Category Archives: Special Collections

A Visit to London: Attending ARLIS UK & Ireland

Rebecca Price
Architecture, Urban Planning & Visual Resources Librarian, University of Michigan

Thames View
River Thames View

It is with great delight that I report on my recent trip to London, England. I feel fortunate to have been able both to attend the ARLIS UK & Ireland conference and to extend my stay so that I could visit a number of architecture and design libraries.

Though marked by uncharacteristically sweltering heat and dry weather, my visit was tremendously productive and meaningful in that I visited several architecture libraries and talked with their librarians. I am very grateful to support from the Kress Foundation as well as supplemental professional development funds from the University of Michigan Library making the trip possible.

Digital Fabrication at The Building Centre

The conference (July 26-27) offered two full days of programming and a day of tours of selected London libraries. I found the presentations interesting, inspiring, and highly relevant to my work. Some personal favorites were a session on the use of Special Collections to support creativity and critical thinking in the studio as well as the classroom. It was a lesson in using eccentric objects and deliberately odd experiences to provide the unexpected for students. In addition, there were several presentations on artist’s books and their value in highlighting current issues and social themes, as well as in providing meaningful hands-on learning experiences. I presented on the use and value of materials collections and happily heard several other papers offering new perspectives and experiences related to materials collections.

Materials at Central St. Martin’s, London

Four keynote speakers spoke over the two days.  With keen insight and humor, they brought new points of view challenging our norms of practice and thought. They each spoke to broader issues of librarianship, particularly in arts or special libraries. Each one challenged us to reconsider our definitions of the typical librarian, the typical library user, and the typical library. I was particularly impressed by how their words asked us to think about how our teaching methodologies and collection practices can lead to silences and excluded voices.

On the Saturday after the sessions, the organizers offered an optional tour day. I participated in two museum library tours; the National Gallery Library and the Tate Britain Library. It was truly special to be able to walk through their library collections and archives in spaces that only their library and curatorial staff can access. Particularly fascinating in the Tate Britain Archives was a model ship used by Turner in many of his seascapes and depictions of sea battles.  Everyone was exceedingly generous with their time and knowledge.

Turner’s Ship Model, Tate Britain
Turner Seascape, Tate Britain

 

 

 

 

 

 

A high point of the trip was being able to take the time to visit six art/architecture libraries. I pre-arranged meetings with each of the art and architecture librarians. Highlights were touring collections and spaces, and talking with librarians and staff at the Architectural Association, the Bartlett at University College London, the Royal College of Art, Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design, Ravensbourne University, and RIBA.

RIBA Collections, London

They graciously took the time to meet with me and talk about their libraries. It was especially inspiring to learn from them, to see their collections, and to discover the challenges that we share and those that are different.

The biggest take-away for me was realizing the surprising similarities in the work of the arts librarian in the UK and the arts librarian in North America.

Interactive Visitor Art, Tate Modern, London

In addition, I visited a few materials collections, twelve museums, and two historic houses.  I chose to visit several museums focused on art and design (The Design Museum, The Fashion and Textile Museum, The Tate Modern and Tate Britain, The V&A, The National Gallery, Sir John Soane’s Museum) and some focused more on the social history of the city (The Museum of London, The Museum of London Docklands, The Transport Museum, The Foundling Museum, and The Tower of London).

Design Museum London, Words

And there were the fun hours walking through the neighborhoods and parks of London.

Attending the ARLIS UK & Ireland conference gave me the opportunity to talk with and hear from numerous international colleagues and to gain a much deeper understanding of their work. If any of you are given the opportunity to attend in the future, I highly recommend it. And as librarians visit us from other countries, I hope that we open our collections to them as generously as was done for me.

Digitizing the F. Blair Reeves Papers

Jessica Aberle
Architecture and Fine Arts Library, University of Florida

PIN Sign
PIN (Preservation Institute Nantucket), Univ of Florida

In the spring of 2017, Professor Morris Hylton III, the Program Director for Historic Preservation at the University of Florida, approached the George A. Smathers Libraries with a proposal to digitize material related to the Preservation Institute Nantucket(PIN), which will celebrate its fiftieth year in 2022.  PIN was founded in 1972 by F. Blair Reeves, a faculty member in the School of Architecture at the University of Florida, in partnership with Walter Beinecke, Jr.

The F. Blair Reeves Papers in the Architecture Archives include correspondence, grant proposals, course material, and photographs that all document the foundation, history, and culture of the early years of PIN. In order to make this material accessible through digitization, we applied to the Strategic Opportunities Grant Program (SOP), which is internally funded by the Smathers Libraries. Through this program, the team (which included faculty and staff from the Department of Special and Area Studies Collections, Preservation, and Digital Production Services) was able to secure funds to digitize roughly 6,000 pages from the F. Blair Reeves Papers and to document related PIN material held in other collections and sometimes, offices.

