Edward Durell Stone was an American architect born in 1902 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He got a Rotch traveling scholarship in 1927 and went to Europe and North Africa for 2 Years. Before this scholarship, he enrolled in courses at Harvard, then; Boston Architectural Club (now; Boston Architectural College), and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His early 1930’s design proves his designs to be modern and his 2 projects listed him in International Architects. While his post-war designs are more focused on ornamentation. He collaborated with different architects for different projects. He was a tremendous architect; his works became famous due to the aesthetics and quality he served. His son; Edward Jr. became a landscape architect and collaborated with Edward on several projects. Out of numerous wonderful projects few of them are listed below:

1. Radio City Music Hall, Manhattan:

This building’s interiors claim to be the most beautiful in that period, that didn’t require performers to sell tickets and generate revenue. Edward Durell Stone in collaboration with Donald Deskey designed and executed this music hall and bewildered its visitors with its elegant art deco interiors. His design kept traditions alive with modern requirements. For over 80 years, it has been listed as the world’s largest indoor theatre. It officially opened for visitors in 1932. Due to the stock crash of 1929, Rockefeller was in a dilemma whether to continue the lease which was costing him $3.3 million a year or to break it. But he decided to build a complex that would attract people and generate revenue despite the dreaded economic climate. And Edward left no table unturned to bring that vision into reality.

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Radio City Music Hall ©www.images.adsttc.com
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Radio City Music Hall ©www.images.adsttc.com
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Radio City Music Hall ©www.images.adsttc.com

2. Columbus Circle, Manhattan:

Formerly called Gallery of Modern Art; 2 Columbus Circle is built on a small irregular site with its share of controversies and different public opinions. Then New York Times Architecture Critic ‘Ada Louise Huxtable’ stated this 10-storey concrete building as, “die-cut Venetian palazzo on lollipops.” The north façade compliments the Columbus circle with the concave surface following the curve. The white Vermont imperial square marble was perforated above the loggia and at the edges of each façade to create bronze circular windows. This project turned out to be the milestone in this career. His approach to building a structure in modern style with a touch of ornamentation was not accepted by critics; at first his design got appreciated by millions.

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3. John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington DC:

The marble façade with ornamentation was built in 1971 after the assassination of then-president John F. Kennedy. It was renamed as ‘living memorial’. The National Cultural Centre Act 1958 was taken into consideration while designing. Stone designed a total of 6 stages and the complex keeping his design principle intact. The grand foyer with a riverfront connects to the 3 main theatres. With the embossed ceiling and crystal chandeliers, the large concert hall provides outstanding acoustics, which enhances the user experience to the other level.

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4. Richard H. Mandel House, New York:

Built-in 1935, this historic home overlooking reservoir is designed in international style using concrete blocks and steel frames with stucco finish. It is a ‘Z’ shape building location on the sloping site with a partial basement recessing into the ground. This 2 storey building covers almost 10,000 sq. ft area on 21-acre land with a flat roof. Unlike Stone’s other designs this one lacks additional ornamentation; it has uniform walls, asymmetrical layout focused more on keeping the floor horizontal with protruding balconies and ribbon windows.

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5. Museum of Modern Art, New York:

In 1939, Edward Durell Stone and Goodwin collaborated to build this stunning museum. Stone was known for his modern, international designs and the fusion of balanced ornamentation with modern buildings. While Goodwin was known for his traditional Beaux-Arts style designs, he was also a member of The Museum of Modern Art’s Board of Trustees. They designed a six-story structure that can meet the expectations of the modern museum everyone had imagined. The major materials used to construct this grand structure are marble for the facade, glass walls, horizontal windows on office floors, and galleries with 2 levels and translucent glazing. The combination of glass and marble created a remarkable landmark in the neighborhood.

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6. Conger Goodyear House, Old Westbury, New York:

Stone known for his international style of the building design was appointed by a businessman, and philanthropist A. Conger Goodyear to design his house. It was built in 1938 covering an area of 6000 sq. ft. on a barren hilltop site. It is a single-story house with a fine collection of artworks exhibited in the gallery space serving as the backbone for the house. The planning of this house is done in a way to incorporate maximum natural light inside the house and to provide extensive views to all the rooms. Cantilevered roof projections act as a shading device. House faces south direction with floor to ceiling glass wall. Therefore, it becomes necessary to use shading devices and cover the glass façade in summers. This is one of the best designs of Stone which serves best to its users, functionally as well as aesthetically.

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7. Stanford University Medical School, Stanford, California:

Relocated in1959 from San Francisco, designed by Edward Durell Stone the medical complex comprises; Stanford Children’s Health Center, Stanford Health Center, and School of Medicine. These health centers act as teaching hospitals for the students. Keeping design climate-responsive, Stone designed pierced grills to integrate outdoor and indoor landscape. The design included a combination of different walls; solid brick walls and glass walls to incorporate natural light and visually connect the closed spaces to the network of courtyards. To support additional requirements of this generation a new block was constructed but they didn’t tamper the beauty of the old structure which still enhanced the ambiance.

