Born in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Stone attended the University of Arkansas in 1920 but left to apprentice with Henry R. Shepley in Boston. He enrolled in courses at the Boston Architectural Club (now Boston Architectural College), Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, before a Rotch Travelling Scholarship took him to Europe and North Africa from 1927 to 1929. His design work in the early 1930s included Radio City Music Hall in New York City, but two projects in particular defined him as a leading practitioner of the International Style in America: The Mandel House in Bedford Hills, New York, which was, in 1933, Stone’s first independent commission; and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, which he designed (with Philip L. Goodwin) in 1938.
Stone’s post-War work evinced a particular focus on ornament and décor. He collaborated with landscape architect Thomas Church on the Stuart Pharmaceutical Company Office and Plant (now the Stuart Building) in Pasadena, California, where manicured lawns and palms embellish its ornamental, screened façade—one of Stone’s hallmarks. He worked with his son, Edward Stone, Jr., a landscape architect, on the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and on the PepsiCo World Headquarters in Purchase, New York. Other projects include the El Panama Hotel, Panama City, Panama; the North Carolina State Legislative Building, Raleigh, North Carolina; the United States Embassy, New Delhi, India; and the National Geographic Headquarters, and Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, D.C.