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Article

Abele, Julian  

Sandra L. Tatman

(Francis)

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 29, 1881; d Philadelphia, PA, April 23, 1950).

African American architect. Born and educated in Philadelphia, Abele was the chief designer in the firm of Horace Trumbauer. Unknown for most of his life, Julian Abele has become renowned as a pioneer African American architect.

Abele attended the Institute for Colored Youth and Brown Preparatory School before enrolling at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Art, where in 1898 he earned his Certificate in Architectural Drawing and the Frederick Graff Prize for work in Architectural Design, Evening Class Students. Abele then enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. Again he distinguished himself in the architectural program, and at his 1902 graduation he was awarded the prestigious Arthur Spayd Brooke Memorial Prize. Abele’s work was also exhibited in the Toronto Architectural Club (1901), the T-Square Club Annual Exhibition (1901–2), and the Pittsburgh Architectural Club annual exhibition of 1903.

As an undergraduate Abele worked for Louis C. Hickman (...

Article

Ashbee, C(harles) R(obert)  

Alan Crawford

(b Isleworth, Middx, May 17, 1863; d Godden Green, Kent, May 23, 1942).

English designer, writer, architect and social reformer . He was educated at King’s College, Cambridge. As a young man he was deeply influenced by the teachings of John Ruskin and William Morris, and particularly by their vision of creative workmanship in the Middle Ages; such a vision made work in modern times seem like mechanical drudgery. Ashbee played many parts and might be thought a dilettante; but his purpose was always to give a practical expression to what he had learnt from Ruskin and Morris. An intense and rather isolated figure, he found security in a life dedicated to making the world a better place.

In 1888, while he was training to be an architect in the office of G. F. Bodley and Thomas Garner (1839–1906), Ashbee set up the Guild and School of Handicraft in the East End of London. The School lasted only until 1895, but the Guild, a craft workshop that combined the ideals of the Arts and Crafts Movement with a romantic, apolitical socialism, was to be the focus of Ashbee’s work for the next 20 years. There were five guildsmen at first, making furniture and base metalwork. In ...

Article

Bauer (Wurster), Catherine  

Kristin E. Larsen

(b Elizabeth, NJ, May 11, 1905; d Seadrift, CA, Nov 21, 1964).

American writer and educator. She was an advocate for modern housing design and early federal housing programs. Born into an affluent family, Bauer briefly sought college training in architecture but attained the majority of her architecture and housing policy skills in the field. During a trip to Europe in 1926, Bauer discovered a passion for modern architecture. Writing an article that gained the attention of urban critic Lewis Mumford, she embarked on a subsequent visit in 1930 with letters of introduction to some of the most renowned European architects of the day, including Ernst May and Walter Gropius. She not only learned about housing design to maximize light and air and to utilize the site to advantage, but also investigated the benefits of large-scale development techniques and government support for housing. As a key contributor to the Museum of Modern Art’s 1933 exhibit on International Design, Bauer argued for greater recognition of housing as a centerpiece of the new modern aesthetic. In her groundbreaking book ...

Article

Beeby, Thomas  

A. Krista Sykes

(b Oak Park, IL, Oct 12, 1941).

American architect and teacher. Born in Oak Park, IL (home of numerous early works by Frank Lloyd Wright), Beeby moved with his family to Philadelphia before they relocated to England, where he completed high school. Beeby returned to the USA to attend Cornell University, earning a Bachelor of Architecture in 1964. The following year he received his Master’s of Architecture from Yale University and took a position in the Chicago office of C. F. Murphy, leaving in 1971 to join James Wright Hammond (a former partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill) in creating Hammond Beeby & Associates, which would eventually become the modern-day firm of Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge. In 1973 Beeby began teaching at the Illinois Institute of Technology, serving as an associate professor from 1978 through 1980, when he assumed the directorship of the School of Architecture at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He left this post to become dean of the Yale University School of Architecture from ...

Article

Bottomley, William Lawrence  

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

(b Richmond, VA, Feb 24, 1883; d Glen Head, Long Island, NY, Feb 1, 1951).

American architect, preservationist, author, and editor. His wealthy patrician family provided the opportunity for a fine education and connections to future clients. In 1906 he received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Columbia University. His education continued in Rome at the American Academy through receipt of the McKim Fellowship in Architecture in 1907. In 1908 he passed the entrance examination for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and remained in Paris until 1909.

