Category Archives: Architecture

Preserving & Creating Access to Vladimir Ossipoff’s Architectural Collections

Submitted by Malia Van Heukelem, Art Archivist Librarian for the Jean Charlot Collection and Archive of Hawaii Artists & Architects Collections at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

The University of Hawaii’s Hamilton Library has a well-established artist archive in the Jean Charlot Collection, which opened in 1983. What most people don’t know is that the library has selectively added collections of Hawaii artist and architects since that time. One such archive is the Ossipoff & Snyder Architects Collection, acquired in 2010. Vladimir Ossipoff (1907-1998) is Hawaii’s most prominent modernist architect. Hired as Art Archivist Librarian just two years ago, my first year necessarily focused on the public facing Jean Charlot Collection. The past year there has been a shift to physical processing and making hidden collections accessible online. Each artist and architect collection under my care has been added to our library’s instance of ArchivesSpace, at least at a very basic level.

Conceptual rendering for the University of Hawaii’s Administration Building, 1948

Architects

Ossipoff came to Honolulu in 1933 and launched his architectural career which spanned over 60 years. He was born in Vladivostok, Russia, and moved with his family to Japan when he was just a toddler; his father was a military attaché to the czar. They remained in Japan following the Russian revolution, until after the 1923 Japan earthquake, when his mother fled with her children to California. He completed high school in Berkeley before pursuing architecture at the University of California, Berkeley. Following college, he worked on a few projects before moving to Hawaii, and by 1936 he had established his own firm and practiced in Honolulu for the rest of his life. Heavily influenced by Japanese and Polynesian design, the use of local materials and positioning of architecture to the landscape and climate, his style is often referred to as “tropical modernism.” During the 1940s, the firm was called the Associated Architects and included other emerging talent: Alfred Preis from Austria, Philip Fisk, and Allen Johnson. Both Fisk and Johnson were classmates of Ossipoff from Berkeley. In the 1950s, Sidney Snyder, Alan Rowland and Gregory Goetz joined the firm and became Ossipoff’s partners for many years.

Sid Snyder joined the firm in 1956 and worked with Ossipoff for over three decades. He supported the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Hawaiian Modern exhibition and catalogue organized in collaboration with Yale University in honor of Ossipoff’s 100th birthday. In 2010, Snyder donated the firm’s project files along with several award display panels, which are highlighted in an online gallery created in Omeka (our library’s latest image platform).

Contents

There are three major categories of materials in the Ossipoff & Snyder Architects Collection: the project files (drawings and specifications), award display panels, and architectural models. The largest group is the drawings which were all folded and are being moved to flat storage in map folders and drawers for long-term preservation and access. The specification files are housed by file number in archival folders and document boxes. The firm was involved with projects of all type and scale from the Honolulu International Airport, to private clubs like the Pacific Club and Outrigger Canoe Club, to the National Tropical Botanical Garden, University of Hawaii, residences such as the Liljestrand House and Goodsill House, to banks and libraries. Over 500 projects are represented in the collection, of an estimated 800 projects undertaken by the firm. Working from a preliminary inventory, researchers using the collections are asked to specify projects by name, date or type. For residential projects, they are easiest to locate by the original owner’s name.

In November 2019, the Library received an important gift of personal papers relating to Vladimir Ossipoff. These materials greatly complement the collection of project files by adding: Ossipoff’s scrapbooks with clippings and original photographs; magazines featuring his most prominent buildings; and personal items such as his school yearbooks and awards.

Ossipoff’s custom bound scrapbooks
Funding

Generous support from an anonymous donor enabled me to hire a highly experienced part-time processing archivist in 2018. She has worked with both artist and architect collections, most recently completing an inventory of preservation architect A. Spencer Leineweber’s papers. A Preservation and Access grant in the amount of $7,000 was just awarded by the Hawaii Council for the Humanities. This year additional archival supplies will be purchased with grant funds to continue re-housing Ossipoff materials and to scan selected conceptual drawings for an online gallery. Additional attention will focus on expanding an online guide to the Ossipoff collections and the information for the finding aid in ArchivesSpace.

Internship

An Archival Processing Internship has been arranged this semester with a student enrolled in our University’s Museum Studies Graduate Certificate Program. The student is interested in archives as well as architecture, so we have opted to work with two large architectural archives which need much attention to increase their preservation, access and use.

