Robert M. Ayres (1898-1977)


Ayres, Robert M.

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    deceased 08/08/1977
Occupation:    American architect
Location:    San Antonio, TX

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1924-decease

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Repeat of 1956 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:
Robert Moss Ayres, the son of Atlee Ayres, was born in San Antonio in 1898. He attended San Antonio Academy and the Haverford Prep School. He was fortunate to have traveled with his family to Europe and the Far East on two occasions in 1911 and 1914. He served in the U.S. Army during World War I and, upon his return, attended the School of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania from 1918 to 1920. He worked in the New York offices of Kenneth Murchison and McKim Mead and White before returning to San Antonio (in 1921 or 1923?). The name of the firm was changed to Ayres and Ayres in 1925.
While it is difficult to attribute individual buildings to each architect, it is known that Robert Ayres was solely responsible for the design of the Gothic Revival Smith-Young Tower (1929) which for many years was the dominant element of the San Antonio skyline. In addition, he designed numerous residences such as the H. Lutcher Brown House (1935). Trained in the Beaus-Arts tradition under the influence of Paul Cret, one would expect Robert Ayres to be interested in the classical tradition reflected in the design for the Brown House.
Robert Ayres was also involved in civic and professional activities. He was a past president of the West Texas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He also served on the Riverwalk Commission and the San Antonio Zoning Board.
After World War II, the firm made the difficult transition from historicist revival styles to the incorporation of Modernism into their work. The firm continued to receive numerous commissions, but the post-World War II work has not received the same accolades as their earlier designs. Representative of their later work are the Neisner Brothers Store (1946-47), the Frost National Bank (1963-65) and the large complex for the United Services Automobile Association (1953-73). While Atlee Ayres continued to be involved in the daily activities of the firm until his death in 1969, Robert Ayres probably became more involved with the actual design work during this post-World War II period. After his father's death, Robert Ayres continued the work of the firm until his own death in 1977.

Related Records

Atlee B. Ayres

Atlee B. & Robert M. Ayres (firm)

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file may contain membership application, related correspondence. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.
Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas
Ayres and Ayres Papers, see Atlee B. & Robert M. Ayres (firm)