Category Archives: Archives

72nd Annual Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Conference Report, Providence, RI (April 24-28, 2019)

By Aimee Lind, Getty Research Library (ARLIS SAH Liaison)

The 72nd Annual Society of Architectural Historians conference was held in Providence, RI from April 24-28, 2019. As it was my first time visiting Providence, I wasted no time exploring the city’s historic Downtown and residential College Hill neighborhood by foot. Of course, as a librarian, I couldn’t help but visit other libraries, and Providence has some great ones. I particularly enjoyed seeing RISD’s extraordinary Nature Lab and Visual + Materials Resource Center, as well as the delightful Athenaeum.

RISD Nature Lab,  Edna Lawrence Natural History Collection

Providence Athenaeum

Rhode Island State House (McKim, Mead, & White, 1895-1904)

Industrial National Bank Building (aka Superman Building) ( Walker & Gillette, George Frederick Hall, 1928)

 

Old Stone Bank Building (C.J. and R.J. Hall, 1854)

Wednesday Evening

The conference got started on Wednesday night with the Opening Night Social Hour, held in the ballroom of the Rhode Island Convention Center, followed by the SAH Business Meeting. SAH President Sandy Isenstadt spoke about the present state and future directions of the organization:

Strategic plan for the decade ahead developed two years ago

  • Global and local approach to promoting the study of the built environment
  • Teaching and scholarship
  • Financial sustainability
  • Nurture next generation of scholars; promote diversity

In evidence at this conference

  • Paper sessions on new regions and issues
  • Inaugural Edward Sekler talk
  • Graduate student resources
    • Book group
    • Lightning talks
    • Mentoring cafe
    • Free professional headshots
  • Addition of poster sessions
  • Session on Vectors of Change, pressing issues coming to the fore
  • Pop Up session on Notre Dame

JSAH made some online issues open access in order to raise awareness of the journal. The issue on the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus has been accessed by 150,000 people.

Buildings of the US & SAH Archipedia continues to lower barriers to access with more scholarly content in a more user friendly format.

Archipedia 3.0 now has:

  • Open access including metadata
  • Mobile friendly
  • Updated legacy materials
  • New back-end /content mgmt system

SAHARA now features highlights with themes.

SAH is providing youth outreach, funding fieldtrips for underserved K-12 students, teaching them to observe and analyze the built environment.

For adults, there were study programs / field seminars /study days:

  • 2018 Cuba
  • 2019 Japan (12 days, led by Ken Oshima)
  • Summer 2020 N. China and Mongolia (led by Nancy Steinhart)
  • Study days at National Museum of African American Culture, DC

A two year grant from the Mellon Foundation is underway to gauge health of architectural history as a degree of study and gather data about the academic status of this study in higher education. Sarah Dreller will be leading this research.

He took the opportunity to review the SAH policy statement

  • Core values
  • Personal conduct
  • Position statements (ACLS)
  • New page on website, Click on ADVOCACY tab

…and then Treasurer Michael Gibson reported on the organization’s finances and fundraising events:

  • Chicago Arts Club Gala raised $139,000
  • Fall fundraiser Weimar, Dessau, Berlin tour sold out in hours
  • July 17th NYC Century Club event honoring Diller Scofidio + Renfro

Finances 2018

  • Successful fundraiser in Paris
  • $110,000 unrestricted donation
  • $70,000 netted from St Paul conference
  • Bumpy rise with investments but currently at 5.7 million, 4.5% draw rate from portfolio
  • Half of funds raised for Charnley-Persky House

Grants

  • Gill Family Foundation for grad students
  • NEH Open Humanities Portfolio Program
  • Mellon Grant, arch history in higher ed study

Following the Business Meeting, we were treated to an introductory address by Barnaby Evans, founder of Waterfire Providence, who gave a great talk about the history of the city, its architecture, and the preservation movement that has led to such a vibrant downtown.

Thursday

On Thursday I attended several open panel sessions that included papers on topics as varied as Memorial Libraries as Cenotaphs, the Paris Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, College Unions, CIAM, Boredom, Installation Art, and the 1964 New York World’s Fair Pavilion of Spain as well as a panel session called Space, Architecture & Cultural Identity: Materializing Asian America.

The entire conference program with abstracts is available here.

