Franzheim, Kenneth

Kenneth Franzheim was born on October 28, 1890, in Wheeling, West Virginia.. He graduated from Lawrenceville School and Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1913. He practiced architecture in Chicago and Boston in the early 1920s and then started an independent practice in New York City in 1925 and specialized in the design of large commercial buildings and airports. He was retained in 1928 by Jesse H. Jones to collaborate with Alfred C. Finn on the design of the thirty-seven-story Gulf Building in 1929 and to design a temporary coliseum for the Democratic national convention in Houston. After moving his office to Houston in 1937, Franzheim became the foremost commercial architect in Houston. He was one of the architects involved designing the Humble Tower, the Prudential Building, Texas National Bank building and the Bank of the Southwest.  His best-known building was the downtown Foley’s Department Store. It had six floors before it was expanded to nine in 1957, and included windowless retail space suspended at street level above a first-floor window-wall and canopy with a streamlined interior by famed industrial designer Raymond Loewy.  In 1949 he was elected to fellowship in the American Institute of Architects and as president of the Houston Chapter of the AIA. Franzheim also was an honorary member of the Mexican Society of Architects; after 1945 he maintained a second home in Mexico City. He was a member and deacon of the First Presbyterian Church of Houston. He belonged to the Bayou Club, the Houston Country Club, the Coronado Club, and the Ramada Club. Franzheim died in Mexico on March 13, 1959, and is buried in Glenwood Cemetery, Houston.