Sinclair Black


Black, Sinclair

Variant Names

Black, James Sinclair

Personal Information

Occupation:    American architect
Location (state):    TX

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1966-
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1984

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1970 American Architects Directory
Biographical information:
Contributed by the Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas:
Sinclair Black was born in Tyler, Texas in 1940 and grew up in San Antonio. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Architecture in 1962 from The University of Texas, and his masters degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 1970. He worked as a design architect for the Austin firm of Barnes, Landes, Goodman, and Youngblood before joining the University of Texas School of Architecture faculty in 1967. In his design courses Black emphasized revitalization of center city areas for residential and pedestrian use and the role of the public and private sector in urban planning and development.
Black established his own architectural practice in Austin in 1967. The partnership of Black, Atkinson, and was founded in 1983. Both Black and Atkinson specialized in individual building and urban design. Vernooy, an engineer, specialized in building construction and construction administration. Projects completed by the firm include the Austin Nature Center, Administrative Headquarters for the Texas Commission for the Blind, and the Castellina Townhomes. AIA Award-winning designs include a National Award for the North Austin Center, State and Chapter Awards for the Cedar Street Courtyard and the McElhenny residence, and Chapter Awards for the Moore-Flack house and the Saunder's residence. The firm disbanded in 1987.
Black's interest in urban development is demonstrated in his writings and projects which include; studies of the San Antonio River Walk and the Austin Warehouse District, creating an Austin business district trolley, limiting the height of downtown buildings in Austin, and a plan for beautifying Congress Avenue north of the Texas State Capitol. In 1984, Black's architectural firm received the best of show award for its design of the Austin Municipal Office Complex. The complex, on the shores of Town Lake, with City Hall as its centerpiece, included a hotel, shops, plazas, pedestrian tunnels, fountains and trees. The project's purpose was to create a pedestrian-oriented central hub for a revitalized downtown. Due to political and financial problems the project never progressed beyond the planning stage.
Black's civic activities in the Austin area earned him two Austin Community Foundation Awards in 1982. He was instrumental in establishing the Environmental Conservancy Group to acquire land for Wild Basin Park, and he served on the Environmental Resources Board. Black co-authored the book Austin Creeks, a comprehensive study of Austin's natural waterway systems. This project, originally funded by an NEA grant to the University of Texas School of Architecture, was sanctioned by the City of Austin and the National Bicentennial Commission as Austin's bicentennial gift to the nation. The creek plan called for protecting and enhancing existing waterways for preservation, recreational use and flood control. City and national funding for the project led to completion of the Shoal Creek Hike and Bike Trail, development of the Glenn Oaks Greenbelt on Boggy Creek, extension of the Stacy Creek Trail, and initiation of the redevelopment of Waller Creek.
Black served as Vice President of the Texas Society of Architects in 1986, and was named AIA Fellow in 1984.

Related Records

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file may contain membership application, Fellowship nomination, related correspondence. Membership files of living persons are not available. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.
Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas
Sinclair Black (1940-) Drawings and architectural records, Civic projects for the city of Austin.
The project file for the Austin Municipal Office Complex maintained by the architectural firm of Black, Atkinson, and Vernooy consists of correspondence, printed material, clippings, handwritten notes, sketches, drawings, and photographs. Covering the period from 1984-1986, the files highlight the Austin Municipal Office Complex design competition, Black, Atkinson, and Vernooy 's winning design entry, Austin City Council actions, developer submissions, and design team proceedings.
The records document developer Watson-Casey Co.'s project-planning activities and project joint venture financing between Watson-Casey and the City of Austin. Phases of planning for the complex covered in the files include site planning, traffic considerations for both pedestrian and street traffic, archaeological site survey requirements and various technical concerns. Clippings chronicle design entry, council actions, project financing and the developer selection controversies.
The 2,000 drawings contained in the collection document both the Austin Municipal Office Complex and Sesquicentennial Park. The types of drawings represented include a vast range of design sketches, competition renderings, site development drawings and working drawings. Neither of these projects were built.
For more information https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/alexander-architectural-archives