E. Fay Jones

E. Fay Jones

E. Fay Jones, (31 January 192131 August 2004) was a noted American architect and designer. He was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright.

E. Fay Jones, (first name Euine which is pronounced U-wan and is an old Welsh form of John), was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on 31 January 1921. Jones became the only surviving child in his family after losing both of his sisters at an early age. His family moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, and later to El Dorado, Arkansas. Jones was a longtime member of the Boy Scouts of America and earned the rank of Eagle Scout.

Jones' interest in architecture began with the design of treehouses in high school and seeing a short film about Frank Lloyd Wright. Jones hoped to earn an appointment to the United States Naval Academy and took engineering classes at the University of Arkansas to improve his chances. Jones' hopes were dashed when his congressman was defeated for reelection and was unable to offer an appointment.

At the outbreak of World War II Jones joined the United States Navy and served in the Pacific theater of operations as a naval aviator piloting torpedo and dive bombers.

After the war Jones studied at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas and at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Jones encountered Frank Lloyd Wright in Houston, Texas and the two had an immediate rapport. Jones was teaching at the University of Oklahoma and Wright came to the university for a lecture. Wright invited Jones to his winter workshop Taliesin West near Scottsdale, Arizona. Later, Wright invited Jones's entire family to his home and design institute Taliesin in Spring Green, Wisconsin. Jones returned to both sites numerous times as both friend and apprentice and became a Taliesin Fellow. Jones was a great admirer of Wright but had no overwhelming desire to be personally famous and soon established a private practice in the Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas, where he also joined the faculty of department of architecture at the University of Arkansas, later serving as the first dean of the UA School of Architecture.

Jones was a quiet and unassuming architect who preferred the quiet isolation of the Arkansas mountains to the urban landscape. Jones ignored architectural trends and instead focused on his own organic aesthetic with materials found in the Ozarks and familiar traditional forms from his home region. Jones work focused primarily on the intimate rather than the grandiose. Jones most renowned works are chapels and private homes rather than skyscrapers.

Jones used Frank Lloyd Wright's principles and created buildings that had a distinct Wrightean feel to them. Jones' most famous buildings are the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas, and the Pinecote Pavilion at the Crosby Arboretum in Picayune, Mississippi. These buildings are simple and transcendental creations of wood. Thorncrown Chapel was selected as the fourth most favored building in a poll of the membership of the American Institute of Architects. Thorncrown was also selected as the best American building built since 1980.

In January 2006, Jones' Butterfly House in Fayetteville, Arkansas was being pursued for conversion into a synagogue, serving as a new home for the congregation of Temple Shalom of Northwest Arkansas. Neighbors who were concerned about increased traffic using the house for religious services would create demanded a hearing by the City Council. This prompted the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty to warn Fayetteville in a legal opinion letter that if it denied the congregation its' conditional use permit to use the house as a place of worship, it would be violating the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The letter argued that the Butterfly House was well-suited for use as a synagogue and that traffic concerns fell far short of the overwhelming threshold required to burden religious expression.(1) The issue was put to rest later that spring, when the members of Temple Shalom decided that Butterfly House was not adequate for its purposes and voted by a generous margin to no longer pursue the purchase of the house and to seek a new location that better served the needs of the Jewish community.

In addition to his remarkable buildings, Jones is also known for creating unique designs for furniture and everyday objects Such as the Fulbright Peace Fountain located at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville main campus.

Jones is recalled as a gentle and unassuming man for whom a harsh word was completely out of character. His partner, Maurice Jennings, stated that he had worked with Jones for 25 years without an instance of emotional conflict.

Jones was a recipient of the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal in 1990. He was accepted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1979 and as a Fellow of the American Academy of Rome in 1980.

In 1999 a retrospective of his work was produced for the Old State House Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas and is available as a traveling exhibition from the museum. The University of Arkansas also published a driving tour of many of his residences and buildings in Northwest Arkansas.

On 31 August2004 Jones died at his home in Fayetteville at the age of 83, survived by his wife and two daughters.

(1) [http://www.becketfund.org/files/e7196.pdf The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Legal Opinion Letter Regarding Use of Butterfly House for Religious Purposes]


*Fay Jones, by Robert Ivy, 2001, ISBN 0-07-135831-5
*Outside the Pale: The Architecture of Fay Jones, by Fay Jones and Robert Ivy, 1999, ISBN 1-55728-543-8

External links

* [http://becketfund.org The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty]
* [http://www.becketfund.org/files/e7196.pdf The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Legal Opinion Letter Regarding Use of Butterfly House for Religious Purposes]
* [http://www.thorncrown.com Thorncrown Chapel]
* [http://www.beautifulbellavista.com/chapel.htm Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel]
* [http://www.fayjones.org Fay Jones website]
* [http://uark.edu/jones.html E. Fay Jones Chair in Architecture at the University of Arkansas]
* [http://www.lindsey.edu/chapel]

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