DRAWN TO DESIGN:
Selections from the UO Architecture Student Drawing Collection
An Exhibit in Knight Library, University of Oregon Libraries
January - March, 2014
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, this exhibit displays student drawings that were created during the first years of the University of Oregon architecture program. A different selection of drawings will be exhibited throughout the winter term. The drawings represent imaginative exercises in working with different buildings types, decorative details, and classical elements. Created over the course of several decades, they reflect changing approaches to media, style, and architectural education. This website accompanies the exhibit, and will be expanded over the term to include more information about the drawings and their creators.
The architecture program at the University of Oregon was formally established in June 1914 by the Board of Regents. The board supported earlier decisions by the Board of Higher Curricula to transfer architectural education from Oregon Agricultural College (now OSU) to the University of Oregon. Ellis F. Lawrence, a Portland architect, was appointed director of the new architectural school. Lawrence had already been employed by the state to develop the university’s building plan. On November 12, 1914, a new Architecture Building (now embedded in Lawrence Hall) was formally opened. The new building included spacious studios, classrooms, a gallery, and a library.
In 1922, Walter R. B. Willcox, an architect based in Seattle, was hired by Lawrence to serve as head of the school's architecture program. Willcox advocated individualized and non-competitive approaches to instruction that were innovative for their time. After World War II, the School of Architecture & Allied Arts accommodated major changes. Professor Willcox retired in 1944. Dean Lawrence died in 1946. Returning veterans increased enrollments, and faculty and students began to embrace modernist concepts of design and instruction.
From the beginning of the program until about 1960, selected student drawings were retained and stored in the Architecture and Allied Arts Library. Their large format and storage conditions made their access very difficult. Some of the drawings are as large as 46 x 72 inches. A recent repurposing of A&AA Library space has enabled better physical access to these items. To improve intellectual access, library science intern Helene Hannon, with the support of the Robert and Dorris Thomas Endowment Fund, is developing an online finding aid, to be accessed in the Northwest Digital Archives collection, for the 1,500 drawings in this collection.
Exhibited Drawings (January 2014):
- Henry Abbott Lawrence. A Central Library for a City of 25,000. 1925. Ink and watercolor. 21 x 32 in.
- Hilda F. Wanker. Elevator Tower. 1930. Pencil and watercolor. 30 x 43.5 in.
- Walter Church. Photographic Club. 1917. Ink & watercolor. 22 x 34 in.
- Ed Hicks. A Newspaper Building. 1933. Ink and watercolor. 24 x 39 in.
- Hollis Johnston. Dome. 1920. Ink and watercolor. 18.5 x 28 in.
- Kenton D. Hamaker. Post Office and Federal Building. 1932. Ink & watercolor. 25 x 38.5 in.
- Frank Roehr. Natatorium. 1927. Ink & watercolor. 18.5 x 36.75 in.
- Chloethiel B. Woodard. Signal Tower. 1930. Ink and watercolor. 29.5 x 39.75 in.
- Carl Heilborn. Aquarium. 1928. Ink & watercolor. 23 x 37 in.
- Eyler Brown. A Battalion Armory. 1916-17. Ink and watercolor. 29 x 43.5 in.
- George H. Wardner, Jr. An Observatory. 1929. Ink & watercolor. 28 x 22 in.
- Marie Louise Allen. A Small Dairy Farm. 1917. Ink & watercolor. 29 x 59 in.