Students & Volunteers

I have one student assistant who is a graduate student in American Studies and pursuing a Museum Studies graduate certificate. She has helped with spreadsheets for the drawing inventory and capturing additional metadata, especially for project collaborators. My two volunteers are exceptionally well qualified to help on preservation projects such as unfolding and numbering the fragile drawings. They are both noted local artists and have extensive experience in museum collections management and conservation.

Volunteers Sanit Khewhok and Hiroko Sakurai unfolding delicate drawings for flat storage
Outreach

Until recently, there was very little online presence for the Ossipoff materials here at Hamilton Library. That didn’t stop our small community from spreading the word. Requests to study drawings have come from preservation architects, homeowners, students and faculty. September provided the incredible opportunity to partner with Docomomo on tours for the 2019 National Symposium in Honolulu. There were tours focused on Ossipoff buildings, which kept selling out, and more were added until I had committed to nine tours over three days. I wasn’t sure tour participants would appreciate the stop at the archives to view original documents related to the buildings they were visiting, but it turned out to be a big success. Each tour had a leader who rotated the visitors between the archival document stop here in the library and two Ossipoff buildings.

Docomomo Hawaii Chapter President Graham Hart bringing one of the tours through to view original drawings by Vladimir Ossipoff
Other Hawaii Architect Collections

Besides the Ossipoff Collections, the University of Hawaii also holds collections by the following architects: Hart Wood, Hego Fuchino, John Mason Young (engineer/planner), James Hubbard (landscape architect), Nancy Peacock (residential) and Spencer Leineweber (preservation architect). Managing architectural collections presents unique challenges. They require lots of space, special equipment to provide safe storage, large tables for viewing, and may consume vast amounts of archival supplies and staff time to process. There are no other local repositories known to collect architectural materials. Given these constraints, most archives are not equipped to handle the task. And this does not even take into consideration the astounding obstacles to preservation and ongoing access to digital design records created with a proliferation of unsupported and obsolete software.

Contact

The Vladimir Ossipoff architectural collections at the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Hamilton Library are available by appointment Monday through Friday in the Jean Charlot Collection reading room. Please call 808-956-2849 or email charcoll@hawaii.edu, with any questions or stop in for a visit!

BAC Library History

Submitted by Robert Adams, Directory of the BAC Library and K.H. Kobialka, CA, BAC Archivist

The Boston Architectural College (BAC) was established as The Boston Architectural Club in 1889 by a group of practicing architects, some of whom were members of the Boston Society of Architects (BSA). According to the original charter, the Club was created “for the purpose of associating those interested in the profession of architecture with a view to mutual encouragement and help in studies.”[i] The Club was also envisioned to include not just for architects but also sculptors, painters, and practitioners of the “allied arts.”[ii]

From its roots, the BAC was intended to be a more inclusive group and over time that essential BAC principle has endured and developed as a vital part of the institutional mission. In the early days of the Club, members tended to be practicing architects in Boston firms who partly intended the Club as a venue for the continuing education of younger members of the profession after work hours.[iii] This level of accessibility may have attracted many first- and second-generation immigrants, who often lacked the resources to attend traditional colleges or to travel as part of their education.

The earliest records of a library at the BAC are the bookplates in the oldest books in the collection, which date to 1890. By 1894 regular Club meeting minutes record the existence of a library committee at the BAC.[iv]

Bookplate from 1890. Courtesy of Memorial Library, Boston Architectural College.

In 1895, a bequest of $5,000.00 was made to the BAC by Arthur Rotch, one of the founders of the prestigious Rotch Travelling Scholarship, “for the purchase of books and collections”.[v]  Initially, the library collection was primarily used by Club members. By the 1890s, the Library Committee had begun to consider the use of the Library to support the work of a student atelier. By the end of the 1890s, the library held over 200 volumes. At the start of the 20th Century, the Club Secretary’s report requests that “some adequate provision be made for the stacking and custody of the books, so that they may not only be accessible, but preserved under conditions more conducive to permanent use.”[vi]

Most books in the collection were European at this time, as American architectural publishing was still in its infancy. Some Club members with the means to travel overseas purchased books for the BAC.

During the first twenty years of the BAC’s operation, the Club moved between rented spaces, purchasing a permanent home at 16 Somerset Street in 1910. Library space in these temporary quarters tended to be limited and informal.

