines in what would become Texas A&M Laredo from the slideshow) What impressed me was his passion for architecture and good design, his humility and his wonderful sense of humor. One lesson that I took from that class is how each project, each building must tell a story, and every line, every design choice adds a layer to that story.

    I will always remember his generosity and warmth with great fondness. My prayers are with Eden and the rest of his family. And thank you for sharing him with us.


  33. Ric Guenther, AIA, BS UTA 75, MArch Rice 78 says:

    Prior to Hal joining UT he had contributed to making UTArlington one of the top schools in Texas. I was fortunate to be there durring his tenure. Always a gentleman and strong critic.

  34. Rick Canales, B. Arch. '84 says:

    What a great leader for our beloved School of Architecture! He will be so missed by all who knew him. My prayers are with him and his family.

  35. Montgomery Howard says:

    There is no mistaking the contribution that Hal Box made to the quality of architecture education at UT Austin. Although I didn’t always agree with him while I was there, it was always easy to see his dedication to our school and its success in the future will stand on his shoulders.

    It didn’t take long after I entered the workforce in San Antonio following my degree to realize that I benefited in an education that was equal or superior to any that was available from institutions that fancied themselves to be at the top of the pile above us and I continue to recommend it to anyone who will listen.

    There is no doubt that Hal Box left us better than he found us … a worthy testament for anyone.

    Unfortunately, my professional commitments will not allow me to attend the memorial service, although I would much prefer to be there to pay my respect, but you will be in my heart and thoughts at that time. Best wishes to the Box family, and thanks for sharing him with us.

    Montgomery Howard, Architect BArch 1983
    Associate Partner

    A R C H I T E C T U R E

    One Riverwalk Place
    700 N. St. Mary’s, Suite 1600
    San Antonio, TX 78205

  36. Constantine D. Vasilios says:

    Hal Box was the epitome of vision, action, and result. The community will miss his support and love for the University and the School of Architecture.

  37. Howard C. Parker, E.FAIA BA 1955 says:

    Knowing Hal is something to brag about. I will never forget his laugh.

  38. Prof. Fernando Lara, PhD says:

    I will never forget that when I arrive at UTSOA two years ago was talking to Hal about the legacy of the Texas Rangers he told me that one of his earlier references were Oscar Niemeyer and Lucio Costa, Brazil Builds being the first book he ever bought back in the 1940s. His enthusiasm for Latin American architecture lives!

  39. Steve Templet BArch '90 says:

    Dean Box -

    He will always be fondly remembered – our thoughts and prayers are with his family.

  40. Tom Spencer says:

    First and foremost, Hal was a gentleman. He was also an engaging friend, a great conversationalist, and an encouraging mentor and guide.

    I remember many lunchtime conversations at Texas French Bread where we would discuss architecture, Mexico, politics, gardening and much, much more. But my favorite memories of Hal are when he stopped by to visit my garden and check on its progress. Every time he visited, he would ask a question that would open my eyes to a new way of looking at the space. Invariably, this led to a refinement of its design. His insights were sometimes subtle, sometimes profound, and always perfect.

    Hal – I will miss your keen eye – and that broad smile. Eden, my thoughts and prayers are with you.

    Tom Spencer

  41. Carolyn Kerr & Doyle Perkinson says:

    It was a pleasure to have known Hal Box. We moved to Austin in 1984 and purchased a house he had remodeled for himself and Eden. He made a low ranch-style soar with a wonderful addition overlooking a cliff and stream in the backyard.

    He and Eden moved next door in a stunning new house he designed, so we got to be their neighbors for a number of years. That house was magical – complete with a waterfall into their swimming pool – which they shared with us and our young childrenon many occasions.

    Hal was such a talented man. When we first know him, he had just taken up the flute…and I understand he became a very accomplist flutist – all after age 40!

    We enjoyed knowing Hal; may God comfort Eden and all his family and many friends. We treasure our memories of times with them.

    Carolyn & Doyle
    UT grads, but not Architects

  42. Don Gatzke says:

    We’re all saddened here at the UT Arlington School of Architecture by the news of Hal Box’ passing. As the first dean of the UT Arlington School of Architecture, his influence on the School as it was– and is today –is impossible to over estimate. He set the direction and the character of the program which continues to guide us. With his subsequent deanship at UT Austin School of Architecture, he had an enormous influence on design education across Texas, the nation, and on a whole generation of current practitioners.

