Architecture of Significance
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U of A’s E. Fay Jones House renovated, a local landmark

By Dave Woods | DiscoverNorthwestArkansas.com

University of Arkansas is lucky to have a house designed by E. Fay Jones in its possession. In fact, there are many structures in Northwest Arkansas designed by the local architect and designer after whom the Universality of Arkansas School of Architecture is named. It’s a big darn deal for the university and the region.

“E. Fay Jones was an architect of significance,” said Gregory Herman, associate professor of architecture, said. “He was one of the early faculty at the school of architecture and was in the school’s first graduating class. He went on to greater fame.”

Jones became a world-renowned architect, designing homes, structures and artwork of significance, including Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista and the Fulbright Peace Fountain on the University of Arkansas campus. In 1990, he received the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal.

“The University’s E. Fay Jones House was the first home he designed in his independent practice,” Gregory said. “It’s significant because it contains the seeds of many of his later works with a lot of the themes, details and aspects that came later in his career. Those seeds are in this house.”

The home, located at 1330 North Hillcrest in Fayetteville, is an important holding of the university and a national prizewinner for University of Arkansas students and faculty.

“In 2010 we prepared drawings of the Jones House,” Gregory explained. “The Historic American Buildings Survey sponsors an annual competition for drawings submitted to them from around the country. The University of Arkansas took first place for our work on the E. Fay Jones House.”

Jones’ daughters gave the home and contents to the university in 2015. Jones was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright and was heavily influenced by Wright’s style. It is, Gregory said, a valuable teaching tool.

“It’s very useful,” he said. “Useful because of its special arrangement and the way materials come together. It has a bit of a dreamy aspect to it. There are details you wouldn’t expect. It all comes together in a really poetic composition. It speaks to students very strongly. Fay loves two kinds of spaces. Fay loved caves and tree houses. The lower part of the home is very much a cave and upstairs is a tree house. It’s a very interesting home to study ”

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