“In the School of Architecture at the University of Texas, there are drawings from casts, in pencil and in charcoal. The importance of skill in drawing and of appreciation of true proportion make this character of training as necessary for the architect as it is for any other art student.”
So begins an article that sounds like it could have been written yesterday—drawing is a major component of UT’s architecture program. However, this text was published in November 1914 in a journal called Southern Architect and Building News—long before any computer programs could help with those drawings!
As it turns out, the Architecture and Planning Library Special Collections has 106 unique issues from Southern Architect’s 1889-1932 run, more than any other institution. In addition to historical article content, the journals are heavy on advertisements, providing a fascinating look at the building materials and products available at the turn of the century.
With the generous support of School of Architecture alum Steph McDougal and her business, McDoux Preservation, we have begun an initiative to index and digitize the journal. We’re developing a work plan, manual and database, and we’ll be needing volunteers soon! Contact Beth Dodd if you’d like to help us make this valuable resource more accessible. By Amanda Keys, processing assistant in the Alexander Architectural Archive and School of Information student focusing on archival enterprise and special collections
For many years now the Alexander Architectural Archive and iSchool lecturer and paper conservator Karen Pavelka have collaborated on preserving works on paper from the archive collections. Conservation students at the Kilgarlin Center for for the Preservation of the Cultural Record gain experience treating archival works as part of the Paper Laboratory taught by Pavelka. Second year Conservation student D. Jordan Berson describes his process of treating an early 20th century watercolor by Texas architect James Riely Gordon.
To see other images of this installation, visit the slide show on the Architecture & Planning Library flickr page.
The goal of this treatment was to stabilize the fragile drawing in order to lift access restrictions and enable safe handling by researchers. It was also desired to reduce detracting visible damage. The object had tears and surface distortion, creases and a damaged acidic mat that was adhered directly to the artwork. It was evident that large areas of additional artwork were obscured by the existing mat. In addition, there were several areas along creases where the paint had been burnished or rubbed completely away, exposing the paper substrate.
The first part of the treatment was to mechanically remove the mat and adhesive residue as much as possible. Where residue remained adhered to the object, it was scraped away as possible by introducing very light amounts of moisture to soften it, then scraped away with a microspatula or wiped away with cotton swabs. This process took many hours. Then the piece was dry cleaned on both sides using soot sponges, and white eraser shavings. Tears were mended and splayed corners were consolidated using wheat starch paste. Thick Japanese tissue mending strips were glued down on the reverse side of creases to reduce planar distortion. Detracting media loss was remedied through inpainting. First a gelatin sizing was painted into the areas of loss, followed by inpainting with color-matched watercolors. Finally, a new acid-free mat was hand-cut using a Dexter mat-cutter. Instead of adhering it to the object as the old one was, a new “T-hinge” design was used that replicated the design of the original mat while enabling viewers to see the long-hidden artwork underneath.
To see other images of the treatment, visit the slide show on the Architecture & Planning Library flickr page.
Blog from the University of Texas Architecture and Planning Library