Merged Modernism with traditional Texan architectural roots. In 1974, he became the only human to be dubbed a National Historic Landmark.
He attended North Texas State Teachers College, but had to leave after two years because of financial burdens. He then turned to the International Correspondence Schools of Scranton, Pennsylvania, for his architectural certificate.
He became a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1960.
He married dancer Wanda Graham in 1940. From her husband's archives, she donated 5,540 architectural drawings, 5,484 prints, 40 presentation drawings, 39 presentation sketches, and 63 sheets of photographic materials to the University of Texas' Alexander Architectural Archive in 2001.
He and Frank Gehry were both esteemed architects in their respective lifetimes.