Best known for his residential work, Bottomley combined his extensive knowledge of architectural history with his own observations to produce personal interpretations of past styles. Of his approximately 186 commissions, 90 were located in New York and 51 in Virginia. His most recognized residential commissions are found on Monument Avenue in Richmond, VA. Produced during the 1920s and 1930s, these residences, like many of his other projects, have exteriors inspired by nearby 18th-century James River Georgian mansions. Their interiors deviate from the Georgian models with creatively arranged plans that display a particular delight in the use of curving stairs within a variety of different shaped foyers....

Article

Brown, Arthur, Jr.  

Jeffrey Tilman

(b Oakland, CA, May 21, 1874; d Burlingame, CA, July 7, 1957).

American architect. Brown was the West Coast’s preeminent practitioner of classical architecture in the first decades of the 20th century. Renown for his buildings for the San Francisco Civic Center, his City Hall for Pasadena, CA, and for the Labor-ICC block of the Federal Triangle in Washington, DC, Brown also contributed many significant buildings for the campuses of Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley and participated in the design of three World’s Fairs.

In 1896 Brown earned a degree in Civil Engineering from the University of California, where he took classes in architecture from Bernard Maybeck. That same year Brown went on to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he had unprecedented success for an American. After his return to San Francisco in 1904, Brown teamed up with John Bakewell to form Bakewell & Brown, where he served as the firm’s design partner. The young architects were well positioned after the earthquake and fire of ...

Article

Day, Frank Miles  

Sandra L. Tatman

(b Philadelphia, PA, April 5, 1861; d Philadelphia, PA, June 15, 1918).

American architect. One of a group of popular Philadelphia architects working at the turn of the century, Day distinguished himself as an architect applying an Arts and Crafts style and other English-derived styles to both residences and public buildings.

Day graduated from the Towne School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1883 and then undertook study in England at the South Kensington School of Art, the Royal Academy in London, the atelier of Walter Millard and the office of Basil Champneys. He returned to Philadelphia in 1886 and gained further experience working for architects George T. Pearson and Addison Hutton before establishing his own office in 1887. In 1893 his brother Henry Kent Day joined him, forming Frank Miles Day & Brother. In 1911 Charles Z. Klauder joined the firm and the name of the office became Day Brothers & Klauder. H. Kent Day retired soon after and the firm name was revised to Day & Klauder and the practice continued under the name until ...

Article

Dixon, C. Murray  

Jean-François Lejeune

(b Live Oak, FL, Feb 16, 1901; d Long Island, 1949).

American architect. Dixon studied at Georgia School of Technology in Atlanta (1918–20) and joined the firm of New York architects Schultze & Weaver in 1923, where he learned the practice of hotel architecture as “total design,” worked on projects such as the Roney Plaza Hotel on Miami Beach, and was introduced to the discipline of the Art Deco language by Lloyd Morgan. Returning to Florida in 1929, Dixon worked for George Fink, Phineas Paist, and Harold D. Steward before opening his office and building his first apartment-hotel (the Ester) on Miami Beach in 1933. Until 1942 Dixon was the foremost architectural innovator in Miami Beach where, along with colleagues such as Henry Hohauser, Albert Anis, and Roy France, he adapted the architectural innovations coming from Europe and New York to the middle-class programs of the southern resort; employing inexpensive construction techniques, Dixon created a its unique “vernacular modern” architectural fabric. Until Igor Polevitzky in the 1950s, Dixon was the most published Florida architect in such periodicals as ...

Article

Eberson, John  

Jason Tippeconnic Fox

(b Cernauti, Bukovina [now in Ukraine], Jan 2, 1875; d Stamford, CT, March 5, 1954).

American architect of Austro-Hungarian birth. Eberson is noted as an influential specialist in Cinema design, especially “atmospheric” cinemas. He was educated in Dresden and at the College of Technology in Vienna, where he studied electrical engineering. Eberson immigrated to the United States in 1901 and transitioned to architectural design through work with the St. Louis-based Johnston Realty and Construction Company. This led to the establishment of Eberson’s eponymous architectural firm, although sources differ in regard to the precise date and initial location. The main office relocated from Hamilton, OH to Chicago in 1910 and to New York in 1926. In 1928, his son Drew Eberson (1904–89) became a full partner in the firm, which was renamed John and Drew Eberson, Architects.