Of great personal interest to me was the roundtable on The Preservation of Digital Architectural Records, led by Ann Whiteside, a follow-up to last year’s roundtable:

Ann started off with a Building for Tomorrow update

2018 activities:

  • Building for Tomorrow Forum was held at SAH in St. Paul.
  • At issue: Barriers to collecting for different stakeholders
  • List of strategic directions over the course of the next 5 years
  • Held a Steering Committee meeting in May
  • Spent June-July refining the strategic directions
  • Late summer/early fall – sent out a call for volunteers to participate in several efforts:

Present efforts:

  • In 2018, connecting with Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation (CS3DP) (convened working groups)
    • Preservation Best Practices – Rebeccah Baker (NARA), Emily Vigor (Berkeley), and Will Rourke (UVa)
    • Metadata Standards – Katie Pierce Meyer (UT Austin)
    • Copyright/Ownership – Nicole Meyer (Morphosis), Nancy Hadley (AIA)
    • Access/Discoverability – Katie Pierce Meyer

Work includes – meeting with these groups to understand the work they are doing, and to  provide input about design records specifically.

2019 activities:

  • Creating an Effort Map and inventory of allied digital curation efforts; Volunteers include Rebeccah Bake (NARA), Nancy McGovern (MIT), Birgitte Sauge ( department of architecture at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Norway). They have created a map of digital curation efforts around the  globe, and have identified key contacts at those institutions to talk with about their work.
  • Literature Review group – to update the SAA Design Records Section bibliography (CAD/BIM). Volunteers are Emily Vigor, Matthew Allen (U Toronto), Emily Pugh (Getty), Jessica Qualiaroli (Yale), Kit Arrington (LC). They have updated the bibliography and are in the process of sharing their work.
  • Stakeholder Outreach Plan. This group includes Aliza Leventhal (LC), Pauline Saliga (SAH), Sylvia Welsh (Harvard). This group has developed a list of questions for interviews is software vendors.

Software vendor outreach is a next critical step in our work. IF ANYONE HAS CONTACTS, Please let Ann know asap. This has been the biggest challenge.

  • Presentations have been given at SAH 2018, AASL, 2019. A Roundtable session will be held at SAH in2019, also DLF.
  • Building for Tomorrow has had representation at the LC 3D Data Stewardship Forum in November 2019; Building for Tomorrow is a chapter in the recently published 3D/VR in the Academic Library: Emerging Practices and Trends. 2019. An article on the project was written for Arredamento Mimarlık,  Turkish architecture and design journal.

A lively discussion on these updates followed at the SAH Providence Roundtable. I am including my notes in full at the request of several attendees.

Need for educating design students about thinking about records upon creation

Session with Matthew Allen @ GSD; content: what is being produced? Teaching basic file management

Thoughts from practitioners?

  • Talk to deans of architecture schools
  • Teach archival awareness as an educational component of the degree
  • Make the case for preservation; cut through levels of bureaucracy to acquire and preserve materials

Firms not understanding that scanning once is not enough; preservation is an ongoing, iterative process

Animations: no consistency in software; models: CATIA, Autodesk, Form 2, FinalCutPro, Illustrator etc. files can’t be accessed; need ability to emulate software and computing environment; ideally firms need a dedicated digital asset manager to keep them up to date.

CAD  models etc.– print out hard copies but BIM can’t be printed

Bottom line, especially for state run agencies– what is the cheapest way to do this?

Students are just trying to get project done

Can we keep paper when possible/practical and only deal with digital when we need to? But paper preservation methods require maintenance too.

Some firms have archivist(s) on staff; file structure that project teams have to follow; established practice but generally only the larger firms.

Ongoing process but most concerned about smaller firms– need to be given mechanism and info to preserve.

Could we go to AIA and set up archive bureau so the message is spread? AIA disseminates message and pays to do so; could be part of continuing education credits/criteria for licensing.

Legal problems

  • clients own a lot of what is produced
  • Terrorism concerns with plans getting out

Not just architecture firms, but Engineering and GIS need to be captured/preserved.

Firm websites – web archiving, good way to capture at least basic information on smaller firms?

If only keeping final versions of models, drawings– concern over loss of depth of intellectual content / process.

Saving / organizing email? Even many archivists do a bad job of this. How can we expect others to do better?

So much data! Digital documentation of cultural heritage sites (archaeological) can easily have 10 years of data on one site.

Digital data will eventually be the biggest asset. How to protect data and protect against others being able to access it illicitly.

Are intellectual property rights shifting? In Italy you now need permission to publish photos taken at certain cultural heritage sites.

Drawings vs. models vs. 3D models made by 3rd parties -what is the true model/ record of a structure especially if IP owned by so many shareholders?

