Explore UT at the Architecture and Planning Library

Explore UT,  that carnival of an open house, that invasion of miniature wide eyed students and their exhausted parents,  whose scale rivals the world’s fair, will be held on campus one month from today on Saturday March the 5th.  In order to do our part to help recruit some new students for the university and the School of Architecture, we at the Architecture and Planning Library have prepared a few quasi educational sideshows. There will be materials for coloring, a game to test your knowledge of fictional architecture, and a clown who will show you how to make a simple book. The activities will be held in the library’s reading room in Battle Hall from 11-5, except the book making which will be held from 12-3.  If you don’t care for activities, then the classical beauty and grandeur of Battle Hall should be reason enough to pay us a visit, and should also be far more compelling to an impressionable young student than any game could be. Come explore our library!




Stuff and Things: Better Homes and Gardens

Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book. Des Moines: Meredith Pub. Co., 1956.

Front Cover
Front Cover

The staff at APL is in the process of reviewing our circulating collection. During this process, we sometimes come across a gem. The Better Homes & Gardens Decorating Book from 1956 is one of those. The photographs and graphics are amazing, making the book well worth a look. I recognize parts of my grandparents’ house in it. If you are researching interior design and decorating during the 1950s and 1960s, this book is a great primary source. It’s a how-to-manual for the home owner without a decorator.

Back Cover
Back Cover

New Books at Architecture and Planning: A New Semester Begins!

APL started the semester off right with nearly 40 new books this week! I imagine we might just have a new book for you whatever your interest.  Three are highlighted below, though it was difficult to choose!

BriscoeDBriscoe, Danelle. Beyond BIM: Architecture Information Modeling. London: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, 2016.

First, I would like to congratulate Professor Briscoe on her new book, Beyond BIM. APL was most excited to see its arrival!

Millet, Larry. Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury. With photographs by Denes Saari and Maria Forrai Saari.  Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2015.

After an introductory essay, Minnesota Modern is arranged MilletLthematically by building type: commercial buildings, roadside architecture, public buildings, religious works, and domestic architecture. Set between each chapter are examples of mid-century houses from Minnesota. Each collection is arranged chronologically and includes photos, documents, and a description of the various houses.  Millet concludes his survey  by arguing for the preservation of Minnesota’s Mid-Century heritage. He writes, “At present, however, only a handful of midcentury buildings in Minnesota- among them Christ Lutheran Church and three works by Frank Lloyd Wright- are listed on the National Register” (pg. 339).  Of the works included in the survey, I am quite struck by the design of Northwestern National Life Insurance Building, Minneapolis (1964)- I am rather drawn to the attenuated arches. I also greatly enjoyed looking at the motels, bowling alleys, and gas stations – which includes  one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

Levine, Neil. The Urbanism of Frank Lloyd Wright. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2016.

LevineNWe received this new work on Frank Lloyd Wright by Neil Levine- and I thought it might be of interest to many of our patrons. Levine writes in his conclusion:

At the very least, one can say initially, in this brief conclusion, that Broadacre City proved to be but a deviation revealing its unique place in Wright’s urbanism as a polemical critique, purely theoretical construct, and sui generis proposition. Through its multiple case studies of designs for real conditions and sites, this book has shown how Wright’s urbanism was a broad-ranging, continually evolving effort to enrich city life that cannot and should not be reduced to an exceptional vision for a utopian agrarian world of rural-like existence. (pg. 385)

I will add that Levine heavily illustrates his work primarily with drawings from The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives. Included among the illustrations are two night perspectives- one of Point Park Civic Center and the other of the Madison Civic Center.  As I am not as familiar with the work of Wright, I was quite surprised by these beautiful illustrations.

So Many New Books at APL!

Just as the semester is coming to close, APL received a bunch of new books. To follow is a selection of the ones that appealed most to me- monographs on Piranesi and The Dakota, respectively, and two works on architectural types, the English Cottage and the Russian wooden church. But you should stop in and see the the lot of them yourself!

Minor, Heather Hyde. Piranesi’s Lost Words. University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015.

