William M. Pena ‘42
A Career of Excellence
In 1947 Willie returned to Texas A&M to finish his “fifth year” of architecture, earning a BArch in 1948, going to work for a small startup firm Caudill Rowlett and Scott in College Station. By 1949 he was named the fourth founding partner of the firm, but declined to have his name attached to the company’s name, which might have been called CRSP. Programming his first project in 1950, he so refined the process that he published his first book Problem Seeking – New Directions in Architectural Programming in 1969. This was followed byProblem Seeking: An Architectural Programming Primer which for the past four decades has been the standard text in architectural courses, now in its fifth edition. Thus, as a practicing researcher, he advanced architectural programming to a sophisticated analytical science benefitting architects, clients, and students.
In 1959 CRS moved its headquarters to Houston in order to expand business nationwide, in time growing from four original partners to over 3,000 employees in 32 offices around the world. By the time of his retirement in 1984, Peña had directed programming for over 400 projects in 38 states and nine foreign countries to completion. A member of the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, he has dedicated his professional experience in mentoring young architects, writing numerous articles, and speaking.
While he and his firm were active in the design and construction of such landmark buildings as Jones Hall for the performing arts in Houston, one of Peña’s leading areas of expertise was the construction of community schools and auditoriums. CRS was commissioned in his native Laredo in the 1950s to design and build over two dozen educational and civic buildings, to include twelve new schools, three fire stations, and the Laredo Civic Auditorium.
The William M. Peña Professorship in Information Management at Texas A&M University was endowed by CRS in 1990. He has further been recognized as an Outstanding Architecture Alumnus from Texas A&M in 1998, as well as the first recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award in 2000 from the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. In November 2013, the French government by decree appointed him a “Chevalier” of the Legion of Honor – an award created by Napoleon in 1802 to acknowledge services rendered to France by persons of exceptional merit.
W. M. ‘Willie’ Peña ’42 turned 95 on February 10, 2014.
If you have interest in learning more about the exhibit, attending the grand opening or donating to this exhibit, please visit the website. http://texasaggiesgotowarexhibit.tamus.edu .
The Traveling Aggies have planned a trip to Belgium that includes being present at the grand opening of the new Exhibit in Bastogne on December 12, 2014. If you have interest in joining this group you can learn more about this trip at the following link: http://www.aggienetwork.com/trip/2337/battle-of-the-bulge-tour-and-grand-opening-of-the-texas-aggies-go-to-war-exhibit/.
The relationship with GSK pharmaceuticals is the most impactful relationship to date as a result of A&Ms collaborations with the Belgians.
Texas A&M dedicates national pandemic influenza vaccine manufacturing facility, on track for 2016 start-up phase.