    Don Gatzke, Dean, UT Arlington School of Architecture

  43. Pingback: Tex Libris – In Memoriam

  44. Lars Stanley, FAIA, MArch says:

    Experiencing Hal’s encouragement professionally and benefiting from his immense influence academically was and continues to be a transformational force in my life. I am deeply grateful and indebted to him and his generous spirit, as are many others.

  45. Lance Tatum says:

    I share in the sadness of the loss of Hal Box. I am grateful for the 24 years of my association with Hal, a person of exceptional character and integrity. He was clearly the best person chosen to lead the UT School of Architecture at the time and he served in his position as dean with distinction. He continuously demonstrated qualities of excellent leadership, ethics and integrity. Excellence in all areas of faculty performance was among his highest priorities and I was privileged to be a faculty member during his deanship.

  46. Bibiana Bright Dykema, AIA BArch79 says:

    Hal and I had a long, wonderful friendship. He graduated from UT Architecture with my father and then was the Dean when I attended the school. I got to know him through our years in school and on the Council. What a breath of fresh air Hal was. He was always inquisitive and humorous. I am glad that we were able to visit at the dedication in April. All my love to his family. XOXX Biby

  47. Juan E. Cotera FAIA says:

    Dear Dean Box,

    I am grievously saddened that I will no longer be able to chat with you over coffee. Although we have known each other since you were Dean and I a student, it was not until recent times that I had the privilege of a true friendship. I will always regret that I was unable to repay your recent kindness. I shall pass it on in your memory.


    Juan Cotera
    UTSOA B. Arch. 1968, Graduate Studies in Regional & Urban Planning, 1970

  48. David Braden, FAIA B. Arch 1949 says:

    Hal Box : Wonderful friend, collegue, architect, and the best of the best for UT School of Architecture. When Hal Box was in the audience his laughter always let me know things were going okay !

  49. Bill O'Brien says:

    I was fortunate to have known Hal when he first started out in Academia. He was my Dean at the University of Texas at Arlington. We got him straight out of PBH. He was a wonderful man – a great teacher, a forward thinker and the best friend a student ever had. Hal’s sense of humor and his always friendly and caring nature set him apart from all others. He will be sorely missed

    William O’Brien
    BA Architecture, UTA; M.Arch., Penn; MCP, Penn; MBA, Wharton School

  50. Pat Spillman, FAIA says:

    Regret loosing Hal – good friend and inspiring colleague.

  51. Clovis Heimsath FAIA says:

    Hal was a major influence at the University of Texas and in the profession of architecture. His warmth enriched all of us who had the privilege to know him.

  52. Bobbie Barker says:

    As a UT School of Architecture Advisory Council member, I felt Hal’s influence and presence long before I had the pleasure to meet him. He gave freely of his time and treasure to the art he obviously loved. And I greatly value the guidance he gave me regarding the Advisory Council. While he is no longer with us, his presence will be felt for years to come.
    My heart goes to his family and friends who loved him dearly.

  53. Andy Meisenheimer says:

    Hal will be sorely missed. Every time I think outside the Box , I remember Him. Bachelor Arch.Studies 80,Bachelor Architecture 83

  54. Prof. Steven A. Moore, PhD, RA says:

    Hal had stepped down as Dean shortly before I came to teach at the school in 1997. What I didn’t know at the time was that it was his long work as Dean that attracted me to the place. Without Hal’s institution building there would not have been the opportunity for subsequent Deans, Larry Speck and Fritz Steiner, to add some luster to those base coats of paint on which our culture of design, construction, and now research depend. We are in his debt and he in our mind’s heart.

  55. Anibal Figueroa, Mexico City, M.Arch 1985 says:

    I had many fine memories of Hal. From my arrival to UT as a graduate student to the times when I was able to return to visit or lecture. Hal received me always as old friends. His passion for Mexico made a strong link in our conversations and his advise was always fair, usefull and honest. I am certain that his influence on UTSOA was fundamental in the staff, the buildings, equipments but most importantly in many generations of students. As it happens with notorious teachers his ideas and actions will remain for a long time.

