MASON TOMS 1.8.2019:
The Unexpected Modernism of
Frank Doughty

Architecture and Design Network (ADN) continues its 2018/2019 June Freeman lecture series by taking a look at the Mid-Century Modern work of architect Frank Doughty (1930-present), a lecture by Mason Toms, architectural historian and preservation designer at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. Frank L. Doughty was born and raised near Tunica, Mississippi at the dawn of the 1930s. After high school and military service during the Korean Conflict, Doughty attended the University of Arkansas architecture program. After graduating from the program, he went to work for internationally renowned architect and Arkansas native, Edward Durell Stone, in his New York office. This was followed by work in the Fayetteville office of equally renowned architect, E. Fay Jones. Eventually he moved to Boca Rotan, Florida, where he operated his own practice before returning to Arkansas to teach at the University of Arkansas School of Architecture.

 

Though primarily remembered for his 23 years as an architecture professor at the University of Arkansas, Doughty also created a small but meaningful body of work that injected Modernist architecture into the most unlikely of places in a profound and elegant way. Located mainly in the Arkansas Delta region, Doughty’s work drew inspiration from the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Edward Durell Stone as well as the surrounding rural landscape. He uniquely designed his buildings in such a way that they simultaneously stood out and blended into their individual settings. The excellence of construction and high level of architectural skill present in each of the structures has made them hidden gems of Modernist design in predominantly traditional areas.

 

Mason Toms is an architectural historian and preservation designer at the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program. In college, Mason developed a passion for Mid-Century Modern architecture, but was disappointed to learn that there was little research being done on Mid-Century Modern architects in Arkansas. This led him to work closely with the National Register and Survey staff to find, research, and document Mid-Century Modern architecture around the state. In an effort to raise awareness of the many remarkable Modernist structures in Arkansas, Mason created and continues to administer the Facebook group Mid-Century Modern Arkansas. The group page features a different Modernist building in the state almost every Friday. Additionally, Mason collaborates with local preservation organizations to create tours and present lectures that center on the significance of Mid-Century Modern architecture in general and the unique examples found here in Arkansas.

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