According to Heather Hyde Minor:

The books he [Piranesi] produced were his most powerfully creative art. The complex and compelling story found in the pages of his folios reveals that Piranesi was not just fiercely talented artist but an extraordinary author. (pg. 209)

MinorMinor examines the career of Piranesi as an author. Her first two chapters consider reader reception of his work, Antichità romane, in the twenty-first and eighteenth centuries, respectively. The next three chapters are each dedicated to one of Piranesi’s texts and its larger context: Campus Martius antiquae urbis, Della magnificenza ed architettura de’ Romani, and Diverse maniere d’adornare i cammini ed ogni altra parte degli edifizi desunte dall’architettura Egizia, Etrusca e Greca. Finally, Minor traces the history of Piranesi’s works after his death. Ultimately, Minor seeks to create an understanding about the relationship between the images of the texts and the texts themselves (pg. 1-12).

Alpern, Andrew. The Dakota: A History of the World’s Best-Known Apartment Building. With contributions by Christopher S. Gray. Photographs by Kenneth G. Grant. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2015.

AlpernIn his monograph on The Dakota, Andrew Alpern includes a wide variety of evidence in his documentation of the apartment building. The topics addressed include historical context, location, architect, patron, its iconic stature, the residents, and preservation. Mia Ho contributed new plans of the apartment building. Historical and current photographs in addition to other archival material are reproduced for the book. Finally, Alpern has included 10 documents, published between 1878 and 1889 about The Dakota in the appendices.

Maudlin, Daniel. The Idea of the Cottage in English Architecture, 1760-1860. New York: Routledge, 2015.

Daniel Maudlin writes:

MaudlinThe Idea of the Cottage in English Architecture is the history of the architect-designed cottage between 1760 and 1860. The architect-designed cottage, predominantly expressed in new designs for small buildings on country estates and large villas by the sea, was the product of specific discourses in English architectural writings on landscape, rural retreat and the simple life. (pg. 1)

I selected this work, because I often find books related to cottages and landscape in Special Collections. If you are interested in this topic, we have great primary source material- some of which has be represented on Battle Hall Highlights.

Khodakovsky, Evgeny. Wooden Church Architecture of the Russian North: Regional Schools and Traditions (14th-19th Centuries). New York: Routledge, 2016.

Evgeny Khodakovsky writes:

KhodakovskyMy deep immersion in this rich and varied material also engendered a conviction that it should be made accessible to more than only a Russian-speaking audience. With this publication of an academic survey of the wooden architecture of the Russian North in English, my aim is to see it included in the history of world art as the most Russian phenomenon within Russian architecture, free of any sort of external influences or involvements.  A further factor of no small importance is that the book represents a response to the long-standing interest in wooden architecture as one of the components of Russian national artistic culture that has been manifested by English-language writers as far back as the mid-sixteenth century… (pg. xiii)

His chapters address issues related to source material, geography, historical interest, and typology. Flipping through the book, I would say that I wish it was more extensively illustrated. There are some great black and white photos of the churches and construction details; however, the drawings and interior photographs are limited.

Stuff and Things: Bethlehem Steel

Bethelem_SpecialCollectionsWhile in Special Collections last week, I happened to look up and I caught sight of the word “Bethlehem” on one the supporting beams.  And then I got super excited, which may not be everyone’s reaction.

Prior to the Architecture and Planning Library, I worked at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, PA. Whenever I told people that I lived in Bethlehem, their reaction was usually: Oh like Mad Men.

If you are familiar with the episode, New Amsterdam (Season One), you might remember that Bethlehem, PA was home to Bethlehem Steel.  And I am madly in love with the factory ruins. The history of the steel mill is complicated, and I am an outsider. However, I care very deeply about the town and the factory. BSteel_LogoI recognize, however,  that my appreciation for the site comes from a different place than those that worked at the steel mill and lived in Bethlehem while it was in operation.  Whenever the weather was good, I would  walk home from the university and cross the New Street Bridge to the north side of town. I often would pause for moment, captivated by stacks. Occasionally, they would be artfully illuminated at night and would glow the like the Emerald City in the Wizard of Oz.