Eberson’s early theaters such as the Palace (1914) in Minneapolis were predominantly conventional classically inspired designs. However, in 1923 he set himself apart with the completion of his first fully realized “atmospheric” movie palace, the Majestic in Houston. Atmospheric theaters gave audiences the illusion of sitting in a courtyard beneath the twinkling stars and rolling clouds of the night sky. The electronic nocturnal effects were enhanced by sidewalls resembling the picturesque facades of adjoining buildings, lush foliage, stuffed birds, bubbling fountains and statuary. While the open sky effect was not without precedent, Eberson employed it as part of a larger theme, typically Italian or Spanish, which shaped the design of the entire theater....

Article

Ford, O’Neil  

Mark Alan Hewitt

(b Pink Hill, TX, Dec 3, 1905; d San Antonio, TX, July 20, 1982).

American architect. Born in the tiny town of Pink Hill, TX, Ford was a self-taught architect who came to embody the freewheeling spirit of the Lone Star state. He was fortunate to attend two schools with strong arts and crafts educational programs: Jefferson Elementary School in Denton and North Texas State Teachers’ College in Sherman. Because of his father’s early death and the need to support his family, he worked in a brick factory to earn enough money for four semesters at the college, but could not finish a degree there, leaving in 1925. While continuing at the factory he managed to finish an architectural course through the International Correspondence Schools of Scranton, PA.

Ford went to work in 1926 for the pioneering regionalist architect David R. Williams in Dallas. There he developed a keen appreciation for both modern art and vernacular architecture. When Williams left Texas in 1932 to head the National Youth Administration (NYA; a New Deal office in Washington, DC), Ford opened his own architectural office in Dallas. He was able to design a few modest houses before the Depression shut down the building industry in the mid-1930s. His first large independent work, the Frank Murchison residence in Dallas, was not completed until ...

Article

Franzen, Ulrich  

Christian F. Otto

(b Düsseldorf, 1921; d Santa Fe, NM, Oct 6, 2012).

American architect of German birth. Franzen was a major figure of the first postwar generation of American architects, among them Paul Rudolph, Harry Cobb, John M(aclane) Johansen, and Philip Johnson. Franzen immigrated with his family to the United States in 1936. His architectural training and experience was shaped by modernists: Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (Franzen received his MArch in 1948), I. M. Pei (Franzen worked for Pei from 1950–55), and Mies van der Rohe (especially his Chicago architecture). He founded his own firm, Ulrich Franzen and Associates, in 1955.

Franzen has characterized his work as “collage architecture”: designs that combine diverse forms and qualities. He felt that the first condition of building was “the simultaneous solution of opposites” (as Alvar Aalto defined architecture). From the work of Mies van der Rohe he learned the discipline of precise detail and exacting proportion. Louis Kahn’s architecture offered the concept of served and servant spaces. Similarly, Franzen’s buildings explore open, continuous space, a plenitude of natural light, transparencies between interior and exterior, articulated structure and minimal, undecorated form. But Franzen also expanded the modernist palate to include traditional as well as industrial materials, and in place of unitary form, he promoted an architecture enriched by “acknowledging the antagonism between form and purpose and ambiguities of reality.”...

Article

Greenberg, Allan  

Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

(b Johannesburg, Sept 7, 1938).

American architect, teacher, historian, and writer of South African birth. Greenberg’s quiet, gentlemanly demeanor reflected the time-honored traditional and classical architecture he created over four decades. His stylistic choices are rooted in research and aesthetics. His fascination with 18th- and 19th-century American architecture is related to its genesis in the American Revolution and the commitment of those architects to expressing American democratic ideals in architectural form.

Greenberg graduated from King Edward VII School, a private preparatory school in Johannesburg, in 1955. He received a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1961. Unlike American architecture schools of the period, his training was classically based and included drawing the historic models of Classical and Gothic architecture from memory. During his apprenticeship, he worked with Jørn Utzon in Hellebæk, Denmark, in 1962 during the design phase of the Sydney Opera House. In 1963, he continued his apprenticeship working with both ...

Article

Griffin, Marion (Lucy) Mahony [née Mahony]  

Paul Kruty

(b Chicago, IL, Feb 14, 1871; d Chicago, IL, Aug 10, 1961).

American architect, draftsman and painter. Mahony, a pioneer among women architects, was most importantly one of the 20th century’s greatest architectural renderers, establishing the presentation style for which the work of the Prairie school architects is known and giving visual expression to the revolutionary designs of Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Burley Griffin (see Griffin family).

