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!
Thanks to Rebecca Price for doing the legwork on this and to Mark Pompelia for updating the website. It’s so nice to have these all in one place in order to see all of the important & brilliant work our colleagues are doing! If you know of a session that is not included, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment below and I will make sure it is added.
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.
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.
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.
Architecture Library, University of Maryland
The University of Maryland’s graduate architecture program starts off with the Integrated Design Studio. Students often work on the same building for the entire semester, and they meet with mechanical and structural engineers as well as their studio critic. Materials and construction methods must be understood, and included in the design of the building. This is an intensive, immersive course, with a co-requisite of the structures course. It also comes with a significant recommended reading list, that includes reference materials, precedent studies, certain architects monographs and current articles on newest building technologies.
Approximately six years ago, the previous architecture librarian and the professor of the studio tried an experiment. What if the books for this specific course were placed in the studio to be available for the students the entire semester? Most architecture firms have working libraries as an integral part of their office. This would be another way to mimic the professional experience. In this case, the library is somewhat portable – a double-sided bookshelf on wheels, known as a kiosk, became the shelving system of choice for the studio. They are 49 inches tall, 25 inches wide, and 39 inches long with 3 shelves on each side.
My predecessor did the hard part, getting permission to send books out of the library, and getting the metadata staff to add categories to ALEPH – our catalog and circulation system. Then she ordered and assembled the kiosks. The books are treated like any other set of books put on reserve for a class, but instead of residing on a shelf in the library, they reside on a kiosk in the studio area.
The professor submits a list of books through the course reserves module of Canvas, our Enterprise Learning Management System. The Libraries use a system called ARES to manage course reserves. Within ARES, we can look up a book, get its call number, determine which library it is in, and print slips with the call number and course number on them. My student workers take the stack of slips and pull the books from the shelves in the architecture library. I order any new books, and recall books that reside in other libraries on campus. To put the books on reserve for the studio course, the collection is changed and the item status is changed. The collection is temporarily changed from general collection to SKISK, where SKISK means studio kiosk. This location code had to be added to the Library catalog and circulation system. The item status goes from regular to non-circulating. With these two changes, if the book ends up in the book drop or found somewhere, and we scan its barcode, it is immediately identified as a studio kiosk book, and gets placed back on the kiosk. We also place a ‘course reserves’ sticker on the spine of all course reserves books, so there is some visual identification, but these stickers tend to fall off over the course of the semester.
One the first day of class, the kiosk is rolled downstairs to the studio, and parked in a somewhat central location for the students. The main concern about this system was the security of the books. However, this is a graduate level studio with students who are used to the studio culture. The building itself is locked at 10 PM, and you need to be a student within the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation programs with a swipe card to gain access. There are always people working in the studio at all hours of the day and night, so if the book goes missing it is because a student is careless, not because a stranger has wandered in and stolen something. We have done this every fall for 6 years now, and have lost 3 books.
Students may take the books off the kiosk and put them on their desks, but I have never noticed coffee stains or physical damage to the books. At the end of the semester the books come back to the kiosk, the professor sends it back upstairs to the library and we re-check them all in, and change their location and item status back to their original categories. This is the same process we use for books that are placed on reserve in the library.
A library kiosk in the graduate studio. (Photo by Cindy Frank)
We also have a wood shop/ fabrication lab person who does a complete sweep of the studio spaces at the end of the semester, after the students have supposedly cleaned up and moved out. He usually finds a few library books, but often those are books that had been checked out individually by students, and not associated with the studio kiosk.
Of course, having the books assigned to the studio kiosk outside of the library cuts down on the gate count, if the students are no longer coming in and out of the library to check out the books or to pick them up from a course reserves shelf. It also reduces the loan counts of the individual books. However, the architecture program is the third largest user of course reserve items behind the History and English departments, and I am confident it is because of the numbers of books that go onto the studio kiosk.
The book kiosk has been quite popular, and it now has a partner,
the materials kiosk shown here.
Studio material kiosk. (Photo by Cindy Frank)
With some bins as well as shelves, the kiosk will hold objects like glass block or tile samples, styrofoam or wood veneer samples.
The architecture library is located upstairs from the studios, so it is not a hardship to walk upstairs, but when this project started, the library was not accessible 24/7 by swiping your ID card, like it is now. I walk through the studio occasionally and straighten the shelves on the kiosk. I feel that having the books in the hands of the students makes an impression, and maybe it gets them into the library the next semester to check out books individually. From my librarian point of view, the kiosk has been a successful project, and we will continue to do it as long as the professors continue to see the need.
