Kenneth Franzheim

Kenneth Franzheim was an architect in Chicago and Boston in the early 1920s with C. Howard Crane. He started an independent practice in New York in 1925 and specialized in the design of large commercial buildings and airports.[1]

Franzheim became the foremost commercial architect in mid-century Houston after moving his offices to the city in 1937.[citation needed][dubious ] Franzheim was one of the architects involved designing Humble Tower, the Prudential Building (Houston), Texas National Bank building (Houston) and Bank of the Southwest (Houston) building. His best-known building was the Foley’s Department Store downtown location (demolished). It had six floors before it was expanded to nine in 1957, and included windowless retail space suspended at street level above a first-floor window-wall and canopy with a streamlined interior by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy.[2] In 1950 the building received an Award of Merit from the AIA.[1]

John Zemanek and Eugene Werlin worked at the firm early in their careers. There are plans to add oral interviews with both Zemanek and Werlin in which they discuss Franzheim’s influence to the digital library at the University of Houston.

One of Franzheim's most enduring legacies is the development of Fairlington in Arlington, VA. Franzheim was the primary architect of this WW2-era housing development a few miles south of the Pentagon, which is today a high-end, private housing development.[3]

Prudential / HMB buildingEdit

The Houston Main Building[4] (HMB)[5] formerly the Prudential Building, was a skyscraper in the Texas Medical Center, Houston, Texas. It originally housed offices of the Prudential Insurance Company, before becoming a part of the MD Anderson Cancer Center. The building was demolished on January 8, 2012.[6][7]


  1. ^ a b "FRANZHEIM, KENNETH | The Handbook of Texas Online| Texas State Historical Association (TSHA)". Retrieved 2016-07-05.
  2. ^ Fox, Stephen. AIA Houston Architectural Guide: Third Edition, Edited by Barrie Scardino Bradley. Houston: AIA Houston Chapter, 2012.
  3. ^ "Fairlington, Huge Defense Corporation Homes Project, in Virginia, Ready April 1," Washington Post, February 21, 1943.
  4. ^ Building Physical Addresses." MD Anderson Cancer Center. Retrieved on April 4, 2010.
  5. ^ "Wellness Programs Archived 2009-10-02 at the Wayback Machine." University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Retrieved on April 4, 2010.
  6. ^ Ortega, Francisca (January 8, 2012). "Prudential Building in Houston destroyed in 17 seconds". Houston Chronicle.
  7. ^ Gray, Lisa (2012-01-06). "Gray: Prudential building scheduled for implosion Sunday - Houston Chronicle". Retrieved 2016-07-05.

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