Building a Community: Part 2


By Kimberly Rene’ Vanecek

In designing new projects Kroloff says one should respect the history and build upon it. He notes, “It’s important not to copy the past. You can never achieve the reality or the spirit because there are different tools today, different methods. If you want to build something modern, build it. Just be respectful of how you build it according to its surroundings.”

Sherry Mowles, an El Paso architect echoes this statement, “It is critical to preserve and respect the historic buildings. New development should respond to the scale and take cues from the neighboring buildings and open space, but they should be fresh, appropriate to our time, the materials and aesthetic should be an extension of El Paso’s landscape and history.”

Mayoral candidate Steve Ortega joined the exchange, “I think every great city has great buildings. El Paso possesses several historic gems such as the Mills Building, Kress Building, Banner Building, Caples Building, and the Toltec Building. As far as new buildings are concerned, I am very excited about United Bank’s new building downtown, they are making a huge statement.“

Reed says people tend to have a hard time letting go of the past “We are not still living in mud huts are we? No, we’ve progressed; we are driving Prius’s now, not the Model T. Learn from the industrial past and draw from that language. Don’t copy it! Create something new and different.”

“Although the preservation of historic buildings near San Jacinto Plaza has been our most recent architectural priority, El Paso is in need of development beyond that region of the city, “responded mayoral candidate Hector Lopez.

Kroloff continues, when building a new structure you have one chance to do it right and you should go all out, “What do you want to say that will speak for today and for the future?” He adds, “If you have to tear it down, it was done wrong in the first place.” He says the way to design a project that will provide positive outcomes is to, “Bring something forward about El Paso…as opposed to saying you want something like Phoenix or San Antonio.”

Local architect Martina Lorey agrees, “I am in favor of El Paso having an iconic building, however, I think this begs the question; what is our vision for El Paso, our brand, our identity?”

Photographed by Fedrico Villalba