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
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.
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 email@example.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.
Last spring I completed a review of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway architectural drawings archived at the Texas Tech Southwest Collection. This research project was precipitated by a comment made by a professor on the difficulty of locating architectural drawings for some historical structures. My original impression was that most of the drawings in this collection were of depots; however, I found drawings of a great variety of railroad and community structures, including the historical structure that initiated my research quest.
The charter for the Atchison Topeka Railroad was drafted in 1859. The company changed the name to the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway in 1863. As with the other railroads, train tracks were laid in wilderness areas or land settled by ranchers and farmers, whose homesteads were miles from each other. The depots allowed the ranchers and farmers to send their products to market and for pioneers to obtain supplies. The railroad served as a reliable, convenient, and safe method for travel across the continent.
From the railroad depots, small towns sprang up. The depot of any given town served as a center of activity, where news arrived by telegraph, and where locals and visitors traveled to and from the small town. As the community grew around the train station, structures related to the maintenance of a railway were required. Businesses opened to answer the needs of the settlers in the towns and the travelers passing through. These towns soon required community structures, so hotels and general stores were built.
As expected, the AT&SF maintained depots strategically along the primary and secondary routes. For the rural towns, these depots were combination stations for both passengers and freight. Larger cities required separate passenger and freight structures.
The AT&SF architectural drawings offer an interesting glimpse into the types of structures required for running a railway throughout a largely unpopulated swath of land primarily in the Midwest and Southwest. The railway required structures for the foreman’s office, file rooms, supply and lavatory buildings, locker rooms, blacksmith shops, welding shops, storage sheds, and buildings for the car inspectors and coach cleaning. The AT&SF collection includes drawings for numerous types of power and boiler houses. Larger railroad compounds included round houses, large round structures with turntables used for repairing locomotives, in addition to car repair and machine shops, and engine houses. Drawings for other maintenance structures were designed for waste refuse, water treatment, and paint and carpenter shops. Drawings included those for railroad platforms to receive passengers and the mail. The AT&SF collection also includes an architectural drawing for an apprentice school.
The headquarters for the AT&SF was in Chicago. The collection includes numerous drawings for the remodel and decorating of the vice president and executive offices within the Railroad Exchange Building. Additional drawings include yard office and storage facilities.
PANHANDLE, TEXAS COMBINATION DEPOT
The depot at Panhandle, Texas is a good example a combination depot. The depot was designed by E. A. Harrison in Chicago, in June 1927. The floor plan shows the basic arrangement, with one side of the long structure restricted to freight, while the other side includes an office, baggage room, express room, platform, and boiler room (Sheet 1/7). This architectural drawing reflects the United States’ history of racial prejudice and segregation. While there is a large general waiting room, there are separate waiting rooms with bathroom facilities for men, women, and African Americans (labeled Negro).
The elevations of the depot on Sheet 2/7 also include both the front, back, and side elevations. This drawing includes architectural details.
AT&SF & Community
The AT&SF was involved with a surprising number of structures not directly related to the daily operation and maintenance of the railroad. The structures supported the daily life of the workmen, as well as the passengers and the community. Some of the drawings are additions and/or alterations to existing buildings created by the company that required expansion. To support the growing number of settlers and travelers going West, these structures included bunk houses for the workmen, lunchrooms, reading rooms, commissaries, laundries, recreation halls, and hotels.
It is commonly known that Fred Harvey and his descendants worked with the AT&SF to offer lunches served at the Harvey Houses by the Harvey Girls. Some of the drawings produced by the AT&SF were created for the Fred Harvey Company, including lunchrooms, creameries, hotels, and cafeteria-camper lodge buildings. Architectural drawings of the Harvey Houses are included in the collection.
SLATON SANTA FE READING ROOM
Within this collection are architectural drawings of buildings in a small town named Slaton, Texas, located just southeast of Lubbock. In May an architecture professor and I took the short trip to have lunch at the Slaton Harvey House. We received a tour with stories by the daughter of a former Harvey Girl. While the AT&SF architectural drawing collection does not include the drawings for the Slaton Harvey House, the collection has drawings of the surrounding structures, including the reading room, heating house, and round house. The Slaton Harvey House still stands, but the AT&SF structures for which we have the drawings have long since been demolished.
