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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.

UH Libraries acquires Aker Architectural Photographic Records Collection

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Architectural photographer Joe Aker has given a collection of images to the University of Houston Libraries Special Collections.

The Aker Architectural Photographic Records Collection comprises roughly 50,000 distinct images depicting scenes of commercial architecture over the past three decades.

SOM 450 Lexington, New York City. Image courtesy of Joe Aker.

Aker, owner of Aker Imaging, has worked with leading architecture and real estate firms, such as Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Robert A.M. Stern, César Pelli, Pickard Chilton, Kohn Pedersen Fox, Philip Johnson, HOK, Kirksey and Ziegler Cooper; as well as Gerald D. Hines Interests and Trammell Crow.

In 2011, Aker began considering the future for his vast collection of photography. He contacted UH Special Collections, whose mission is to preserve, safeguard, organize, and describe primary sources in a number of collecting areas for teaching and research activities of students and scholars.

The Aker collection offers a rare view of the architectural landscape in Houston and other major cities, including a photographic record of original models of structures that were never built, as well as plans, renderings, models and final photography of the finished buildings. What makes this collection of images special are the many photographs showing the process of design from the first drawing of the first model to the final design model and the finished building.

Composite of Hines Del Bosque, Mexico City, Image courtesy of Joe Aker.

Aker was one of the first to digitally produce structural model composites before the advent of computer-generated graphics. Working with Houston digital artist Raphaele Malandain, he would photograph a site where a building was set to be constructed, photograph the building model, and drop the model image onto the site image using analog film composition, resulting in a close representation of the future finished building.

As a whole, Aker says, the collection tells a fascinating story of Houston’s economic booms and busts. For more information on this new and growing collection, contact Vince Lee.

Thanks to Vince Lee and Esmeralda Fisher for text.

Architecture and Art Library hours – Thanksgiving week

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  • Monday:
    8:00am – 8:00pm
  • Tuesday:
    8:00am – 8:00pm
  • Wednesday:
    8:00am – 5:00pm
  • Thursday-Sunday:
    Closed

Library Ambassadors host the Asia Showcase on November 19th

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Asia

Architecture Student Mixer 4-5 today

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  • Are you planning to work as an architect upon graduation?
  • Would you like to find out what kind of day-to-day research is likely to be required?
  • Wish to learn from the experience of notable CoA alumni?
  • Want to network with successful architects working in practice and related fields?
  • Like free food?

All of these are valid reasons to come to the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library on Wednesday, November 19th from 4-5 pm.

We are launching a new series of receptions called Research in the Real World, in which we ask successful people working in our fields of study about the nature of their work and how they acquire the information they need to excel.

For our inaugural event on the 19th we have invited three College of Architecture alumni who work in three very different environments.

Kim L. Busch, Assoc AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Gensler

Ross Lukeman, founder, Alternative Homes Today, and Proposal and Project Specialist, Applied Security Technologies

Wilbert Taylor, Senior Project Manager, Office of Real Estate Services, University of Houston

Come to the library’s upper mezzanine at 4 next Wednesday for a 20 minute Q&A with the architects, followed by a reception.

Food and drinks provided by Mandola’s Deli.

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Selections from the Franzheim Rare Books Room Now Available in the Digital Library

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We are pleased to announce the ongoing project Selections from the Franzheim Rare Books Room is now available in the UH Digital Library!  This digital collection presents examples of notable works housed in the University of Houston’s Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Room.  The room contains approximately 1000 rare or unique books, journals, and pamphlets on fine art and design.  Highlights of the collection include portfolios of building types, architectural product catalogs, and first editions of some of the 20th century’s greatest books on art and architecture.  The books in the collection date from the mid-16th century to artists’ books published in the 21st century.  The Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Room is located within the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library on the first floor of the College of Architecture.

This collection is expected to grow over the coming months and years, so please check back occasionally to discover newly added volumes!

Research in the Real World – a new event for architecture students

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Are you planning to work as an architect upon graduation?

Would you like to find out what kind of day-to-day research is likely to be required?

Wish to learn from the experience of notable CoA alumni?

Want to network with successful architects working in practice and related fields?

Like free food?

 

All of these are valid reasons to come to the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library on Wednesday, November 19th from 4-5 pm.

 

We are launching a new series of receptions called Research in the Real World, in which we ask successful people working in our fields of study about the nature of their work and how they acquire the information they need to excel.

 

For our inaugural event on the 19th we have invited three College of Architecture alumni who work in three very different environments.

 

Kim L. Busch, Assoc AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Gensler

Ross Lukeman, founder, Alternative Homes Today, and Proposal and Project Specialist, Applied Security Technologies

Wilbert Taylor, Senior Project Manager, Office of Real Estate Services, University of Houston

 

Come to the library’s upper mezzanine at 4 next Wednesday for a 20 minute Q&A with the architects, followed by a reception.

 

Food and drinks provided by Mandola’s Deli.

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Photos of the Architecture & Art Library’s open house

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On the evening of Tuesday, October 28th, the William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library held an open house and reception. The private mixer brought together, in convivial fashion, some forty UH art history graduate students and faculty members with representative staff from other local arts research facilities, including The Menil Library and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston’s Hirsch Library. The star of the evening was the Kenneth Franzheim II Rare Books Rooms; guests were treated to a brief tour and overview of the architecture and art branch’s own special collection. Students and faculty members alike expressed gratitude for the opportunity to meet other members of Houston’s arts community and to learn more about the research collections at UH’s Architecture and Art Library. Fostering strong and friendly relations with the area’s other researchers and research facilities is one more way UH Libraries helps enhance the academic experience and success of our core patrons.

Jenkins Library closed 5-7 on October 28th for a private function

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We will resume normal hours at 7 pm.

Varied Views by Shivendra Singh

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Have you seen the A2Alcove, a gallery and lounge space upstairs at The William R. Jenkins Architecture and Art Library? Currently featured are works by UH Digital Media sophomore, Shivendra Singh. Varied Views offers a sampling of his photographic work, including nature and architectural subjects. The Architecture and Art Library is pleased to present Mr. Singh’s work and encourages you to enjoy it in our comfortable A2Alcove.  Varied Views will be on display through January 2, 2015.a

 

 

 

 

 

 

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