David MacGibbon and Thomas Ross. The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland from the Earliest Christian Times to the Seventeenth Century. 3 vols. Edinburgh: David Douglas, 1896-1897.
The Ecclesiastical Architecture of Scotland by the architects David MacGibbon(1831-1902) and Thomas Ross (1839-1930) was an extension of their work on the domestic architecture of Scotland. The authors sought to document all extant churches from the early medieval period through the Reformation and arranged the text chronologically. Each entry includes a basic description of the architectural fabric, often including measured drawings and occasionally an historical account associated with the churches. For anyone interested in early Scottish architecture, it is an excellent starting point. Below are the drawings for the Chapel of St. Margaret, Castle Rock, Edinburgh.
December 5th, 2013
Cassell’s Old and New Edinburgh: Its History, its People, and its Places. London: Cassell & Co., 1883.
Knowing that my areas of interest lie outside the core collection of the Architecture and Planning Library, I was not sure what I would discover in Special Collections. I wandered the stacks looking for familiar titles and old friends. One of the title’s that piqued my interest was Old and New Edinburgh. It is a three volume set that I had not previously come across in my studies. To be fair, Edinburgh was the site in which my archival research took place but not included as a case study. Most of my time was spent at the National Library, the National Archives, the Royal Commission on the Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland, and the National Museum of Scotland. I rarely took the bus into the city center, preferring to walk from my apartment. Walking let me explore the city and better understand it.
Upon my first trip to Edinburgh, I was struck by the very visible distinction between Old Town and New Town, which is now separated by Waverley Train Station and Princes Street. Looking south from Princes Street is Old Town with Castle Rock, medieval churches, and winding streets. Pieces of the twelfth century town still remain. Within the castle grounds is small chapel with a chevron arch associated with Queen Margaret. East of the castle at the end of Canongate is Holy Rood Abbey founded by David I in 1128 as an Augustinian Priory. The site is now part of Holyrood Palace, while the new Parliament building across the street offers even further contrast to the architecture of the old city. North of Old Town lies the eighteenth-century New Town with its regularly planned streets and neoclassical architecture.
James Grant (1822-1887) writes of this contrast in Old and New Edinburgh:
In Edinburgh every step is historical; the memories of a remote and romantic past confront us at every turn and corner, and on every side arise the shades of the dead. Most marked, indeed, is the difference between the old and the new city- the former being so strikingly picturesque in its broken masses and the disorder of its architecture, and the latter so symmetrical and almost severe in the Grecian and Tuscan beauty of is streets and squares…
On one hand we have, almost unchanged in general aspect, yet changing in detail at the ruthless demands of improvement, the Edinburgh of the Middle Ages…her massive mansions of stone, weather-beaten, old, dark, and time-worn, teeming with historical recollections of many generations of men…
On the other hand, and all unlike the warrior city of the middle ages, beyond the deep ravine overlooked by Princes Street- the most beautiful of European terraces-and by that noble pinnacled cross which seems the very shrine of Scott, we have the modern Edinburgh of the days of peace and prosperity, with all its spacious squares and far-stretching streets, adorned by the statues of those great men who but lately trod them. And so the Past and Present stand face to face, by the valley where the old waters of the North Loch lay. (vol. one, 2)
To view a map of the current city with some of the historical sites identified, please follow this link. I selected a few of the plates from Grant’s book to compare to the map of the city today as well as roughly corresponding photographs from my collection.
December 4th, 2013
Throughout the past few weeks, I’ve been on a search for all 176 of Karl Kamrath’s books from the collection his children donated to the Architecture & Planning Library, with the goal to add a provenance note to each item’s record in the catalog (so all of you checking out books can know that it belonged to an influential architect!). At first, the project seemed just like just another task to complete – but it’s become so much more.
It’s amazing how much you can learn about an architect’s primary influences through the books he or she possessed. A hearty library is like a trophy for architects, and books are indispensable tools for practice. Karl Kamrath was immensely influenced by his friend Frank Lloyd Wright, and his dedication to creating organic modern architecture is what made him such a key player in Texas modern architectural history.
A little background: Karl Kamrath grew up in Austin and received his Bachelor of Architecture from The University of Texas in 1934. Upon graduating, he moved to Chicago, where he worked for Pereira and Pereira, the Interior Studios of Marshall Field and Co., and the Architectural Decorating Company. In 1937, he and another graduate of The University of Texas, Frederick James MacKie Jr., opened their own architectural firm, MacKie and Kamrath in Houston. MacKie and Kamrath were among the first Houston architects to follow a modernist approach to design for which they received national recognition.