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Stanford University Medical School ©www.upload.wikimedia.org
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Stanford University Medical School ©www.i.ping.com

8. Walter and Betsy Johnson Home, Darien, Connecticut:

Edward Durell Stone was commissioned to design the house for Johnsons in 1953 which was completed in 1954 spring. Before designing this house, Stone’s design came into controversies, as local people who loved their vernacular designs opposed Stone’s modern ideas. To design this house Stone came up with a design to satisfy both society and client without compromising on his standards. He fused vernacular style with his modern ideologies and created a wonderful structure that speaks for itself in aesthetics, function, and its response to climatic conditions.

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Walter and Betsy Johnson Home ©www.cdn.archpaper.com

9. United States Embassy, New Delhi:

Established in 1950 on a 28-acre plot, the US Embassy complex comprises the Roosevelt House, Chancery, office space, and living accommodations. Stone focused his design in bringing modernism while balancing the cultural aspects of the nation. His diverse studies in climate change and the tropical climate of India helped him deliver climate-responsive structure. The Embassy was formally inaugurated on 1959, 05 Jan. The jail façade keeps the traditional Indian architecture alive while the grand entry and double-height glass façade brings in a modern touch. This fusion often leaves every visitor mesmerized by the beauty and revives the cultural niches within them.

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US Embassy, New Delhi ©www.diplomacy.state.gov

10. El Panama Hotel, Panama:

Established in 1950 and designed by Edward Durell Stone; El Panama Hotel is considered one of the best hotels in Panama. With space-efficient planning Stone reduced the unnecessary social spaces on each floor. He didn’t waste space anywhere and kept the function intact. A large lobby is provided on the ground floor which attracts its visitors and leaves them speechless with the aesthetics and large Pool front. All public spaces such as; Bar, restaurant, and the lounge on the ground floor close to one another providing the minimal clearance required there. With open balconies and large openings Stone incorporated appealing outdoor views. The modern design won over the city by becoming one of the most visited tourist spots.

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11. Harvey Mudd College, Claremont, CA:

Built-in 1955, this building was designed by Edward Durell Stone. He innovated his design keeping modern style an integral design aspect. He introduced knobby concrete square blocks called ‘warts’ for students to hook their skateboards. The stone used his signature style; ornamented this modern structure with Beaux-Art. Critics showed their displeasure towards the design, calling it the ugliest building while Stone exclaimed it as ‘The Modernist Masterpiece’.

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12. PNC Bank Arts Center, New Jersey:

Formally known as Garden State Arts Center, this building was constructed and officially inaugurated in 1968. It took 4 years to complete the construction. With the capacity of 17500 inside the Amphitheatre and 7000 in open space, it has ranked as one of the most successful amphitheaters in the country. It is known for its extraordinary saucer-shaped roof supported by 8 large pillars made of concrete, and open sides of the amphitheater. In 1996 it was renamed as PNC Bank Arts Center after its naming rights were sold to Pittsburgh based banking company.

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13. PepsiCo, Inc., Harrison, New York:

In 1956 PepsiCo spent almost $2 million for the construction of the earliest headquarters designed by Edward Durell Stone. Its site contains 7 building blocks connected through corners, with a huge sculpture garden open for the public. This garden consists of 45 sculptures in a contemporary style. All the buildings are joined through a corner. In 1966 they moved to Westchester and later that building was renamed to Olivetti Building. The design for this building was done to represent inverted ziggurat, the buildings have exterior façade clad with precast concrete panels, with dark strip windows creating a striking contrast. Later, it was classified as one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.

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14. North Carolina State Legislative Building, Raleigh, North Carolina:

Completed in 1963 with a floor area of approximately 206,000 sq. ft; the building has 3 floors. The grand entry to the building welcomes its visitors with a huge North Carolina State Legislative seal made up of 28 ft diameter terrazzo mosaic. The grandeur follows as inside featuring a 22 ft wide staircase finished in red carpet connecting the ground floor to third-floor galleries. The roof gardens and garden courts greet the natural air and light into the building. The chambers lead people inside via a pair of brass doors and feature an 8ft diameter brass chandelier adding the royal touch.

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15. The State University of New York at Albany:

Designed in his signature style, Stone worked on the campus emphasizing more on the residential quadrants with all the required facilities planned around it. Constructed in 1964, the campus has a combination of design elements that attract its visitors and users. The uptown campus features a 13 story building with a single overhanging canopy called ‘Academic Podium’. To enhance its ambiance and provide a scenic experience to the people, Stone designed an off-center circular bell tower, a central pool, and fountains. This bell tower acts as a water reservoir for the campus and is named as ‘Carillon’. Each ‘Quad’ i.e. residential quadrant consists of 23 story dormitories surrounded by low rise structures. The great lawn greets its visitors and users with a refreshing treat.

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State University of New York at Albany ©www.upload.wikimedia.org
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State University of New York at Albany ©www.upload.wikimedia.org

Architectural Journalist

RTF

Telangana

A writer by heart, an architect by the mind and an artist by passion. She is an active member of the YOW Creative Agency and The Good Talk Factory. She is reader seldom, her patience is unending. An ambivert by nature, she always wears her heart on her sleeves and overthinks about her art and writing.

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