Karl Fred Kamrath (1911-1988)


Kamrath, Karl Fred

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    AIA notified of decease 2/1/1988
Occupation:    American architect
Location:    Houston, TX

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1939-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1955

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1970 American Architects Directory
Biographical information:
Contributed by the Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas:
Karl Kamrath (1911-1988) was born in Enid, Oklahoma on April 25, 1911. The Kamrath family, including father G.A. Kamrath and mother Martha Kreplin Kamrath, moved to Austin, Texas while Karl was a young boy. He excelled at tennis from an early age and continued to play throughout his life. Karl Kamrath attended the University of Texas, where he was awarded a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1934. That year he married fellow tennis champion Eugenie Sampson, and moved to Chicago to work as an architect. Turning down an opportunity to play tennis professionally, he worked for Pereira and Pereira, the Interior Studios of Marshall Field and Company, and the Architectural Decorating Company. During this time in Chicago, Kamrath decided to open a firm in Houston with fellow University of Texas graduate, Fred MacKie.
Kamrath and his family moved back to Texas in 1937. MacKie and Kamrath opened an architectural firm in Houston the same year and Kamrath became a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in 1939. During World War II, Kamrath served as captain in the United States Corps of Engineers. After his release from duty in the military, MacKie and Kamrath reopened the Houston firm in 1946. Kamrath had an opportunity to meet Frank Lloyd Wright when he visited Taliesin in June of 1946. This trip had a profound effect on Kamrath's architectural designs as he committed himself to creating organic architecture following Wright's Usonian principles.
Kamrath was a founder and board member of Houston's Contemporary Arts Museum from 1948 through 1952. From 1949 through 1955, he served as a visiting critic at several universities, including the University of Texas, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Oregon, and the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas. Kamrath was elected an AIA Fellow in 1955, served as president of the Houston AIA chapter in 1960 and as chairman of the Frank Lloyd Wright Memorial Committee from 1960 to 1962. He was elected to the University of Texas Longhorn Hall of Fame in 1978 and the Texas Tennis Hall of Fame in 1984.
Karl Kamrath and his first wife Eugenie, had four children and divorced in 1975. He married Gardina McCarthy in 1977. Karl Kamrath died on January 29, 1988 in Houston, Texas.

Related Records

Partner of Fred J. Mackie, Jr.

Mackie & Kamrath (firm)

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file may contain membership application, Fellowship nomination, related correspondence. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.
Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas
Karl Kamrath collection, 1918-2004
Drawings, artwork, textual and photographic materials document the life and architectural practice of Houston architect, Karl Kamrath (1911-1988). The collection includes records of Kamrath's personal life, professional research and development, interest in Frank Lloyd Wright and association with partner Fred MacKie.
The Kamrath collection (1918-2004, n.d.) contains 910 drawings, 398 black and white photographic prints, 93 color photographic prints, 16 black and white negatives, 83 transparencies, 256 photostats, 3.75 linear feet of manuscript material, a bust of Karl Kamrath, a MacKie and Kamrath project file cabinet box, and several artifacts, including drafting tools. The bulk of the collection consists of records that document the design of architectural projects, including presentation drawings and finished project photographs.
Personal papers (1930-2004, n.d.) in the Kamrath collection include records created or collected by the architect that are not directly related to architectural practice. This series is composed of biographical and family records, clippings, correspondence, greeting cards designed by Kamrath, photographs, sketchbooks and student work. Unique subseries reflect Karl Kamrath's personal and professional interests. Family records contain materials about Karl Kamrath that were created or collected by family members. The Tennis subseries documents Karl Kamrath's lifelong success and interest in the sport.
Correspondence, writings, association and committee records, awards, and reference files document Karl Kamrath's service to the architecture profession. Professional papers (1918-1987, n.d.) is comprised of these materials and a unique subseries, Frank Lloyd Wright Related Materials. This subseries contains clippings, photographs, postcards, catalogs, drawing reproductions, bibliographic information, and correspondence concerning the life and work of Frank Lloyd Wright and the relationship between Wright and Kamrath.
The Fred MacKie papers (1928-1935, n.d.) series contains records that relate to the professional development of Karl Kamrath's business partner Fred MacKie. These documents were collected by MacKie prior to the 1937 opening of a firm with Kamrath. The original order of the materials has been maintained and includes engineering topics from his education at the University of Texas.
Office records (1926-2000, n.d.) series contains records created or collected by the firm of MacKie and Kamrath that are not directly related to project design and construction. The series include administrative records, clippings about firm projects, correspondence, financial records, photographs, presentation materials, and public relations documents. Materials in this series pre-date the formation of the firm MacKie & Kamrath since the architects collected clippings that originally date as early as 1926. This series also includes documentation related to the 2000 exhibit of the work of MacKie & Kamrath at the Houston Public Library's Houston Metropolitan Research Center, where additional MacKie & Kamrath materials are housed.
The bulk of the Karl Kamrath collection is project related records. These materials make up the Project Records series and include project lists, job files, photographs, and drawings. The majority of the drawings in the collection are presentation drawings. Some of the noteworthy Houston projects included in this collection are the Church of St. John the Divine, Temple Emanu-El, Contemporary Arts Museum, two houses Karl Kamrath designed for his family, and the M.D. Anderson Hospital. Working drawings from MacKie and Kamrath are part of the Architectural Collection at the Houston Metropolitan Research Center of the Houston Public Library.
For more information https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/alexander-architectural-archives

Stephen Fox Architectural Archives, Houston Metropolitan Research Center, Houston Public Library

      MSS 0422 MacKie and Kamrath Papers. For further information about the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, https://houstonlibrary.org/houston-texas