The railway maintained reading rooms that served as the all-around resource for their workers at the end of the work shift, as a place to bathe, sleep, read, and wait for the next returning train home. In addition to magazines and books, the reading rooms offered exercise opportunities and wholesome entertainment. The reading rooms also served as places for educational lectures and performance entertainment for the workers, their families, and sometimes the community. Accordingly, each reading room was maintained by a librarian.
The Slaton Reading Room was designed by C.Y. Morse and built in 1912. The collection includes seven drawings of the structure. Architectural drawing includes both front, rear, and side elevations, along with interior details of the staircase and counter (Sheet 2/7).
The building floor plan (Sheet 1/7) offers the arrangement of the first floor with rooms assigned to specific activities: billiards, cards and reading. The librarian’s living quarters has a kitchen, bedroom, and private stairs to the librarian’s basement with a laundry tub. The basement also has the public bath and boiler room. The second floor has 18 possible bedrooms and two baths, one with laundry tub and a linen closet. Each floor includes a veranda that extends the length of the facade. The set includes five drawings of interior and exterior details, including windows, doors, and counters. The drawings were completed in Topeka.
REST HOUSE AT HERMIT’S RIM, GRAND CANYON
Plans for the Rest House on Hermit’s Rim at the Grand Canyon is a set of six architectural drawings produced in Chicago and dated May 9, 1914. The elevation for the structure includes both the facade and the fireplace (Sheet 3/6). In addition to the massive fireplace, caretaker’s cottage and kitchenette, the floor plan includes the layout for the porch, pillars, and stone wall at the facade (Sheet 1/6). The unique quality of the structure can be seen in the roof made of rock stone, concrete, and wood (Sheet 2, not seen here).
The drawings for the Rest House were created by AT&SF for the Fred Harvey Company. While the architect’s name is not given on the drawings, it is known that Mary Colter worked for the Fred Harvey Company and that she is the architect of record. The drawing includes additional elevations, sections, and details.
Other Harvey Facilities
In addition to newly designed structures, the collection includes drawings for alteration and additions to the Harvey House in Barstow, California, as well as additions to the Harvey House in Gallup, New Mexico, and alterations to the Harvey House in Amarillo, Texas. The collection includes drawings for the remodel of a Harvey House in Hutchison, Kansas. The AT&SF also prepared drawings for the Fred Harvey Company for a creamery in Las Vegas, New Mexico and a sandwich packing room in Newton, Kansas.
The AT&SF Railway also produced drawings for additions and/or alterations for hotels in Gallup, New Mexico and Williams, Arizona. In addition, the collection includes drawings for the alteration, remodeling, and additions to the Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque and plans for the dining room at the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe. For the Grand Canyon, there are drawings for a remodeling of the cafeteria-campers lodge building.
It is unknown how many structures were built from these drawings and if these drawings were the final version used to build or renovate existing structures. We do know that photographs of some of the architecture constructed from these drawings may be found in archives around the country. Photographs of buildings that were designed and constructed for AT&SF, including those from architectural drawings in the Texas Tech Southwest Collection, can be found online at the Kansas Memory website: http://www.kansasmemory.org/.
By Kathy Edwards, Research & Collection Development Librarian, Emery A. Gunnin Architecture Library, Clemson University
Last year a young architecture professor came into my office in Clemson University’s Gunnin Architecture Library to request that we subscribe to two new periodicals: CLOG and Pidgin. Both are architectural ‘zines published only in print. CLOG, founded by independent young architects, critics and bloggers, began publication in October 2011; Pidgin has been produced by graduate students at Princeton University’s School of Architecture since 2006.
My usual response to faculty requests is, “Of course–I’ll do that today.” This time I hedged and considered twice before forwarding a request for CLOG (but not Pidgin) to our acquisitions director. Architecture librarians will best understand why my reaction in this instance was…complicated. My hesitation wasn’t over Pidgin’s annoying lack of a subscription model, nor CLOG’s equally annoying disregard, in recent issues, for basic bibliographic conventions.* The real bogeyman is the P word: Like many of you, I face persistent pressure from Higher-Ups to do away with print serials subscriptions.
