Hill Country Deco: Modernistic Architecture of Central Texas

Hill Country Deco: the book

"A big, smart, lavishly illustrated book that explores one of the 20th century's most important architectural movements and its lasting effects on Central Texas."
— San Antonio Express-News

"Hill Country Deco is a must for regional architecture fans."
— Austin American-Statesman

The photos on this website — and more — are also collected in the companion book Hill Country Deco: Modernistic Architecture of Central Texas.  Published by TCU Press of Fort Worth with support from the Fondren Endowed Preservation Services Fund for Texas of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Hill Country Deco illustrates the history and evolution of the Art Deco, Art Moderne and WPA Deco styles in Central Texas.

Highlights include the sweeping curves and over-the-top Art Moderne styling of the Alameda Theater in San Antonio, a stark contrast to the refined lines of Depression-era WPA Deco on Austin's U.S. Court House and the classic design of San Antonio's Express News Building in what most people today call Art Deco style.

Authors and photographers David Bush and Jim Parsons examine and record the artistic elements and original economic purposes of each building in the book, offering insights into architectural preservation while providing an appreciative view of sometimes overlooked corners of Central Texas. Some buildings are obscured and hardly recognizable due to unsympathetic remodeling or neglect, while others have had their Deco designs maintained through the decades or restored as new appreciation for the style has emerged.

Hill Country Deco explores how the rich history of these structures intersects with progressive notions of historic preservation. Bush and Parsons' images clearly capture the lines and angles of Art Deco and document buildings that were significantly altered from their original forms. Both authors are staff members with Greater Houston Preservation Alliance, which published their first book, Houston Deco: Modernistic Architecture of the Texas Coast, in 2008. Their knowledge of classic architectural style furthers the reader's understanding of Art Deco design and its influence across Texas.

Cover image courtesy of TCU Press