Mahony, who grew up in Chicago and suburban Winnetka, IL, showed a precocious facility for drawing. She studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, from which in 1894 she became the second woman to graduate. Her thesis project, “The House and Studio of a Painter,” provided one prototype for the studio Wright built four years later adjacent to his suburban Oak Park home. In Chicago, Mahony drafted for her cousin Dwight H. Perkins before beginning work in 1895 for Wright, then in his third year of independent practice. In 1898 she passed the Illinois architects’ licensing examination, the nation’s first such law, and became the first licensed woman architect in the country....

Article

Hornbostel, Henry  

Mark Alan Hewitt

(b Brooklyn, New York, Aug 15, 1867; d Pittsburgh, PA, Dec 13, 1961).

American architect and campus planner. The son of Edward Hornbostel, a stockbroker, and Johanna Cassebeer, Hornbostel was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He trained in architecture at Columbia University (BA 1891) and the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris (1893–7). Hornbostel distinguished himself as a superb draftsman and renderer, earning in Paris the name, “l’homme perspectif.” His first job following college, with the New York firm of Wood and Palmer, led to a partnership in 1900. He remained with the firm of Palmer & Hornbostel for the remainder of his career.

Hornbostel first earned distinction for his work with the Board of Estimate and Apportionment in New York City, assisting engineers in the design of bridges. Between 1903 and 1917 he was responsible for the architecture of the Queensborough, Manhattan, Pelham Park and Hell Gate bridges—spans for both automobiles and trains. His masterpiece, the Penn Central Hell Gate viaduct (...

Article

Isham, Norman  

Ronald J. Onorato

(Morrison)

(b Hartford, CT, Nov 12, 1864; d Wickford, RI, Jan 1, 1943).

American architect, preservationist, and author. Isham was one of the earliest American architects to specialize in the restoration of colonial American structures. He worked on a large number of 17th- and 18th-century structures in New England, wrote several major works on American architecture, conducted archaeological site work, and also designed new, mostly residential buildings.

Most of his private and professional life was spent in Rhode Island with its large number of existing colonial buildings. The state’s extensive collection of early structures influenced his career, as did other Rhode Island architects who helped generate the Colonial Revival style nationally such as Edmund R. Willson (1856–1906), of the prominent Providence firm of Stone, Carpenter & Willson, with whom Isham trained in the late 1880s. About the same time, he received Bachelor and Master degrees from Brown University, and he married Elizabeth Barbour Ormsbee in 1895.

It is impossible to study colonial American architecture without encountering buildings that Isham restored. While some of his preservation methods and decisions have been superceded by more modern approaches and technologies, he notably produced scores of carefully measured drawings, which are still used by preservationists and historians today. His projects included such significant 17th- and 18th-century structures as Newport’s Colony House, Trinity Church, Redwood Library, and Wanton-Lyman-Allen house (all restored in the 1920s), the Stephen Hopkins House and University Hall at Brown University in Providence, Bishop Berkeley’s Whitehall in Middletown, the Eleazar Arnold House in Lincoln, and the Gilbert Stuart Birthplace in North Kingstown, all Rhode Island. His bibliography encompasses surveys of early Rhode Island and Connecticut homes, scholarly studies on specific buildings, such as the First Baptist Meeting House, Providence, and St Paul’s in Wickford and papers on individual architects such as John Holden Greene....

Article

Kelpe, Paul  

Adam M. Thomas

(b Minden, Jan 15, 1902; d Austin, TX, Dec 8, 1985).

American painter of German birth. Kelpe moved to Hannover to study art and architecture in 1919. In the early 1920s he was exposed to the leading abstract trends in European modernism, including Suprematism and Constructivism. Kelpe developed an abstract painting vocabulary characterized by geometric order, hard edges, overlapping planes, and interpenetrating shapes before immigrating to the United States in 1925. He eventually settled in Chicago, where he had his first solo exhibition in 1932 at the Little Gallery. In the late 1920s Kelpe applied found objects to his paintings, as exemplified by Construction with Lock and Key (1927; Washington, DC, Hirshhorn). He abandoned such constructions by the early 1930s in favor of integrating in paint recognizable gears, wheels and machine parts into his abstract compositions. Machine Elements (1934; Newark, NJ, Mus.), with its stacked semi-abstract machine and factory forms, is representative of his work during the period. Kelpe worked for the Public Works of Art Project in ...