Of Clemson Libraries’ 45,000+ current periodicals subscriptions, some 200 are titles available only in print. More than half of these come to my branch library, home to collections supporting art, architecture, landscape architecture, city planning, real estate development, historic preservation, and construction science & management. The most recent nudge from On High to divest of more print came four weeks ago, in the form of a spreadsheet from our new Collections Management team listing 27 print magazine and journal titles on our current periodicals shelves that happen also to be available online via commercial aggregators. With the spreadsheet came the request that I indicate which print titles to cancel, based on this apparent ‘duplication’. At Clemson, subject liaisons routinely weed periodical holdings based on full-content duplication in JSTOR or Project Muse, but until now we have never been asked to cut print subscriptions based on online offerings in aggregated commercial packages.
Uncomfortable with this request, I sent the list out to faculty members for input and used their responses as basis for retaining all but one of the print subscriptions. I suspect, however, that faculty insistence will not carry the day for very long.
In the last decade, electronic formats have completely transformed information delivery and access across most academic disciplines, in some disciplines (engineering, chemistry, physics) displacing print entirely. This technological transformation of the information landscape has altered not just the expectations of those seeking access to these resources, but also attitudes and practices within the library profession itself. In a nutshell, print–for all manner of publications but particularly as a format for journals and magazines–is becoming harder and harder to sustain or defend. Most of us can readily recite the reasons for this:
From a user’s perspective, stuff in print is downright inconvenient: you have to go to a library to get it, once in your possession you have to keep track of it and protect it from harm, you can have it only for a limited time, if you want an image out of it you need access to a scanner, and once you’re done with it you have to return it or face stringent fines. Only one person at a time can use a given issue, and if the issue you want is in offsite storage there’s a request form to fill out, along with that whole delayed-gratification thing Millennials don’t handle very well (it goes against expectations). Worse, what if you wait for it only to discover it wasn’t what you’d hoped for or needed? Some titles may even be library-use-only, yet few academic libraries can afford to be open 24/7, and what about students in programs abroad, or faculty on sabbatical? Anyone without ready access to the library is out of luck, unless offsite delivery is an option–where that’s feasible.
Compare all these negatives to the wonderful world of electronic ‘get-it-now from anywhere at any time’. Conclusion: print is passé.
From the library’s perspective, stuff in print requires effort: mail room and acquisitions staff, catalogers, and circulation staff physically track, handle, label, stamp, transfer, and shelve each individual issue. When it comes time to bind accumulated issues of retained titles, all of this handling is repeated in reverse, after which a new item–the bound volume–returns along the same hand-to-hand chain.
Stuff in print takes up more than its fair share of space: first on specialized periodical display shelves, which can’t be used for much else; then in the stacks until enough volumes accumulate to send some off to a remote storage facility which is, all too often, already stuffed to the rafters.
Stuff in print continues to cost money long past the date of receipt: Binding has to be budgeted for, as do transport, storage, re-cataloging, and reshelving. Print means more processing, materials, real estate, and staff time.
Finally, for libraries, stuff in print represents pressure on a service provision workflow increasingly constricted by staff reductions and crimped budgets.
Given that a significant number of important architecture and art periodicals remain available only in print, it is no wonder that collection managers bring this divest-of-print pressure to bear on the stewards of design collections.
Yet print as a format does have its avid defenders, for all kinds of reasons variously legitimate, radically disruptive, or downright fuddy-duddy:
Compared to e-formats print is relatively ‘permanent’; it affords portability independent of electronics and network restrictions or malfunctions; image quality is often superior; readability is definitely superior; for a good deal of the population print is a deeply ingrained information medium; and print inherently adds value by presenting information in context, providing opportunities for serendipitous discoveries–something many educators consider fundamental to active learning and the creation of new knowledge.
Banners defending print’s virtues are hoisted most often (but not exclusively) by readers, scholars, and designers educated before the Great Digital Revolution.
Who would have guessed, then, that the last five years or so would bring a resurgence of print as a medium for documenting, challenging, even provoking design ideas. This rising tide–in the form of ‘little magazines’ with big and often radical ambitions–is taking on the proportions of a Movement, a global yet decentralized agitprop bent on shaking up professional norms, commercial mediocrity, architectural clichés, and the Internet’s “hot new project as twenty-second eye candy” ephemeral culture. The website Archizines.com, which tracks and promotes this ‘new in print’ phenomenon, currently lists and links to at least 89 recently launched titles from 26 countries across six continents, and adds new titles regularly.