Shortly after his 1946 return from a stint as a captain in the Army Corps of Engineers, Kamrath met Wright and immediately became an advocate of Wright’s Usonian architecture style. Kamrath became a member of the American Institute of Architects in 1939 and was elected to fellowship in the institute in 1955, and at various times served in an adjunct capacity at the University of Oklahoma, The University of Texas, Texas A&M University and the University of Oregon. He was also a founder and served on the board of the Contemporary Arts Museum from 1948 to 1952.
The fact that books owned by successful architects are circulating every day is a phenomenal asset of the Architecture & Planning Library. Other great collections include those of William Storrer, another Frank Lloyd Wright scholar, and Drury Blakeley Alexander, the namesake of the Alexander Architectural Archive, to name a few. I may be a little biased, but Karl Kamrath’s collection might be my favorite, mainly because of the diversity of publications and his signature ‘stamp’ that is found within the covers of most of his books.
Here are few that I’ve come across:
Perhaps my personal favorite, Kamrath drew his logo directly within Frank Lloyd Wright’s signature red box, found on most publications documenting his work. It’s clear just how influential Wright was on Kamrath.
Kamrath’s stamp can be found on a number of pages in some of his books. I thought this placement was especially unique.
Though faint, a raised stamp often accompanies many of Kamrath’s books with his logo, name, and FAIA association.
In addition to books with Kamrath’s personal stamp, many can be found with the joint MacKie and Kamrath firm logo.
Stamps aren’t the only thing you’ll find within the books of former owners. Notes or correspondence between friends and other practitioners is fairly common, and sometimes can leave you star struck.
Yep, that’s THE Mrs. Frank Lloyd Wright! This was taped on the back cover of The Grady Gammage Auditorium, call number NA 737 W7 A4 1964, within special collections.
Want to see some of these stamps and inscriptions for yourself? Here are a few that are circulating in the general collection:
Writings on Wright, Call Number NA 737 W7 W76, Copy 2
Frank Lloyd Wright: An Annotated Bibliography, Call Number NA 737 W7 S84, Copy 2
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Masters of World Architecture Series, Call Number NA 1088 M65 D7, Copy 4
The next time you check out a library book, keep an eye out for any markings on the front cover or amidst the pages; you might find a trace of its previous ownership. There’s hidden gems all over this library – it’s like a treasure hunt!
In addition to an extensive library with books in the general collection, special collections, and storage, The Alexander Architectural Archive possesses an incredible archival collection dedicated to the work of Karl Kamrath and the MacKie and Kamrath firm, including over 940 drawings, 530 black and white photographic prints, and even drafting tools. I’m a total sucker for hand drafted architectural renderings, and Kamrath produced some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen! If you have serious interest in viewing this collection, make an appointment with Nancy Sparrow to take a peak.
November 21st, 2013
Throughout the semester, we’ve featured some of our periodical subscriptions that are available in the Reading Room and in our stacks. Two of our selections, Architectural Record and Interiors & Sources, highlighted some awesome elements of Austin in their October 2013 issues, so we were EXTRA excited to read through them this month!
Architectural Record narrows its focus to technology and the city for their most recent publication. Austin – along with Chattanooga, Detroit, and San Francisco – is one of their mini-case study cities undergoing a rapid change at the hands of a technology boom. Noting a steady rise in population, Google Fiber’s arrival next year, and an emerging startup culture that’s permeating the city, the article discusses ways in which Austin is addressing a unique and complex change to their built fabric. Key players such as Jim Robertson, the manager of the city planning department’s Urban Design Division, and Barbara Brown Wilson, Director of UT’s Center for Sustainable Development, weigh in on rapidly-transitioning cultural districts, urban sprawl, and how Imagine Austin was created to help address these housing market changes. Joshua Baer, managing director of Capital Factory, concisely states the issue at hand today: “how do we keep our spirit while we cultivate our entrepreneurial attitude?”. This article exposes the inner-workings of a rapidly-growing city, and as both residents of Austin and enthusiasts of architecture, it’s a fascinating read that truly hits home. Realizing that we’re living amidst a major cultural, economic, and technological transition is a fascinating revelation!
This month’s issue also features a building types study of the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the United States’ only facility built to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix race that will take place this weekend. Designed in part by Austin-based Miró Rivera Architects, this massive 1,200 acre venue also houses the city’s largest outdoor music venue at 14,000 max capacity. This dual-purpose site is anchored by a dynamic Observation Tower, a stunning feat of modern engineering, built to evoke the “blur of light that trails cars racing in the night”. Rising 251 feet, the Observation Tower is sure to become a recognizable staple in Austin’s more rural acreage. This venue reflects Austin’s rapid growth and, with SXSW, Austin City Limits, and the X-Games calling Austin home, also solidifies it as a true destination city.
