Text Box: notsuo



Text Box: Diversity Series 
Text Box: Innovative Design Competition

John Saunders Chase was the first African-American licensed to practice architecture in the state of Texas and later was the first African American admitted to the Texas Society of Architects and the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). Born in January of 1925 in Maryland, Chase earned a B.S. at Hampton University and in 1948 became the first African American to enroll and graduate from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture in 1952.

Chase co-founded the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) along with 12 other black architects at the AIA convention in Detroit in 1971. When President Jimmy Carter appointed him in 1980, Chase became the first African American to serve on the United States Commission on Fine Arts. Projects designed by Chase's firm include: the George R. Brown Convention Center, the Washington Technical Institute, Links, Inc. National Headquarters, Delta Sigma Theta National Headquarters, the Harris County Astrodome Renovation, the Thurgood Marshall School of Law and Martin Luther King, Jr. School of Humanities at Texas Southern University. Chase was also awarded a commission to design the United States Embassy in Tunis, Tunisia, a fifty million dollar complex.

Chase was elected to the AIA College of Fellows, was awarded the AIA Whitney M. Young Citation, and was the recipient of the NOMA Design for Excellence Award for four consecutive years. He received the commendation for Meritorious Service by the Houston Independent School District and the Honor Award for Architectural Excellence in School Design by the Texas Association of School Boards for the design of the Booker T. Washington High School.  

For more information on the legacy of John Saunders Chase, please click here




John S. Chase, FAIA, NOMAC 1925-2012

John Saunders Chase, FAIA, NOMAC was an inspiring figure who lived a life that everyone can learn from.   A life that encourages others to reach greater heights in their profession and in their communities.  His passing on March 29, 2012 reminds us all to do better and to reach higher.  The Houston Chapter of NOMA, established in his home in 2005, is forever in his debt for his contributions to the profession and the architectural community.  His legacy will live on through every member of NOMA for many years to come.