  56. Peter Pfeiffer FAIA, M. Arch '83 says:

    Hal was indeed the inspiration for many of us. I appreciated him as dean when I was in graduate school at UTSOA, but marvelled at how he continued to pursue his passions even after retirement. His leading trips with students trips to the interior of Mexico to study the fine old buildings, his writings – you name it, as he continued to reinvent himself.
    I will never forget his wonderful voice, stories and tidbits he bestowed upon us as first year graduate students in his architectural theory class in the fall of ’81. His suggestion that we always carry a small tape measure on us so we could measure things in buildings that felt “right” – as well as things like poorly proportioned stairs that felt wrong – so we could always be tuned into the built environment and little things added up to making a big difference in the way we expereinced architecture.
    I had a golden retriever puppy at the time (wonderful “Champ”, some of you may remember) that I used to bring to class (back in the day when you were not discouraged from doing so). Champ used to love to go to the front of the class and just sit and watch Hal as he pontificated in his melodious voice. Hal enjoyed Champ very much and seemd to truly get a kick out of her.

    I’ll always looking fondly upon my interactions with him – and miss him very much. He was truly a sage to many of us.

  57. H. Ralph Hawkins, FAIA says:

    As I read these tributes, I was reminded how much of an impact Hal made on all of our lives. I was fortunate to have him as my dean of the SoA at UTA and mentor in my early twenties and remained friends with him the rest of his life. Even after he stepped down as Dean of UT SoA, he remained active with the students, but that was just Hal. When I told my wife about our loss, I was reminded that Hal Box introduced me to Harwood Smith in 1972 at the TSA Convention in El Paso. Who would have thought that I would be with HKS for 38 years?

    I reread my reference letter in 2005 for him as a candidate for the Topaz Medal, it read….

    “As a student, I first met Hal in the early 1970′s at University of Texas at Arlington School of Architecture, where he served as the first Dean. Hal was a tremendous inspiration to all the students and I considered him a mentor and friend. He brought his love of architecture to each of us through his teachings, his involvement in our design studios, and his continued involvement as a respected architect.

    Hal’s design studios gave the students experiences in a variety of building types including offices, hotels, residential and many others. Emphasis was placed on energy, building, accessibility, structural, mechanical, electrical and fire codes. It was practical and broad experience that I have used throughout my career in working with consultants across the nation.

    In the early 70’s as Dean, Hal was elected to the AIA College of Fellows for his work both in practice and in the academic arenas. This recognition was well deserved for his quality and strategic approach to architecture. As a result of his reputation, University of Texas recognized the potential of Hal and approached him to lead his alma mater’s School of Architecture. He joined U.T. Austin in 1976 and served as Dean until he stepped down a few years ago. His distinguished academic career spanned over a quarter of century.”

    I look back and thought how his deep, loud laugh and great spirit were contagious…I will miss him.

  58. Pat Spillman, FAIA says:

    Regret to lose Hal – my good friend and inspiring colleague.

  59. Rene David Quinlan says:

    B. Arch. 1988

    Hal Box mentored me through my five, memorable years at the School of Architecture as if I was a member of his family, even though he was serving as Dean. Like a review I received in my early years from Dean Box–where his focus always began with the individual experience–his commitment to the School always started with his students.

    His guidance and dedication will be missed, but his spirit will never be forgotten. May he rest in peace.

  60. Bob Ikel says:

    In ’70-’71 I transferred to UT after listening to Hal’s lecture at UTA regarding a project he had designed. His lecture convinced me I wanted to be an architect and not an aerospace engineer. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to thank him later. Hal was a special person with gifts that he shared with so many people. My prayers are for his family and trust in the Lord that Hal is with the Master Architect who “built foundations
    for the earth”…that “will never be shaken.” Bob Ikel, B.Arch ’75 UT

  61. Bronson Dorsey, BArch 1974 says:

    Thank you Hal for your friendship and mentoring to me personally. Moreover, thank you for your commitment to architectural education. The architectural community is forever in your debt. My condolences to Eden and the family.

  62. Carter M Reich AIA, B.Arch 1979 says:

    I am deeply saddened to read that the big Hal Box smile and big Hal Box laugh that I remember fondly has passed away.

