Euine Fay Jones, Architect [1921-2004]
E. Fay Jones [†] is best noted as an architect of residential and ecclesiastical design, whose work expressed a strong appreciation for the principals of modern organic design harmony with nature, use of natural materials, and the overriding importance of light and space. Among those architects who were strongly influenced or trained by Frank Lloyd Wright, Jones is noted as strikingly different for having absorbed the principals of "organic design" without becoming trapped into a career of mimicking Wright's output or designs. Jones' work has been identified as highly original architecture with a distinctive architectural vocabulary that remained largely consistent throughout an era marked by a myriad of competing architectural trends and fads. The architectural consistency and unfailing high quality of his design work over the entire length of his career, without regard to the evolving paradigms of mainstream "modern architecture," was one of the main reasons for his recognition by his peers.
Jones' career was predominantly focused on small scale residential work in Arkansas, where he also taught at the University of Arkansas, and in surrounding states. As a result, his work did not achieve as high a profile as some of his contemporaries who worked on larger commissions and in larger markets. Over his 41-year career, however, Jones's work received extensive coverage in popular and professional architectural periodicals and publications. Many of the national register nominated properties received professional design awards and were widely published in period journals. Scholarly recognition of Jones' work, has ranged from F. L. Wright himself to modern architectural historians such as Prof. Richard Longstreth.
By far, Jones' most well known and praised work was the 1980 Thorncrown Chapel, which was named the AIA's "Best Work of American Architecture of the 1980s." Scholars, architectural history books, and professional organizations have widely honored Thorncrown Chapel as a significant work of contemporary architecture, which even with its recent date is likely to pass the test of time. Thorncrown Chapel was also the catalyst for a wider appreciation and recognition of Jones' work. (Again, one can argue that without the completion of Thorncrown, Jones' work would never have received the level of acclaim it now appears to have. Others may argue that Thorncrown merely placed a broader spotlight on a body of work that was always admired and recognized by the architectural profession and to a smaller extent the general public.)
† Cheryl Nichols, consultant, Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, The Arkansas Designs of E. Fay Jones, Architect, nomination document, 2000, National Park Service Multiple Property Listing, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.