Nantucket, Oldest House
Oldest House, Nantucket, 1686

During July of 2017, I traveled to Nantucket (escaping the Florida heat for a few days) to visit the Research Library of the Nantucket Historical Association(NHA) and the PIN Studios. The NHA is one of the official repositories for PIN material which includes the PIN Archives, student reports, and Historic Structure Reports. I took a rough estimate of the materials that had accumulated in the PIN Studio in Sherburne Hall over the years. This material included student reports, exhibit material, posters, program files, working drawings, and the wooden signs that the students created every summer for the PIN studio. I was only able to document the various formats and take a rough estimate of the quantity of material during my brief visit. Full documentation will have to await the transfer of materials to the Architecture Archives at the University of Florida. Whenever the PIN Studio and the Research Library was closed, I took the opportunity to see as much of Nantucket as possible!

Nantucket Old Mill
Old Mill, Nantucket, 1746

In the fall of 2017 Digital Production Services began digitizing the materials selected from F. Blair Reeves Papers. In the end, they scanned 6,315 pages of material and digitized several audio files. The grant also allowed us to fund a graduate student research assistant who documented the materials that had accumulated in the current PIN offices at the University of Florida. Our research assistant worked both fall and spring semesters to organize and document twelve boxes of archival material that were transferred to the Architecture Archives this past spring. He documented the dates, significant people associated with the materials, format, quantity, and a brief description, which will aid in the creation of a finding aid for the collection. I was also able to identify additional collections here at UF that contain PIN material including oral histories and student work.

The project funded by the SOP grant is just now wrapping up. Our priority moving forward is to continue to digitize PIN material locally from some of the newly identified collections.

For those interested in PIN, you can learn about its early history through the F. Blair Reeves Papers. The digitized material is available in the University of Florida Digital Collections: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/pin. We will continue to add material over the next few weeks, so please do check back. If you would like to know more about either PIN or the newly launched Preservation Institute St. Augustine (PISA), information can be found on the website for the Historic Preservation Program in the College of Design, Construction, and Planning at the University of Florida.

New Research Guide for Getty Research Library’s Architecture and Design Collections

Model of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, Frank Gehry, 2003. Frank Gehry Papers. The Getty Research Institute. © Frank O. Gehry
Model of Walt Disney Concert Hall, Los Angeles, California, Frank Gehry, 2003. Frank Gehry Papers. The Getty Research Institute. © Frank O. Gehry

By Aimee Lind, Getty Research Library

For scholars, researchers, and fans of architecture and design, a new research guide is available that provides an introduction to the Getty Research Library’s substantial archival holdings on this topic.

The architecture and design collections of the Getty Research Library include a vast array of materials related to architecture and design. These diverse resources reveal the complex dimensions of the design process, from initial sketches and study models to evocative final renderings, detailed construction drawings, and published promotional photographs. The collection’s extensive archival materials include letters, notebooks, audiovisual materials and ephemera that outline the evolving themes and issues of architectural discourse. International holdings date from 1500 to the present, with concentrations in 19th- and 20th-century avant-garde movements and mid-20th-century modernism.

Highlights of the collection include the archives of progressive Southern California architects Frank Gehry, Pierre Koenig, John Lautner, Ray Kappe, Frank Israel, and William Krisel; international projects by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Peter Eisenman, Yona Friedman, Zaha Hadid, Philip Johnson, Daniel Libeskind, Aldo Rossi, Bernard Rudofsky, Lebbeus Woods, and Frank Lloyd Wright; the influential architectural photography of Julius Shulman and Lucien Hervé; and the papers of Reyner Banham, Ada Louise Huxtable, and Nikolaus Pevsner.

The Architecture & Design Collections Research Guide was created with the aim of assembling these resources in one place, making the breadth and depth of the GRI’s holdings in these subject areas easier to grasp and research simpler to undertake. The Research Guide is a work in progress. Though it is not designed to be comprehensive, an attempt has been made to include all major archival collections as well as individual materials connected to important figures.

The Architecture & Design Collections Research Guide is divided into the following sections:

Welcome & Getting Started serves as an introduction to our library, our holdings, as well as key points regarding access.

Papers of Architects & Designers is an alphabetical list of architects and designers represented in our archival collections, complete with holdings summaries and links to the Primo record.

Papers of Architectural Critics & Historians is an alphabetical list of architectural critics and historians represented in our archival collections, complete with holdings summaries and links to the Primo record.