No. 6 Hamilton place was an early rented room by the Club and shows bookshelves in the lower right. Courtesy of the BAC Archives.

During the First World War, over 100 Club members served in the military.  Sadly, three students died during the war and the surviving Club members chose to dedicate a memorial in their name. The result was the creation of Memorial Library. The paneled walls, shelves, memorial plaque, and fireplace for the new library were constructed under the supervision of Bellows & Aldrich, a local architectural firm that had a long association with the BAC.  The dedication of Memorial Library took place in 1922.[vii]

At that time, the bulk of the books found in the library had come from the architectural office of Robert Swain Peabody, as a bequest from his widow. Over time, other noted architects such as Charles Brigham, Clifford Albright, and William Gibbons Preston, donated volumes.

Memorial Library pictured in the 1930s. The center plaque memorializes George Gordon Kellar, George Henry MacElligott, and Wilfred Edward O’Connor who died in World War One. Courtesy of the BAC Archives.

In 1944 the BAC changed its name from the Boston Architectural Club to the Boston Architectural Center. The name change reflected the emerging reality of the BAC as an institution focused more on education than professional membership. The curricular focus, which up to then had been mainly Beaux-Arts (European and Classical) based began to change with the times to become more open to Modernism. The BAC Dean, Arcangelo Cascieri, was an early adopter of Modernist ideas and facilitated the theoretical shift in BAC pedagogy.[viii]

Memorial Library during the 1940s. Courtesy of the BAC Archives.

Big changes came to the BAC in the 1960s. What would later turn out to be the last book purchased for Memorial library: Frank Lloyd Wright: drawings for a living architecture capped the collection at around 2,000 books. By 1962, the Center had lost its permanent home at 16 Somerset Street to the State of Massachusetts by eminent domain, in order to make way for the new Government Center.

They found a new location at 320 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood. Ultimately, it was decided to hold a global design competition for a replacement structure. One of the requirements for the winning design was to include the re-assembly of Memorial Library at the new building. A jury of prominent Boston architectural educators was assembled in order to evaluate the submissions.[ix]

Many of the competition proposals were in the Brutalist style of concrete architecture. The winning design was submitted by Ashley, Myer and Associates. The building opened in 1966 with the reassembled Memorial Library on the top floor.

Boston Architectural Center building, 320 Newbury Street at the time of its completion in 1966. Ashley, Meyer and Associates design. Photograph by George Zimberg. Courtesy of the BAC Archives.

At this time, there was somewhat of an ideological split between Memorial Library and what would come to be considered the “main” library of the Center. Memorial Library became non-circulating. Today it is a wonderful special collection that captures architectural education of a certain era and has not been changed in any way that would diminish its unique character.

During the fundraising for the new BAC building, Edward Durell Stone, a BAC alum, and his friend and colleague Alfred Shaw, made a very substantial donation that lead to the lending library being named in their honor. In 1966 this main library space was built adjacent to Memorial Library. At that time architect and former BAC instructor Howard T. Clinch donated a fund in memory of Winthrop D. Parker for the purchase of books in the humanities.[x] Essentially, the Parker memorial fund purchases formed the basis of the BAC’s current lending collection.

In 1974, Susan Lewis was hired as the Assistant Librarian; a year later she became the Library Director, a title she would hold until her retirement in 2018. During Susan’s tenure, she saw the expansion of not only the square footage of the library, but its collection as well.

Susan Lewis 1980. Courtesy of the BAC Archives.
320 Newbury Street sixth floor with the new modern library on the far left and the original open atrium which was eventually covered and incorporated into the library in 1979. Photograph by Louis Reens. Courtesy of the BAC Archives.

In 1979, the sixth-floor atrium was covered over and the space was acquired by the library, increasing the space by 1,900 square feet. At the same time the Service for Energy Conservation (SECA) was formed at the BAC, in part via a grant from the National Science Foundation. When the grant was finished, a large collection of solar energy books was incorporated into the main library.

Library floor plan during the 1980s.

The 1990s saw the school incorporate Interior Design (now called Interior Architecture) and Landscape Architecture programs into the curriculum. For accreditation purposes the library acquired books and materials to support these programs. 1990 saw the library go through an additional renovation that allowed it to expand to the entire sixth floor. This further increased the square footage to a combined 5,000 square feet.  In 1995 the main library acquired the book collection of the recently closed The Architects Collaborative (TAC).

