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A Project by Mary Ellen Cowan who will speak at Virtual Design Inspirations-Part One for The Dallas Architectural Forum. Photo Courtesy of the Architect.

The Dallas Architecture Forum

Continues Its 2020-2021 Panel Discussion Series With

“Design Inspirations – Part One”

Virtually via Zoom

Free and Open to the Public

Thursday, April 8, 2021


The Dallas Architecture Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing public education about architecture, design and the urban environment, continues its popular Panel Discussion Series on Thursday, April 8, 2021 with “Design Inspirations – Part One,” moderated by Robyn Menter, Founder of Robyn Menter Design Associates in Dallas.

Join The Forum for our first Design Inspirations Panel of 2021. Attendees will have the rare opportunity to learn about what inspires some of our area's most talented architects, interior designers and landscape architects in their design process.

The panel will occur at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 8, 2021.   The panel will be presented virtually via Zoom. It is FREE AND OPEN TO ALL.

Advance Registration Required – Register HERE

Confirmed registrants will receive information from Zoom to access the lecture link before the start of the lecture at 6:30 pm on Thursday, April 8, 2021 

Learn from Dallas' leading architects, designers and landscape architects about what inspires their design.  This will be a unique opportunity to learn about these outstanding professionals – what motivates and inspires them as they create their highly regarded design projects, and to understand more about the persons behind the inspired design processes. 

All of our Panelists are recognized by their peers and the greater design community as being leaders in their fields. On April 8, attendees will have the privilege to hear from these designers as they engage in lively discussion.  Moderator Robyn Menter will be joined by the following distinguished designers as panelists:

Bruce BERNBAUM, Co-Founder and Principal of Bernbaum / Magadini Architects

Mary Ellen COWAN, Head, Residential Design Studio, MESA

Paul DRAPER, Founder, Paul Draper and Associates

For more information on The Dallas Architecture Forum, or the Panel Discussion Series, visit or call 214-764-2406.

The Forum’s Panel Season Sponsors are Electronic Interiors, Galaxy Modern, Purdy-McGuire, Turner Construction and Walter P Moore.


Robyn MENTER, Moderator

“Design Inspirations, Part One”

8 April 2021

Tuesday, 6:30 pm

Virtual Panel Presentation via Zoom


Born and raised in South Africa, Robyn Menter studied design at the University of the Witwatersrand. Her internship and education includes the history and restoration of Cape Dutch furniture. A contemporary art collector, Robyn worked in South Africa as an interior designer specializing in historic preservation and South African antiques. In 1981 Robyn immigrated to Dallas. After working with the firms of Deborah Lloyd Forrest and Paul Draper and Associates, Robyn established Robyn Menter Design Associates, Inc. in 1994.

Robyn Menter Design Associates is a hands-on, design focused firm working across a wide range of typologies, exploring new ideas with a variety of engaged clients and craftspeople. Their projects primarily include high-end residential and workplace design. Robyn has collaborated with many talented architects including Graham Greene, Max Levy, Bernbaum Magadini, Cliff Welch, and Lake/Flato.  



Co-Founder and Principal of Bernbaum / Magadini Architects

Bruce Bernbaum is a Co-Founder and Principal of Bernbaum / Magadini Architects, one of the leading residential architecture firms in Dallas. Bruce earned a bachelor of architecture from the University of Arizona. His architectural projects range from commercial, retail, industrial, and multi-family to client-based single family residential. Bruce serves on many charitable boards and has been involved with AIA educational committees and mentoring programs. He and his firm are active supporters of The Forum, and their award-winning work has been featured in numerous Forum special events.


Head, Residential Design Studio, MESA  

Mary Ellen Cowan leads MESA’s Residential Design Studio. With over thirty years of experience in landscape architecture and construction management, Mary Ellen has an extensive understanding of garden design, both historic and contemporary, and expresses that knowledge in innovative design concepts and implements each project with intimate attention to construction detailing. She oversees field construction to ensure proper execution of the design concept. With MESA since 1996, Mary Ellen has developed a collective design approach embracing the landscape with respect to topography, natural systems, and the interpretation of site and its relationship to architecture. This approach respects the intentions of the architect while capturing the values of her clients. Her studio’s project work consistently generates outstanding design solutions receiving both state and national design awards. 


Founder, Paul Draper and Associates

For over four decades, Paul Draper has been beautifully integrating interior design and architecture in homes, hotels and restaurants worldwide, first in California and Asia and for over thirty years based in Dallas. Now largely concentrating on residential design, he is sought after for his expertise in bespoke furniture, curating art, space planning, and fixture and finish design. A longtime collaborator with architectural icons like Frank Welch, Max Levy and Overland Partners, Draper doesn’t impose a particular style on his clients. “Instead, I try to create a home in harmony with the architecture that is uniquely suited to the client, their needs and personality,” he says. “Design should be vital today, while avoiding trendiness. I like to work with rich natural palettes and rely on the innate beauty of these materials. I am dedicated to creating timeless, finely crafted interior solutions, focusing on design of the highest quality.”



The Dallas Architecture Forum educates, enriches and connects our community by presenting programs and events, creating experiences, and engaging global and local thought-leaders from the design fields to enhance how we live.

As a not-for-profit organization for design enthusiasts founded over two decades ago, The Forum explores ideas related to how and why design matters in our daily lives through dynamic programming centered on current topics and trends in architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, urban planning, engineering, construction, and other related fields of art and design.  Our collaborative programming and community outreach are enriched by the active involvement and leadership of businesses, arts and cultural organizations, government and academic institutions at regional, national and international levels.


