Why Fayetteville Rules: Fay Jones Architecture

Let’s start this one with a disclaimer. I am not an architect. Also, everything I know about architecture could fit inside one kids-size-4-black-cowboy-boot. Or, roughly one coffee cup, small.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk about another reason that Fayetteville Rules: Fay Jones architecture.

Fay Jones was born in Pine Bluff, grew up in El Dorado, but spent a significant amount of time in Fayetteville, where he studied at the University of Arkansas, and later became the first Dean of the University of Arkansas School of Architecture. He continued to work out of his small office here in Fayetteville and was a resident of Fayetteville until he died in 2004 at 83.

Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, the Mildred B. Cooper chapel in Bella Vista, and the J. William Fulbright Memorial Peace Fountain on the University Campus were probably his most locally known works, but Jones also designed some incredible private residences in and around Fayetteville that some consider to be some of his best work.

Michael Cockrum of Architecture week wrote

For me, these are the most wonderful of his buildings — the simple grace of their spaces — intimate yet complex enough to enrich but not overpower the experience of living in them.

Jones numerous creations include buildings, homes, chapels, dormitories, sculpture, and occasionally furniture. His influence can be found all over Fayetteville, from the Peace Fountain on the University Campus, to the Kappa Sigma building on Dickson St, to the residences on Mount Sequoia and other areas around town. His buildings have become a part of Fayetteville’s identity, and Jones work somehow has both captured and shaped Fayetteville’s personality.

Chris Baribeau, AIA of Modus Studio in Fayetteville said

The work of Fay Jones is a local treasure. He was a thinker and architect that developed and engaged a keen sense of how to live and build in the Ozarks to create intelligent, beautiful, and relevant architecture which is rooted in, and draws inspiration from, nature and place. He ultimately elevated the presence of Northwest Arkansas and the University to a national level and no one should pass on an opportunity to experience one of his brilliant buildings.

Last week, The University of Arkansas System board of trustees voted to name the Fayetteville campus’s School of Architecture after him. Fay was also an incredible person for anyone who had the chance to meet him. I was fortunate enough to meet Fay and his wife Gus in 2001, and from that time until he died in 2004, he never forgot my face, nor my name, and was always warm and engaging. Fayetteville has been home to an abundance of world renowned architects, and as a result, some really incredible buildings, but without a doubt Fay Jones work stands out for it’s influence on one of the coolest cities in the world, and is another reason why Fayetteville Rules.

More about Jones’ work including some pictures can be found here.