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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.