Phillip Poole, influential architect and urban planner, dies at 75
September 7, 1946 – September 25, 2021
G. Phillip Poole, a longtime architect and urban planner who focused on preserving and rebuilding the urban core of Fort Worth, passed away on September 25, 2021.
A native of Alexandria, Virginia and a Virginia Tech graduate with a master’s degree in architecture, he came to Fort Worth when he accepted his commission with the Army Corp of Engineers.
He then worked for Komatsu Architects before setting up his own graphic design studio, then formed TownSite Company with his wife, Mary Nell Poole.
Poole was instrumental in the redevelopment of the Cultural District, West 7th Street and the Near Southside.
He was honored by Near Southside Inc. with the Most Valuable Partner Award in 2003.
In November 2020, the Fort Worth Cultural District Alliance renamed the Cultural District Award of Excellence awarded to recipients for significant contributions to the Cultural District to the Phillip Poole Award and presented it to Phillip and Mary Nell Poole.
The prize is a miniature copy of the distinctive curved wide wing beams that supported a billboard for Al’s Trim Shop on West 7th Street until the 2000 tornado hit Fort Worth and, with artistic help, created a new city icon.
Dustin Van Orne, director of strategic marketing and visitor services at the Fort Worth Museum of Modern Art and current president of the Cultural District Alliance, said the award was appropriate for the Pooles.
“Philip Poole was instrumental in saving this billboard,” Orne said at the time. “It really means a turning point in the cultural district. “
Reagan Ferguson, vice president of sales at Pressman Printing Inc. and a former board member of the Cultural District Alliance, said that Poole, along with the leadership of JG Holdings and others, “saw creativity through chaos and convinced Ruth Carter Stevenson and architect Robert Venturi to incorporate the art found in the design of a new post office in an adjacent park on 7th and University.
Poole, in accepting the award, spoke of the residents’ responsibility to recognize and protect the city and its heritage.
“We sometimes don’t understand how blessed we are to live in a collection of great places, not just museums, but our parks, the river. We really are. We will have to remain vigilant. We need to protect the values of our cultural district, ”said Poole.
Ferguson has said Poole is one of his heroes.
“He and Mary Nel were visionaries who envisioned a better, more liveable Fort Worth and were extraordinarily effective instruments of change. Their influence can be seen in our active and diverse lifestyle and in our thriving urban village which encourages development alongside adaptive reuse which provides pedestrian green streetscapes, which honor important events from our past and the ways that we integrate and integrate art into the environment, said Ferguson.
The Pooles, he said, have been incredible advocates and champions of the Cultural Quarter, working tirelessly from when the key corridor consisted of just a few cultural gems and small retailers bordered by a swathe of aging warehouses. and underutilized.
Poole designed the Museum Place Project, was instrumental in the post-tornado development of Linwood in the aftermath of the tornado, and was involved in negotiating the Montgomery Plaza site plan.
“Phillip has been the voice and conscience of the Cultural Quarter for years. He was passionate about his place in Fort Worth history and forward thinking about his role in the future of Fort Worth, ”said Margaret DeMoss, Past President of the West 7th Neighborhood Alliance at the award ceremony. prices. “Mary Nell has been his support team and both have served on municipal advisory committees dealing with urban redevelopment. In recent years, she has been personally engaged with established residents of the Cultural District by helping them negotiate the urbanization of their neighborhoods, ”said DeMoss.
In accepting the award, Poole reviewed some of the projects he has worked on.
“The Near Southside started at around $ 280 million in 1995. It is currently worth $ 1 billion in private investment. On this side of town, the West Side of Fort Worth is worth a billion dollars. It started at $ 181 million, ”he said.
This proves, he said, that there are a lot of people who like the idea of practicable and sustainable places.
Poole paid tribute to his wife.
“I couldn’t have done it without Mary Nel. We just had the chance to have a good partnership, ”he said. “Mary Nel has been a great partner, doing some of the things that I don’t have the ability or the skills to do.”
There will be a celebration of Poole’s life at 2 p.m. on Saturday, October 16 at the Fort Worth Botanic Garden Center. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donate in Phillip’s honor to UT Southwestern Moncrief Cancer Institute or the US National Park Service. – This article contains information from the FWBP archives.