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A Year in Review (2015)

By January 15, 2016September 16th, 2023No Comments

By Alli Mertins
Assistant Archivist, Northwest Architectural Archives

Another year came and went – here are the 2015 highlights from the Northwest Architectural Archives.

Publications by our dedicated researchers

Minnesota Modern: Architecture and Life at Midcentury (2015) by Larry Millett 

Cover the Millet's book showing a midcentury modern home.“Renowned Minnesota architecture critic and historian Larry Millett conducts an eye-opening, spectacularly illustrated tour of this rich and varied landscape.

A history lesson as entertaining as it is enlightening, ‘Minnesota Modern’ provides a close-up view of a style that penetrated the social, political, and cultural machinery of the times. Extending from modest suburban ramblers and ranch houses to the grandest public and commercial structures, midcentury modernism expressed new ways of thinking about how to live, work, and play in communities that sprang up as thousands of military members returned from World War II.”

Published by University of Minnesota Press

Further Reading:

-Once There Were Castles: Lost Mansions and Estates of the Twin Cities (2011)

Minnesota’s Own: Preserving Our Grand Homes (2014)

John H. Howe, Architect: from Taliesin Apprentice to Master of Organic Design (2015) by Jane King Hession and Tim Quigley  

Cover of Howe's book showing the drawing of one of his homes.From architectural historian Jane King Hession and architect Tim Quigley, “this is the first book to tell Howe’s story and also the first full account of his place in the history of modern architecture—as chief draftsman and valued interpreter of Wright’s designs and as a prolific architect in his own right. Illustrated throughout with Howe’s sublime drawings, this biography is a testament to the under-appreciated architect’s extraordinary design and rendering skills.”

Published by University of Minnesota Press

John H. Howe papers, N14, Northwest Architectural Archives

Further Reading:

Ralph Rapson: Sixty Years of Modern Design (1999)

Exhibits including images and original drawings from our collections

 Suburbia at the Minnesota History Center (October 10, 2015- March 20, 2016) – included are images from our Trade Catalogs and Stock Plan Books collections

Banner advertising for "Suburbia" showing a woman wearing a scarf.

“Explore the dream and reality of Twin Cities suburbia — from ranch houses to redlining, malls to millennials, and cars to cul de sacs. Suburbia reveals the sometimes quirky, always fascinating history of our seemingly commonplace suburban environment. This exhibit is presented in three immersive settings: Building Suburbia, Living in Suburbia and Shopping in Suburbia. Throughout the exhibit, guests are invited to look back and reflect on the successes and failures of Suburbia and what’s in store for the future.”

Trade Catalogs collection, N100, Northwest Architectural Archives

Stock Plan Books collection, N101, Northwest Architectural Archives

Leonardo da Vinci, the Codex Leicester, and the Creative Mind at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (June 21-August 30, 2015)  -included were original presentation drawings from our Don E. Harley papers

“Engineer, inventor, scientist, artist: Leonardo da Vinci embodies the ideal of an innovative mind who uses his vast intellect, powers of observation, and boundless curiosity to explore the world around him. This rare exhibition presents one of Leonardo’s original notebooks, a vital tool in his creative process, and examines how his renaissance thinking is shared by some of today’s most visionary artists, engineers, and designers.”

Don E. Harley papers, N242, Northwest Architectural Archives

First Fridays Lecture (October 2, 2015): “There’s nothing really funny about architecture” 

A drawing by architect Rip Rapson of Sir Tyrone Guthrie, drawn to express the architects frustration with his client during the design of the original Guthrie Theater.First Fridays is an annual series of intellectually stimulating talks. The 2015-2016 First Fridays season will explore the theme of humor – a tool alternatively employed to instill delight, put forth political commentary, teach lessons, assuage fears, or even encourage social bonding. Come hear and laugh at stories from the more comedic side of Archives and Special Collections.

Notable additions to our collection:

  Weiming Lu Papers 1953-2013, Northwest Architectural Archives

Portrait of Weiming Lu.This collection consists of materials documenting Weiming Lu’s extensive professional career as an urban planner in the United States as well as internationally. The collection reflects Lu’s experience working on urban planning projects world wide. It includes administrative project materials such as: correspondence, reports, publicity, papers, and planning documents. Professional work materials include lectures, conference information, and publications from both Weiming Lu as well as fellow colleagues. Personal papers include personal correspondence and cards. Audio and visual materials include CDs, tapes, hard disks, and slides. Publications and clippings include materials in both English and Mandarin and cover subjects across urban design.

St. Paul Historic Preservation Commission, N302, Northwest Architectural Archives

This collection consists of prints of architectural drawings, generally not of the original construction, for buildings either designated or under consideration for historic designation at one time by the Heritage Preservation Commission of St. Paul, MN. Buildings represented here include an emphasis on historic Lowertown in St. Paul.

Congratulations, Cheryll!

Cheryll Fong is the acting Interim Curator of the Northwest Architectural Archives, and celebrating her first full year in the position. Cheryll graduated in December 2015 with her Master of Information and Library Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Congratulations!

Mark Engebretson

Author Mark Engebretson

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