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Rare books currently on display

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The Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Collection boasts several recent acquisitions, which are currently on display in the Architecture & Art Library.  These include a number of architectural retail pamphlets, produced from 1880-1938, as well as recent works on Donald Judd and Austin’s built environment.  These new acquisitions will remain on view through the start of the Fall Semester.

Stayton and Ila Nunn interview now online

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The latest interview in the Building Houston collection of oral histories is actually the earliest.    In 1980 AIA Houston Executive Director Robert Rick interviewed architect Stayton Nunn and his wife Ila, who studied architecture at the Rice Institute sometime between 1918-1921 but was unable to complete her degree because women were not allowed on campus after 5 pm.  Mr. Nunn taught architecture at Rice from 1928-1945.  He worked for William Ward Watkin before starting his own practice, which he discusses in the interview.  You can link directly to their oral history here.  Building Houston is part of an ongoing joint project between the AIA Houston and the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library.

Student artwork on view this summer

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This summer the Jenkins Library’s A2 Alcove will feature “Veggies in Outer Space,” an unexpectedly whimsical series of acrylic paintings by UH art student Araceli Casas.  In these new paintings, Ms. Casas personifies vegetables battling on a journey through the final frontier.  Ms. Casas says she aims to prompt questions in the minds of her audience about the boundaries and limitations of the imagination with her spin on still life art.


Welcome to our new Library Specialist, Julia Kress

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For more than thirteen years Julia practiced law handling mainly corporate transactions, business litigation and environmental matters. However, seeking a more creative field of work, she received her MFA from Antioch University in Los Angeles and is currently finishing her master’s thesis for her MA in History from the University of California, Riverside. She is passionate about ancient Rome and in June 2014 she took part in the American Academy in Rome’s Summer Archaeology Program involving the documentation and analysis of ancient buildings. Her research interest focuses on rehabilitating the reputations of ancient Roman women by contextually analyzing evidence, including sculptures, inscriptions and coins. She is excited to be a Library Specialist at the Architecture and Art Library and is looking forward to assisting UH’s faculty and students with their research needs.

Arts professionals to speak at the Jenkins Library on 4/15/15

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The Architecture and Art Library is pleased to present a second installment of its Research in the Real World series with a panel discussion tailored especially for our School of Art students.


On Wednesday, April 15th, from 4-5 pm, please come to the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library to hear our panel:

Catherine Gonzalez, Communications + Outreach Coordinator, Houston Arts Alliance

Emily Link, Community Relations Coordinator, Lawndale Arts Center

Tracy E. Smith, Director of Development and Membership, Blaffer Art Museum


These communications and outreach professionals will discuss their on-the-job research activities and the information skills needed for a career in their field.


Refreshments and a casual reception will follow the panel discussion.

Rare architecture books online

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The following books from the Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Book Room have been scanned and uploaded to the UH Digital Library.  Low-res and high-res reproductions are available free of charge.


Antiquities of Ionia, Part the First

Antiquities of Ionia, Part the Second

Antiquities of Ionia, Part the Third

Four architectural etchings

L’art roman en Italie; l’architecture et la décoration, Première Série

Streaming service for art and architecture videos now available

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The University of Houston Libraries now offer access to a collection of streaming videos through Kanopy. Records for over 4,500 videos have been added to the library catalog so that students and faculty can easily find and access these titles when searching the catalog for material. New videos will be added as they become available.

You can search for Kanopy in the catalog to browse or search by subject.

Click here to go directly to a list of videos on architecture, using your CougarNet login.

Click here to go directly to a list of videos on general design, using your CougarNet login.

Click here to go directly to a list of videos on experimental/alternative media, using your CougarNet login.

Click here to go directly to a list of videos on photography, using your CougarNet login.

Click here to go directly to a list of videos on visual art, using your CougarNet login.

Rare Books now online

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Ten new books from the Franzheim Rare Books Room collection are now available in the UH Digital Library.   Fragments d’architecture (Vol. 1 and 2), Monuments antiques (Vol. 1-3 and Supplement), and La renaissance en France (Ser. 1 and 2, Vol. 1-2) may all be found in Selections from the Franzheim Rare Books Room.

New Student Art Added to UH Libraries’ Digital Library – Yours Could Be Next

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The William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library proudly supports student artists by hosting a venue for the display of their work. Located on the library’s mezzanine level, the A2 Alcove comprises an intimate gallery space complete with natural light and comfortable lounge seating. Rotating exhibitions provide year-round opportunities for those seeking an audience for their work.  Student artists interested in exhibiting work are encouraged to contact the library’s Supervisor, Chris Conway (at with digital samples of proposed exhibition work. All submissions are evaluated by library staff (with possible, additional input from UH School of Art faculty and/or Blaffer Museum representatives). Determination of acceptance is based on an individual work’s:

-artistic merit/value

-aesthetic quality

-potential appeal to wide campus audience

-formal execution and/or conceptual idea demonstrating the artists’ commitment to the creative practice

-suitability and appropriateness for display within the library


Beyond the temporary, physical exhibition of work inside the library, all displayed work is digitally documented and uploaded into UH Libraries’ Digital Library. The Student Art Exhibits collection provides an easily accessible, fascinating, permanent archive of all student work displayed in the library. Check out the most recent additions to the collection:

Nabila Dadabhoy’s Library Series


Shivendra Singh’s Varied Views

The Donald Barthelme Sr., Architectural Drawings and Photographs is now available in the UH Digital Library

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The collection found here highlights the career of Donald Barthelme (1907–1996), the first Houston architect to gain national prominence in the years after World War II.  These 57 items illustrate his work through pencil sketches, photographs, and the detailed working drawings used to construct his buildings.

Barthelme first gained attention in 1936 as the lead designer for the Hall of State, the principal building of the Texas Centennial Exposition in Dallas. In 1948 he won an award from the American Institute of Architects for Houston’s St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, applauded for its simple Scandinavian modern forms. Yet he made his reputation with the West Columbia Elementary School of 1951, which won many awards and was published internationally. Its innovative design departed from the traditional practice of placing classrooms along both sides of a long corridor. Instead, Barthelme arranged the building around two large courtyards; classrooms opened to the courts through floor-to-ceiling glass walls. This flooded the rooms with light while providing a sheltered environment for the students. At the main entrance a flamboyant scalloped canopy greeted visitors.

In addition to the St. Rose and West Columbia buildings, the collection includes Barthelme’s own residence. He built this small modernist house for his family about 1939. The original drawings are lost, but he enlarged it slightly a decade later, and the collection preserves his 1949 drawings for this remodeling.

Of particular interest, and rarely seen, are a few of his studies for the Adams Petroleum Center (1954–58), his largest and most ambitious project. The Adams Petroleum Company wanted to develop its large site as an office park. Barthelme planned to build the complex in four phases, beginning with the client’s own building. He spent hundreds of hours studying different designs for the APC tower and preparing a dramatic aerial view. The company later abandoned the scheme and constructed only a modest building without the tower.

Barthelme helped shaped the look of Houston during its postwar boom. Today only the church buildings still stand, but the West Columbia school district has preserved his entrance canopy at the original site of the elementary school.

Several of Barthelme’s children became prominent writers, and the works of his eldest son, Donald Barthelme, Jr., are preserved in the Donald Barthelme Literary Papers.

The original materials are available in UH Libraries’ Special Collections in the Donald Barthelme, Sr. Architectural Papers.

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