Sanctuary Restoration Architects

Headshot_Anne Stimmel.jpg
Headshot_David Chase.jpg

By Jerry Worden

In a recent newspaper issue, I noted that our Sanctuary Rehabilitation Project was being led by the architectural firm of Architexas. Craig Melde is the founder and Senior Principal of Architexas and he was involved in the early stages of the project but since the project got off the ground the nitty gritty work has been handled by David Chase and Anne Stimmel. David is a Principal at Architexas and Anne is an Associate which means on the organizational chart Anne reports to David but for those of us who have worked closely with them for the past months they are very much a team.

Both David and Anne are natives of this area. David grew up in north Dallas and graduated from J.J. Pearce High School where he was an outfielder on the baseball team. Anne grew up and still lives in Hurst and graduated from L. D. Bell High School.

When I asked Anne what drew her to architecture she said that as a child she loved to build elaborate houses out of blocks and to tear out and study floor plans out of home design magazines belonging to her mother who is a retired art teacher. She also noted that while in elementary school she was asked to write a paper which her dad still has about what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said lawyer or architect but she misspelled architect.

David attended Arizona State University for three years intending to major in architecture but after a bit was not sure that was the field for him so he just stayed with the basics until he returned home on a holiday break and rediscovered some architectural drawings he had done in high school and his interest was rekindled.  He transferred to the University of Texas at Arlington where he received both a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Architecture. All those years of study added up to 8 years of higher education.

David joined Architexas in 1996 and has worked on many projects including the addition of the bell tower to the historic Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe across downtown from FPC on Ross Ave.  Both Anne and David speak with great fondness for a project they worked on to restore the First Presbyterian Church of Orange, Texas. A building with some of the characteristic of our building. The did all the historic research and created the design and plans but before the work could begin a hurricane struck the area and an economic downturn followed so the funding to carry out the project has never become available. Anne is currently involved in a small renovation project for the First Presbyterian Church of Hillsboro and they are both very interested in another project they are working on now which is the restoration of the Fannin County Courthouse in Bonham.

Following high school, Anne enrolled at Texas A&M where she studied for 6 years and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Design, a Master’s degree in Architecture and a Certificate in Historic Preservation. After a couple of summer internships at Architexas, Anne joined the firm in 2008. Unfortunately in 2012, because of the economic downturn and a shortage of projects to work on Anne had to leave Architexas and go to work for an architectural firm in Fort Worth. However, in 2015 with more projects on board and our project getting underway David brought Anne back home and we are very glad he did.

Both Anne and David are members of the American institute of Architects meaning they have passed all the necessary exams and are fully licensed.  In addition, after his name David carries the letters LEED AP which stands for an Accredited Professional in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and means a bunch more tests have been passed. Both Anne and David are members of Preservation Dallas and work with the Dallas Landmark Commission. David is the chair of the Fair Park Task Force of the Commission and Anne serves on the Central Business District Task Force.

Anne and her husband who is a real estate agent still live in Hurst where they grew up and met in high school. They have two children a daughter who is 5 and just started kindergarten at the same elementary school that her parents attended and a son who is 3 and in pre k. Because of a very busy and complicated work schedule Anne is very gratefully to have parents and in laws close by to help take care for the kids.

David has shared custody of two children from a former marriage. A daughter who is 16 and a son who is 13 and following in his father’s footstep as a skilled baseball player. David is currently engaged and plans to be married in the spring which will bring two more children into the blended family.

My opening referred to the nitty gritty work and the amount of drawings and corrected drawings and specifications and submittals and requests for information and punch lists and pay applications that are involved with a project like this is indeed overwhelming. It does not help that for this project they are dealing with an old room that has been modified several times for which no accurate drawings exist and which has no square corners, a sloped floor, a multilayered ceiling and is not symmetrical.  They have spent many hours measuring, looking at existing conditions and checking out patches in the ceiling and cracks in the walls to make sure they have been satisfactorily repaired.

Josh Taylor, Bryce Weigand, Marty Coleman, Karl Schwarz or some combination of these folks and I have spent many hours on Thursday afternoons in a corner of the Koinonia Room with David and Anne and our contractors going over detail after detail of the project and always having to be concerned about keeping the budget numbers in line.  Some of those discussions have not always been calm but Anne and David have kept us on track and it has been a great pleasure to share this rehabilitation project with them.