Susan Lewis & Sarah Dickinson during the 1990 renovations. By 1991 the Library encompassed the entire 6th floor. Courtesy of the BAC Archives.

The Center saw immense growth in the number of students in the aughts. The library also saw similar growths in its collection. By 2005, the print collection had outgrown its physical space and this required the library to send materials to offsite storage. At that point the collection was around thirty thousand titles with five thousand sent to storage. Each year, the library acquires thirteen to fifteen hundred volumes, which requires the library to send the same amount to off-site storage.  Additionally, in 2005 the BAC hired its first Archivist.  The following year the school once again changed its name from the Boston Architectural Center to the Boston Architectural College to better reflect the fact that we are a degree granting education facility, yet still the BAC.

The research and reading rooms of the BAC Library 2010. Courtesy of Robert Adams.
As the decade came to a close, additional large print collections were incorporated from BAC alum John Howard (2004), a large landscape collection from the Bruck family (2005) and the library from the Landscape Institute, formerly of Harvard (2009.) This brought the library to about fifty thousand titles.

The research and reading rooms of the BAC Library 2010. Courtesy of Robert Adams.

The start of the last decade brought both honors and some challenges to the library.  In 2011 the library was noted during our reaccreditation visit from the National Architectural Accreditation Board (NAAB); we were met with distinction, and received a commends from the Chair. He stated that we were one of the top architecture libraries in the country. This was followed up again with our most recent accreditation visit in 2018 with the review team reiterating his statements.

In 2014, the 2008 recession caught up with the College. The school was forced to consolidate its buildings and this meant that the library had to give up some space for a new classroom. Subsequently, another ten thousand volumes were sent to offsite storage. At that point the library had twenty-three thousand volumes at storage while twenty-five thousand volumes remained on site.

10 thousand volumes were sent to storage to accommodate the construction of a classroom – shaded in white.

New online programs in Sustainable Design, Historic Preservation, Design for Human Health and Real Estate over the last decade saw the library expanding its collection to acquire materials in those respected fields. This includes eBooks, scanning services, and other digital content.

Moving forward, the BAC Library continues to evolve and adapt to the constantly evolving field of design education.  This includes maintaining a library staff presence on both the curriculum and education councils as we revise curriculum and help to create new programs, acquiring more digital content, digitizing our print collections, and mailing library resources to both our domestic and international students enrolled in our distance programs.  Ever flexible, the BAC Library is prepared to continue growing in new directions for the next 130 years.

Notes:

[i] Boston Architectural Club Charter, December 11, 1889. BAC Archives, RG 035.

[ii] “Architectural Club: It’s Further Organization – Club House Arrangements.” [Boston] Herald, Dec. 1889.

[iii] Taverner. “Here in Boston.” Boston Post, 24 Sept. 1889.

[iv] Boston Architectural Club. Meeting Minutes, 1894-1905. BAC Archives, RG 035.

[v] Ibid.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] “Boston Architectural Club Dedicates Memorial Tablet.” Boston Daily Globe, 26 May 1922, p. 15.

[viii] Arcangelo Cascieri. Oral History recording. BAC Archives.

[ix] Boston Architectural Center. Competition Brief, 1964. BAC Archives, PC 062

[x] Parker Memorial Fund papers, 1966, RG 026: The Dean, Box 34.

Behind the Scenes of Honolulu’s Oldest Buildings

Submitted by Malia Van Heukelem (Art Archivist Librarian of the Jean Charlot Collection at the University of Hawaii at Manoa)

Each summer the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation Program offers a field school or field seminar. This year it was a two week seminar titled Buildings of the Hawaiian Kingdom led by Dr. Ralph Kam. As a frequent contributor to the Hawaiian Journal of History, and an editor and author of monographs on Hawaiian history during the kingdom era, this was a rare opportunity for in-depth study of the buildings and their stories with a noted local scholar.