Software currently in development will provide IP/GPS location of anyone who accesses it as part of metadata; can self-destruct of not approved.

Concern for protecting moral rights of creators.

Documenting students / competitions- who knows what will be important to future researchers?

By providing existing digital archives for students to work with, would that help them understand the importance?

Harvard Archives keep student work for accreditation purposes; reserve right to use for non-commercial purposes; essentially persistent licence for non-commercial use.

Looking at doing digital design records pilot; where are roadblocks?

GSA standard for BIM modeling

May also need to talk to developers

Port Authority requires that architects/contractors use their hopelessly outdated software- who owns what?

Thursday Evening

That evening, the awards reception was held at the stunning Providence Art Club, followed by the inaugural Eduard F. Sekler talk given by Joan Ockman who spoke at the historic First Baptist Meeting Hall on the Future of Modern Architecture.

Providence Art Club (Sydney Burleigh and Edmund R. Willson, 1885)

Friday

On Friday I attended panel sessions on Architectural Drawings as Artifact and Evidence, the Spatial, Visual, and Social Effects of Surface in Architecture, Architecture & Copyright, Transatlantic Encounters: Africa and the Americas and attended a lunchtime roundtable on Pluralizing Histories of the Built Environment.

Saturday

Regretfully, my travel arrangements and a very full conference program precluded me from attending the closing event at the RISD Museum or going on any of the tours offered, clearly to my detriment. They included:

Sunrise on the Riverwalk

Roger Williams in God’s Providence

The Crest of College Hill

Social Class and Religion in Stained Glass

LGBTQ Providence Walking Tour

Adaptive Reuse on College

Before Antoinette: African-American Sites along Benefit Street

The Stones of Providence

The Architecture of Industry

Benefit Street

Newport’s Best-Preserved Colonial Neighborhood and Climate Change

Bristol’s Architectural Legacy

Gilded Age Newport in Color

Ira Rakatansky: Mid-century Modern in Providence

Rhode Island Vernacular: From the Stone-Ender to the Square Plan House

Brown University: An Architectural Tour

Parkitecture: The Built Environment of Roger Williams Park, 19th Century to the Present

Women Designers in Rhode Island

H.H. Richardson and North Easton, Massachusetts

Cape Cod Modern House Trust Tour

Complexities and Contradictions of 20th-Century Architecture in New England

Eighteenth-Century Newport

Great Spaces: Architectural Landmarks of 19th-Century Newport

Seaside Resort Architecture at Watch Hill

If you were lucky enough to attend any of these tours or have additional items of interest to report on the SAH Conference, please do not hesitate to comment below.

Providence, R.I.— you are a charmer, indeed. I’ll be back!

71st Annual Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) Conference. St. Paul, MN (April 18-22, 2018)

By Aimee Lind, Getty Research Library

The 72nd Annual Society of Architectural Historians conference will be held in Providence, RI from April 24-28, 2019.

The program is available here: https://www.sah.org/2019/program

I attended the 2018 SAH conference in St. Paul, MN and found many sessions, particularly the roundtables, to be extremely relevant to issues facing ARLIS members working with architecture collections.

I’ve included a summary of last year’s conference below. Hope to see some of you in Providence!

_________________________________________

SAH 2018 Annual International Conference Report

Saint Paul, MN (April 18-22, 2018)

Despite the fact that spring had still not officially sprung in Saint Paul, MN, the 2018 SAH Annual International Conference was abloom with informative and inspiring paper sessions, panels, workshops, roundtables, and tours.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18th, 2018

My conference experience began with a visit to the Northwest Architectural Archives at the University of Minnesota. Northwest Architectural Archives “collects the records of architects, engineers, contractors, landscape architects, and interior designers from a region which includes Minnesota, western Wisconsin, northern Iowa, and the eastern Dakotas. Every type of document generated by these individuals and firms is collected: drawings of all kinds, specifications, job files, and photographs are chiefly sought.The collections span nearly 130 years of work by many notable practitioners.”

Our hosts Barbara Bezat and Cheryll Fong brought out a fabulous selection drawings that followed a theme of Built/Unbuilt. We were then treated to a tour of their impressive storage  facilities followed by a bus tour of some of the historic architecture of Minneapolis and Saint Paul that we’d just seen in original drawings.

Back at the conference venue, the RiverCentre, booksellers displayed publications covering all manner of scholarship in the field of architectural history while attendees enjoyed wine and hors d’oeuvres during the Opening Night Social Hour.

