Hugo Franz Kuehne, architect and a founder of the school of architecture at the University of Texas, was born in Austin, Texas, on February 10, 1884, the son of Franz Conrad and Clara (Langer) Kuehne. After manual training at Austin High School he received a degree in civil engineering from the University of Texas in 1906. He received a bachelor of architecture degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1908. He subsequently became a draftsman for G. Henri Desmond, a Boston architect who designed the state capitol of Maine, and returned to Austin in 1910 to organize an architecture department for the University of Texas. He served as adjunct professor from 1910 to 1915 and founded the architecture library, which became one of the most important collections in the country.
He entered practice in 1915. His firms were Kuehne, Chasey and Giesecke (1915–17), Kuehne and Chasey (1917–19), H. F. Kuehne (1919–42), Giesecke, Kuehne and Brooks (1942), and Kuehne, Brooks and Barr (1942–1960). Among his major works was the elegant Austin Public Library (1933), now the Austin History Center. Others include the Bohn Brothers building at 517 Congress Avenue (1929), alterations for Brackenridge Hospital (1933), the Steck Building at 419 Congress (1932), the Commodore Perry Hotel (1950), the International Life Building (1952), the American National Bank, the Texas Department of Public Safety building (1952), and buildings for the Austin State Hospital. During the Great Depression Kuehne held supervisory positions with the United States Department of the Interior.
He was twice president of the Central Texas chapter of the American Institute of Architects and a director of the Texas Society of Architects; he was elected a fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1944. In 1954 he was named "Austin's Most Worthy Citizen" for his dedication and service in various city planning, zoning, and parks commissions. He married Sybil Glass in 1923, and they had two children. Kuehne was in partnership with his son when he retired in 1961. He died in Austin on November 23, 1963.