Ralph Kam and students studying the buildings in the Merchant Street Historic District

The tour took our small group of just seven students to over twenty historic sites, dating from the first wood frame house built by New England missionaries in 1821 to ‘Iolani Palace, covering most of the remaining structures on Oahu built before 1893. Behind the scenes tours were arranged for many of the buildings with local experts, and a couple of abandoned buildings required written permission to access. We also had private instruction on accessing archival materials relating to the buildings in the Hawaii State Archives, Bureau of Conveyances (land ownership records), and the Land Survey Division where they have tons of old Hawaii maps.

Mission Houses Museum: Frame House, Printing House and Chamberlain’s House
‘Iolani Palace: Hawaii’s last royal residence, operated as a historic house museum

Buildings included several listed on the National Register and a few in a historic district on Merchant Street where many of the exteriors are intact. The range of buildings was impressive: historic house museums which are the former residences of Hawaii’s royal families, to a continuously operated saloon, royal mausoleums, a natural history museum, three of Hawaii’s earliest churches, government buildings, and several successful examples of re-use.

St. Andrew’s Cathedral: Begun in 1867, first completed in 1886, with three successive additions through 1958

Dr. Kam prepared a guidebook covering each of the historic buildings discussed in the course. Additional readings included National Register nominations for the Merchant Street Historic District and for a private merchant building in Honolulu’s Chinatown which was recently renovated for use as an apartment.

Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum: Hawaii’s oldest museum with core collections from the Hawaiian monarchs

Contact the University of Hawaii’s Historic Preservation Program at the Department of American Studies for information on a future field seminar (AMST 674) or field school (AMST 696).

Association of Architecture School Librarians 41st Annual Conference Report

Submitted by Megan Piemonte (Library Assistant, Boston Architectural College), 2019 Student Travel Award Recipient

Introduction

I would first like to express my gratitude to the Association of Architecture School Librarians for granting me the opportunity to attend their 41st Annual Conference. This was not only my first time visiting Pittsburgh, but it was also my first time attending a professional conference, and it was truly an edifying experience. I am deeply appreciative to those I had the opportunity to meet at the conference, all of whom were incredibly engaging, accommodating, and congenial.

I found the content overall to be both relevant and diversified. Each presentation offered a new perspective while coinciding neatly with this year’s theme: Articulating the Architecture Information Professional’s Core in a Post-Digital Era. I am eager to apply the invaluable knowledge I’ve gained from this experience to my current role at the Boston Architectural College, and I look forward to attending next year’s conference in San Diego.

Pittsburgh’s Built Environment

Following President Chris Sala’s opening remarks and the vendor showcase, Martin Aurand of Carnegie Mellon University moderated a discussion panel on Pittsburgh’s culture and architectural identity. Panelists Christine Mondor of evolve: Environment::Architecture, Rob Pfaffman of Pfaffman + Associates, and art and architecture journalist Charles L. Rosenblum discussed the influence of Pittsburgh’s topography and natural resources on urban design. Major riverways not only abut the numerous mill buildings, but run concurrently with major roadways. As a major hub of industry during the 19th century, remnants of pollution on building exteriors live on as an element of Pittsburgh’s artistic identity. This challenges whether urban revival can be achieved without compromising Pittsburgh’s unique and layered history. This conversation not only provided valuable insight for those of us who were first-time visitors to the city, but it was directly analogous to the many discussions that followed.

Architecture Information in a Post-Digital Era

As information professionals, our careers are intrinsically linked with technology; an aspect which furnishes both exciting opportunities as well as great obstacles. Our first joint session, Architectural Information in a Post-Digital Era, discussed some of these challenges. Panelists Matthew Allen of University of Toronto, Katie Pierce Meyer of University of Texas at Austin, and Ann Whiteside of Harvard University Graduate School of Design, addressed the value of teaching data management practices in the classroom. Many students are unaware of the implications of collecting data and the value of archiving their design processes for future generations. I found the discussion on Software Presentation Network (SPN) particularly fascinating, especially as conversations about the pitfalls of the digital dark age escalate within the information science community.

Maya Gervits of New Jersey Institute of Technology and Gilda Santana of University of Miami extended this conversation in their session on documenting non-traditional collections, specifically oral histories. Their discussion further illustrated the importance of archiving for the future. Personal narratives of faculty members can offer valuable contributions to an institution’s collective memory and provide new perspectives into personal and professional relationships within the community.

Even the vendor showcase demonstrated new developments in research tools in order to best meet the needs of the post-digital patron. Though each representative presented the unique components of their respective platforms, each of the databases demonstrated a powerful implementation of metadata which facilitates a variety of search and browse options for users.

