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Architects, Artists, and Builders of the University of Oregon

Ellis F. Lawrence

Ellis Lawrence (Oregana, 1946)

Born in 1879, Ellis Fuller Lawrence was educated at Phillips Academy and received his architecture degree from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After travel to Europe, he obtained employment with the Boston firm Codman and Despradelle which sent him to San Francisco to establish a West Coast office. The great 1906 earthquake persuaded Lawrence to stay in Portland where he established an architectural practice that lasted until his death. In 1914, Lawrence was employed by the Board of Regents to establish a plan for the University of Oregon and to develop an architectural program. Lawrence and his teaching associates, primarily W. R. B. Willcox, created an innovative architectural school which at one time was one of the largest in the U. S. Lawrence maintained a permanent home in Portland and commuted to Eugene. His last Eugene residence was a room in Collier House, where he died on Feb. 27, 1946. Lawrence's prolific output is documented in the Ellis Lawrence Building Survey (State Historic Preservation Office, 1989). The book Harmony in Diversity: The Architecture and Teaching of Ellis F. Lawrence (Eugene: Museum of Art and the Historic Preservation Program, 1989), published in conjunction with an exhibit of the architect's work, describes Lawrence's life, works, and significance.

Lawrence's architectural practice:

  • 1906. Lawrence worked in the firm of Edgar Lazarus.
  • 1906. Partnered with Ernest B. MacNaughton (1880-1960) and Herbert E. Raymond to form MacNaughton, Raymond & Lawrence. Lawrence was firm's principal designer.
  • 1910-13. Lawrence practiced on his own.
  • 1913-28. The firm Lawrence & Holford was established when Lawrence partnered with William G. Holford, MIT classmate. Lawrence was hired to create a long-range plan for the University of Oregon and to establish an architecture program. Lawrence's contract as dean of the School of Architecture & Allied Arts enabled him to continue professional practice. He maintained a permanent home and practice in Portland.
  • 1928-33. Frederick Stanley Allyn (1883-1963) and Ormond R. Bean joined the firm, which became Lawrence, Holford, Allyn & Bean. Bean, a Eugene, Ore., native, and graduate from UO with a civil engineering degree (1909) began employment with the Lawrence firm in 1920. Upon election to the Portland City Council in1933, Bean left the firm. He remained active in Portland city government.
  • 1934-41. Lawrence, Holford, and Allyn existed as a firm until 1941 when Holford and Allyn withdrew from the partnership.
  • 1941-44. Lawrence practiced alone.
  • 1944-46. The firm Lawrence and Lawrence existed with Ellis Lawrence and his son, Henry Abbott Lawrence. Ab Lawrence joined the firm Tucker and Wallmann (Lawrence, Tucker, and Wallmann) when Ellis Lawrence died in 1946.


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