Streaming Media

Publication Date



White, John Claude. “Castles in the Air: Experiences and Journeys in Unknown Bhutan” The National Geographic Magazine 15.4 (1914): 365-455.

UTEP was founded in 1914 as the Texas State School of Mines and Metallurgy, and the inspiration for its architecture is credited to Kathleen Worrell, wife of the School's first dean, who was fascinated with an 88-page photo-essay on Bhutan that appeared in the April 1914 issue of National Geographic magazine.

Persuaded by his wife that Bhutanese "dzongs" would be a good fit for his mining school's setting in the foothills of El Paso's Franklin Mountains, Dean Worrell had the first campus building, Old Main, constructed in this style in 1917.

Since then, nearly all UTEP buildings have followed this theme, creating an unusual degree of architectural coherence on a U.S. university campus—offering to students, faculty, staff and visitors the beauty and serenity of its Bhutanese origins.