    Even as students we knew that some amongst us were destined for stardom. But students like me just tried to keep up and hang on. Students like me just wanted to be on the team and be part of the profession led by gentlemen such as Hal Box. Dean Box encouraged each and every student to be his/her best. He brought such energy and joy to our studies and our experience at UT – and every Architecture School graduate entered the profession with a pat on the back from Hal Box.

    My deep sympathy to Dean Box’s family and my thanks to Dean Box for so many contributions to our studies and our lives.

    Carter M Reich AIA
    EYP, Inc.
    Boston, Massachusetts

  63. Ward J. Friszolowski, B Arch '87 says:

    Dean Box helped create one of the best architectural programs in the country. The University of Texas, School of Architecture is still consistently ranked in the top ten every year. We’re all indebted to his leadership. My condolences go out to his family.

  64. Melissa Bogusch, MArch 1995 says:

    I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Professor Hal Box. He was my design professor for my first studio in the MArch program in the Fall of 1993. He was a wonderful instructor and mentor. He was so excited to share his love of the Great State of Texas with a Midwesterner like me. He opened my eyes to the many facets of Austin and the other regions of Texas. I best remember Professor Box during our studio project (urban planning/new town planning) in Laredo/Nuevo Laredo – we drove out to the open land that was to be the site of our new town and he stood on the roof of his jeep taking photos of the landscape and talking to us about arroyos and mesquite trees and everything Texas. I still have the “draughting” pencil that he handed out to each of us. Both Hal and Eden warmly opened their home to our studio class and gave so much of their time to help us. I am honored to be one of his students and will remember him with great fondness.

  65. Sarah Hill, MArch, 2007 says:

    I first met Hal Box through a work opportunity: he was writing a book about architecture and needed someone to sort out the images and copyright issues for the book. One of my professors recommended me because i was working in the Visual Resources Collection at the SOA and had a background in photography. I really didn’t know much about him except that he was some sort of ex-dean with a big personality… Well the personality part turned out to be right! Hal Box was nothing short of hilarious, boisterous, and a very generous man. In the short time I spent working on the book with him I got a glimpse of what he must have been like as a professor, a mentor, a dean. It’s only recently, upon reading about the dedication of the Goldsmith courtyard, that I realize the extent to which he shaped UT’s architecture program. Mostly i have fond memories of “working” with him in his office where he would regale me with stories about the skyscraper construction in Dallas in the 80s or the houses he designed in San Miguel de Allende… Something contagious about his passion for architecture and real interest in the students who surrounded him, whether or not he well past his days as dean proper really impressed me and sticks with me to this day. I feel lucky to have known him.

    My heart goes out to Eden and his family.


  66. Richard Kosheluk, M.Arch, '88 says:

    I’d like to share a funny story that I love to tell of my days at UT and of Hal Box.

    I was very proud of my 4 years at UT (as a Canadian I was the only foreign student accepted to the M.Arch program in the fall of ’84)…” it must have been my great GRE scores” I would think to myself. It was just prior to graduation and I was filled with this feeling of bravado when Dean Box called me into his office to chat. I was curious as to what Hal would say to me.

    He congratulated me on my pending graduation and asked me if I would say hello to my father for him. A little confused I replied that “…I don’t think my father knows you; but I’ll be sure to tell him hello for you.”

    It was Dean Box’s turn to look confused and he said, “Isn’t your father Richard Koshalek, the Director of the MOCA in LA?”

    I replied “…well no… my father is a wheat farmer in Canada.”

    Hal just stared at me and said “oh,…well congratulations anyway.”

    We exchanged a few more pleasantries about my moving to LA to work for SOM, and then was on my way.

    I walked out of his office that day a little dazed thinking “maybe it wasn’t those great GRE scores….hmm”, but now I always smile and chuckle a little when I think of that day in Dean Hal Box’s office. Hal was loved by all who attended that school; he definitely shaped the course of the program while Dean. He will be missed.

  67. Jim Steely, MSAS '85 says:

    Hal had a tremendous positive influence on my life, even before I knew it. First, his father taught mathematics to my father in the 1930s at East Texas State College in Commerce. When I entered graduate school at UT and Dad learned Hal was the dean, my low-paying career notions suddenly were all right after all. Second, in my early driving years one of my favorite adventures was motoring IH35 in Dallas watching all those Trammel Crow buildings take shape as the Dallas Market Center. I later learned Hal designed many of those facilities and I imagine influenced Crow to extend the developer’s design circles ever wider.

