Northwest Arkansas

2011.12.21

While I was home for Christmas, we took a short trip into Northwest Arkansas, primarily to see two chapels designed by E. Fay Jones (1921–2004).  He gave a lecture at Oklahoma State while I was studying architecture there. I always intended to visit some of his works, but many years passed by before we finally made the journey.

Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel

The first place we visited was the Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista, built in 1988.  The chapel has Gothic-inspired steel arches and lots of glass offering views to the surrounding woods.  In the few days before Christmas, the chapel is open after dark and illuminated.

Thorncrown Chapel

2011.12.22

The next day we visited the earlier and more celebrated Thorncrown Chapel, near Eureka Springs.  Thorncrown was completed in 1980, and used wood structure in a more angular, less overtly Gothic form.  E. Fay Jones cited La Sainte-Chapelle in Paris as inspiration.  Thorncrown Chapel won the 1981 American Institute of Architects National Honor Award, the 2006 AIA Twenty Five Year Award, and certainly contributed to Jones receiving the 1990 AIA Gold Medal.  It also was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000, a rare honor for a building less than 50 years old.