Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Warning to Researchers: Architecture Bookshop Closing

As reported by the Chicago Tribune:

By Blair Kamin architecture critic

For the sheer wealth of its collection, few architecture bookstores in the world can match the Prairie Avenue Bookshop. Architects and architecture lovers can browse thousands of titles at the store, which set up shop on Chicago's Prairie Avenue in 1974 and has been at 418 S. Wabash Ave. since 1995. Unfortunately for the proprietors, Wilbert and Marilyn Hasbrouck, not all of the browsers have been buyers.

"People would come to the bookshop with their notepad, make notes of what they wanted and then go buy it somewhere else," Wilbert Hasbrouck said last week. He blamed the 10.25 percent sales tax for driving buyers to online booksellers like

Forty-eight years after Marilyn Hasbrouck started the business from the couple's suburban Park Forest home, the Hasbroucks say they will likely close the bookshop, an institution in Chicago's architecture community, on Sept. 1 -- unless, that is, a buyer can be found.

"We're losing a national resource," said Chicago architect John Eifler. "It's very sad." . . . To read more, click here.

The bookstore will be closing 1 September 2009, and will honor gift certificates until that date.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zettler Studios

Photographer unknown. Franz Xaver Zettler and His Two Sons. From Josef Ludwig Fischer, Vierzig Jahre Glasmalkunst: Festschrift der Kgl. bayerischen Hofglasmalerei F.X. Zettler, zum Gedaechtnis ihres vierzigjaehreigen Bestehens (Munich: George Mueller, 1910).

The Preservation Resource Center's Stained Glass Art in Sacred Places Committee has recently announced its fall tour, "Celebrating Twenty Years of Stained Glass Tours: The Irish Channel." Scheduled for September 20, the tour will include St. Mary's Assumption, Jackson Avenue Evangelical, St. Theresa of Avila and the St. Alphonsus Art and Cultural Center.

Typical for American immigrant churches, many of the stained glass windows in St. Mary's Assumption and St. Alphonsus were Bavarian. F.X. Zettler launched his own stained glass window business there in 1870, after working for his father-in-law, Joseph Gabriel Mayer. "Mad" King Ludwig II, who built Neuschwainstein Castle, honored Zettler's company by appointing it "The Royal Bavarian Institute for Stained Glass" in 1882.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Zettler operated an international business with over 500 employees, and shipped his windows to churches across the United States, Russia, Australia, and South America. Vierzig Jahre Glasmalkunst: Festschrift der Kgl. bayerischen Hofglasmalerei F.X. Zettler, zum Gedaechtnis ihres vierzigjaehreigen Bestehens, Zettler's corporate history published in 1910, outlined church and secular production, artistic styles, and the expansion of the business to America and other overseas locales.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Call for Entries: Building By the Book

BUILDING BY THE BOOK: Book Artists Respond to Architecture and Design

As part of Philagrafika 2010: The Graphic Unconscious, the Athenaeum of Philadelphia, in collaboration with the Philadelphia Center for the Book, recently issued a new architecture-focused competition.

The Athenaeum's curators have chosen ten special architecture-design books from their legacy research collections. Any artist/designer residing in the United States is invited to submit proposals for a book that responds to one of the selected books. The proposed book may be editioned or one-of-a-kind, artist books, book objects, altered books or zines. The proposal must be for newly created work, directly responding to one of the ten highlighted books.

Visit for project details and to view the selected books, chosen from the Atheneum's architecture and design research collections.

Deadline for proposals is September 25, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Transportation Leviathan

As the New Orleans Master Plan discussions currently involve the removal of the raised I-10 expressway through the Sixth and Seventh Wards, it seemed an appropriate time to resurrect some ephemera related to the initial grass roots effort focused on keeping the highway off the riverfront area.

Image above: Louisiana Council for the Vieux Carré. The Elevated Riverfront Expressway, undated flyer. Louisiana Research Collections, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Graduate Student Fellowship Announcement

LSU Libraries recently announced the availability of graduate student fellowships to support research related to the history of Louisiana and the greater southern United States. Six fellowships of $900 each will be awarded to graduate student researchers whose projects require the use of LSU's Special Collections.

LSU's Special Collections include the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections (LLMVC), which document the region's history and culture. LLMVC is considered the largest collection of materials focused on Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley, consisting of more than 5,500 archival collections; 120,000+ volumes of books, periodicals, maps, Louisiana newspapers, and other published material; 2,500 tape-recorded oral history interviews; and approximately 200,000 historic photographs. Coverage extends from colonial land grants to the most current publications on post-Katrina New Orleans.