Architectural Photography Archives is an alphabetical list of photographers of the built environment represented in our archival collections, complete with holdings summaries and links to the Primo record.

Notable Southern California Modernism Collections gathers the Getty’s notable holdings in Southern California Modernism into one page, with links to both the Primo record and the full collection Finding Aids.

California Architecture Collections Search Portal is a custom search that only returns records with the terms “architect*” (architecture, architect, architectural, etc.) and “ca*” (California, Calif., CA, etc.) in subject headings, thereby streamlining the search process and bringing back only results that are highly relevant to the architects and architecture of California.

Bauhaus Resources gathers the Getty’s important Bauhaus holdings into one page, complete with holdings summaries and links to the Primo record. As 2019 marks the centenary of the founding of the school, these resources are sure to be in great demand.

Other Collections of Note include papers representing significant schools, movements, meetings, exhibitions, and competitions.

Related Past Exhibitions provides links to past Getty exhibitions that focused on architecture and design themes.

Researching an Architect and Researching a Building contain links to online guides, directories, encyclopedias, and databases that can be accessed from anywhere without a subscription as well as links to key Getty subscription databases that are particularly useful for those researching the built environment.

We hope you will make use of this Research Guide and we welcome suggestions for how we can make it better!

 

“Memoir of a City”: The Ryerson & Burnham Archives Celebrate the David Garrard Lowe Collection

Autumn Mather
Ryerson & Burnham Libraries, Art Institute of Chicago

In 2016, historian David Garrard Lowe, author of Lost Chicago, donated a collection of approximately 1,100 photographs and ephemeral items, ranging in date from the 1880s to the 1980s, to the Ryerson & Burnham Archives of the Art Institute of Chicago. The collection currently is in the process of being digitized, and a selection of materials is on display through June 15 in an exhibition in the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries’ Franke Reading Room.

Nathaniel Parks, Tigerman McCurry Art and Architecture Archivist, curated “Memoir of a City”: Selections from the David Garrard Lowe Historic Chicago Photograph Collection, to highlight Lowe’s generous gift. Lost Chicago, originally published in 1975, was both a love letter to the city and an impassioned plea for preservation of Chicago’s unique architecture. Lowe, a third-generation Chicagoan, begins the work “Chicago was always, for me, a magical city,” and proceeds to present images of long-vanished structures that defined the city alongside captions on their significance, making locations such as Bertha Palmer’s picture gallery, Dwight L. Moody’s Tabernacle, Crosby’s Opera House, and the Sherman House hotel come alive for the reader.

Henry Ives Cobb’s Federal Building: US Post Office, Courthouse, and Customhouse, completed 1905; demolished 1965, photo courtesy of the Ryerson & Burnham Archives, Art Institute of Chicago
Henry Ives Cobb’s Federal Building: US Post Office, Courthouse, and Customhouse, completed 1905; demolished 1965, photo courtesy of the Ryerson & Burnham Archives, Art Institute of Chicago

The exhibition follows the table of contents in Lost Chicago, organizing the cases thematically around pre-Fire Chicago; culture and recreation in the city; residential architecture; transportation and infrastructure; government and commercial architecture; the 1893 and 1933 World’s Fairs; and significant Chicago people and events. Viewers can explore Pullman Town, the White City of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Francis apartments, and reminisce about civic structures such as Comiskey Park (“the baseball palace of the world”), the Trianon Ballroom, and Central Station. In addition to photographs, some of which have not been previously published, the exhibition features playing cards from the Century of Progress International Exposition, menus, postcards, souvenir photo books, news clippings, and both the design and advertisement for “a modern Christmas tree” that may have inspired Irving Berlin’s song, White Christmas. This representative selection of materials demonstrates both the variety of evocative materials in the David Garrard Lowe collection, and the variety of research questions that can be explored through this compilation of primary source materials.

Design for a “Modern Christmas Tree,” 1930, photo courtesy of the Ryerson & Burnham Archives, Art Institute of Chicago.
Design for a “Modern Christmas Tree,” 1930, photo courtesy of the Ryerson & Burnham Archives, Art Institute of Chicago.

The Ryerson and Burnham Archives are a fitting home for this significant collection. The David Garrard Lowe collection will be accessible alongside the papers of Chicago architects such as Daniel Hudson Burnham, Louis Sullivan, and Bertrand Goldberg; historic preservationists such as Richard Nickel and John Garrett Thorpe; and collections such as the Chicagoland Building Brochure collection and the World’s Columbian Exposition Photographs by C. D. Arnold. Once the Lowe materials have been digitized, they will join the more than 500,000 items available freely online in the Ryerson & Burnham Archives’ digital collections.

