Read House Dedication: A New Home for General Semantics

By Hoffmann, Gregg | ETC.: A Review of General Semantics, January 2006 | Go to article overview

Read House Dedication: A New Home for General Semantics


Hoffmann, Gregg, ETC.: A Review of General Semantics


WHILE thousands of coastal residents fled to the Fort Worth-Dallas area seeking temporary shelter from Hurricane Rita, a few dozen members of the Institute came to Fort Worth to dedicate a more permanent home.

Read House dedication activities were held September 23-24 to celebrate the new headquarters for the Institute of General Semantics. The hurricane effects were limited to well east of Fort Worth and did not affect the festivities. Unfortunately, the weather in the Houston area did cause several people to miss the trip due to airline cancellations.

The dedication included a reception on Friday night, attended by several members of the Institute board, IGS members and some TCU students, and Fort Worth friends of the Institute.

On Saturday, the IGS board held its first meeting in the new facility. On that evening, a dinner and dedication ceremony included hopes for the future and remembrances of Allen Walker and Charlotte Read.

Bruce Kodish and Susan Presby-Kodish traced the involvement of the Reads in general semantics and shared anecdotes and remembrances of the late couple, after whom the facility is named. Longtime IGS board member Robert Potter presented a dedication toast: "Let us drink to the knot that ties our moment to theirs."

Executive Director Steve Stockdale and architect Mark Gunderson also addressed the audience. Gunderson, a Fort Worth based architect, went to great lengths to match the design of the renovation to the work of general semantics. "Architecture is another form of language in many ways," Gunderson said. "We tried to achieve simplicity and clarity in the design. The lines of the interior are simple and straightforward. The colors come from the natural colors of the materials themselves. We tried to capture what goes on in this place."

History was important in restoration of the building--since it sits in a historic district of Fort Worth--but Gunderson also did not want to falsely recreate how the building once might have looked or get trapped by the history.

"This has some of the look of its history," he said. "We also wanted to capture the contemporary, in what the organization is doing in the present and in the future. …

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