The Architecture Librarian’s Role

Digital storage and preservation are some of the more discernable challenges we encounter as information professionals in the post-digital era. However, many of the sessions also addressed some of the more inconspicuous challenges that arise. Presentations from Nilda Sanchez-Rodriguez of the City College of New York and Kevin Block of UC Berkeley each addressed perspectives on pedagogical methods in architecture education. Sanchez-Rodriguez detailed the many challenges and opportunities as a solo architecture librarian, whereas Block discussed the interminable challenge of encouraging students to utilize library resources.

From an archival perspective, Pamela Casey of Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library discussed the difficulties of navigating legacy data. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (FLWFA), consisting of tens of thousands of architectural drawings, photographs, models, and other documents, was jointly acquired by Avery and MoMA in 2012. While the procurement of a collection of such remarkable stature and breadth is certainly exciting, it does not come without challenges. Some of which include tackling inconsistent metadata standards and lack of adherence to provenance and original order.

Paula Farrar of University of British Columbia addressed the need for accreditation modernization for American and Canadian architecture schools. The National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) “Library Statistics Report” currently does not include data reporting fields for electronic resources, which in turn prohibits libraries from disclosing accurate expenditure or proudly exhibiting valuable digital resources held by their institution. This illustrates how fundamentally crucial it is for professionals in our field to maintain corresponding visions of the future in order to ensure seamless progression.

Cathryn Copper of Virginia Tech and Clarissa Carr of University of Florida each presented on the benefits of envisioning the future and the value of hybridity for the modern library professional. Copper addressed students’ preference for a smooth transition between digital and physical collections and the advantages of merging traditional library space with the creative studio environment. Carr discussed Esri Story maps: an innovative method by which to organize information and provide users with new perspective while also engaging with them socially.

Our final session on architectural design theses appropriately concluded our conversations on designing for the future. Though technology has advanced exponentially over the past couple of decades, digital and physical storage continue to pose preservation challenges. Rebecca Price of University of Michigan discussed the divergent and uneven practices for preserving 3-dimensional models. Panoramic photography presents a possible solution but is very time consuming, and more advanced 3-D preservation practices may not be built to last. These challenges pose the question of what kinds of standards we can implement as architecture information professionals. 

Conclusion

I found each of the conference sessions to be distinctly pertinent to my education and professional development as both a student of library and information science and a library professional at an architectural college. Much of my coursework at Simmons has been related to data management and digital services, and each of the presentations at this year’s AASL conference contributed directly to fundamental components of these areas of study. I feel incredibly fortunate to have had the opportunity to be a part of such meaningful conversations with so many intelligent and innovative individuals. I look forward to maintaining these connections, and I hope to become more involved with this terrific organization.

 

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 [Clarification:  $70,000 is the net figure prior to expense allocations, which aren’t applied until the end of the fiscal year. SAH actually netted $-3K after expenses and administrative allocations.]
  • 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!

Architecture Networks Panel at ARLIS Salt Lake City

By Aimee Lind, Getty Research Library

For those of you who weren’t able to attend the ARLIS conference in Salt Lake City at all or were simply unable to attend the Architecture Networks panel, I wanted to share a summary of the content of the session and provide a place for feedback on the potential future form(s) a project like this might take.

The idea for the panel was sparked by conversations with colleagues over the past few years regarding ways we could increase discovery of our own architecture resources, highlight links to complementary collections, identify connections between collaborators, and facilitate creation of and access to metadata at a deeper level in order to bring to light the important contributions of historically marginalized groups within architecture and its affiliated professions. As we pondered how something like this might work, we began to focus on the component parts necessary to construct these architecture networks virtually:

  • rich, authoritative data on the people, places, and events critical to the study of the built environment
  • standardized, controlled vocabularies that can help link this data effectively
  • a flexible underlying system for data management
  • a user-friendly interface for discovery, and, most importantly…
  • individuals willing to put in the work to make it all happen.

I invited a group of esteemed panelists to speak to these essential elements in order to explore the feasibility of developing a freely available, comprehensive, authoritative scholarly resource devoted to the study of the built environment.

Alan Michelson, Head of the Built Environments Library at the University of Washington, discussed the past development and potential future directions of the Pacific Coast Architecture Database.