If you’re planning to visit to view the exhibition, please join us for a conversation with David Garrard Lowe, “Lost Chicago”—The Past, Present, and Future of Historic Preservation, in the Morton Auditorium at 6:00 on May 24. Lowe will be joined by author and former Art Institute of Chicago curator John Zukowsky; Founding Partner and Design Principal of the architecture, interiors, and urban planning firm UrbanWorks, Patricia Saldaña Natke FAIA; and School of the Art Institute professor and former director of research for the city’s Department of Planning and Development Historic Preservation Division, Terry Tatum, for a lively discussion on the history and future of historic preservation in Chicago’s rich architectural environment. He will also discuss his landmark book Lost Chicago, and his recent gift to the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries.

Viewers enjoying the exhibition in the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries,  photo by Autumn Mather.
Viewers enjoying the exhibition in the Ryerson & Burnham Libraries,
photo by Autumn Mather.

 

Building for Tomorrow: Collaborative Development of Sustainable Infrastructure for Architectural and Design Documentation

Ann Baird Whiteside
Frances Loeb Library, Harvard GSD

Since the introduction of Computer Aided Design (CAD) software in the 1960s, industries that design and develop our built environment have been moving from pencil and paper to computers and digital files. The earliest adopters of the new technology were industries like aerospace and automotive, and since then the fields of architecture and design have been enthusiastic adopters. CAD has allowed architects to take previously unimaginable risks in their designs, and to experiment with new forms and materials without the need of building prototypes or performing expensive structural analyses until much later in the process.

Architectural museums and archives are faced with a rapidly growing need to preserve digital information and are grappling with the need for technological tools, technical expertise in digital preservation, AutoCAD expertise, archival expertise, and the need for repositories that can preserve and disseminate the archived data.

The use of 2D and 3D CAD and Building Information Modeling (BIM) software is now routine in architecture and design firms. The contractual deliverable has shifted from printed, wet-signed and wet-stamped drawing sets to an electronically signed model that can be manipulated to achieve equal, if not more, granular information than the traditional printed plans.

Many types of digital files produced during design and construction that are important for long-term preservation for future renovations/restorations and scholarly research.

  • 3D CAD models
  • hundreds or thousands of detailed 2D layer drawings
  • 3D printed objects
  • project “out-puts” – for example, drawings or sketches of the building.
  • photographs and videos
  • websites about the building
  • BIMs
  • communications among architects, clients, contractors and other parties

Over the last five years, we are seeing that students in architecture and design schools are further routinely using CAD for modelling, skipping the 2D drawing process entirely, meaning that the coming generation of architects will be only producing documentation in 3D models, providing more urgency to the problem of preserving this type of documentation.

The impact of this on the record of architectural innovation and practice –in architecture libraries, archives, museums, among others–is only beginning to be appreciated. No longer can libraries acquire blueprints or drawings, a few images, and a scale model or two, to represent a major work of architecture in their collections. Now they must acquire the 3D CAD models and 2D drawing files, Building Information Models (BIM), digital images, videos and documents, all delivered on a computer hard drive often with no annotation whatsoever. No library or archive is currently prepared for this new reality, but they are increasingly under pressure to figure out how to acquire these 21st century collections, to support the next generation of architectural students and historians.

The Frances Loeb Library at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design received an IMLS National Forum Grant under the National Digital Platform funding priority to support two meetings of engaged stakeholders – architects, architectural historians, archivists, librarians, technologists, digital preservationists, and others who will frame a national/international collaborative infrastructure to support long-term preservation of digital design data. The first meeting will place on April 17th and 18th, 2018 and will provide a venue for the diverse group of stakeholders to think collaboratively about the issues in preserving architectural design data, to find alignments across communities, and to identify the needs required to develop an infrastructure to support archiving of digital design information that will be usable by a variety of types and sizes of architectural museums and archives.

There has been considerable work in this arena over the last five years, and in 2018 there have been three Summits, Symposia, and workshops already that have set the stage for the Forum in April.

Society of American Archivists Design Records Section CAD/BIM Task Force
https://www2.archivists.org/groups/design-records-section/cadbim-taskforce

The Design Records Section Task Force has produced some critical information for the community to help us understand how practitioners, firms, and archives are managing digital content.