CLOG is one of the best of these and certainly one of the most interesting. Its founders and principals–all young and independent professionals–are motivated by the conviction that architectural projects presented in digital forums today (whether online journalism, blogs, Twitter, image platforms, or discussion lists) rush into public view at such great speed and high volume that critical apprehension is completely undone. Observing that “mere exposure has taken the place of thoughtful engagement, not to mention a substantial discussion,” the editors proclaim the magazine’s raison d’être at the front of every issue:
“CLOG slows things down. Each issue explores, from multiple viewpoints and through a variety of means, a single subject particularly relevant to architecture now. Succinctly, on paper, away from the distractions and imperatives on the screen.”
Ink on paper as a medium, in other words, becomes both refuge and provocation–meaningful and intentional, falling back on print’s ability to fix and juxtapose words and images on a two-page spread, focus attention, and ratchet the decibel level down to where engaged dialog becomes possible. Since the ‘zine launched in 2011, themed issues have explored a single firm (B.I.G.), a brand (Apple), a building type (prisons), a style (Brutalism), a city (Miami), an integral design activity (rendering), a landscape (the National Mall), an architect (Rem), a genre (sci-fi), and so on, via dense, multi-authored text more akin to a blog-tweets mashup than to conventionally presented exposition.
CLOG has proven itself significant enough to be included in the Avery Index to Architectural Periodicals, but its treatment there is problematic: rather than a citation for each individually authored or titled contribution in an issue (of which there are many), each issue is reduced to a single citation, defined by its theme. Without actually picking up and browsing the “Prisons” issue, then, one would have no way to know that its contributors include a former convict, two public prosecutors, architect and critic Michael Sorkin, and the artist Ai Weiwei, among more than a dozen others. Likewise individual photographs, diagrams, plans, and sketches throughout, however named and specific, are inaccessible to search except as illustrations of the overall issue theme.
Despite–and, one might argue, largely because of–the challenges this little magazine’s structure and content present to traditional indexing, CLOG is an intriguing and importantly provocative new architecture serial, and emblematic of a print resurgence that requires our attention and accommodation now. But first the vision of what architecture libraries are and should provide must continue to accommodate print serials for as long as this resurgence plays out.
*Note to CLOG publishers: Your mag is a quarterly; would it kill you to assign something as cataloger-friendly as volume or issue numbers? The year alone, and only on the back cover, doesn’t cut it.
By Amy Trendler, Architecture Librarian, and Carol Street, Archivist for Architectural Records, Ball State University Libraries
Two ongoing projects in the Architecture Library and the Drawings + Documents Archive at Ball State University are making use of new technologies to augment the collections, engage the students, and raise the profile of these branch operations of the University Libraries. Physically located in the College of Architecture and Planning’s Architecture Building on campus, the library and archive are well-situated to provide collections and services to the students and faculty members who make up their primary user group. As these users incorporate new technologies such as 3D modeling software and 3D printing into their projects, staff in the library and archive have sought out ways to use these same technologies to interpret the collections.
3D Modeling Software Enhances the Materials Collection
In the Architecture Library, student workers in the Visual Resources Collection (VRC) are creating files using the 3D modeling software Revit for items in the Building Material Samples Collection. Begun in 2009, the Building Material Samples Collection makes innovative and sustainable materials available to students and faculty for study purposes. Items may also be checked out for four days and taken to studio or displayed during presentations. The collection consists of more than 600 material samples for surfaces, structural or technical building components, hardscape products, and more. In addition to samples, the collection also contains product literature for materials that are too large or unwieldy for the manufacturer to produce samples.
It was the items in this last category, the ones that are too big to be samples, that were the inspiration for the VRC’s growing collection of Revit files. A student worker suggested making Revit files of these objects that users could incorporate into their 3D designs in the same way that they can use objects from the file-sharing site Revit City. The library staff immediately recognized the value in enhancing the usability of the materials collection, we were able to work out the details of storing and accessing the files, and thus the Revit project was born. Students can now download the files of street furniture, lighting, and other materials from a library server (which is password-protected for use by current university students and faculty members) and insert the objects into their projects. A jpg of each item provides a quick view; once downloaded, the Revit version of the file is fully integrated into the project and can be manipulated with the tools available in the software. If a student wants to use the file in a different program, he or she can open the file in Revit (using this software on a library computer if he or she doesn’t have a copy), save it in another CAD format, then import the file into a program such as Rhino or SketchUp.
