The Country Houses of John F. Staub

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Overview

In the early 1920s, architect John F. Staub, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, who had studied at MIT and worked in New York, came to the burgeoning city of Houston as an assistant to nationally prominent architect Harrie T. Lindeberg. Staub was charged with administering construction of three houses designed by Lindeberg for members of the city's rapidly emerging elite. He would go on to establish one of the most influential architectural practices in Houston, where he would ...
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Overview

In the early 1920s, architect John F. Staub, a native of Knoxville, Tennessee, who had studied at MIT and worked in New York, came to the burgeoning city of Houston as an assistant to nationally prominent architect Harrie T. Lindeberg. Staub was charged with administering construction of three houses designed by Lindeberg for members of the city's rapidly emerging elite. He would go on to establish one of the most influential architectural practices in Houston, where he would remain until his death in 1981.

Over four decades, Staub designed grand houses in such communities as Shadyside, Broadacres, and, perhaps most notably, River Oaks. His clients included the Hoggs, for whom he created Bayou Bend; the Mastersons, his clients for Rienzi; and members of the Wiess, Cullen, Farish, Welder, Fay, and Elkins families. Although Staub also completed commissions for clients elsewhere in Texas and the United States, it was primarily in Houston that his work and influence took root.

This ambitious study of Staub's work by architectural historian Stephen Fox goes beyond a description of Staub's houses. Fox analyzes the roles of space, structure, and decoration in creating, defining, and maintaining social class structures and expectations and shows how Staub was able to incorporate these elements and understandings into the elegant buildings he designed for his clients. In the process, he contributes greatly to a fuller understanding of Houston's emergence as a premier American city.

Stunning color images by architectural photographer Richard Cheek, combined with Fox's well-grounded and expansive thesis, create a volume that will enchant, inform, and entertain. Students and aficionados ofAmerican domestic architecture of the 1920s, '30s, '40s, and '50s will appreciate the wealth of material, and the volume's contribution to architectural history and the sociology of architecture will commend itself to readers across the nation.

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Editorial Reviews

Frank D. Welch
“Stephen Fox’s masterful history, The Country Houses of John F. Staub, thoroughly captures the nuances of the architect’s 50-year career. The book is unmatched in scope as Fox describes in detail the great variety of houses for privileged clients drawn to Staub, who with artistic generosity created dwellings of welcome and comfort. Most of the houses still stand handsomely on their sites.”—Frank D. Welch, FAIA
Architect's Newspaper

The Country Houses of John F. Staub . . . stands well out from the crowd. Fox and Cheek have created what will likely become the definitive academic study of an American regionalist architect's domestic work. It is also one of the most beautiful architecture books of the year.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

STEPHEN FOX is a Fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas.RICHARD CHEEK is one of the foremost architectural photographers in America. His work has been showcased in more than a dozen volumes published by some of the nation’s most prestigious presses.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A MINI HISTORY OF TEXAS

    The extent of architect John F. Staub's influence on Houston, Texas is reflected in the fact that today tour companies offer excursions to visit the homes he designed. While many tales surround one of our country's largest cities, his work is sometimes referred to as a 'secret' Houston. Or, as it has been described, 'Staub's Houston is one of these cities-within-a-city. The dignity, civility and amplitude of Staub's country houses, set in lush, southern, woodland gardens, represent his and his clients' vision of Houston as a garden city. ' With The Country Houses of John F. Staub, architectural historian Stephen Fox takes us on an armchair tour of Staub's work, from neighborhoods such as Shadyside, and Broadacres, to what is perhaps the most famous of all Houston communities, the address of the powerful and wealthy - River Oaks. Staub's client list included the elite. For instance, the Hogg family for whom he created Bayou Bend, a 28 room mansion built between 1927 and 1928 for Miss Ima Hogg and her two brothers, William and Michael. A study in eighteenth-century Georgian architecture, the mansion is surrounded by magnificent gardens. In 1957 Miss Hogg donated her property to the Museum of fine Arts, Houston. Today it is one of Houston's major attractions. This beautifully illustrated volume is not only a tribute to Mr. Staub but a mini history of Texas from the turn of the century onward. It will surely be of great interest to architects, Houstonains, and those with an interest in the development of the Lone Star State. Highly recommended. - Gail Cooke

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