Designing the Future Landscape: Digital Architecture, Design and Engineering Assets Symposium, November, 2017

This event brought together a wide variety of stakeholders to discuss the issues we face when preserving digital design records. The report has just been made publicly available and can be found here: A Report on the Architecture, Design and Engineering Summit

Community Standards for 3D data preservation, February, 2018

3D/VR Creation and Curation in Higher Education, March, 2018

Building for Tomorrow: Collaborative Development of Sustainable Infrastructure for Architectural and Design Documentation

Field-Based Research in the Study of Early American Architecture

By Carl Lounsbury, Senior Architectural Historian, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

For nearly ninety years, historians and curators at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation have examined countless documents and images housed in public and private archives and collections to inform the restoration and interpretation of Virginia’s eighteenth-century capital. Although their work has been grounded in written records supported by archaeological evidence, field-based architectural research has been their lifeblood, giving credibility to their restoration efforts and shape to their understanding of early American architecture. This reliance on fieldwork has linked those first architects hired by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in the late 1920s to the current generation of architectural historians. The Chesapeake House: Architectural Investigation by Colonial Williamsburg illustrates how contemporary fieldwork has transformed our understanding of building practices in the colonial and early national periods and enriched the interpretation of Williamsburg and other history museums.

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River Edge, Charles City County, Virginia. Photo by Jeff Klee.

The collective endeavor of nine scholars associated with the museum since the 1980s, The Chesapeake House is a summary of current scholarship in the region that reveals a far different approach to fieldwork than that which was practiced previously. Lavishly illustrated with measured drawings, 3D renderings, photographs, and technical illustrations, the seventeen chapters and two portfolios include several interpretative essays describing the methodologies of fieldwork, the development of plan types from Jamestown’s settlement to the antebellum period, and the design process. There are chapters on slave quarters and agricultural buildings, building types that had been largely ignored by earlier historians. The last part of the book focuses on materials, details, and finishes with essays on framing methods, hardware, brickwork, interior and exterior ornamentation, paint, and wallpaper, which provide a reliable guide to the form, style, and chronology of early buildings in Virginia and Maryland. The book can be read in two ways. It is an architectural history of the region as well as a guide on how to interpret the complex histories of old buildings through their many constituent parts.

 

Recreation of a one-room house with its furnishings based on an inventory, c. 1700. Drawing by Studio Ammons after Allan Adams.
Recreation of a one-room house with its furnishings based on an inventory, c. 1700. Drawing by Studio Ammons after Allan Adams.
Framing, Pear Valley, 1740, Northampton County, Virginia. Drawing by Studio Ammons after Willie Graham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

H and HL side hinges. Drawing by Patricia Miller.
H and HL side hinges. Drawing by Patricia Miller.

The Chesapeake House tells a different story than the works of our predecessors in part because we have asked different questions of our evidence. Our views of early American architecture have been shaped by conceptual models of colonial society quite dissimilar to those held by the architects who transformed Williamsburg in the 1920s and 1930s. Great houses such as Westover and Stratford continue to beckon scholars as they did earlier when Fiske Kimball and Thomas Waterman first described their stylistic qualities. These two early chroniclers of the region’s architecture applied the theoretical concepts developed by art historians. This perspective considered architecture as fine art. They measured the significance of buildings according to how well they embodied a formal set of design rules. Their task was to explain a building’s relationship to an evolving stylistic system that shared certain formal aesthetic criteria. They evaluated buildings according to Renaissance rules of architecture that emphasized symmetry, proportion, and the appropriate use of the classical orders and judged them according to how well they fit those precepts. They praised those buildings that exemplified stylistic coherence or fidelity to European models of classicism and reproached others for straying from these ideals either through perceived ignorance or poor craftsmanship.

Mount Clare, c. 1757-60, Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by author.
Mount Clare, c. 1757-60, Baltimore, Maryland. Photo by author.

The aesthetic character of buildings no longer answered the most important questions that my generation of architectural historians was eager to explore. Many of us considered architecture to be an expression of social behavior and cultural practices grounded in specific historical circumstances. Consequently, our field research studies emphasized spatial analysis over stylistic pedigree. We shifted our focus from the aesthetics of form to the social manifestations of building. We investigated buildings with the belief that architectural forms carry social meanings. Architecture gives physical shape to the way people perceive their place in the world and how they interact with others. The arrangement of spaces and the hierarchical ornamentation of rooms reveal much about patterns of behavior. Buildings can be read as closely as any textual analysis for what they say about the behavior, aspirations, and interactions of members of a society, revealing patterns as clearly as any contemporary letter or newspaper. People designed some spaces to facilitate interaction whereas in other circumstances they carefully regulated access to prevent indiscriminate intermingling. The early American landscape communicated a variety of meanings that sometimes changed over time or were transformed by new ideas and attitudes. Often, the significance of a building was implied by its position in a landscape, its materials, levels of finish, or plan. However, these meanings were not static but often dynamic, changed over time, and could be interpreted in a variety of ways or contested by different members of society.

