Legacy of a Local: Bertram Kinzey, Jr.

 Bert Kinzey, architect has seen a lot and done a lot.  That’s Bert showing me his still current Virginia Architect License.  Want an idea of how much Bert has seen?  Take a closer look at the card he is holding.  His number is 684.  Just for comparison, this is  the 30th annivarsary  of my license, kind of a milestone, and my number is 5180.

Bert is a current member of AIA Blue Ridge and comes to meetings and events as often as he can make it.   It’s  interesting to hear how the life of an architect has changed but also,  how it hasn’t changed.

When Bert was teaching at Virginia Tech (before it was Virginia Tech), there wasn’t any good reference book on acoustical design for buildings and especially for performance space.  So, Bert researched and wrote the book.

I haven’t written any books and there is information overload on most subjects,  but talking with Bert I relize that the profession is about solving the problems that confront you.  It’s an inquisitive nature, a tinkering spirit and open mind you need to practice architecture at any age or in any time.

I also realize just how  few we few are. In 1948 when Bert was licensed, there were just a few hundered architects in Virginia.  In 1982, 34 years latter, when I received my Virginia license, fewer than 5,000 additional licenses had been issued.  30 years after that, only 10,000 more architects have been added to the roles.  Consider that Virginia has a current population estimated to be around 8 million strong and you realize that architects represent a fraction of  one percent of the population.

It’s great to be special, our mothers all like telling their friends that we’re architects, but it’s nice to have a place to share our experiences too, where we can feel at home and compare notes.

Haven’t been to an AIA Blue Ridge event for awhile, don’t think the programs are of interest, don’t have the time?  It’s all true, but I invite you to join Bert and me and the other rare few who live by wit and imagination for a little conversation, maybe some refreshment or an inside joke or  local gossip at the next AIA Blue Ridge meeting.

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  1. davisa at 10:56 am

    We are pleased to have Bert back in Blacksburg and as a valuable participant in our alumni events and a great source of VT and architecture history.