Eligibility/Application Information:

Applicants must be currently enrolled graduate students in an appropriate discipline with a research focus involving Louisiana history or history of the southern United States. Recipients must use the LSU Libraries' Special Collections for research.

In order to receive the payment of the fellowship stipend, each recipient must write and send to the Head of Special Collections a brief report (1 to 2 pages) stating what Special Collections resources were used and what was accomplished during the recipient's research in Special Collections. This report must be received within one month of
the scheduled completion of the recipient's research as noted in his/her application.

Application Procedure:

To apply, send the following:

1. a statement outlining your research project and how that project will benefit from work in the LSU Libraries' Special Collections;
2. a brief statement indicating how you will use the fellowship funds (e.g. travel, living expenses, duplication expenses, etc.);
3. a schedule indicating when you plan to conduct your research at LSU;
4. your curriculum vitae; and
5. letters of reference from two persons familiar with your scholarship to Library Fellowships, ATTN: L. Browning, 295 Middleton Library, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803-3300; email:; fax: 225-578-6825.

There is no deadline. The selection committee (composed of one library faculty member and two faculty members in the Department of History) will consider applications as they are received. Selections will be based on merit until all six fellowships have been awarded.

Pulp Settings

American photographer Thomas Allen utilizes 1940's and 1950's pulp fiction to create pop-up dioramas that he photographs with a 4 x 5 camera. The worn paperbacks frequently become the architectural elements populated by his gunmen, ingenues and snarling animals.

Image above: Thomas Allen, The Stranger, chromogenic print, 2005. 20 x 24 in.

Friday, July 17, 2009

New Orleans Building Maecenas

DeLesseps Story "Chep" Morrison, Sr. (1912-64) was the 54th Mayor of New Orleans, elected to four terms in office (1946-61). During his mayorship, the city boasted a population of 765,000 people, was the largest southern city, covering approximately 363 square miles.

For his 1950 campaign (letterhead above), Morrison emphasized his contributions to major building projects. After his second reelection, Morrison proclaimed the following accomplishments to his Fellow Citizens:

"Today more than ever before our famous city is eagerly pushing forward to fulfill its great and wonderful destiny. The past twelve months covered in this report have been crowded with important and exciting events.

We have seen the beginning of construction of our New City Hall and of the giant new bridge across the Mississippi. Detailed plans for the new Main Library have been authorized and the expansion of Moisant International Airport is underway.

Our new east-west traffic artery stretching across the heart of the city from Louisiana Ave. to the Municipal Auditorium has been completed. More grade separations, street widening projects and highway improvements are speeding the flow of traffic. The State of Louisiana is completing plans for two buildings to be constructed near City Hall in the Civic Center. We have completed the first year under our new and better form of government. These achivements plus many others testify to the fact that New Orleans can stand proudly before the nation and the world as a dynamic city which makes its dreams come true." [1 May 1955. 1954-55 Annual Report of the Mayor].

Image above: Chep Morrison Letterhead, 1950. Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Happy Birthday John Lautner!

American architect John Lautner (1911-1994) was born on this date in Marquette, Michigan. Although he is primarily associated with southern California architecture, Lautner's oeuvre includes structures in Alaska, Colorado, Michigan, and Mexico. A previous blog has mentioned his contribution to Googie architecture.

The John Lautner Foundation retains thousands of photographs and plans from Lautner's career, which are currently being processed by archivists at the Getty's Special Collections. For more information about this project and updates regarding when the materials may become available to researchers, click here. In the interim, the Lautner Foundation has posted some wonderful historic and contemporary photographs online in a Picasa Web Album and has referenced a lengthy 1986 UCLA oral history interview now available via the Internet Archive.

As an aside, during the interview, Lautner discusses Wright's preference for Louisiana cypress and its use for the 1936 Abby Beecher Roberts House ["Dogtrack"], Marquette, Michigan.

Image above: Screen snapshot from the John Lautner Foundation Picasa Web Album, as viewed 16 July 2009. URL:

Friday, July 10, 2009

ARTstor Mid-Century Modern Expansion

ARTstor has recently announced the availability of Ezra Stoller photographs to its subscribers. Ezra Stoller (1915-2004) is primarily known for his iconic images of modernist architecture, but his educational training was as an architect. He developed an interest in photography as an architecture student at New York University, initially creating glass lantern slides of architectural models. In 1961, the AIA awarded him its first Gold Medal for Photography.

ARTstor has been expanding in the realm of architecture, and one hopes that the database will soon include more high quality images of architectural drawings, models, and blueprints.