If you are intrigued by the photos, Lehigh University Libraries has two projects that seek to document the history associated with the steel mill and Bethlehem, PA. The first is Beyond Steel: An Archive of Lehigh Valley Industry and Culture. The second is Still Looking for You: A Bethlehem Place + Memory Project. Or feel free to stop by and chat about the projects and the site.

Opening Reception: “To Better Know a Building: The Charles Moore House, Orinda, California”

Exhibt_OrindaOn behalf of the Alexander Architectural Archive, I would like to invite you all to the opening of their new exhibit, To Better Know a Building: The Charles Moore House, Orinda, California. The exhibit opens on Monday, October 19 and will be on view in the Architecture and Planning Library until March 20, 2016.

The Architecture and Planning Library and the Alexander Architectural Archive will host an opening reception on Monday, October 19 at 6pm in the Reading Room of Battle Hall. The opening address, sponsored by the School of Architecture in the lecture series, Goldsmith Talks, will be delivered by Kevin Keim, Director of the Charles Moore Foundation.

The Alexander Architectural Archive’s  Press Release:

The personal residence of renowned architect, author and award-winning architectural educator Charles W. Moore is the focus of the third installment of the Alexander Architectural Archive’s “To Better Know a Building” series.

The Charles Moore House at Orinda, California, was designed by Moore for himself and built in 1961. With its small footprint, the building was viewed as a quintessential expression of third bay region residential architecture.

“The site was bought one day on impulse simply because it seems full of magic,” wrote Moore in The Place of Houses (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1974). “Years before, a bulldozer had cut a flat circular building site, which had since grown grassy and now seemed part of the natural setting, like those perfectly circular meadows that inspired medieval Chinese poets to mediate upon perfection.”

The significance of Moore’s Orinda house is expressed by Kevin Keim in his book An Architectural Life: Memoirs and Memories of Charles W. Moore.

“In a decisive move of great clarity and wit, Moore broke from the shackles of modernist ideology,” wrote Keim. “It was astoundingly fresh. Modernism’s sacred flat roof was swept away and replaced with a pyramidal roof. Even more to the point, the house was a simple pavilion of banal materials, defying the convention that a building had to be monumental in order to be architecture.”

In a tragic circumstance, the home was, at some point in recent years, renovated so dramatically that the original structure has been all but consumed by new construction.

Throughout his career, Moore established firms across the country, developing collaborative relationships within and between practices, often involving students from his academic positions in his architectural work. He professional life was a blend of architectural practice, educational engagement, and authorship.

He also taught at six universities while simultaneously maintaining his architectural practice and writing. From 1965 to 1970, Moore served as Chairman, and then Dean, of the Architecture Department at Yale University. In 1967, he created the Yale Building Project, an ethically minded construction project for first-year graduate students. He stayed on as a professor once his term as Dean ended, until 1975, when he accepted a faculty position at the University of California, Los Angeles that included joining Urban Innovations Group (UIG), a teaching practice at the UCLA Department of Architecture and Urban Planning. In 1985, Moore took on his final teaching position as the O’Neil Ford Chair of Architecture, at the University of Texas at Austin.

An avid traveler, Moore documented his extensive travels through painting, photography and collecting folk art and toys. He was awarded the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architectural Education and the American Institute of Architects Gold Medal for the scope and importance of his contributions to architecture.

Charles Moore died in Austin, Texas, on December 16th, 1993.

The Alexander Architectural Archive — a special collection of the Architecture & Planning Library — has among its collections the Charles W. Moore Archives. The exhibit will present correspondence, notes, sketches, drawings and printed materials related to the design and construction of Moore’s private residence in Orinda, California.

“To Better Know A Building” seeks to explore buildings through the drawings and other visual items found in the archive and library, promoting the records of a single building. Plans, elevations and sections visually communicate design intent and can also be used as a vehicle in teaching through example.

An opening reception will take place at 6 p.m., Monday, October 19, in the reading room of the Architecture & Planning Library, located in historic Battle Hall. The event is free and open to the public. As part of the School of Architecture’s Goldsmith Talks series, Kevin Keim — founding director of the Charles W. Moore Foundation in Austin and author of numerous books including a forthcoming book on the Orinda house — will offer the opening remarks. Austin’s Pizza will be served while it lasts.