Margaret Smithglass, Registrar and Digital Content Librarian at Columbia University’s Avery Library, spoke about the challenges encountered while developing the Built Works Registry, as well as considerations for the future of the project.

Robin Johnson, Vocabularies Editor at the Getty Research Institute, detailed relevant authority work done within the Getty Vocabularies (ULAN and CONA, in particular).

and

Annabel Lee Enriquez, Associate Project Manager at the Getty Conservation Institute, provided an overview of Arches, an open source heritage inventory and management platform, and consider how it might be used for a collaborative project of this type.

Our goals were threefold:

  • to learn about projects, tools, systems, and standards relevant to the study of the built environment
  • to establish what a comprehensive, collaborative resource might look like and whom it might serve and
  • to gauge interest in participation at any level, from individuals contributing data to institutions facilitating larger initiatives

We’d allocated ample time for the engaging discussion that followed the presentation. Happily, many members of the audience indicated that they thought this was a project worth pursuing and several signed up to be part of working group(s) going forward. We hope some of you might like to do the same! Please have a look at the PowerPoint slides. Our goal in the coming months is to identify a preliminary dataset that could serve as a proof of concept for a collaborative grant. Interested? Questions? Please be in touch!

Aimee Lind

alind@getty.edu

ARLISNA 2019 Architecture Networks PowerPoint Slides

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!

 

 

Colleague Update — a New Job!

Congratulations to Kai Alexis Smith, who started as the Architecture and Design Librarian at MIT in December 2018. Previously she was the Subject Librarian for the College of Environmental Design at Cal Poly Pomona in Pomona, California. Kai will be presenting at ARLIS/NA in Salt Lake City with Ann Roll and Laurel Bliss on their formation of a consortial collaboration of Arts & Performing Arts librarians across 23 California State University campuses. Stop by to catch her presentation and congratulate her. In May Kai will be attending the International Architecture Librarian’s Conference in Venice, Italy. Kai looks forward to attending future conferences and getting to know more librarians in the Architecture Section.

Conference Mania!

This month’s post highlights several upcoming conferences that many of us might be interested in attending.

There are two very important conferences in late March: ARLIS/NA will be meeting in Salt Lake City and AASL will be meeting in Pittsburgh.  Unfortunately, they are meeting at almost the same time, but hopefully  many of us can take advantage of both or learn from our colleagues when we can’t.

Here’s some information of particular relevance to our architectural interests.

ARLIS/NA Conference, Salt Lake City
March 26-30

Tours of SLC architecture, Park City, Ogden, and Spiral Jetty, among others, are planned for March 26th and March 30th.

Among the sessions of particular relevance to our group are:
“You Too Can Write a Review” on Wednesday at 1:30 pm (getting the inside scoop on writing reviews for ARLIS/NA)
“Now You See It, Now You Don’t: Accessing Design Work” on Wednesday at 4:10 pm (This is a discussion session about documenting and saving student design work (physical and digital design).)
“Architecture Networks: Building Connections Between Collections” on Friday at 2 pm (highlighting several online architectural collections created by our members)

Architecture Section meeting:  Thursday 8 am
Urban Planning SIG meeting:  Thursday 8 am
Materials SIG meeting:  Thursday 12:30 pm

AASL Conference, Pittsburgh
March 28-31

Tour of Pittsburgh architecture on March 28th and 2 Frank Lloyd Wright inspired tours on March 31st.

Sessions on the 29th and 30th relating to architectural librarianship (we’ll be on the Carnegie Mellon campus on the 30th).  The conference coincides with the ACSA (Assoc of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) annual meeting.

ARCLIB Conference, Venice, Italy
May 8-10, 2019

ARCLIB (UK Architecture Librarians) are meeting with CNBA (their Italian counterparts) in Venice in May.  I’m sure they’d welcome any of us who could join them.

SAH 2019 Annual Conference, Providence, RI
April 24-28, 2019

There are sessions on architectural treatises, drawings, and copyright among other themes.

ARLIS UK & Ireland, Glasgow, Scotland
July 15-17, 2019

ARLIS UK & Ireland will be celebrating their 50th anniversary next summer in Glasgow. They just issued a call for papers. I had the good fortune to attend their conference in London last summer and found it to be an incredibly rewarding experience.