African Design Magazine April 2016 - Page 64

All images © Jack Travis that came to our minds. For some reason I choose to write about how the school building was not a very good design for children to run and play alongside. I did not know, of course, that the structure was built in what is termed the Brutalist style. I remember stating in my report that the fact that the builders left the cement “oozing” from the bricks (because they did not remove or “trowel” – again a word I did not have in my vocabulary – off the excess amounts) made the project particularly dangerous as children could slip and fall against it and the injury would be even more severe. Sister Juanita Marie immediately blurted out as I finished, “Wow”, sounds like you ought to be an architect!” I had never heard the word before. She said go to the library and do some research. I found a series of “so you want to be” books and I selected “So You Want to Be an Architect”. I took the book home and read it several times. In fact I never returned it to the library. Yes, I stole it! Can’t imagine what my late fees might be at this point. But I stole it, I just couldn’t take it back to the library and chance someone else seeing it and reading it and wanting to become an architect. I needed it more than they, I thought. I know, selfish. I went home that evening, as I recall, and told my mother that I was interested in becoming an architect. She could not even pronounce the word. She said ar-“chi” tect (pronouncing the ch like “ch” instead of like “k”). My stepfather wouldn’t even try to pronounce it. Both parents encouraged all four of us (older sister, myself and two younger brothers who were his biological sons) to follow our dreams and be what we wanted to be. My mother, Mary L. Travis, graduated tenth grade from schools in the rural South, in a small town, Newellton, in Northern Louisiana where I was born. My stepfather grew up in Canton, Mississippi and as far as I know only graduated fourth grade where he attended all grades in the same one room school house with no finished floor. My parents weren’t able to keep up with our rapidly rising education and therefore by fourth grade or so they were certainly not able to tutor us or really understand the rapidly changing dynamics of our living in a city like Las Vegas and the advanced education from a parochial education that their children were receiving. College years: Arizona State University, 1970 and 1972. Jack in the Arizona desert while attending Univ. of Illinois, 1978.