Greenville native known as ‘the architect who built Dallas’ | Local News
Greenville-born Earle Grady (EG) Hamilton Jr. has been described by Dallas Morning News’ architecture critic Mark Lamster as “the architect who built Dallas.” Hamilton, who has designed commercial properties, apartment complexes, and award-winning homes in Dallas and other cities, is best known as the principal architect of the legendary North Park Center.
During his nearly seven decades career, Hamilton designed the Republic National Bank building and tower, the Dallas Convention Center, the Fairmont Hotel, and the main AH Belo building, among others. As the leading arts advocate in Mayor J. Erik Jonsson’s goals for Dallas, Hamilton played a significant role in creating the Dallas Arts District.
Hamilton died in 2017 at the age of 97. His younger sister, Ann Hamilton Pippin, continues to live in Greenville.
“My brother EG was born at 3210 Oneal Street in Greenville,” Pippin said in a recent interview. “My grandfather, Martin Luther Hamilton, was a pastor in Wesley Methodist Church, and my father, Earle Grady Hamilton, was also a Methodist minister in the field for six years.
“Before he became a full-time pastor, my father was a math teacher who preached during his summer vacation. Methodist ministers moved a lot, and we lived in Rockwall and Dallas before my father was assigned to a church in St. Louis, Missouri. Two young boys who attended my father’s church in Rockwall became future District Attorney Henry Wade and longtime Texas Congressman Ralph Hall. “
In 1943, Hamilton graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in architecture. Then he joined the US Navy, where he served in the Pacific as the executive officer of a troop ship that he took to the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944.
After the Second World War, Hamilton returned to America. In Detroit, Michigan, he worked for the renowned Japanese-American architect Minoru Yamasaki, who designed the towers of the World Trade Center.
“I had my best summer when I was 14,” said Pippin. “I went to Detroit and visited Yamasaki’s estate. I was allowed to travel to Canada with my brother and his family. It was an unforgettable time for me and EG said he learned so much from Yamasaki. “
In 1952, Hamilton moved to Dallas and joined Arch Frank, an innovator of Texan modernism. He next worked with George Harrell on a project for Temco.
In the summer of 2014, AIA Dallas Columns Magazine, architect J. Tipton Housewright, wrote about the 2013 AIA Award-winning architect Hamilton, who was recognized for his exceptional work and contribution to architecture.
“For Temco’s Garland headquarters, EG and George Harrell used folding panel concrete technology to give the company that would later become Raytheon a modern and progressive image,” said Housewright. “The Temco project became a partnership and the Harrell & Hamilton Architect Group was founded in 1956.”
Eventually Harrell & Hamilton evolved into OMNIPLAN, an architecture firm that continues to thrive today.
According to Pippin, Hamilton’s friendship with Raymond Nasher led to their collaboration at the North Park Center, an enclosed mall with an artistic and architectural vision. A 100 acre cotton farm on the Central Expressway became North Park in 1965. When designing his design, Hamilton was influenced by the New York Museum of Modern Art. 2015 was the 50th anniversary of the award-winning landmark.
The North Park Center received the Design of the Decade Award from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in the 1960s for its integration of fine arts into a retail space.
After the architect’s death in May 2017, Dallas Morning News architecture critic Lamster wrote about Hamilton’s work at Republic Bank and the Dallas Convention Center.
“The uncompromising commitment to his craft made Hamilton the architect of the architect,” said Lamster. “In downtown Dallas, he was the architect of the second Republic Bank Tower, an expanded version of the original stamped metal building and a prime example of modern skyscraper design. He also oversaw the expansion of the Dallas Convention Center. “
Hamilton’s diverse accomplishments included the design of the campus for Mountain View Community College, which was built on two sides of an arroyo and connected by bridges. He designed his remarkable three-story residence in Highland Park and many other architecturally significant homes.
In addition to his work at OMNIPLAN, Hamilton took on civil duties.
“He was named a member of the Architectural Accreditation Service by Governor John Connally,” said Pippin. “He was President of the Texas Board of Architecture Examiners in 1967.”
Hamilton’s sister also spoke about his work in an important location in Geneva, Switzerland.
“He was hired by the US State Department to design the US mission that hosted the SALT II arms control conference,” said Pippin. “There were bilateral talks between the US and the Soviets.
“I am very proud of my brother. I found him very special. Throughout his life he has always been very nice to me. He was born in 1920 and would have turned 100 that year. He was a pioneer in his profession. “