In Memoriam: Willie Peña

This Sunday, February 10, marks the one-year anniversary of the deep-felt loss of our long-time mentor, Willie Peña. It is a wonderful day to take a step back and simply remember the impact this man had.

  • 1942 – Bachelor of Science in Architecture at Texas A&M
  • Commissioned in the Army immediately after graduation
  • Served in three major battles: Huertgen Forest, the Battle of the Bulge, and the Liberation of Colmar
  • 1945 – French awarded him the Croix de Guerre
  • 1947 – Retired from the Army as a Captain and was awarded a Bronze Star and Purple Heart
  • 1948 – Bachelor of Architecture at Texas A&M
  • 1949 – Joined the architecture firm of Caudill Rowlett and Scott (CRS) and became the fourth founding partner
  • 1969 – Wrote the first edition of Problem Seeking with John Focke
  • 1972 – American Institute of Architects elevated him to AIA Fellow, in recognition of his contributions to programming and education
  • 1970 to 1973 – He served as a consultant to the Professional Examination Committee of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards
  • 1990 – AIA Houston Chapter awarded him the Chapter Citation Award
  • 1991 – Published his war memoir As Far As Schleiden
  • 1998 – He received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the College of Architecture at Texas A&M University
  • 1990 – AIA Houston Chapter awarded him the Thomas Jefferson Award
  • 2013 – French awarded him the Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of Honour (France’s highest honor)
  • 2014 – He was one of five notable Aggies memorialized in the “Aggies Go to War” museum exhibit in Belgium
  • 2015 – he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award of Texas A&M University
  • 2016 – The Kingdom of Belgium bestowed upon him the Honorary Distinction of Commander in the Order of the Crown, presented in person by Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid of Belgium

Known by many as the Father of Architectural Programming, he was a mentor and a friend. At KYO his influence is felt each time we use the Problem Seeking methodology and his memory is honored.

If you would like to hear more of the story behind “Problem Seeking: An Architectural Primer”, be sure to watch our 2017 interview with him >> Willie Peña Interview

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