The Next Phase of the Project: Surfaces
The next phase of the Revit project will see the addition of surface materials from the collection that can be applied to surfaces on a building or object in Revit. There is a range of standard materials available in Revit, but now students will be able to easily apply the unique textures and patterns of materials found on samples in the Building Material Samples Collection such as woven coconut shell panels or translucent concrete to the walls, floors, ceilings, and other surfaces in their designs. Samples of these materials are available for study in the collection, but the Revit file gives students the option of going beyond a simple material swatch and applying the material to surfaces in their designs.
Response to the Revit project from students and faculty members has been positive, and use of the files will likely only increase as the collection grows. For the library staff, the Revit project has been a great way to make the materials collection even more accessible to students. A side benefit for the student workers assigned to the project is that they are expanding and refining their Revit skills, and in the case of student assistant Susan Smith her Revit skills helped her get a summer internship at a design firm. It is especially fitting that Smith was able to capitalize on her involvement in the Revit project because the project was her idea in the first place. “I was inspired to suggest the project because I thought it would be a great way to attract students into the VRC,” she said. “[I hope] students will see it as an opportunity to utilize the library’s material resources in a format they can actually incorporate into their projects.”
3D Applications in the Archive
A similar project at the Drawings + Documents Archive has garnered interest for its use of 3D prints to bring a long-lost 19th century building to life. The archive, begun shortly after the College of Architecture and Planning opened in 1966, collects, preserves, and provides access to records of Indiana’s built environment. Collections are used to support undergraduate and graduate student learning in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and historic preservation. The students in the latter group, historic preservation, naturally gravitate toward the materials in the archives and readily grasp their usefulness for course assignments. It became apparent that students from the more technology-driven fields of architecture, landscape architecture, and planning would benefit from interpreting the collections in an interesting, technologically-centric way that brought the focus back to the original drawings. Thus, printing models from the drawings was born out of this desire to present the collections to students in a new way and spark their interest in archival materials.
The Indiana Architecture X 3D (IAx3D) project began in fall 2013 with a set of archival drawings for a local building with an interesting history. The Wysor Grand Opera House was built in downtown Muncie, Indiana, by the architect Henry W. Matson in 1891. This impressive Romanesque Revival opera house exemplified the architectural exuberance and rapid growth during the area’s natural gas boom that inspired numerous factories and businesses, including the famous Ball Brothers Company, to relocate to Muncie. The building’s history follows the changing fortunes and tastes of the city by undergoing renovations to become a popular movie theater in the 1920s that later lost business when other theaters opened outside of the declining downtown. The building was torn down in 1967, during a period of urban renewal that students today still try to comprehend.
The Wysor Grand Opera House’s history, as well as the archive’s set of high-quality, ink on linen drawings, makes this building a great discussion starter for many class visits to the archive. For these reasons it seemed an ideal candidate for launching the IAX3D project. Architecture department graduate assistants assigned to the archive used digital scans of the linen drawings, first working with elements such as columns and wrought iron railings on the detail sheets, to create underlays in the program Rhino. On top of these, they traced over the lines to create baselines and used program tools to create volumes and surfaces. The process of converting irregular hand-drawn lines to smooth computer-generated forms proved challenging to the students working on the project, but it also increased their appreciation of the original drawings. Graduate assistant Austin Pontius remarked that as hard as it was to trace some of the drawings for the intricate ironwork, he was impressed that someone had drawn it by hand over 100 years ago.
Over the first year of the project, nine Wysor Grand Opera House details have been printed and the entire building has been modeled but not printed at this time. The entire collection is available online at the University Libraries’ Digital Media Repository. Each entry in the collection contains an object (OBJ) file to allow easy, computer mouse enabled manipulation of the 3D rendering for anyone with an adequate browser. The original drawing sheet from which that detail originated is pictured below the object to inspire comparisons from the digital to the original. The downloadable print-ready Rhino 3D model file (3DM) is available in the metadata in case patrons or educators would like to make their own prints.
Student and faculty reaction to the IAX3D project has been enthusiastically positive. Because the models are created using technology many of the students use or aspire to use, students naturally gravitate toward them and begin to ask questions about the building’s history, design, or even the process of creating the models. While the 3D models could never supplant the importance of the original drawings, they do serve as a vital bridge that connects students’ current interests in 3D printing with historical materials.
Now in its fifteenth year, and steadily adding buildings of note to its roster, Doors Open Toronto is a city-wide weekend festival that encourages architectural exploration and urban-planning discussion. Public and private locations open their doors to the public; special events include lectures, walking tours, and a photography contest; everything is free.
