Gala Celebrates Neoclassicism to Glorify Old, New and Architecture Off the Grid
By Ellie Leeper
Photography by Greg Harrison
It might be difficult to imagine a trendy evening in an old warehouse in Southtown San Antonio. When the American Institute of Architects (AIA) plans the party, however, transforming an old industrial space south of downtown into a chic venue for a Beaux Arts Ball is something that even imagionationally-challenged minds can appreciate. This spring, the AIA held their Beaux Arts Ball gala in the Cleary Zimmermann Warehouse on South Flores Street in San Antonio. Prior to its renewed use as the headquarters for one of San Antonio’s leading MEP engineering firms, the warehouse was a location that San Antonio farmers used to frequently purchase tractors and farming equipment.
Staying true to the Beaux Arts theme, AIA honored the integrity of the old warehouse space, but transformed it into a modern adaptation of the traditional party scene and required both elegant, yet edgy attire deemed “Black Tie necessary, but Pearls Optional”— how trés chic. The gala featured many hipster artistic party perks along with the open bar; a cool lounge, visual art projections, Wii and Xbox gaming, and hip music that made it irresistible to dance the night away. What was possibly the most modern touch of all? The Fab Food Truck Fare. Gala guests had their choices between the offerings of five different food trucks for bites at the ball: Austin’s East Side King Truck, Cullum’s Atta Boy Truck, Rickshaw Stop, Wheelie Gourmet Bio-Fueled Truck, and CoolHaus. These trucks offered both traditional and fusion foods from Japan to Pakistan and America to Latin America. For dessert: “architecturally inspired ice cream treats in edible wrappers.” Quite the echantillonage, if you will.
The gala was organized by Torrey Stanley Carleton, Executive Director of the AIA San Antonio, who worked in tandem with Ann Benson McGlone, the event chair. There were over fifty San Antonio architectural firms, construction companies, and engineering companies and manufacturers who sponsored the 2012 Beaux Arts Ball. The Diamond sponsors for the Ball were Cleary Zimmerman Engineers and Brandt, and Platinum sponsors were Jaster-Quintanilla, Smith Seckman Reid, Inc., PSI, and the UTSA College of Architecture.