    Then one day a friend introduced me to O’Neil Ford while the famous 1) talker and 2) architect toured Northeast Texas. “You want to attend a graduate architecture school?” Ford asked after a quick conversation. “Then you head right down to Austin where they have the best school and the best dean in the whole country!” Or something like that.

    Hal didn’t disappoint our little class that he intentionally chose from non-architecture undergraduates. He taught our introduction-to-practice course, hosted parties with Eden, invited O’Neil Ford to talk some more. Those were fantastic experiences.

    When Hal first heard that I leaned to a career in historic architecture, he exclaimed “I remember when I was a child my father [see above] would stop at every historical marker along our driving trips!” Then he leaned closer and with a twinkle in his eye revealed, “Because I could pee behind the big stone ones!”

    Sorry to go on and on, but I’m processing this shock. Hal, thanks so much for such a big dose of the good life. I hope you and O’Neil are designing a whimsical bridge across a wooded stream up there.

  68. Larry Deckard M/arch 84 says:

    Hal provided great inspiration to the freshman class of 81. He provided insight to the journey we were beginning. Thank you Hal.

  69. Marc Brewster, B. Arch 1971 says:

    I actually met him in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico where he was building one home at a time in the historic style and using time-honored, local construction techniques. Whatever his previous contributions to education and mentoring, his work in Mexico will stand on its own as a major body of work – and he did it in his “retirement.”
    Kudos, Hal Box, for not knowing when to quit.

  70. Shawn Caldwell Alshut, M.Arch, 1984 says:

    As a Connecticut Yankee, in Texas for the first time, Hal Box was the embodiment of everything I thought the Dean of UTSOA should be; big, warm, welcoming personality, great, low, booming texas drawl, and a true passion and love for his school, his students and his profession. Although his brutal honesty could make one think twice, if he was on your studio jury, his support was unfaltering. He was a good man.

    I met, and married, my husband, Edward Alshut, M. Arch 1984, while we were both studying at the School of Architecture. After we got engaged, I walked into Hal’s office to share the news and quietly show him my ring. Edward had requested that I be discrete with my show and tell, for fear his scholarship would be questioned. Hal assured me that was not the case. “Wedding rings are passed down through families” and had no bearing on scholarships.

    As a wedding gift, he and Eden gave us champagne glasses. The note (which we have kept), written in brown ink from his fountain pen, reads, “FOR HAPPINESS FOREVER AND MANY WONDERFUL EVENTS TO TOAST”. When those events occur, we always include Hal and Eden in our toast. So we raise our glasses one more time to Hal and Eden and family; To him, for being the person he was, and leaving such a great legacy, to Eden and his family for sharing him with us. His passing leaves a Texas sized hole in the world as we know it.

  71. Jennifer Naffziger Miller says:

    Hal Box was a wonderful man, I will never forget him. I remember when he told all of us how he designed his house with ONE drawing. That really impressed me. I will miss him, and send my sympathies to his family and friends.
    Jennifer Miller
    Architect, UT
    Civil Engineer, OSU

  72. Mark E. Kellmann says:

    Lest you dismiss the magnitude of what thie man accomplished, let me try an describe what happened at the University of Texas Architecture School. Everyone has a memory of trying to decide on where to go to college. When I started this decision making process, the Architecture school was a desert. You would expect to see tumbleweeds blowing through the buildings there. but we heard distictly that there was a new guy hired there as Dean, and that things were looking up. Now, in the course of your day, how mant times do you hear of someone at all…(I mean we heard.)
    All things withstanding, I made it to Texas A&M for the Environmental Design School as it was the first one on the continent. (note Dean John Greer and Hal shaking hands in the memorial slide show.) I was caught be the novelty of a progressive degree, I suppose. After this time of experimentation I had made it many of the good schools in the country to visit. What I found there did not excite me much, then I began hearing again about Hal Box and the University of Texas again, so I applied. At the first party for the new Graduate students, I met a Fullbright scholar, a pilgrim from Yale, a distictly clear young woman from Boston, and a set of agitated and brilliant young people.