The Comforts of Home for a Gentleman’s family in Williamsburg.
The comforts of home for a gentleman’s family in Williamsburg.
The Discomforts of Home for an Enslaved Family in Williamsburg.
The discomforts of home for an enslaved family in Williamsburg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entire historic landscapes have been opened for such scrutiny, not simply the style-conscious homes of the wealthy. In The Chesapeake House, gentry houses visited by our predecessors still play an important role in telling many stories, simply by the fact that their owners dominated colonial society and these structures have enjoyed a better rate of survival. But they were only a part of a more diverse early landscape, which is less familiar now by the fact that so much of it has disappeared. Beyond the formal grounds of great estates like Shirley or Gunston, there was a countryside that swarmed with ordinary people who seldom or never set foot on a gentleman’s property and only occasionally crossed paths with a Carter or Mason at the parish church, county courthouse, muster field, or along the road. The commonplace world of small freeholders, tenant farmers, indentured servants, and most slaves assumed a much-reduced scale—smaller farms, modest wooden farmhouses, fewer specialized farm buildings, and here and there a solitary quarter. Not surprisingly, few of these smaller farmhouses remain standing today and eighteenth-century slave houses and agricultural buildings are extremely rare. What we know about this nearly lost world derives from a few standing remnants supplemented by archaeological evidence and documentary sources. By looking at the entire range of this architectural legacy, our research also explores the physical dimensions of the lives of men, women, and children whom have often been forgotten in traditional historical narratives—from craftsmen and laborers who shaped the buildings to the myriad of individuals, who inhabited, worked, played, and entertained in them.

Architectural Drawings of a Railway Company

By Bonnie Reed

Last spring I completed a review of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway architectural drawings archived at the Texas Tech Southwest Collection. This research project was precipitated by a comment made by a professor on the difficulty of locating architectural drawings for some historical structures. My original impression was that most of the drawings in this collection were of depots; however, I found drawings of a great variety of railroad and community structures, including the historical structure that initiated my research quest.

The charter for the Atchison Topeka Railroad was drafted in 1859. The company changed the name to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in 1863. As with the other railroads, train tracks were laid in wilderness areas or land settled by ranchers and farmers, whose homesteads were miles from each other. The depots allowed the ranchers and farmers to send their products to market and for pioneers to obtain supplies. The railroad served as a reliable, convenient, and safe method for travel across the continent.

From the railroad depots, small towns sprang up. The depot of any given town served as a center of activity, where news arrived by telegraph, and where locals and visitors traveled to and from the small town. As the community grew around the train station, structures related to the maintenance of a railway were required. Businesses opened to answer the needs of the settlers in the towns and the travelers passing through. These towns soon required community structures, so hotels and general stores were built.

As expected, the AT&SF maintained depots strategically along the primary and secondary routes. For the rural towns, these depots were combination stations for both passengers and freight. Larger cities required separate passenger and freight structures.

The AT&SF architectural drawings offer an interesting glimpse into the types of structures required for running a railway throughout a largely unpopulated swath of land primarily in the Midwest and Southwest. The railway required structures for the foreman’s office, file rooms, supply and lavatory buildings, locker rooms, blacksmith shops, welding shops, storage sheds, and buildings for the car inspectors and coach cleaning. The AT&SF collection includes drawings for numerous types of power and boiler houses. Larger railroad compounds included round houses, large round structures with turntables used for repairing locomotives, in addition to car repair and machine shops, and engine houses. Drawings for other maintenance structures were designed for waste refuse, water treatment, and paint and carpenter shops. Drawings included those for railroad platforms to receive passengers and the mail. The AT&SF collection also includes an architectural drawing for an apprentice school.

The headquarters for the AT&SF was in Chicago. The collection includes numerous drawings for the remodel and decorating of the vice president and executive offices within the Railroad Exchange Building. Additional drawings include yard office and storage facilities.

PANHANDLE, TEXAS COMBINATION DEPOT

Panhandle Depot Floor Plan (Sheet 1)
Panhandle Depot Floor Plan (Sheet 1)

The depot at Panhandle, Texas is a good example a combination depot. The depot was designed by E. A. Harrison in Chicago, in June 1927. The floor plan shows the basic arrangement, with one side of the long structure restricted to freight, while the other side includes an office, baggage room, express room, platform, and boiler room (Sheet 1/7). This architectural drawing reflects the United States’ history of racial prejudice and segregation. While there is a large general waiting room, there are separate waiting rooms with bathroom facilities for men, women, and African Americans (labeled Negro).

