John S. Chase FAIA (1925 - 2012) was from Baltimore, Maryland. After serving in WWII, he earned a degree in architecture from Hampton University in Virginia. In 1952, he earned a Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Texas, becoming the first African American person to do so. He soon became the first registered African American architect in Texas. Unable to find work, he started his own firm, specializing in the design of churches and houses. His early work was inspired mostly by Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian ideals. He moved to Houston to accept a position at Texas Southern University, the beginning of his involvement with the campus. Through his office in Houston, he designed a number of buildings for the TSU campus, where the largest collection of his work can be found. John Chase’s legacy extends beyond his own work. As a founding member of NOMA (National Organization of Minority Architects) in 1971 and throughout his long career, he continued to advocate for and support minority architects.
Join Houston Mod and tour the heart of the TSU campus and view the buildings designed by John Chase that established a new direction for the campus master planning and architecture in the 1960s. The tour will start at the East Parking Garage (Smith & Company 2006) and walk south to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law (John S. Chase 1976). At the entrance to the central campus plaza, we will pass by the newest campus building, the Library Learning Center (Moody Nolan 2019). The tour extends west to the first campus building, Fairchild Hall (Cato, Austin, Evans 1947), home to the University Museum (founded 2000). Prominent art pieces by internationally renowned African American muralist painter John T. Biggers and sculptor Carroll Harris Simms are on display in the Museum and on the campus.
Following the TSU Walking Tour, participants are encouraged to take the self-guided driving tour of the Third Ward (map will be available online). On this tour are buildings designed by John Chase, including both churches and residences. Additional prominent Third Ward sites designed by other architects are also highlighted.
Sunday, October 13 at 2:30 PM
Tour begins on the south side of TSU East Parking Garage - 3711 Cobb Street
(enter parking garage from Tierwester Street, north of Cleburne Street; fee $1/hr up to $3 max; usually free on Sundays)
This event is free, no registration required.