Next up, at the Business Meeting, officials provided news on SAH programs and initiatives, including the announcement of the 2020 conference location of Seattle. Topics of discussion included grants, Archipedia development, graduate student outreach, the SAH Architects Council, SAHARA, the SAH Field Seminar, and the treasurer’s report.

Following the Business Meeting, attendees were treated to the Introductory Address from Kristin Anderson of Augsburg University, and Katherine Solomonson of University of Minnesota: “Saint Paul: Last of the East, First of the West”, which helped us all to better understand the history and architecture of the region.

THURSDAY, APRIL 19th, 2018

So many great sessions and so little time! My highlights of the day included paper sessions on the themes of Burnt Clay (brick and tile) and Affordable Housing Design plus two very interesting roundtables on subjects near and dear to my heart. The first was Digital Architectural Records and Our Future moderated by Ann Whiteside(Harvard Graduate School of Design). This well-attended roundtable included librarians, archivists, architects, and architectural historians, all seeking to solve the problem of how to preserve digital architectural records. A forum earlier in the week netted concrete plans of action which will be reported upon soon. If you’d like to be involved, contact Ann Whiteside.

The other roundtable I attended on Thursday focused on Essential Skills for the Architectural Historian, moderated by Danielle S. Willkens (Auburn University), and Jonathan Kewley (Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England) and asked the question what do instructors teach to future architects? Issues of vocabulary, understanding physical surveys, mastery of archival research, critical thinking, ethics, as well as project management skills were raised, among others.

Despite a very packed schedule, I was fortunate enough to pass many impressive works of architecture on my way to and from the conference venue, including the stunning Saint Paul City Hall and Ramsey County Courthouse (Thomas Ellerbe & Company and Holabird & Root,1932)

the charming Saint Paul Women’s City Club (Magnus Jemne, 1931)

and the Hamm Building (Toltz, King and Day, 1915), with its exquisite terracotta facade and interiors.

FRIDAY, APRIL 20th, 2018

On Friday I attended paper sessions focused on themes of Latin American Religious Architecture, Queer Spaces, and Temporal Junctures, as well as another thought-provoking Architects Council roundtable on Making, Management and Preservation of Archives. Many of the same themes as the Making, Management and Preservation of Archives roundtable came up as Bart Voorsanger, Cynthia Weese, Sandy Isenstadt, and Kenneth Frampton discussed how architects and architectural historians can contribute to this important conversation.

If you’re interested in more detailed notes on any of these roundtables, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Friday evening saw the Awards Ceremony & Kenneth Frampton’s Plenary talk at the stunning Landmark Center (Willoughby J. Edbrooke, 1902).

SATURDAY, APRIL 21st, 2018

On Saturday, I toured downtown Minneapolis, where I had the chance to see the Mississippi River as it passes through the Mill District, the Farmers & Mechanics Savings Bank (McEnary, Dale; Krafft, Edwin, 1942), Foshay Tower (Magney & Tusler, 1929), now a W Hotel, and Cedar Square West/Riverside Plaza (Ralph Rapson, 1973), among others.

Saturday evening saw the closing night event at the historic James J. Hill House (1891) where conference organizers recognized the hard work of the many volunteers who helped make this SAH conference successful.

Until next year!

 

 

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

CalArchNet Group

By Aimee Lind, Getty Research Institute

Founded in 2016 by Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s Director of Special Collections Jessica Holada and Getty Research Institute librarian Aimee Lind, CalArchNet (pronounced Cal-Ark-Net) was conceived as a means to foster dialogue and collaboration among librarians, archivists, and curators at California institutions that house architecture archives. CalArchNet provides a twice-yearly forum for this specialized group of professionals to learn more about California architecture, understand the ways California architecture records are used, share information and expertise, seek advice, build a community committed to standard practices that improve operations and services, and bring greater visibility to collections and programs.

October 27th, 2017 marked the third meeting of CalArchNet, held at the Palm Springs Art Museum, Architecture and Design Center, with representatives from thirteen California institutions in attendance. Topics discussed included historic site preservation research methodology, leveraging statewide resources to enhance discovery of collections, security considerations, GIS mapping technologies, and the use of linked open data to make connections between collections. The day concluded with a curator-led tour of the exhibition Albert Frey and Lina Bo Bardi: A Search for Living Architecture.

If you’re an archivist, librarian, or curator working with architecture archives in California and would like to become involved with CalArchNet, email calarchnet@gmail.com or check our website for more information. The next CalArchNet meeting is scheduled for March 30th, 2018 at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.