Noland Blass Jr.

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Noland Blass Jr. was a Little Rock architect known for his passion for injecting art into his designs. Blass designed the Arkansas Justice Building, which established a precedent locally for incorporating sculpture, the Education II Building and Arkansas Cancer Research Center on the campus of UAMS, the Worthen Bank Building, Baptist Health Medical Center, and Temple B'nai Israel. He was also author of the Main Street 1969 plan and Capitol Place plan for urban renewal in the city in the 1960s. He also participated in the design of the Wilbur Mills Expressway.

His grandfather Gus Blass established the Gus Blass Department Store on Main Street. His father was store owner Noland Blass Sr. Blass Jr. is a graduate of Central High School and Cornell University. He served in the U.S. Army in Germany and the Philippines during World War II.

His first architectural job was with Erhart Eichenbaum and Rauch. He eventually succeeded to leadership of Blass Chilcote Carter Gaskin Bogart & Norcross, which after his retirement in 1991 became known as Gaskin Hill Norcross.

Blass served two terms as president of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and was a member of the College of Fellows of the Institute. He also served on the University of Arkansas School of Architecture Advisory Board and the Cornell University College of Architecture Art Planning and Advisory Council. Blass was a founder and past president of Fifty for the Future. He was chairman of the Little Rock Housing Authority Urban Design Committee and past president of the Metropolitan YMCA, Arkansas Orchestra Society, Arkansas Automobile Club, Mid-America Arts Alliance, and Arkansas Arts Center. He was past vice-president of Levi Arthritis Hospital and the Florence Crittenton Home.

After retirement Blass studied sculpture at the Art Institute in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. He died in July 1998, leaving behind his wife Betsy Blass and two daughters, Wendy and Buff.


  • "Arkansas Construction Hall of Fame," Arkansas Business, April 2, 2001.

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