Article

Khan, Fazlur  

Deborah A. Middleton

(Rahman)

(b Dhaka, Bengal [now Bangladesh], April 3, 1929; d Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, March 27, 1982).

American civil engineer of Bangladeshi birth. Khan revolutionized the design of tall buildings in both steel and concrete through his innovation of tube structural systems which assisted in advancing the construction of modern super tall buildings in steel and concrete.

Khan studied at University of Calcutta’s Bengal Engineering College prior to receiving a Bachelor’s degree from University of Dhaka in 1951. In 1952 he received a Fulbright scholarship and a Pakistani Government Scholarship and attended the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana. Khan graduated in 1953 with a master’s degree in structural engineering and a second master’s degree in theoretical and applied mechanics and before returning to Pakistan to work with the Karachi Development Authority as an Executive Engineer. In 1955 Khan was back in Chicago joining the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), where he advanced to Participating Associate (1961), Associate Partner (...

Article

Klauder, Charles Z.  

Mark Alan Hewitt

(b Philadelphia, PA, Feb 9, 1872; d Philadelphia, PA, Oct 30, 1938).

American architect and campus planner. Klauder was the son of Louis Klauder, a German-born furniture manufacturer, and Anna Caroline Koehler. He trained as an apprentice under the architect Theophilus P. Chandler from the age of 15, furthering his studies at the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Art in Philadelphia. Between 1893 and 1900 he worked at a number of prominent Philadelphia firms before attaining the position of chief draftsman at Frank Miles Day & Brother (see under Frank Miles Day). He became a partner in 1910 and continued the firm under his own name after Day’s death in 1918.

Klauder teamed with the English-born Day to design some of the nation’s most influential and distinguished campus buildings during the heyday of university expansion in the early 20th century. Along with Cope & Stewardson, Day & Klauder may be credited with the invention of the Collegiate Gothic idiom in American architecture. Their early work at Princeton and Cornell universities set the standard for dormitory and classroom designs in the Ivy League. Klauder extended the Gothic idiom during the 1920s to incorporate elements of Art Deco abstraction and modern building technology. Klauder created campus plans for the University of Colorado (...

Article

Klüver, Billy  

Julia Robinson

(b Monaco, Nov 13, 1927; d Berkleley Heights, NJ, Jan 11, 2004).

Swedish–American engineer. Klüver was known for his important collaborations with artists at the dawn of media art. Having grown up in Sweden, he came to the USA in 1954, and pursued a PhD in electrical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. After relocating to the East Coast, he worked as a staff scientist at Bell Telephone Laboratories (1958–68). In 1960, Klüver’s compatriot, the renowned museum director H. K. G. Pontus Húlten, introduced him to the artist Jean Tinguely, to help the latter with his landmark, self-destroying, kinetic sculpture, Homage to New York (a 27-minute event staged in the Garden of New York’s Museum of Modern Art). This led to numerous collaborations, initiated by Klüver, in which he (and other engineers) would work with artists, dancers, and composers (e.g. Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Whitman (b 1935), Andy Warhol, Nam June Paik, Yvonne Rainer, and John Cage), culminating in ...

Article

Le Va, Barry  

Tom Williams

(b Long Beach, CA, Jan 1, 1941).

American sculptor and installation artist. He studied architecture and mathematics at California State University and art at the Los Angeles College of Art and Design in 1963 before going on to receive a BFA in 1964 and an MFA in 1967 from the Otis Art Institute of Los Angeles County. He is often regarded as a key contributor to the development of Post-minimalism and Process art during late 1960s, and he is sometimes credited with more or less inventing the so-called ‘scatter piece’ as a form in contemporary art.

Le Va became widely celebrated for a series of scatter pieces or ‘distributions’, to use his preferred term, that he began in 1966 while still a graduate student at the Otis Art Institute. In these pieces, he deposited a heterogeneous array of materials into loosely configured piles on the gallery floor. Many of these early works featured cut pieces of canvas or felt that he mixed in with other materials such as scraps of wood, puzzle pieces, lengths of string and ball bearings. These pieces refused both the monumentality and the singularity of modernist sculpture, and although these works were carefully planned, they nevertheless introduced an element of chance into the completed object because they could never be realized in exactly the same way twice. Through this element of chance, and through their use of both multiplicity and horizontality, these pieces seemed to extend the implications of Jackson Pollock’s paintings into sculptural practice. In this sense, these works marked a shift in emphasis from the discrete sculptural product to the process and conditions of display. In 1969–70 pieces such as ...