Karl Kamrath

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Karl Kamrath
Born(1911-04-25)April 25, 1911
DiedJanuary 29, 1988(1988-01-29) (aged 76)
EducationBachelor of Architecture, 1934[1]
Alma materUniversity of Texas
Spouse(s)Eugenie Sampson (1934-1975), Gardina McCarthy (1977-1988)[1]

Karl Kamrath (April 25, 1911 – January 29, 1988) was an American architect and tennis player. He, along with Frederick James MacKie, Jr., created the Houston-based architectural firm Mackie and Kamrath. The firm's buildings reflected the principles of Organic Architecture and Usonian architecture, an outcome of Kamrath's friendship with Frank Lloyd Wright.[2] His career spanned over five decades during which he designed residential, commercial, institutional and government buildings.[3] Prior to founding MacKie and Kamrath, Karl Kamrath worked for Pereira and Pereira, the Interior Studios of Marshall Field and Company, and the Architectural Decorating Company in Chicago, Illinois.[4]

Karl Fred Kamrath was born in Enid, Oklahoma to G.A. and Martha Kreplin Kamrath on April 25, 1911. While still a child, Kamrath's family moved to Austin, Texas. Throughout his life, Kamrath was an avid tennis player, and married fellow tennis player Eugenie Sampson in 1934.[4] That same year that he graduated the University of Texas with a Bachelor's degree in architecture.[1] In 1955, Karl Kamrath was elected as a fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), an organization he was affiliated with since 1939.[4] He became the Houston AIA chapter president in 1960 and acted as the chairman of the Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Committee from 1960 to 1962.[1] He was inducted into the University of Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984.[5]

Major Buildings[edit]

  • Phyllis Wheatley High School[6], Houston (1948)
  • Temple Emanu-El, Houston (1949, with Lenard R. Gabert)[3]
  • Houston Contemporary Arts Association Museum (1949, demolished)
  • Dow Chemical Company complex, Freeport (1953)
  • Schlumberger Corporation complex (1953) now University of Houston Energy Research Center[7]
  • Humble Oil Research Center, Houston (1954) (demolished 2017)
  • St. John the Divine Church, Houston (1954, with H. A. Salisbury)
  • University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute (1954, altered), featured in TIME magazine in December 1954[8]
  • Commercial Standard Insurance Company Building,[9] Fort Worth (1956)
  • Farnsworth and Chambers Building (1957) an early office facility for NASA and Project Mercury, now Houston Parks Gragg Building[10]
  • Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church, Bunker Hill Village, Houston (1957, 1973)
  • Temple Rodef Shalom, Waco (1962)
  • First Pasadena State Bank Building,[11] Pasadena, Texas (1962)
  • Science and Research Building, University of Houston (1968)
  • Travertine Nature Center, Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Sulphur, Oklahoma (1968)
  • Big Three Industries Building, Houston (1974)
  • Kamrath Second Residence, on Tiel Way in River Oaks, Houston (1953)[12]
  • George P. Mitchell house, Piney Point Village (1963, demolished), profiled in Fortune Magazine
  • C.B. Ellis house, on Green River Trail in Ft. Worth, Texas (1966)


Further reading[edit]

  • Strom, Steven, Mackie & Kamrath Architects: Guide to the Architectural Collection, Houston Public Library, 2000, softcover booklet.
  • Miller, Scott Reagan, The Architecture of MacKie and Kamrath, Houston, Texas : Rice University, 1993.