Category Archives: Drawings

Some Lesser-known Projects of Tafel’s

Washington Square Park Public Buildings, ca. 1970

Washington Square Park Public Buildings, ca. 1970

 

As can be seen in the archive, Tafel was mostly designing private homes, churches, and school buildings during his early career in the 50s and 60s. However, Tafel did work on some projects that were out of his usual scope. For example, in the early 1970s, the City was looking to revitalize Washington Square Park. Tafel’s drawings for three public buildings were chosen as the winning designs and can still be seen in the Park today.

Below is a drawing for Scottsdale Inn, a design for an unbuilt project in Scottsdale, Arizona. The design looks to have taken some inspiration from Taliesin West, which is also in Scottsdale.

Scottsdale Inn, undated

Projects Then and Now

Newtown Lecture Hall, SUNY at Geneseo, 1964

The cataloging of Tafel’s architectural projects is almost complete. The projects range from 1953-1991 and are comprised of about 200 rolls of drawings. Before I delve into more theoretical posts about archiving, I would like to share more photos and information about Tafel’s architectural projects in New York that can still be seen today.

Pictured above is an elevation from 1963 of the lecture hall center at the State University of New York at Geneseo. The lecture hall center is now named Newton Lecture Hall. Tafel designed campus plans and several other buildings including the fine arts building (Brodie Hall), the administration building, the student union building, and several dormitories in a team with other architects including Rolf Myller and Richard Snibbe between 1963 and 1974. The plans for the University are among one of the projects that are very well-documented in the archive. As an architectural archivist, I have noticed that government projects and universities are the types of projects that have the most number of drawings saved by an architectural office. This is probably because of the large scope of the project and the large number of clients and stakeholders invested in the project! Nevertheless, both well-documented projects and smaller-scale projects are fascinating to look at, both from an archival and a scholarly point of view.

Rendering of the Fine Arts Building (now Brodie Hall), SUNY at Geneseo, 1964

Architectural Projects

 

Edgar Tafel designed many projects including churches, colleges, and residences. Included in Tafel’s archive are drawings showing the progression from initial conceptual sketches to as-built drawings of both his completed and unbuilt projects. Pictured above are three sketches from Tafel’s project, the Twenty-First Century Institute in Vermont, drawn in 1974. The three drawings show the development of the main facade of the Institute which was meant to be a conference centre and office building. The sketches are very small but get larger as the idea for the building is fleshed out. These three drawings are only a selection of this project!  More of Tafel’s projects, both well-known or unbuilt, are to be featured on the blog soon.