Eclectic Odyssey of Atlee B. Ayres, Architect
Architecture - Texas History
8.5 x 11, 200 pp.
11 color photos., 43 b&w photos., 20 line drawings.
Pub Date: 08/28/2001
Sara and John Lindsey Series in the Arts and Humanities
  cloth
Price:        $50.00

978-1-58544-122-8
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Published by Texas A&M University Press
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Eclectic Odyssey of Atlee B. Ayres, Architect

By Robert J. Coote

Atlee B. Ayres was one of the most prominent Texas architects of the early twentieth century. In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ayres was involved in more than five hundred architectural projects, principally in San Antonio and South Texas, but also in Kansas, Oklahoma, and New York. His architectural successes include distinguished public buildings such as San Antonio's first skyscraper, the Smith Young Tower, as well as private homes, businesses, churches, and five buildings on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin.

However, it was in the houses he designed that the influences of the refined eclecticism for which Ayres became known are most evident. In the beautifully illustrated The Eclectic Odyssey of Atlee B. Ayres, Architect, author Robert James Coote focuses on Ayres's early-twentieth-century residential architecture and the sources from which he drew inspiration. During the three decades Coote examines, Ayres designed nearly two hundred homes in the fashionable San Antonio suburbs of Monte Vista, Olmos Park, and Terrell Hills, homes that even now rank among the most charming in the area.

Ayres's eclectic search for inspiration and guidance from buildings of many times and places, American and European, provides a window on the issue of style—an issue that continues to interest those who design houses as well as those who experience them. Coote studies in detail twenty-five of Ayres's houses, not only as representative of styles, but also as architectural compositions—their plans, spaces, exteriors, materials, and structure.

Coote has mined an extraordinary collection of drawings, specifications, office correspondence, and photographs of Ayres's buildings to write this insightful treatment of an important architect and the influences that made him both an exemplar of his times and an unusually fine practitioner of eclecticism.

Robert James Coote, professor emeritus of architecture at the University of Texas at Austin, holds a master's degree in architecture from Harvard University. His architectural projects, drawings, and writings have been published in a number of books and professional periodicals.

What Readers Are Saying:

“Highly recommended for professional and academic architectural reference collections, The Eclectic Odyssey of Atlee B. Ayres, Architect is a superbly presented treatise on the work and career of a most remarkable American architect.” --The Bookwatch

“. . . the book will make you want to see Ayres’ work for yourself.” --The Victoria Advocate

“Masterfully juxtaposing the chronology of Ayres’s education and practice with that of his regional and national contemporaries, Coote evokes the streets of New York City, Palm Beach, and San Antonio with an almost cinematic detail and vividness . . . If more studies of this quality emerge, we should eventually have a much more comprehensive view of American architecture in the early twentieth century.” --JSAH

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