- E. Fay Jones
E. Fay Jones, (
31 January 1921– 31 August 2004) was a noted American architectand designer. He was an apprenticeof 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 Americaand 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 Academyand took engineering classes at the University of Arkansasto 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 IIJones joined the United States Navyand served in the Pacific theater of operationsas a naval aviatorpiloting torpedo and dive bombers.
After the war Jones studied at the
University of Arkansasin Fayetteville, Arkansas and at Rice Universityin Houston, Texas. Jones encountered Frank Lloyd Wright in Houston, Texas and the two had an immediate rapport. Jones was teaching at the University of Oklahomaand Wright came to the university for a lecture. Wright invited Jones to his winter workshop Taliesin Westnear Scottsdale, Arizona. Later, Wright invited Jones's entire family to his home and design institute Taliesinin 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 Mountainsof 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
aestheticwith 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 Chapelin Eureka Springs, Arkansas, the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapelin Bella Vista, Arkansas, and the Pinecote Pavilionat the Crosby Arboretumin 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 Housein 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 Fountainlocated at the University of Arkansas, Fayettevillemain 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 ArchitectsGold Medal in 1990. He was accepted as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architectsin 1979 and as a Fellow of the American Academy of Romein 1980.
In 1999 a retrospective of his work was produced for the
Old State House Museumin 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.
31 August 2004Jones 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
* [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]
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