BAC Remembers Legacy of William G. Houseman, Hon. AIA

Noted editor and writer passionate about BAC mission

Bill Houseman; Image Courtesy Suzanne Harris

The Boston Architectural College remembers the legacy of William "Bill" Houseman, a beloved supporter of the BAC. Bill passed away on May 29, 2015 at the age of 93 among the comfort of his family in Los Angeles, California.

An impressive man, Bill wore many hats throughout his life: writer, editor, publisher, veteran, brother, husband, father, and friend. Bill spent a majority of his life in New York City as a writer and editor at Look and Life magazines and executive editor of House and Garden as well as serving as the editor and publisher of The Environment Monthly, an editor of Architecture Minnesota Magazine, and Publisher of Seniority Press, a Saco, Maine publishing company.

Bill was intrigued by the man-made environment, which was strongly reflected in his work and support of the architecture profession. Bill was an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and was awarded a Presidential Medal by the National Architectural Council for his service as Publications Consultant to the National Council of Architectural Registration Board (NCARB).

"There must be few laypersons, journalists or otherwise, who have made more positive, measurable contributions to the advancement of architecture-and in so many different and important ways... [Bill] has championed the power of design to improve the quality of life. Further you will see that the thread which runs unbroken through all of his work is a belief that architects are preeminently qualified to change the man-made environment for the better."
- Excerpt from the introduction of Bill at his honorary induction into the AIA.

Using the strongest tool at his disposal, his writing, Bill championed the idea that design could change the world. This belief led him to the BAC. He was connected to the College's mission of providing an excellent design education that is accessible to diverse communities. Working with his brother, Robert Houseman, Bill helped to secure the Houseman Summer Academy Scholarship and the Houseman Professional Program Scholarship.

The Houseman Scholarship Program aims to increase diversity among BAC students, graduates, and the design professions by expanding access to design education and related career pursuits. Upon completion of BAC Summer Academy, Houseman Scholars may apply to return the following year as Houseman Fellows to further develop their skills. In addition, during their senior year, Houseman Scholars have the opportunity to apply for the Houseman Professional Program Scholarship, an award that covers a significant amount of tuition toward the professional undergraduate program of their choice at the BAC.

Bill Houseman interviews BAC Summer Academy students on campus, 2012; Photo by Bonica Ayala

In 2012, Bill made his final visit to the BAC to experience the Summer Academy program in person. He was fascinated by what empowered teenagers to study design and he individually conducted interviews with each student in the program. In a reflection he wrote after the visit, he cited his excitement for what the future held.

"On the last day of the program in late July...students are awarded a certificate of achievement recognizing their month-long exploration of the design process. And I am imagining that these certificates will be something of an oddity when tacked on the walls of teens' bedrooms, competing for attention." wrote Bill. "Yet they might well be the first of credentials of several that will be displayed one day in the offices of architects, interior designers, or landscape architects. Who knows!"

His impact on the BAC and the design professions has not been ignored. Norma Fervier, BID '14, was the first Houseman Scholar to graduate from the BAC, and she credits much of her success to the scholarship. "It gave me an opportunity to go a school that impacted my life and career dramatically. I was lucky to have the freedom to explore many different areas of design and had the drive to stay on track because someone believed in me," said Norma.

The BAC will forever remember the legacy of William Houseman. Please join us in celebrating his life and the lasting contributions he made to our community.