The Forum Lecture Series features emerging voices as well as established leaders from the allied fields of architecture and design.  Pritzker Prize, Pulitzer Prize, AIA and ASLA Gold Medal winners as well as internationally acclaimed designs, authors and critics are among the over 210 speakers from over 20 countries who have presented at The Forum over the last two decades. Some of those Lecture Speakers include Diller / Scofidio / Renfro, Kazuyo Sejima, Tsien / Williams, Deborah Berke, Annabelle Selldorf, Lake / Flato, Craig Dykers / Snohetta, Jeanne Gang, Marlon Blackwell, Kai-Uwe Bergmann / BIG, Rick Joy, Juhani Pallasmaa, Tom Phifer, Leo Marmol, Lee Mindel, Laurie Olin, Tsao/McKown, Thomas Woltz, Brad Cloepfil, Gordon Gill, Alex Krieger, Tom Kundig, Enrique Norten, Daniel Libeskind, Eric Owen Moss, Michael Van Valkenburgh, James Burnett, Brian Mackay-Lyons, Jamie Carpenter, Wang Shu, James Corner, Norman Foster, Rem Koolhaas, Rafael Vinoly, Reed/Hilderbrand, Segiru Ban, Peter Bohlin, Thom Mayne, Michael Graves, Jorge Silvetti, and Peter Eisenman.  

In 2018, The Forum established the Frank Welch Memorial Lecture to honor Frank Welch, the Dean of Texas Modernist architects and great friend of The Forum.  Past presenters include Ted Flato, Co-Founder of Lake | Flato Architects and Rick Joy, Founder and Principal, Studio Rick Joy. 


The Forum organizes and presents an annual series of interactive, educational, and informal panel discussions about topics and issues of local and regional interest.  The panels are moderated by community leaders and design professionals, and feature panelists recognized as experts in their fields.  In addition, The Forum highlights regional design talent focusing on both their design inspirations and award-winning projects.  Panels are presented as a service to the community at no charge. 


The Dallas Design Symposium brings thought leaders from architecture, art and design together to explore the intersection of these fields for thoughtful and critical conversation.  Past participants have included:  environmental artist Christo, New York Times architecture critic Michael Kimmelman, Aaron Betsky, Leo Marmol, Tom Kundig, Brad Oldham, Johnston Marklee, Terrence Riley, Karim Rashid, artists Walead Beshty and Jorge Pardo, and the Directors of the Chinati Foundation and MASS MoCA.


The Design Society is a satellite established to enhance and expand The Forum’s relationships with a broader audience and new constituencies. This group is led by visionary and emerging leaders in the design professions and offers additional programs, outreach and engagement primarily designed for a younger audience. Activities include: casual gatherings after Forum events, Pecha Kuchas, design-related community projects, informal design tours and Happy Hours.  Design Society events are detailed on their Facebook page.


“365 Modern Living” is a series of receptions hosted by The Forum focused around living with great design every day of the year. “365 Modern Living” features some of Dallas’ most architecturally significant modern and contemporary residences and explore the ideas surrounding design, inspiration, and innovation.  Attendees have the opportunity to converse with the homes’ design teams of architects, interior designers, and landscape architects as well as owners. Experiencing architecture and design first-hand is vital to fulfilling the Forum’s mission. The Forum hosts its Annual Members’ Meeting and other special events at significant buildings in Dallas. Study Tours have been conducted to Spain, Switzerland, Finland, and Mexico City. Forum Study Groups have visited mid-century modern residences in Palm Springs in association with the University of Texas at Austin, and toured art and architecture in Los Angeles in conjunction with the Nasher Sculpture Center.


Dallas Modern is a monograph published by The Forum featuring twenty of the most architecturally outstanding modern and contemporary residences in Dallas.  With over 200 pages and 250 color photographs as well as insightful essays written by Maxwell Anderson, Mark Gundersen and Jeremy Strick, the book advances The Forum’s mission to explore how design matters in daily life. The Forum also produced a limited-edition folio featuring important Dallas-Fort Worth cultural buildings designed by some of the most influential architects from the twentieth and twenty first centuries. The Forum commissioned esteemed photographer Laura Wilson to take original images for this folio celebrating these civic treasures in North Texas. The Forum plans to produce future publications about the significant architecture of the North Texas region.


Since its founding, The Forum has fostered vibrant partnerships with over fifty regional, national and international educational, civic and cultural organizations. These collaborations produce meaningful discussions that connect the community to the importance of design in modern life.  Among our collaborators is the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs (CAPPA) at the University of Texas at Arlington.  Recent collaborations between CAPPA and The Forum explored issues and topics related to architecture and urban planning, including Texas Regional Architecture and Affordable Housing in cooperation with bcWorkshop (Building Community Workshop).

The Forum also works closely with Preservation Dallas, the Dallas chapter of the American Institute of Architects and its affiliated Architecture and Design Exchange. Other cultural, education and civic partners include:  Dallas City Design Studio, DoCoMoMo North Texas, Meadows School and Museum at SMU, The MAC, Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas Contemporary, and the Kimbell Art Museum. The Forum also collaborates with other national organizations focused on stimulating discourse on architecture, design and urbanism.  Among the groups with whom The Forum has cooperated are:  Aga Kahn Foundation, Auburn University’s Rural Studio, Architectural League of New York City, Harvard Graduate School of Design, National Building Museum, Rice Design Alliance, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin.

The Forum’s successful collaborative initiatives and leadership have been recognized with numerous awards and accolades, including an AIA Dallas Community Honor Award, a Citation of Honor from the Texas Society of Architects, and a Collaborative Achievement Award from the national offices of the American Institute of Architects. The Forum is a founding member of the Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO), an international organization dedicated to enhancing public dialogue about architecture and design. The Forum’s Executive Director serves on the Board of Directors of the AAO.

For more information on The Dallas Architecture Forum, visit For questions about The Forum, call 214-764-2406.

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For Twitter, our account is DallasArchForum.

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