Panhandle Depot Elevation (Sheet 2)
Panhandle Depot Elevation (Sheet 2)

The elevations of the depot on Sheet 2/7 also include both the front, back, and side elevations. This drawing includes architectural details.

AT&SF & Community

The AT&SF was involved with a surprising number of structures not directly related to the daily operation and maintenance of the railroad. The structures supported the daily life of the workmen, as well as the passengers and the community. Some of the drawings are additions and/or alterations to existing buildings created by the company that required expansion. To support the growing number of settlers and travelers going West, these structures included bunk houses for the workmen, lunchrooms, reading rooms, commissaries, laundries, recreation halls, and hotels.

It is commonly known that Fred Harvey and his descendants worked with the AT&SF to offer lunches served at the Harvey Houses by the Harvey Girls. Some of the drawings produced by the AT&SF were created for the Fred Harvey Company, including lunchrooms, creameries, hotels, and cafeteria-camper lodge buildings. Architectural drawings of the Harvey Houses are included in the collection.

SLATON SANTA FE READING ROOM

Within this collection are architectural drawings of buildings in a small town named Slaton, Texas, located just southeast of Lubbock. In May an architecture professor and I took the short trip to have lunch at the Slaton Harvey House. We received a tour with stories by the daughter of a former Harvey Girl. While the AT&SF architectural drawing collection does not include the drawings for the Slaton Harvey House, the collection has drawings of the surrounding structures, including the reading room, heating house, and round house. The Slaton Harvey House still stands, but the AT&SF structures for which we have the drawings have long since been demolished.

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Slaton Reading Room Elevations & Details (Sheet 2)

The railway maintained reading rooms that served as the all-around resource for their workers at the end of the work shift, as a place to bathe, sleep, read, and wait for the next returning train home. In addition to magazines and books, the reading rooms offered exercise opportunities and wholesome entertainment. The reading rooms also served as places for educational lectures and performance entertainment for the workers, their families, and sometimes the community. Accordingly, each reading room was maintained by a librarian.

The Slaton Reading Room was designed by C.Y. Morse and built in 1912. The collection includes seven drawings of the structure. Architectural drawing includes both front, rear, and side elevations, along with interior details of the staircase and counter (Sheet 2/7).

Slaton Reading Room Floor Plan (Sheet 1)
Slaton Reading Room Floor Plan (Sheet 1)

The building floor plan (Sheet 1/7) offers the arrangement of the first floor with rooms assigned to specific activities: billiards, cards and reading. The librarian’s living quarters has a kitchen, bedroom, and private stairs to the librarian’s basement with a laundry tub. The basement also has the public bath and boiler room. The second floor has 18 possible bedrooms and two baths, one with laundry tub and a linen closet. Each floor includes a veranda that extends the length of the facade. The set includes five drawings of interior and exterior details, including windows, doors, and counters. The drawings were completed in Topeka.

REST HOUSE AT HERMIT’S RIM, GRAND CANYON

Rest House at Hermit's Rim Elevations (Sheet 3)
Rest House at Hermit’s Rim Elevations (Sheet 3)

Plans for the Rest House on Hermit’s Rim at the Grand Canyon is a set of six architectural drawings produced in Chicago and dated May 9, 1914. The elevation for the structure includes both the facade and the fireplace (Sheet 3/6). In addition to the massive fireplace, caretaker’s cottage and kitchenette, the floor plan includes the layout for the porch, pillars, and stone wall at the facade (Sheet 1/6). The unique quality of the structure can be seen in the roof made of rock stone, concrete, and wood (Sheet 2, not seen here).

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Rest House at Hermit’s Rim Floor Plan (Sheet 1)

The drawings for the Rest House were created by AT&SF for the Fred Harvey Company. While the architect’s name is not given on the drawings, it is known that Mary Colter worked for the Fred Harvey Company and that she is the architect of record. The drawing includes additional elevations, sections, and details.

Other Harvey Facilities

In addition to newly designed structures, the collection includes drawings for alteration and additions to the Harvey House in Barstow, California, as well as additions to the Harvey House in Gallup, New Mexico, and alterations to the Harvey House in Amarillo, Texas. The collection includes drawings for the remodel of a Harvey House in Hutchison, Kansas. The AT&SF also prepared drawings for the Fred Harvey Company for a creamery in Las Vegas, New Mexico and a sandwich packing room in Newton, Kansas.

The AT&SF Railway also produced drawings for additions and/or alterations for hotels in Gallup, New Mexico and Williams, Arizona. In addition, the collection includes drawings for the alteration, remodeling, and additions to the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque and plans for the dining room at the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe. For the Grand Canyon, there are drawings for a remodeling of the cafeteria-campers lodge building.

