Category Archives: Drawings & Archives

Model Projections

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library and GSAPP are pleased to announce the opening of a co-presented exhibition, Model Projections, October – December 15, 2018 at the Arthur Ross Architectural Gallery, Buell Hall, Columbia University.

Gallery Talk: November 29th, 6:00-8:00 pm
Reception following
REGISTER to ATTEND

Co-curated by Jennifer Gray and Irene Sunwoo, Model Projections investigates the complex pathways between architecture and its representation through an examination of the practice of model making. While models have long occupied a central role in the design and building processes, during the postwar period the production and function of models expanded as architecture firms increasingly commissioned elaborate three-dimensional representations that were extraordinarily precise in detail—from simulated materials to landscaping, from designer furniture to electrification. The exhibition reveal the model as a site of collaboration, negotiation, and speculation—not unlike the full-scale building that it anticipated.

Drawing primarily upon the collections of Avery Library’s Department of Drawings and Archives, the exhibition focuses on an ecosystem of architectural model making during the mid-twentieth century. It features original photographs, correspondence, and ephemera from the archives of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; photographer Louis Checkman; and especially the pioneering model maker Theodore Conrad, whose material experiments and specialized production techniques offer a framework for questioning the relationships between technology and craft, authenticity and authorship, architectural vision and systematized labor.

Image credit: Photo documenting Neue Nationalgalerie model: view into model, fallen Barcelona Chair. Theodore Conrad papers 1937-1991, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Dept. of Drawings & Archives.

Avery Library remembers Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer (1930-2017)

Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer, architectural historian and Frank Lloyd Wright archivist, passed away December 31, 2017 at the age of 87.

A widely recognized expert on Wright, Pfeiffer authored more than 50 publications on Wright’s life and architecture. He was an apprentice to Wright at the Taliesin Fellowship from 1949 to 1956, and then studied architecture at the École Nationale Superiéure de Beaux Arts. From the time of Wright’s death in 1959 through 2012, he served as director of the Wright archives, curating and organizing the vast and incomparable visual and textual legacy of Wright’s life and works.

We, together with the community of Wright scholars and admirers, are thankful for Bruce’s lifelong dedication and his contributions to architectural history and Wright scholarship.

In 2012, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archive was jointly acquired by the Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library at Columbia and The Museum of Modern Art. As joint stewards, Avery and MoMA honor Pfeiffer’s archival stewardship with the Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer lecture series.

Additional notices:

The Chicago Tribune

AZ Central

Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation on Facebook

 

 

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library Remembers Hilary Ballon

Image credit: NYU/Abu Dhabi

Image credit: NYU/Abu Dhabi

Hilary Ballon, former professor at Columbia University’s Department of Art & Archaeology, passed away on June 16, 2017 at age 61.

She spent 22 years at Columbia University, where she won the University’s three awards for outstanding teaching and chaired the Department of Art History and Archaeology.

After leaving Columbia she was Senior Advisor to the Mellon Foundation, University Professor at NYU, and Deputy Vice Chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi.

Avery Library was privileged to work with Dr. Ballon throughout her career including two major exhibitions: Robert Moses and the Modern City (2007) and The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan, 1811-2011 (2011).

All staff at Avery will miss working with her and with the entire community mourns her loss.

New York Times obituary

Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive

Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library and MoMA are pleased to announce the opening of a co-presented exhibition, Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, June 12 – October 1, 2017 at the Museum of Modern Art.

Drawing on the expansive Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archive, jointly acquired by Avery and MoMA in 2012, the exhibition comprises approximately 450 works made from the 1890s through the 1950s, including architectural drawings, models, building fragments, films, television broadcasts, print media, furniture, tableware, textiles, paintings, photographs, and scrapbooks, along with a number of works that have rarely or never been publicly exhibited.

Frank Lloyd Wright was one of the most prolific and renowned architects of the 20th century, a radical designer and intellectual who embraced new technologies and materials, pioneered do-it-yourself construction systems as well as avant-garde experimentation, and advanced original theories with regards to nature, urban planning, and social politics. Marking the 150th anniversary of the American architect’s birth on June 8, 1867, Frank Lloyd Wright at 150: Unpacking the Archive, critically engages his multifaceted practice.

 

MoMA website

Avery Library Frank LLoyd Wright Collection

New York Times review

Avery Drawing & Archives: Conrad archive

Recently opened for research is the archive of American architectural model maker Theodore Conrad (1910-1994). Conrad was a pioneer in the use of plastics and metals for models instead of the more traditional materials of wood, plaster and cardboard.  Conrad began his career making cardboard models in the office of Harvey Wiley Corbett while a student at Pratt. Upon graduation, Conrad earned a full-time job at Corbett’s firm, but soon left to establish his own shop in New Jersey. By the 1940s, Conrad’s enterprise became the largest in the country, employing at its heights 26 men and women. His assignments included work for McKim Mead and White, Edward Durrell Stone, Louis Kahn, Mies van der Rohe and Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

The collection is housed in Avery Drawings & Archives and is composed primarily of model photographs, account records, press clippings, and other model making documentation. For more information on the collection, please consult its online finding aid 

Avery Library Remembers Christopher Gray (1950-2016)

Image Credit: Office for Metropolitan History

Christopher Gray was a major figure in the rising swell of interest in New York City architectural history that began in the aftermath of the demolition of Pennsylvania Station. With a degree in Art History from Columbia in 1975, Chris founded the Office of Metropolitan History that same year to provide research services to historic architectural questions. His research provided historical accuracy to many publications, thereby raising the standards for the field. He became widely known to the public for his column Streetscapes that ran from 1987 to 2014, one of the highlights of the Sunday New York Times Real Estate section. Chris and his staff from the OMH, Suzanne Braley, Melissa Braverman, and Samantha Hightower, were frequently seen at Avery pursuing countless citations, photographs, and drawings.