“To Better Know a Building: The Charles Moore House, Orinda, California” will be on view in the library’s reading room through March 20, 2016.


The reception was photographed by the Visual Resource Collection in the School of Architecture. Please visit their Flickr Album to see the photos.

Trial Subscription to Kanopy

This summer (June 4, 2015) we started a one year trial of Kanopy. From their website:

Kanopy is an on-demand streaming video service for educational institutions that provides 12 million students and faculty with access to more than 26,000 films each year….Kanopy works directly with filmmakers and film distribution companies to offer award-winning collections including titles from PBS, BBC, Criterion Collection, Media Education Foundation and more. (Accessed October 12, 2015; https://www.kanopystreaming.com/about-us.)

Of the 26,000 plus films, 327 have been designated as Architecture. Within this category, the films are  currently organized thematically:

  • Iconic 21st-Century Architecture
  • 20th-Century Modern Architecture
  • Sustainable Architecture
  • Female Architects
  • American Architecture
  • European Architecture
  • Asian Architecture
  • Australian Architecture
  • Architect Documentaries
  • Interviewing Architects
  • Architectural Instruction and Lecture
  • Understanding the World’s Greatest Structures: Science and Innovation from Antiquity to Modernity
  • The Cathedral

Please take a look around and explore the site. We at APL would like to hear from our faculty and students regarding Kanopy. Are the collection of films useful to your teaching or do they enhance your learning experience? Please feel free to post comments about the resource or email them to Katie Pierce Meyer.

New Books at APL: Modernism

Donald, Alastair and Gwen Webber, eds. A Clockwork Jerusalem: The British Pavilion, 14th International Exhibition, La Biennale de Venezia 2014 curated by FAT Architecture and Crimson Architectural Historians. London: The Vinyl Factory, 2014.

If you are a consistent reader of New Books at APL, you might ClockworkJerusalemrememer that I am strangely attracted to publications coming out of the Venice  Biennial, but then how could you not be curious about a title like A Clockwork Jerusalem? It is both the title for the British Pavilion and its associated publication. Unlike the previous publications highlighted in the blog, this work does not focus on the architecture of the pavilion itself. Wouter Vanstiphout explains in an interview, “We chose not make a show that would consist entirely of architecture but to focus on ideas that shaped British architecture…and the imagination that more or less fed into British Modernism.”

Three essays- “A Clockwork Jerusalem” by Sam Jacob, “Experiments in Freedom” by Wouter Vanstiphout, and “Four Transformations of British Modernism” by Owen Haterley- proceed “A Clockwork Jerusalem Illustrated.” This latter half of the work explores the themes and ideas associated with British Modernism through both architecture and culture- Utopia of Ruins, Historic Futurism, Paleo Motorik, Electric Pastoral, Concrete Picturesque, History’s Return, and The People: Where will They Go?

Sam Jacob concludes in his essay:

A Clockwork Jerusalem argues for architecture and planning as part of a national project, part of a wider culture spanning politics and pop culture, summoning new visions of how we might live. The landscape of Britain is the ground on which we must continue to construct our national narrative. Through architecture as a joined-up part of political, economic and social ambition, we too can build our own Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land. (Jacob, 14)

British Council. British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2014: A Clockwork Jerusalem. Accessed September 30, 2015. http://design.britishcouncil.org/venice-biennale/venice-biennale-2014/.

Bueb, Charles. Ronchamp: Le Corbusier. [Bruxelles]: Facteur humain, 2015.

BuebRonchampAfter a brief introduction to Charles Bueb, a photographic essay follows of photographs taken of Ronchamp by Bueb between 1953-1963. The black and white photographs are quite stunning of the chapel. Additionally, Bueb documented the construction of, visitors to, and interesting perspectives and scales of Notre Dame du Haut. The work also contains three essays by Claude Parent, David Liaudet, and Jean-François Mathey, respectively.


