RIO ROCA CHAPEL
E. Fay Jones was an apprentice to Fank Lloyd Wright, designed a number of fantastic buildings the most well known is Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. He, along with Maurice Jennings designed the much beloved Marty Leonard Chapel in Fort Worth. Maurice Jennings was the partner of E. Fay Jones for 25 years, and received the Gold Medal from AIA in 1990. He designed Rio Roca Chapel in 2010.
We had a fantastic experience visiting the Rio Roca Chapel. The chapel sits on a bluff high above the Brazos. It is axis is turned along the escarpment embedding the structure into the side of the hill, allowing the endless views to pour out of ends of the chapel. The owner of the ranch came down to tell us about her experience commissioning the chapel, and the oft weather-torn land that she had purchased a few years ago. She told us about the approaching fires, and frequent tornadoes that aflict that part of the state. She had read deeply and researched the land and its former inhabitants. The people who would alight long enough to create a settlement, would often build a church before they built permanent structures of their own. This inspired her to build this Chapel on the bluff as the first addition to their newly acquired ranch . She told us about courting Maurice Jones, and walking the raw ranch land looking for a suitable site for the Chapel, and hoping he would be willing to take on the project. She went on to tell the stories of design, contracting, and building the structure, as we sat in the pews and took it all in.