Shifting the theme from technology to the environment, Interiors & Sources October issue ranks the Top 10 LEED Projects of 2013. Coming in at #10 is UT’s very own Student Activity Center, obtaining LEED Gold by optimizing energy performance, utilizing recycled content materials from the region, and maximizing daylight. The article divulges key factors in the design process behind Overland Partners‘ final product, and stands out as a wonderful contribution UT’s campus.
Want to read through these featured articles on our great city? Both periodicals are currently located in the Reading Room, and our archive of bound volumes can be found in our stacks. Love the educational design showcased in the Interiors & Sources issue? Keep an eye out for Architectural Record’s November 2013 publication, which showcases higher education projects in their building types study of the month.
As always, we’re huge advocates for periodicals here at the Architecture & Planning Library. They’re an indispensable resource for what’s going on in the design world today, highlight a great range and depth of projects, and offer an incredible source of inspiration for your own design efforts. And we’re even bigger advocates when they highlight our beloved city. Come check ‘em out today!
Architectural Record Call No: NA 1 A6
Interiors & Sources Call No: NK 1700 I64
November 13th, 2013
This semester, we’ve started directing the spotlight towards some features of the Architecture & Planning Library that we think are awesome, especially our array of journal subscriptions and New Books table. Today, we have another addition to add to our lineup: our oversized books shelf!
Located just to the right of the New Books table and circulation desk, our oversized books shelf is hard to miss, especially if you’re heading into the stacks to find that book on Paul Cret for your research paper. These books are too large to fit snugly in our normal stack arrangements, and often, they are some of the most interesting and comprehensive!
Currently featured on the top shelf for easy reading is The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture. Phaidon is a publishing giant known for creating textbooks that are just as beautiful as they are informative, and this atlas is no exception. Its 834 pages measure out at a whopping 21″ x 17″ and contain over 5,000 stunning color images and architectural drawings of some of the most outstanding work done across the world since 1998. Think of this monolith as hundreds of modern architectural periodicals bound together – without the advertisements and agendas. Works of contemporary giants are featured amongst up-and-coming architects in various countries, and projects range from the smallest of houses to prominent airports, art galleries, and office buildings.
This resource is truly unparalleled by any alternative atlas or journal. I often find myself wandering over to the oversized books shelf just to page through the imagery and drawings as a reminder of why architecture is such an inspiring field to be a part of.
Even better? There’s another oversized book shelf in our Reading Room. Yet another one of our not-so-hidden gems in our library, I hope you find yourself frequenting our oversized books shelves in the future!
Call Number: -F- NA 687 P43 2004
November 5th, 2013
Before I began my first semester at UT this fall, I had little experience with citation managers. I had always approached my research papers knowing that the dreaded formatting of my bibliography was always looming. I’ll admit it: when Martha asked me if I had ever heard of Zotero, I stared at her like she was referring to some alien species.
But before you have the same reaction, read on – because Zotero will change your life! (Or at least how you complete your research papers. Close enough.)
Zotero is a free and intuitive tool used to collect, sort, cite, and share your research sources. Zotero’s very own website refers to it as a “personal research assistant”, and that is a spot-on description! Obviously using the power of some sort of coded magic, Zotero automatically senses content in your web browser and allows you to save it to a personal library with a simple click of a button. Whether you’re citing a PDF, book on an e-catalog, journal article from a scholarly database, newspaper article, or more, Zotero syncs with your browser and will export the source’s information in a split second.
The interface of Zotero’s personal library is easy to navigate and customize to your liking. Working on multiple research papers on varying topics? Zotero allows you to create specific folders for each, just like the folders you’re used to on a personal computer. The interface also allows you to search for keywords, add notes to sources for citations, and organize by date added.
But the best part? Zotero allows you to highlight specific sources or entire folders and export them to a Word file in any bibliographic style you’d like. That’s right – Zotero creates and exports your bibliography for you! GENIUS, right?!
Zotero can be used as a browser extension or is available to download as an external application. Whichever you choose, you’ll be on your way to organizing your citations with ease!
I think Zotero might be my new favorite superhero.
Download Zotero here.
If you’re completely new to Zotero, check out this wonderful PDF handout created by UT Libraries to help get you started.
