Famous Architects From Arkansas

Interior of the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs
Interior of the Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs

Arkansas is know for its natural scenery, but there is also beauty in the architecture in the state. Fay Jones, renown student of Frank Lloyd Wright, designed breathtaking chapels including Throwncrown in Eureka Springs and The Anthony Chapel in Hot Springs. But there are many more architects from The Natural State. 

Famous Architects

E. Fay Jones (1921-2004) 

Born in Pine Bluff and raised in El Dorado, this University of Arkansas architecture professor and Frank Lloyd Wright disciple designed artisan-built houses that incorporated organic design and native materials. He was designated by the American Institute of Architects in 1989 as one of the world's greatest contemporary architects.

In 2000, he was named by the AIA as “one of the 10 most influential architects of the 20th century.” 

Fay Jones architecture projects in Arkansas include Thorncrown Chapel near Eureka Springs, The Faubus House in Huntsville, and the Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista. He was awarded the Rome Prize Fellowship in Architecture for 1980-81 and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal by President Bush in 1991.

In 2000, the AIA recognized Thorncrown as the fourth most significant structure of the 20th century and in 2006, this exquisite example of Fay Jones architecture was named to the AIA’s exclusive list of Twenty-five Year Award buildings. The University of Arkansas School of Architecture was renamed in his honor in 2009. The below photo is care of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture.

E. Fay Jones

Reese Rowland (b. 1966)

Reese Rowland (FAIA) is a design principal with Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects. In 2014, Reese was named a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects, an honor bestowed on only 3 percent of architects nationally. Reese was one of just 35 recognized for the category of Design.

His Heifer International World Headquarters design received the nation’s highest honor for architecture, the 2008 AIA National Institute Honor Award.

Since joining the firm he has designed some of Little Rock’s most recognized buildings, including:

Reese Rowland is a 1984 graduate of Paris High School and has a degree in architecture from the University of Arkansas. 

Edward Durell Stone (1902-1978)

Born in Fayetteville and schooled at the University of Arkansas and Harvard, this internationally known architect designed the Museum of Modern Art and Radio City Music Hall both in New York, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and the General Motors Building in New York.

Closer to home, Stone also designed Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis and the Pine Bluff Convention Center. A large body of his work was presented to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville by Stone in 1975. His widow donated a substantial number of the professional papers in 1979. His ashes are interred in Fayetteville’s Evergreen Cemetery, beside the graves of his parents and his brother. 

Cyrus A. Sutherland (1920-2008)

Professor emeritus of the College of Architecture at the University of Arkansas, which is ranked in the Top 10 schools of architecture in the country. Other early faculty members, along with Sutherland, included such outstanding designers as John Williams, E. Fay Jones, Herbert Fowler, Ernest Jacks and Keith McPheeters.

Sutherland introduced historic preservation as a part of the curriculum in 1976 and he also pioneered the study of vernacular architecture in the state. He was a member of the American Institute of Architects and the Society of Architectural Historians. 

Charles L. Thompson (1868-1959)

One of the state’s more prolific and successful architects. His firm designed more than 2,000 buildings, hundreds of which are still standing today.

According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, “Some of the best examples of his work in varied styles are the W. E. Hemingway House in Little Rock, constructed in 1895 in the Queen Anne style; the Temple B’nai Israel in Little Rock built in 1897 in the Romanesque style; the J. D. Back House built in 1905 in Little Rock, which is one of the many examples of the Colonial Revival style.”

Thompson is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock. 


Interested in learning more? Check out these other famous Arkansans!