    That class moved UT into the top ten of Graduate schools in the country, where it has been for the last two decades. All of this revolving around a modest and friendly man named Hal Box. From the dust bowl to the top ten. Cool.

    Mark E. Kellmann, Architect, NCARB
    Master of Architecture 1987.

  73. Lou Kimball says:

    UT was an excellent place to study during my time there, 1984-1988, and all credit goes to Hal. I will put my education at UT up against any in the country, and owe a debt of gratitude to Hal for putting together a faculty that was both demanding and inspiring, whose impact I still feel every time I pick up my pencil.

    Hal will indeed be missed. My sympathies to Eden and their family.

    Lou Kimball, B Arch, 1988

  74. David Shiflet says:

    Hal is gone far too soon. I will remember his wit, his smile, his sensitivity and his kind manner. What a wonderful man. His work, his book and his friendship will remain with me forever. He was a gift that I will miss dearly.

  75. Xavier Lujan says:

    Xavier Lujan, Bach Arch, 1987 – Los Angeles, Ca.
    I remember meeting Dean Box when I first arrived at the School of Architecture. His passion for Architecture was inspiring. Thank you Dean Box

    My prayers are with the his family.

  76. Mick Kennedy says:

    This is sad news indeed, but an opportunity for me to express my gratitude to Hal and make note of how much he shaped my introduction to architecture when I began as a student at UTSOA in the late ’80s. Hal’s initial guidance was fundamental in shaping the architectural perspective I carry to this day. He preached integrity, discipline, character and deep curiosity into the enhancing qualities of everyday life that continues to be at the core of my own work and teaching. Dean Box was simultaneously patrician and catholic in his tastes and interests, but his love for Mexico, as much as a state of mind as of a place, was the most influential on me.

    More personally, as Dean, he always had an open door policy. I can remember numerous occasions where as an exhausted and sometimes confused student, I drifted out of studio and down to his office. Dean Box would inevitably be on the phone, cowboy boots propped up on the desk but he never failed to beckon me in to get comfortable on his couch and just chill out. He would never fail to smoothly work some compliment to me eased in to his phone conversation along with a wink. A true Texan and a true gentleman.

    I have been fortunate to have a series of great mentors in my growth as an architect: Larry Speck, Matt Kreisle, Chuck Tilley, Juan Cotera, Chris Macdonald, Kevin Alter, Brian Carter. But Hal Box was the first and in many ways that makes him the most important. My first conversation with him was not about architecture but about Garcia-Marquez’s “Love in the Time of Cholera” which we were both reading at the same time. Pure magic.

    Hal Box was a good man, who spread good will and good energy around him. I will remember him well and always speak well of him to those I meet.


    Mick Kennedy

  77. Jonathan Pearlman, M Arch '84 says:

    I have such fond memories of Dean Box, especially his fabulous desk! One story that I can relate that revealed his true character to me took place in the summer of 1985.

    After graduation, I came back to the SOA as an adjunct lecturer teaching 1st and 2nd year. That summer, a colleague of mine was going out of town for two months and asked me if I would fill-in doing perspective drawings for the firm he was working for in his absence. I was hired to do a rendering of a badly designed (in my opinion, of course) strip center to be built out on 290. I started to do it, but I just couldn’t complete it because I thought, that the better the rendering, the more likely it would get investors and be built. So I told the architect that I wouldn’t do it and why. He was not pleased, to say the least!

    Unbeknownst to me, the architect (a UT graduate as well) marched right up to Hal’s office and “ripped him a new one” about the quality of the people he had on staff. The next day, I got a call from Doris telling me that Hal wanted to see me. I was sure it would be the end of my time at the school!

    So I sat down with Hal and started to explain what happened and Hal stopped me in my tracks. He said, ” first I want to congratulate you for having such strong principles and sticking to them and second, do you realize how much that guy insulted me and my decision making about who I hired and wanted on staff?!” I was speechless, but I don’t think I had ever been given a bigger compliment!

    I have many Hal memories. He certainly helped shape my education at UT! He WILL be missed by many.

  78. Orestes J Gonzalez, Bach Arch, 1982 says:

    My thoughts are with his family.
    I have great memories of him and the years at UT during his early tenure.
    He embarked on making the School of Architecture a great institution respected by the architectural community in the USA and abroad.
    He left a great legacy.

Add Your Comment