E. Fay Jones (1921 – 2004) was an American architect and designer and was an apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright. Jones is also the only student of Wright’s to receive the AIA Gold Medal, the highest honor awarded by the American Institute of Architects, which he did in 1990.
Jones studied at the University of Arkanasas (where the architecture school now bares his name) and at Rice University after serving in the US Navy. An unassuming architect, Jones worked quietly in the isolation of the Ozark Mountains for most of his career. Ignoring architectural trends, Jones refined the vocabulary of regional forms and materials that he learned as a student with the Taliesin Fellowship. Using Wrightean principles, tailored to his own aesthetics, Jones created buildings that Wright might have proudly claimed.
Jones showed a marked ability to translate fanciful sketches into built form. While many designers envision a structural framework clad with an outer skin of enclosing materials, Jones actually created the vision. His two most renowned buildings – Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, Arkansas, exhibit a transcendental flair for the sculptural and the simple. Both are graceful, wooden, outdoor structures. For more information about his Arkansas design, download an article published by the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. A complete catalog of his work can be found at the University of Arkansas Libraries’ Fay Jones Collection.