O. Carl Happel


There are many architects whose names are universally recognized, Frank Lloyd Wright for example. Then there are those names that are well known to local architecture fans like our own A. D Stenger. But for every well known architect there are countless others that go unnoticed, and not because they weren't talented or deserving of recognition. If you are a true architect nerd like me names like Herbert Crume, John S Chase, Barton Riley, or Roland Roessner may ring a bell. Today I'd like to introduce you to another. O. Carl Happel. 

Carl Happel was many things, a Marine, father of 3 and husband for 66 years. He was also an architect emeritus who worked as a staff architect at UT for decades. There he was the Manager of Architectural Services and the scope of his work included everything from construction projects to coming up with creative solutions to keep the pigeons off the Academic Centers exterior walls. 

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As with every architect it must have been a dream of Carl's to build a home of his own for his wife and 3 kids. In 1966 he got that opportunity and he designed and built a beautiful home in the Highland Hills area. The architecture is modernist in its detailing and is strongly influenced by his familiarity with the commercial side of design. The scale of the interior spaces, with its 9' hallways and 8' doors, feels perfectly at home in 2018 but it must have felt massive and luxurious in 1966 when smaller spaces were the standard. The detailing of the house shows Mr Happel's meticulous side as well, with every detail being well thought out. Things like rain gutters and external dryer vents that are typically exposed were cleverly integrated into the design. The Happels would live happily in that house for nearly 40 years. It would be his only residential project.