Staub, John Fanz (1892–1981)

By: Howard Barnstone

Type: Biography

Published: July 1, 1995

Updated: June 30, 2017

John Fanz Staub, architect, was born at Knoxville, Tennessee, on September 12, 1892, the son of Frederick and Anna Cornelia (Fanz) Staub. He attended Knoxville High School, the University of Tennessee (class of 1913), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which he received a master's degree in architecture in 1916. From 1916 to 1921 Staub worked in New York for Harrie Thomas Lindeberg, an architect well known for his country houses. This apprenticeship was interrupted by two years of service as a United States Navy aviator in England in 1917 and 1918. Staub also served in World War II as commandant of United States Naval Air stations in Manteo and Harvey Point, North Carolina. In 1921, when he was sent to Texas to supervise the construction of three houses that Lindeberg had designed in the Houston neighborhood of Shadyside, Staub decided to remain in Houston, and in 1923 he established his own practice there. From 1923 until 1942 he worked under his own name. He reorganized his firm as Staub and Rather in 1942, and as Staub, Rather and Howze in 1952. He retired from active practice in 1963, and his firm was dissolved in 1971. Staub was a cofounder of the South Texas chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1924 and served as the chapter's second president. In 1941 he was elected to fellowship in the AIA. He was twice appointed to the Houston City Planning Commission, and he also served on the Advisory Committee of the Bayou Bend Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Staub was best known as an architect of single-family houses. During the 1920s he employed the full range of romantic European vernacular styles then in vogue for his domestic architecture. After the early 1930s, however, he displayed a consistent preference for more restrained architectural styles, especially Georgian Revival. His houses were characterized by harmonious proportions, elegant detail, and fine materials. In planning them he artfully reconciled architectural composition and functional requirements with ingenuity and resourcefulness.

From the beginning of his career, Staub was identified with the Houston neighborhood of River Oaks. His first independent commission in Houston was for the River Oaks Country Club (1924, demolished). After the subdivision was bought out by William Clifford Hogg and Mike Hogg in 1923, Staub was retained to design two model houses for their development corporation. This led to the commission to design Bayou Bend (1928), the house of Ima Hogg. Between 1924 and 1958 Staub designed thirty-one houses in River Oaks (including his own of 1926), in addition to making designs for houses that were not built and for alterations and extensions of existing houses there. Concentrations of houses by Staub also occur in the Houston neighborhood of Broadacres and the Fort Worth neighborhood of River Crest. Houses by Staub in Houston, Beaumont, and Dallas, Texas, and Memphis, Tennessee, are now open to the public as museums. Besides his residential work, Staub designed the parish house of Palmer Memorial Church (1930), the Junior League Building (1930), and the Bayou Club (1940), all in Houston. His firm was responsible for buildings on the campuses of the University of Texas, Rice University, and the University of Houston, and at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. On October 4, 1919, Staub married Madeleine Louise Delabarre of Conway, Massachusetts. They had three children. Staub was a member of Christ Church in Houston. He died on April 13, 1981, and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.

Howard Barnstone, The Architecture of John F. Staub: Houston and the South (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979).

  • Architecture
  • Architects
Time Periods:
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • Great Depression
  • Texas Post World War II
  • Houston
  • Upper Gulf Coast
  • East Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Howard Barnstone, “Staub, John Fanz,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 01, 2022,

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July 1, 1995
June 30, 2017

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