William Wayne Caudill was born to Walter and Josephine Caudill in 1914. He grew up in Hobart, Oklahoma, where he spent Saturdays and summers working at his father’s grocery store. He attended Central High School in Oklahoma City, and in 1937 graduated from Oklahoma State University with a bachelor’s in architecture. On scholarship at MIT, he graduated with a master’s in architecture in 1939.
After his education at MIT, Bill Caudill married Edith Woodman and joined the architecture faculty at Texas A&M University. There, he wrote his first book, “Space for Teaching.” Although he had never designed a school himself, the book would make him a pioneer in school design.
From 1943–1945, Caudill served in the Navy. In 1946, he and Texas A&M fellow faculty member John Rowlett founded the architecture firm Caudill and Rowlett over a grocery store in Austin, Texas. The firm moved to College Station and in 1948, Wallie Scott, Caudill’s former student, became the third partner of the firm. In 1949, Willie Peña, the fourth original partner, joined the firm of Caudill, Rowlett, and Scott.
The firm got its start with a commission to build two schools in Oklahoma, in large part due to Caudill’s book on schools, “Space for Teaching.” Over the next twenty years, William Caudill established himself as an authority on school design. Eventually his firm had designed schools, colleges and universities in 26 states and eight foreign countries.
In 1974, after his wife Edith’s death, William Caudill married Aileen Plumer Harrison, a friend from his days at Oklahoma State University.
The firm continued to expand, and in 1970 turned public under the name of CRS Design Associates, Inc., with divisions in architecture, project management and construction, and engineering.
Caudill continued to devote himself to education as director of the Rice University School of Architecture (1961–1969) and as William Ward Watkin Professor (1969–1971). A popular speaker, Bill Caudill delivered more than 200 speeches at professional meetings and universities and wrote 12 books and over 80 articles, imparting his knowledge and creativity to the field of architecture.
William Caudill died in 1983 at age 69.