One-time partner and longtime friend of Felder S. Weeks, architect Bruce McCarty, FAIA, also achieved great prominence in the Knoxville, Tenn., design community. He began practice in 1949 and, at 87, is still active in his firm, McCarty Holsaple McCarty (MHM). Over the years, McCarty's work has won numerous national and regional awards.
Recently he served as an adviser to Brian Pittman, Assoc. AIA, a designer at MHM, on the renovation of Weeks' lakeside A-frame house, which won a residential architect Design Award this year.
"Bruce is an amazing guy; he still goes- to work every day," says William L. Ambrose III, AIA, of Architects Weeks Ambrose McDonald—Weeks' last firm. "He's the prince of architects in Knoxville. Everyone loves him."
In 1949, McCarty took a job as designer and draftsman at Rutherford & Painter. In 1955, after Weeks had joined as a partner and Rutherford had moved on, he was elevated to the top ranks and Painter, Weeks & McCarty was formed. His special areas of interest were postwar development and research housing, working with such clients and organizations as Living for Young Homemakers, Hotpoint Co., the National Broadcasting Co.'s House That Home Built program, the National Association of Home Builders Research House, and Knox Homes.
His modular home designs, priced in the middle range, drew both from modernist theories and manufacturing innovations. With the housing system he developed, houses could be mass-produced while addressing individual site requirements and offering design variety. Hundreds have been built around the country. McCarty's work also comprised many custom houses (including his own), several secondary schools (designed with Weeks), and several buildings for the University of Tennessee.
After leaving the partnership with Weeks and Painter in 1965, McCarty teamed up with Bob Holsaple in Bruce McCarty & Associates. In its first five years, the firm designed many buildings for the University of Tennessee, several churches, a number of civic buildings for the city of Knoxville, and an ocean-side condominium in St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. McCarty completed his last custom residence during this period. He was made an AIA Fellow in 1969, and he served as the president of the East Tennessee Chapter of the AIA in 1970.
In 1970, Bruce McCarty & Associates merged with the firm Bullock and Church, becoming McCarty Bullock Church Holsaple. When Bob Church died in 1972, the firm name changed yet again, to McCarty Bullock Holsaple. From 1970 to 1983, the firm's work focused on civic, educational, and commercial projects, notably the Knoxville City County Building (with Lindsay and Maples, Architects, also in Knoxville), the University of Tennessee Art and Architecture Building, and the Tennessee Valley Authority office complex. McCarty served as the president of the Tennessee Society of Architects in 1982. The firm also acted as executive architects for the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, which attracted more than 11 million visitors.
The firm became McCarty Holsaple McCarty in 1984, when Glenn Bullock resigned and Bruce's son, Doug McCarty, AIA, was made a principal. McCarty turned over management of MHM in 1990 to Doug, Bill Blankenship, AIA; Jeff Johnson, AIA; and Rik Norris, AIA (who was replaced in 2000 by David Collins, AIA).
McCarty has continued working in Knoxville, co-designing the Ijams Nature Center, providing design support for the University of Tennessee's John C. Hodges Library and Taylor Law Center, co-designing the AIA award-winning McGhee Tyson Airport, designing the American Automobile Association's West Knoxville branch building, and designing a third addition to a Presbyterian church. An avid supporter of the University of Tennessee's College of Architecture and Design, McCarty received a Volunteer of the Year Award from the university in 2000. In 2004, the university honored him with an exhibition of his work in its Ewing Gallery.