Summary

It is unknown how many structures were built from these drawings and if these drawings were the final version used to build or renovate existing structures. We do know that photographs of some of the architecture constructed from these drawings may be found in archives around the country. Photographs of buildings that were designed and constructed for AT&SF, including those from architectural drawings in the Texas Tech Southwest Collection, can be found online at the Kansas Memory website: http://www.kansasmemory.org/.

The Southwest Collection has just begun to digitize the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe collection; a few drawings are currently available for viewing at the following website: http://collections.swco.ttu.edu/handle/10605/69777

Bibliography

Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Company: An Inventory of Its Records, 1905-1973. Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library, Texas Tech University. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/taro/ttusw/00134/tsw-00134.html

Berke, Arnold. Mary Colter: Architect of the Southwest. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2002.

Bray, Frank Chapin. “Social Centers for Railroad Men.” The Chautauquan 39:4 (June 1904) 865-867.

Bryant, Keith L. Jr. History of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., 1974.

Grant, H. Roger and Charles W. Bohi. The Country Railroad Station in America. Boulder: Pruett Publishing Company 1978.

Kansas Memory website: http://www.kansasmemory.org/. (accessed 11.25.2014)

Latimer, Rosa Walston. Harvey Houses of Texas: Historic Hospitality from the Gulf to the Panhandle. Charleston: History Press, 2014.

Weigle, Marta Babcock, Barbara A. The Great Southwest of the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railway. Phoenix: The Herd Museum, 1996.

Riskin, Marci L. The Train Stops Here: New Mexico’s Railway Legacy. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2005.

From Coast to Desert: Two California Modernists

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Hass Residence, Carmel, 1969. Mark Mills Papers, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

By Peter Runge and Laura Sorvetti.  Edited by Jesse Vestermark.

Special Collections at the Robert E. Kennedy Library, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo collects records documenting the architecture and built environment of California. These collections are used by a wide variety of researchers and support the scholarship of the students and faculty of the university. Included are the records of architects Mark Mills and William F. Cody, two  Mid-Century Modern architects of California.

Mark Mills

Mark Mills (1921 – 2007) quietly and steadily established himself as a highly regarded, if not well-known, architect of the Big Sur/Carmel area of the Central Coast of California from the 1950s to the early 2000s. After graduating from the University of Colorado in 1944, Mills worked for Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin West, eventually leaving to design and build an experimental geodesic dome in the desert of central Arizona with Paolo Soleri.

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Project drawing, Hass Residence, Carmel, 1969. Mark Mills Papers, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Shortly thereafter, Mills retreated to the lush and rugged landscape of Big Sur and Carmel, California, where he designed and built over forty custom homes and buildings that are both inspired by and reflect the landscape in which they reside. The distinctive and organic Hass house in Otter Cove captures the structural elegance and reverence for space that characterized Mills’ design aesthetic.

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Architect Mark Mills. Mark Mills Papers, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

The Mark Mills Papers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo include correspondence, photographs, bound presentation portfolios of his published work, and architectural drawings, primarily for single-family residences.  For more information and images regarding Mills, refer to this previous blog post: Coastal Modern: Architect Mark Mills.

William F. Cody

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Presentation drawing, Cameron Residence, Thunderbird Country Club, Rancho Mirage, 1950. William F. Cody Papers 2, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

A contemporary of Mark Mills working in Southern California, William F. Cody, FAIA (1916-1978) was an influential Desert Modern architect who practiced in Palm Springs at the peak of the Modernist movement. Between 1946 and 1973, Cody maintained a diverse practice in California’s Coachella Valley, designing country clubs, residences, hotels, and church projects.

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Project drawing, Moncrief Residence, Thunderbird North, Palm Springs, 1955-56. William F. Cody Papers, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Cody’s specialization in country club clubhouses with related residential developments helped to define the Palm Springs landscape of the 1960s. His residential projects emphasized key elements of Modernism: simplicity of form, natural light, and large windows offering a seamless connection between residential interiors and the outdoors.

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Huddle’s The Springs Restaurant, Cameron Shopping Center, Palm Springs, 1957. William F. Cody Papers, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

At Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, two substantial collections—the William F. Cody Papers and the William F. Cody Papers 2 —contain a wide range of records, including student work, architectural drawings and plans, office records, public relations materials, photographs (including photographs by Julius Shulman), correspondence, and project files.  The bulk of these document his practice from 1946 to the mid-1970s, when a stroke limited his career.

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Presentation drawing of proposed Racquet Club Cottages West, Palm Springs, 1960. William F. Cody Papers, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.