Avery Library extends its sympathy to his wife, Erin D. Gray, a graduate of Columbia University’s Historic Preservation program, and his family.

 

New York Times Obituary

Architects Newpaper Obituary

Visiting classes at Avery Drawings & Archives

Every semester, Avery welcomes classes to Drawings and Archives. This semester has already seen class visits from 1st year Core Architecture Studio II students, whose section is coordinated by Mimi Hoang, students from the American Architecture II history lecture being taught by Jennifer Gray, as well as a visiting group of final year undergraduate students from UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture with their professor Guan Lee. Faculty are encouraged to reach out to Drawings & Archives to coordinate a class visit and discuss archival collections that will be relevant to their courses.Visit the Drawings and Archives website to see our full collections list and email us at: avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu

Avery Drawings & Archives Checkman archive used

Avery Drawings & Archives Checkman archive of architectural model photography was used by Columbia GSAPP for their current exhibition Stagecraft: Models & Photos.

The exhibition will be on display at The Arthur Ross Architecture Gallery from February 9 until March 10, 2017.

Read Kenneth Frampton’s article in Metropolis magazine about the exhibition here.

 

Avery Welcomes Pamela Casey

pamela-casey-photoPamela Casey comes to us from the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, where she worked as Archivist after receiving her Master in Library and Information Studies at McGill University in May 2015. From 2012-2013, Pamela was a Graduate Archival Intern at Avery Drawings and Archives and at Columbia’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. In 2012, she taught academic writing to architecture students at Pratt in New York. In addition, Pamela has worked as an editor and researcher for Bartlett faculty member Guan Lee, as a researcher for Montreal heritage architect Louis Brillant, and as a copyeditor for University of Waterloo’s School of Architecture O’Donovan Director Anne Bordeleau.

Pamela received her MFA in Writing from Columbia University in 2014, where she also taught creative writing in the Columbia Undergraduate Writing Program. Prior to coming to Columbia, Pamela was a producer in London, England, working on independent productions and supporting new film talent at organizations like the BBC, the UK Film Council and the National Film and Television School. She received a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies, with a concentration in International Affairs, from Carleton University in Ottawa in 1996.

Pamela Casey joins us as Architecture Archivist in Drawings and Archives, where her focus will be on outreach to faculty and students, planning for architectural born-digital collections, processing visual materials across Avery’s archival collections including the photographic material in the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archive.

The Metropolitan Opera House at Lincoln Center: Celebrating 50 Years

The Metropolitan Opera House, the “old Met” opened on October 22, 1883 and was designed by J. Cleveland Cady. Located at 1411 Broadway, the Opera House occupied the entire block between West 39th Street and West 40th Street. Nine years later on August 27, 1892, the theater was gutted by fire. In 1903, the interior of the opera house was extensively redesigned by the firm Carrère and Hastings.

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Carrère & Hastings. Metropolitan Opera, 39th & Broadway: interior, 1892.

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Carrère & Hastings. Metropolitan Opera, 39th & Broadway: interior, 1892.

It was quickly realized that the backstage facilities were deemed to be severely inadequate for such a large opera company. Over the years, plans were put forward to build a new home for the company. Designs for a new opera house were created by various architects including Joseph Urban and Benjamin Morris. Several sites were also proposed including Columbus Circle. Rockefeller Center (as it is now known) was considered but financial troubles, coupled with the stock market crash in October 1929, put an end to this scheme.

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Morris. Metropolitan Opera House at Rockefeller Center: bird’s eye view, Suggestion of Metropolitan Square Development in Harmony with Proposed Metropolitan Opera House, Scheme “B”, May 11, 1929.

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Morris. Metropolitan Opera House at Rockefeller Center: interior, 1929.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At long last, the Upper West Side gave the Met the opportunity to build a modern opera house with the most technically advanced stages in the world. Since 1966, Lincoln Center has been home to the Metropolitan Opera, designed by Wallace K. Harrison of the firm Harrison & Abramovitz. 50 years later, this building is still captivating students from around the world.

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Morris & O’Connor. Metropolitan Opera House at Columbus Circle, 1935.

Interested in studying the Met? Explore the vast holdings for Lincoln Center at the department of Drawings & Archives. Email avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu to schedule an appointment. For access to related materials in the Joseph Urban collection, contact the Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Butler.

Hugh Ferriss. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Center of the Center, 1958.

Hugh Ferriss. Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. Center of the Center, 1958.

–Nicole Richard