Did you know that UT Libraries offer classes on Zotero and other useful tools? Visit the Library Classes website for a detailed list of course topics, class calendars, FAQs, and more!
November 4th, 2013
In our flurry of interior design-centric posts these past few weeks, we lost sight of one of the coolest features of the Architecture & Planning Library: the NEW BOOKS TABLE! As someone who frequently makes impulse purchases of books over fashion (seriously – my roommate was totally confused by the three boxes of books that arrived in one week, and equally confused by my uncontrollable excitement), few things make me happier than a table full of new opportunities for discovery.
In one of my courses, we’ve spent a number of weeks documenting campus buildings and figuring out exactly how their components work together to form a both a functional and beautiful architectural system. This has rekindled my awareness of one of the reasons architecture fascinates me so much: how in the world does it work?
In a new book called Flexible Composite Materials in Architecture, Construction and Interiors, the behind-the-scenes is revealed for built projects around the globe that employ complex textile membranes as major design features. The book is divided into three sections: textile materials and their properties; materials and their uses in architecture, interior design, solar protection, and facade treatments; and various examples of applications with a series of select projects in countries ranging from Switzerland to Saudi Arabia.
This book starts by addressing exactly how textile membranes are engineered, delving into fiber recycling and the principles of load analysis, cable tension, curvature, and more. The steps involved in realizing intended forms are explained with a high degree of clarity, boiling down the processes of solving complex equations and making underlying concepts accessible by anyone. (I sent a few snippets of text to a friend who works as a structural engineer, and even he said that the descriptions were more clear than some of his former textbooks; I’ll take his word on that!). I especially appreciate this insight into manufacturing details, as many texts that highlight architecture projects tend to pass the early phases up in favor of more impressive photographs of the end result. In my opinion, the design process is just as interesting as the final product.
Featured applications include bicycle shelters, major athletic stadiums, pop-up exhibition and performance spaces, building cladding, external branding, solar protection through translucent panels, and much more. The text mentions that textile research closely observes our natural environment, and has the opportunity to evolve from being our second skin to “our building’s second skin”, all while being protective AND visually inspiring. This concept lines up with architecturally-related sustainability ventures that are consistently being pursued around the world today.
If you’re like me and easily fascinated by feats of architecture and construction, or interested in the research of new materials that contribute to breakthroughs in the fields of sustainability or structural engineering, I highly recommend immersing yourself in the processes and results outlined in this book. If anything, it will really make you want to attend a major European soccer game – those stadiums are out of control!
Call Number: NA 4160 F59 2013
Check out more new available books on our Recent Arrivals Feed.
October 30th, 2013
For part three of our installment of interior design research tools, we’re highlighting the incredible ease of use of the Research Design Connections Archive (RDC), a database FREE for University of Texas students. Containing over 1,800 archived articles and blog posts (oh hey, Open Access theme!), RDC offers a wide array of search tools that you can utilize to craft even the most specific results possible.
Unique to this database is its attention to these combination options. A special emphasis is put on behavior and special populations, two factors that are seminal to the design experience, but are sometimes overlooked in favor of trends or stylistic features. A specific setting is also offered as an option to narrow your search, which presents monumental ease if you’re zooming into a specific category of design.
Perhaps my favorite trait about this database are the links under the search bar. Instead of simply stating the titles of articles as their headline, they pose the question they explored in order to facilitate a design conversation. I am continuously thinking in questions: what is the most suitable material for a bar countertop in a high-traffic restaurant? How much energy goes into maintaining a temperature-controlled art gallery? How much pattern is too much pattern? I truly appreciate RDC’s database organization, which grasps exactly how designers are thinking whilst performing research.
Though there are hundreds of electronic research tools available for designers, we hope that our assessment of three that we find especially helpful: IIDA Knowledge Center, InformeDesign, and Research Design Connections Archive – helps you in navigating the endless foray of knowledge that can sometimes complicate or hinder the research process.
October 24th, 2013
When I arrived at work on Monday, I performed tasks as usual, including monitoring our Twitter feed to promote any articles that were pertinent to the clientele that we serve here at the Architecture & Planning Library. However, with the commencement of Open Access Week 2013, I was particularly searching for commentary that reflected the importance of open access in research. That’s why when my eyes skimmed over the following 140-character headline, I couldn’t click the associated link fast enough:
Hours of research went into this one — UT is naming more buildings after donors, less after faculty than ever before: http://bit.ly/1azwbsh
The above is a feature by The Daily Texan‘s Bobby Blanchard, and one that was immediately captivating, largely because of its relevance to architecture as a viable tool for marketing and promotion.
