Sinclair Black donates $5 million to UT School of Architecture for urban design studies

Sinclair Black's "Reconnect Austin" proposal to submerges IH-35. Image courtesy Black + Vernooy

Austin architect and University of Texas professor emeritus Sinclair Black has donated $5 million to the university’s School of Architecture to to support the field of urban design, school officials announced this week.

Black, who taught at UT for 50 years, gave $1 million upon his retirement in 2017 to establish the Sinclair Black Endowed Chair in the Architecture of Urbanism. And now he  has committed an additional $4 million to further support the study and teaching of urban design and to advance the school’s partnerships with the City of Austin and other community-serving organizations.

Sinclair Black

Funds will be used to support urban design faculty, bring in visiting critics, recruit graduate students, sponsor events and activities, and support students with interest in the field.

“The very best urban design occurs when physical design skills intersect with both private opportunities and enlightened public policy,” said Black in a statement. “The University of Texas at Austin has the creativity, cutting-edge technology, and thought leaders which, when combined with this funding, will create paradigm-changing urban design solutions that benefit Austin and serve as best practice examples for other American cities. I expect great things to come from this.”

Black received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from UT in 1962, a Master of Architecture degree from The University of California, Berkeley, in 1970 and went on to establish the firm Black + Vernooy in downtown Austin. Some of his projects include the Great Streets Master Plan for the City of Austin, 2nd Street District, Cedar Street Courtyard and Reconnect Austin, a grassroots campaign to bury IH-35 through downtown Austin.

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