Ezra Stoller, photographer. Philip Johnson, architect. Roofless Church, New Harmony, IN, 1960. © Esto, as viewed at ARTstor 10.07.2009.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

New Midcentury Modern Database

The Huntington Library has recently announced the launch of its new database devoted to the architectural photography of Maynard L. Parker (1901-76). The database currently includes approximately 6,000 images from an archive consisting of some 58,000 negatives, photographs and other materials from the Los Angeles-based photographer's studio.

Parker specialized in architectural and garden photography and worked extensively with House Beautiful magazine from 1942 until the 1960s. Architects and designers whose works he photographed included Frank Lloyd Wright, O'Neil Ford, Paul Frankl, Lawrence Halprin, Victor Gruen and Richard Neutra. To read more about his career, click here.

Image above: Maynard L. Parker, photographer; O'Neil Ford (1905-82), designer; Arthur Schoene Berger (1903-60), landscape architect. Tom Slick Residence, Devine Road, San Antonio, TX [1957]. For House Beautiful (July 1959). Courtesy Maynard L. Parker, © The Huntington Library, San Marino, California. Do not reproduce without permission from the Curator of Photographs, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Ray & Charles Eames

Eames Demetrios, the grandson of Ray (1912-88) and Charles Eames (1907-78), has recently made historic footage and photographs of his grandparents' work available to the public. His short presentation includes a clip from the earliest Charles Eames film (1939), shot at Cranbrook Institute and featuring legendary Finnish ceramist Majlis Grotell (1899-1973).

The Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress retains extensive holdings related to Ray and Charles Eames, more than 750,000 items dating from roughly 1940 to 1978. Ten years ago, the LC partnered with the Vitra Design Museum to organize an exhibition of the Eameses' considerable oeuvre. The online manifestation of this exhibit is still available to the public here.

Eames Demetrios curates the online Design, Architecture and Sustainability FilmFest ( Currently screening is Ross Lovegrove's Bamboo Bicycle (2009), but the archive includes footage of St. Mary's Church in Helena, Arkansas (1935) and the Meyer House in St. Louis, Missouri (1936). Check out the Mozart Symphony No. 40 in G-Minor in the brick!

Image above: Clip from The Design Genius of Charles & Ray Eames (Eames Demetrios on TED Posted July 2009) at:

Architectural Image-Based-Modeling

Architectural Image-Based-Modeling is an international collaborative effort to create 3D models from photographic representations and other historic data. Intended as a methodological and theoretical portal, Architectural IBM includes case studies, tutorials, scholarly articles, and a gallery of images, video and three-dimensional models. F. Remondino, et al.'s "The 3D-ARCH Project" (originally published in the International Archives of Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences v. 38) provides a synopsis of a four-year project to integrate 3D models and GIS data sets for the purposes of virtually reconstructing complex medieval architectural forms.

The new site allows students, teachers, and researchers to contribute 2D and 3D building representations generated from photographs.

Image above: Carthusian Monastery of Notre-Dame-du-val-de-Bénédiction, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, France. Created by Jiakun Ll. From "Gallery" at Architectural IBM (direct link above). Last viewed 07.07.2009.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Warning to Researchers!

Today Jack Perry Brown, the Director of the Art Institute of Chicago's Ryerson and Burnham Libraries, announced the following:

As part of institution-wide budget reductions, the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at the Art Institute of Chicago will reduce public service hours starting July 6, 2009. Check the Libraries’ web site for new hours:
In addition to reductions in staffing and operational budgets in the museum’s Ryerson Library, administration of the Maclean Visual Resources Collection has been transferred to the School of the Art Institute’s John M. Flaxman Library.

The New York State Historical Society also announced that it has switched its access policy to "by appointment only," effective 14 July - 15 September 2009.

Roosevelt Redux

This morning's Times Picayune announced the re-opening of the historic Roosevelt Hotel, known originally as the Grunewald and before Katrina as the Fairmont.

Here, an undated photograph of the structure when it was called the Grunewald, with a view towards the Kress Department Store on Canal Street. The Southeastern Architectural Archive maintains extensive documentation of the Roosevelt's various manifestations, from earliest drawings by architect L.H. Lambert (1893) to blueprints by H.C. Koch & Sons and Toledano, Wogan & Bernard (1906-07) and Favrot & Livaudais (1924-25) to drawings by Weiss, Dreyfous & Seiferth (1933-38), Freret & Wolf (1947-48), Weiss & Silverstein (1949), Sporl & Maxwell (1949-51), AND Murvan M. Maxwell & Assoc. (1953-54).

Image above: Unknown photographer. Hotel Grunewald, 123 Baronne Street, New Orleans, undated. Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.