Edward Durell Stone

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Edward Durell Stone

In 1960, the present main campus was opened on Sherman Drive in Utica, replacing the
State Street and Genesee Street sites. The campus was designed by world famous architect Edward Durell Stone, his first attempt at designing a college campus. (Among other achievements, Stone had designed the American pavilion at the Brussels World’s Fair, the largest circular building ever erected at that time (1958). He also designed the Kennedy Performing Arts Center in Washington, the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Rockefeller Center (including Radio City Music Hall), the American Embassy in New Delhi, India (1958), and SUNY Albany, the original section of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (1939, co-architect with Philip L. Goodwin), the General Motors Building in New York, the El Panama Hotel in Panama City (1949), University of Arkansas Fine Arts Center (1951), Bay Roc Hotel, British West Indies (1952), Commercial Museum, Philadelphia (1955), hospital for Peruvian government, Lima, Peru (1957), credited with being the largest hospital in the world at the time and second largest building in the world; student dormitories, Vanderbilt University (1957), Hotel Phoenicia, Beirut, Lebanon (1958), B. Stuart Co. Laboratories (chemical factory in Los Angeles, 1958), Stamford-Palo Alto Medical Center (1959), Palo Alto Library (1960), the Huntington Hartford Gallery of Modern Art in New York City, National Geographic Society in Washington, North Carolina State Legislative Building, Standard Oil of Indiana Building in Chicago, and the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ.

He was born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, March 9th, 1902, but lived as an adult in New York City, at 130 East 64th Street, and had his office at 745 Fifth Avenue. His home on 64th street was a re-converted brownstone, where he lived with his second wife, the former Maria Elena Torch and their son Hicks.

By his own admission he wasted his teen years on school (although as a young boy he reportedly won a birdhouse competition and won a $2.50 prize) and did not find a direction for his innate talent for design until he visited his elderly brother (who was also an architect) in Boston. Once enthused about becoming an architect himself, Stone returned to Arkansas to study at the University of Arkansas from 1920 to 1923. Other studies followed: Harvard Architectural School from 1925 to 1927; M.I.T. from 1925 to 1927; Rotch Travel Scholarship from 1927 to 1929; University of Arkansas, Ph.D., Fine arts in 1953.

Before organizing his own firm in 1936, he was a member of the following architectural firms: Coolidge, Shepley, Bullfinch & Abbot; Schultz & Weaver, Rockefeller Center Architects, and Wallace K. Harrison. He also taught architecture at New York University, 1935-1940, was a professor at Yale University from 1946 to 1951; was visiting critic at Princeton University in 1953, and at the University of Kansas in 1955.

Between 1942 and 1945, he was a Major, U.S. Army, Chief of Plan & Design Section. This section, in collaboration with the Office of Chief of Engineers, had the responsibility of initiating the master planning program for air fields, contemplated for retention in the post-war Air Force. His plans were implemented at Andrews Field, Maryland, Fairfield Sui-San, California, McDill Field, Florida, Maxwell Field, Alabama, Gulfport, Mississippi, Merced AAF, California, Muroc AAF, California, San Antonio Air Depot, Texas, Barksdale AAF, Louisiana, and McGuire Air Base, NJ.

He was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, especially in terms of horizontal lines and large room overhangs. He also designed a home in Old Westbury, NY, for A. Conger Goodyear, an apartment complex at the University of Arkansas – slated for razing in 2005, and a building at 2 Columbus Circle in New York City, which later became home to NYC Cultural Affairs Dept., then stood vacant, purchased in 2005 by the Museum of Arts & Design, aka American Craft Museum, and slated for redesign, in a controversial move.

Many considered the grille-façade his architectural signature. To Stone it was more than that, with its inherent values of privacy, light diffusion and air filtering.

He also designed a private home in Dallas for Bruno and Josephine Graf.

He died in October 1979.