Chapter 5, “An Architectural Family Portrait,” Deborah Ascher Barnstone and Robert V. Barnstone
Complex, controversial, and prolific, Howard Barnstone was a central figure in the world of twentieth-century modern architecture. Recognized as Houston’s foremost modern architect in the 1950s, Barnstone came to prominence for his designs with partner Preston M. Bolton, which transposed a rigorous and austere architectural aesthetic to the hot, steamy coastal plain of Texas. Barnstone was an architect’s architect – interested in all spatial ideas, all kinds of materials, and new technologies. He was famously fascinated with the automobile and designed numerous schemes for housing and commercial structures that celebrated the car in a time when cars seemed to represent a positive post-war future. They became affordable for most Americans as the United States aggressively expanded its interstate road networks. This essay discusses the many projects that Barnstone designed and constructed for his family in the United States and Mexico.