Though the topic is certainly contentious, Bobby’s article highlights just how much information can be extracted from sources that are openly accessible to the public. I briefly messaged Bobby to see where he obtained most of his information, and he referred to the Texas Exes website and subsets of the University of Texas at Austin site. He also checked out a book from PCL – Brick by Golden Brick by Margaret C. Berry (also available in our Reference Collection here at the Architecture & Planning Library) – to piece each building together into a cohesive collection. It’s incredible that the digital connectivity in our world – a connectivity that is almost passive because of its prolific nature – can give us the ability to gather a conclusive set of information and, in turn, create a new set of data that becomes readily accessible as well.
A screen grab from Bobby’s article shows how his research was translated into a visual form of communication.
Though most of Bobby’s digital resources were not scholarly publications on an open access platform, his findings give insight into how digitally accessible information has the potential to be monumentally influential in the field of research. Bobby’s article could easily serve as an excellent base for an intensive research venture focused on how philanthropy affects college campuses across the nation, and lead into comparative studies between public and private institutions. The ability for this information to be presented in an online article that can be accessed with the click of a mouse across the world is a staggering thought, a modern-day ability that would have only existed in a dream world no more than a few decades ago.
I firmly believe that the library in its most historic form will never become obsolete. And I fully recognize the inherent credibility issues with open-access platforms, which are displayed and discussed in another article by The Daily Texan. However, the overarching goal of open access research – “the practice of providing unrestricted access via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly research” (via Wikipedia) – is one that keeps up with our fast-paced, time-restrictive, and increasingly digital world. With Bobby’s article as a student example, information that’s a click away has the potential to spur research that affects myriad disciplines across the world.
You can access Bobby’s original article here.
If you’re a Twitter-a-holic like the rest of us, you can follow Bobby at @bobbycblanchard and The Daily Texan at @thedailytexan.
The University of Texas Libraries are only halfway through their week-long celebration of Open Access! Find out which campus events you can still attend here.
Interested in learning more about the history of the UT campus? Titles with content similar to Brick by Golden Brick include The Texas Book, The Texas Book Two, and The University of Texas at Austin: An Architectural Tour.
October 23rd, 2013
In honor of Open Access Week, this week’s journal feature ties in our October-long celebration of interior design with the aspect of community. Our past journal features have largely focused on periodicals that highlight the holistic finished product of a design, including project summaries and architectural drawings. This week’s feature, however, zooms into the pieces that make a cohesive design happen: its materials.
Interiors & Sources, a monthly American publication, puts the spotlight on manufacturers and how their products are applied to interior projects. In the September 2013 issue, Interiors & Sources highlights pro-bono work around the country, nonprofit companies that are creating real change, and designs that have the ability to pull people away from their smartphone-ridden lives.
One of the September features is on Connie Duckworth’s Azru Studio Hope, a textile company that employs women in rural Afghanistan. Azru Studio Hope provides women with looms in their homes to create hand-woven rugs for both residential and commercial use, designed by notable figures such as Frank Gehry and Michael Graves. In a tumultuous country that struggles with gender equality, these women are now viewed as viable economic units to their families, and are reviving native craft techniques in the process. In addition to a stabilizing income, Azru Studio Hope’s social contract with its employees helps educate their children, gives pregnant mothers-to-be access to medical assistance, and, above all, creates a stable, centric community.
In addition to incredible nonprofit ventures in the design sector, Interiors & Sources highlights materials and their creative application to interiors. Flooring, unique ceramic tiles, wall coverings, technology, and more are explored, giving insight into new styles, trends, and case studies, including Harlem’s Hamilton Grange Teen Center. Each section finds unique ways to tie product and design goals back to the overarching theme: community.
Interiors & Sources journals are typically less than 100 pages and give a great month-by-month assessment of what’s happening in the world of design materials today. Though each spread was incredibly informative and full of sage advice for designers, perhaps our favorite quote came directly from the editor herself, Erika Templeton:
“…designers spend most of their time working through the chaos of day-to-day life, affecting real change and facing challenges that ultimately lead to a better way of living.”
And we couldn’t agree more! From one community to the next, designers – functioning as a tight-knit community themselves – are making real change in ways that resonate beyond material selection and a set of drawings.
What an incredible industry to be a part of!
Explore our selection of the most recent issues of Interiors & Sources in Battle Hall’s Reading Room.
Call Number: NK 1700 I64 September 2013 v. 29 no. 9
October 22nd, 2013