Friday Finds: Emily Brontë

Brontë, Emily. Two Poems: Love’s Rebuke and Remembrance. With the Gondals Background of her Poems and Novel by Fannie Elizabeth Ratchford. Austin, Texas: Charles E. Martin, Jr.- Von Boeckmann-Jones Co., 1934.

Wait, Emily Brontë at the APL?

Occasionally, I find books in Special Collections that take me by surprise. Two Poems: Love’s Rebuke and Remembrance by Emily Brontë begs the question- Why do we have it. Upon opening the work, I discovered a tipped in watercolor signed by Wolf Jessen. There was also a card paper-clipped to end paper with the following text:

This is the only copy of this book at TxU. It might be considered a rare book because of its associations with Austin and The University, and should not circulate, or should circulate only on a very limited basis. It is a limited edition (no. 20 of 60 copies) published in Austin, with background material by Fannie Elizabeth Ratchford (former rare books librarian), illustrations by Wolf Jessen (Austin architect), and is dedicated “To Mrs. Miriam Lutcher Stark.

I needed to know more.

I began naturally with Katie Pierce Meyer, APL’s librarian, and Nancy Sparrow from the Alexander Architectural Archives. Nancy sent me the biographies for Wolf and Harold Jessen. The brothers were both students of architecture at UT and opened a firm together here in Austin in 1938. Wolf Jessen was also a member of the faulty at the School. Nancy also sent along one of Wolf Jessen’s projects, Monumental Causeway, which he produced while still a student (dated October 4, 1935).

Wolf Jessen, Monumental Causeway, October 4, 1935. Jessen and Jessen papers, Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin, txu-aaa-soasw00005-2000.

The illustrations he made for Two Poems were also undertaken while he was a student!

While I had discovered who Wolf Jessen was, I was still curious about Fannie Elizabeth Ratchford, whose biography I located on the Texas State Historical Association website, which discussed her work with the Wrenn Library and scholarship on the Brontës (Leach, “Ratchford, Fannie Elizabeth”). She also had an interest in architecture. The Texas State Archives houses a collection of papers from Ratchford regarding an unrealized book project on Texas architecture, which she worked on between 1933-1947.


I also located a book review for Two Poems written by Leicester Bradner. I had hoped that Bradner would discuss the book project; however, he focuses on the argument Ratchford presents. He does note, “In spite of the brevity of the present study, which was designed by the publishers only for a collector’s item, it adds immensely to our understanding of Emily’s poems” (Bradner, “Reviewed Work,” 210). While Bradner makes no reference to Jessen, he does highlight that the work was a special edition at the request of the publisher, which raises intriguing questions about the genius and development of the book project.

Finally, I would note that APL’s copy of Two Poems is not the only copy on campus anymore. The HRC has two as well. One is unnumbered according to the record, while the second belonged to Miriam Lutcher Stark and is copy 1 of 20.

Bradner, Leicester. “Reviewed Work.” Review of Reviewed Work: Two Poems by Emily Brontë: With the Gondal Background of Her Poems and Novel by Fannie Elizabeth Ratchford, Emily Brontë. Modern Philology 33.2 (1935): 209-210.

Leach, Sally Sparks. “RATCHFORD, FANNIE ELIZABETH.” Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fra42). Accessed September 22, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

New Books at APL: Citizens of No Place: An Architectural Graphic Novel

This week we received several books for our new collection – UTSOA Publications – which highlights material from and about the School. This collection can be found in the reading room of Battle Hall.

Lai, Jimenez. Citizens of No Place: An Architectural Graphic Novel. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2012.

JLaiWe also received Jimenez Lai’s Citizens of No Place: An Architectural Graphic Novel. Lai writes:

Citizens of No Place imagines alternate worlds and engages with the design of architecture through the act of storytelling. It offers narratives about character development, through which the reader can explore relationships, curiosities, and attitudes, as well as absurd stories about fake realities that invite new futures to become possibilities. (pg. 7)

The graphic novel contains an introductory essay by John McMorrough entitled “The Architecture of No Place and Eutopia, Infinite Earths, and Elseworlds.” Lai’s architectural treatise is then arranged in ten chapters, addressing topics such as rituals, power, projection, and history.

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