France lays claim to founding “La Journee Portes Ouvertes” in 1984, but Doors Open events are now popular all over the world. Toronto is inordinately proud of its participation, claiming to be the first in North America. The events themselves are not governed by any sort of international Doors Open committee; participation is entirely self-proclaimed — and can range from small towns and municipalities, to province-wide affairs, to entire countries.
The mandate being vague (often billed only as “a celebration”), sometimes the purpose of Doors Open events can be obscure. In Toronto, it provides all of: exclusive access to private spaces; guided tours for public spaces; special events and discussions; outreach opportunities for little-utilized public services; and promotional opportunities for new buildings and services. Of the former in recent years, crowd favourites have been tours of the Historic Don Jail (before its renovation into the Bridgepoint Hospital), the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, the Russell Carhouse (for maintaining Toronto’s iconic red streetcars), and the long-abandoned Crystal Ballroom at the King Edward Hotel.
The philosophical underpinning of the event is, in essence, democratization: making private spaces public, and increasing knowledge about public spaces. This can be interpreted in a number of ways: is the experience of visiting a participating site about the architecture found there, or to learn architectural history generally, or just to see what might not normally be seen? The online directory describes the buildings by year of construction, style, and building function, and there is a short summary of the experience on offer, so tourists can tailor the weekend to their particular interests. Often tours will include a bit of everything: the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, for example, showcased both the renovations of their historic house (from 1858) and the history of the organization, as well as their ongoing exhibits and collections.
(Notable about Doors Open Toronto is their release of data-sets through Open Data Toronto: while they don’t produce a festival app every year, their data are free for developers to work with, and they actively encourage third-party apps for maps and festival guides.)
As more locations across the world join in the tradition, we can predict an upswing in citizen-scholars, casual architecture and heritage discussions, and new and innovative entries into built-heritage events and initiatives.
Of particular interest to architecture librarians and archivists will be opportunities to capitalize on or help coordinate these events. There are plenty of ways to communicate with organizing bodies in your area, to offer expertise and perform outreach, or to feature your collections, exhibits, and resources. In Toronto, the city and provincial archives organize showcases adhering to both the yearly theme and the interests of architecture and urban-planning enthusiasts: maps, land deeds, floor plans, news clippings, and vintage photographs.
New buildings of particular note to heritage aficionados include the Toronto International Film Festival Centre (and its TIFF Film Reference Library), and the new Archives Ontario headquarters at York University. These three examples of modern architectural work complement Toronto’s recent wave of cultural-heritage renovation (most notably the addition of the Libeskind-designed Michael Lee-Chin Crystal to the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Gehry redesign of the Art Gallery of Ontario).
A number of speaking events included a lightning-round session of architects, urban planners, and artists discussing Toronto-specific projects and issues. While some designers took this opportunity to showboat their portfolios, many chose to delve deep into particular problems or overarching theories.
The very first presentation spoke to ideas of heritage and preservation, and how to make time for the past in heady, forward-thinking days; another presentation simply urged audience members to change their thinking from “When will the Gardiner Expressway [an elevated highway dividing most of downtown Toronto from the shore of Lake Ontario] finally be torn down?” to “How soon can we make it happen?”
Amidst all this activity, the question remains: How do these participatory events change people’s knowledge of and interaction with our urban spaces? Or is the focus on architecture a sort of ruse for generalized PR opportunities, billed as educational but merely passive tourism? Of course promoting access and use of resources is both economically and socially beneficial, whether public or private; the question is whether people stay engaged after the weekend’s events.
The statistic I have to offer here is, unfortunately, unsourceable: an archivist for the Toronto Archives mentioned in conversation to me that they see about 800 new visitors every year due to Doors Open — “new” meaning people who would likely have never set foot inside their institution otherwise. Besides being an argument for better metrics for cultural heritage institutions and events, it is hard to conclude the festival’s success in promoting education and participation. I’ve been hard-pressed to find online discussion of the lightning session, for example, even though the room was packed and plenty of audience members asked questions.
There is a fantastic opportunity for scholarly and popular studies on how the public interprets and engages with architecture, and how those interactions change with new programming such as Doors Open (much like the opportunity to study engagement with libraries). I, and many other cultural heritage professionals, am curious (and grossly under-informed) as to where the line gets drawn between architects who create new work and those who work for restoration and protection of existing buildings. Where cultural-heritage and built-heritage discussions cross over and converge must necessarily be a discussion for another time.