Category Archives: special collections

A History of French Architecture 1494 to 1661

Blomfield, Reginald. A History of French Architecture 1494 to 1661: From the Reign of Charles VIII till the Death of Mazarin. 2 vols. London: G. Bell, 1911.

In 1911, architect and scholar Sir Reginald Blomfield penned A History of French Architecture 1494 to 1661, an authoritative two-volume work on the history of French architecture. Part of the Architecture & Planning Library’s Paul Philippe Cret collection, A History of French Architecture constructs a linear history of French architecture encompassing the scope of what might be termed a long 16th century. In this English-language text, Blomfield endeavors to locate a continuous trajectory between the beginnings of Italian renaissance influence in French architecture and the inception of a neo-classical design expression during the era of Louis XIV. Blomfield’s is an essential reference for the renaissance historian, functioning at once as an erudite piece of scholarship and a foundational historiographical text.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1044 B6

 

 


Special Collections Focus: French Architecture


Visit the Architecture & Planning Library special collection located in Battle Hall

As part of our ongoing effort to expose the rich and diverse materials held in the Architecture & Planning Library special collections, we will be highlighting a number of collection items that explore various historical and historigraphical topics related to the study of French architecture during the summer and fall 2011 sessions. The volumes featured in this series were reviewed by architectural history and theory graduate student Kristen Decker-Ali as part of a volunteer project completed during the summer 2010. Decker-Ali, whose own work focuses on Philibert de l’Orme’s Château d’Anet for Diane de Poitiers, reviewed dozens of volumes documenting 33 items of specific interest. These items belong to 26 separate titles, explore the history of urban and provincial architecture in France from the medieval period through the early 19th century and include volumes published as early as 1830. Check out Battle Hall Highlights each week, as we take a look at these titles.

Including over 20,000 volumes, the Architecture & Planning Library special collections comprise almost 1/5th of the library’s holdings and function as an invaluable resource for scholars in the disciplines of architecture, art and architectural history, landscape architecture, community and regional planning, building technology and construction science. Special strengths include central and eastern European architecture, especially the Vienna Secession Movement, late nineteenth and early twentieth century British and French architecture books, as well as titles from the libraries of architects whose work is represented in the Alexander Architectural Archive. Of special note are the libraries of architect Paul Philippe Cret, architectural historian Colin Rowe, and architect and educator Charles W. Moore.

 

 

 

Then and Now: The Library of the School of Architecture

Throughout its 100-year history, the Architecture & Planning Library has been an integral part of the School of Architecture, providing services and collections for information and inspiration.  In tandem with the School, the library has grown and changed to meet the needs of its users—students, faculty, scholars, and the community.

A new exhibit – Then and Now: The Library of the School of Architecture – gives an overview of the library’s history as it developed from a faculty collection, to an established library in 1912, and then how it moved along with the School to its new locations.  Featured are interesting examples of how services and collections have expanded and stories about how people have contributed to their library and archive.

Artifacts from the Alexander Architectural Archive
Photographed by Parker Doelling

The exhibition – on view in Architecture & Planning Library Reading Room in Battle Hall through March, 2011 – is being held in conjunction with the School of Architecture’s centennial celebration 100: Traces & Trajectories exhibition.

Producing a centennial exhibit is a momentous occasion.  The challenge proves that some things never change: it reflects the efforts of an expert staff, dedicated students, the tireless hours of our volunteers, including co-curator Sarah Cleary.

All items on exhibit are from the vast collections of the Architecture and Planning Library and its Alexander Architectural Archive, as well as images courtesy of the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

Visit the Flickr slideshow to enjoy more images from the exhibition.

Beth Dodd is Head Librarian for the Architecture & Planning Library at The University of Texas at Austin.

Special Collections at the Architecture & Planning Library
Photographed by Parker Doelling

Florence sketchbook of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910

The Architecture & Planning Library recently acquired a limited edition facsimile of the Florence sketchbook of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910, the manuscript sketchbook by Frank Lloyd Wright which served as the maquette or layout for the famous Wasmuth portfolio of 1910 entitled Ausgeführte Bauten Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright [Studies and Executed Buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright].

This sketchbook has never been published before.  Therefore, it will be a very important addition to our collections and will greatly complement our holdings of several editions of the Wasmuth portfolio.  To learn more about these and other Frank Lloyd Wright materials in our collections read Kathryn Pierce’s entry in Shelflife@Texas.

Florence Sketchbook of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910
Florence Sketchbook of Frank Lloyd Wright, 1910

Architectural Drawing, Now and Then

“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!

Southern Architect and Building News
UT’s earliest issue of Southern Architect, 1892

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

EDITOR’S UPDATE: For an update on the Southern Architect and Building News project, see https://blogs.lib.utexas.edu/aplhighlights/2016/03/17/southern-architect-and-building-news-update/

General Libraries acquires Cret Library

The General Libraries has acquired the library of Paul P. Cret (1876-1945), the architect responsible for The University’s 1933 Master Plan, the design of the Main Building and UT Tower, and 18 other buildings on the UT campus.

The collection totals approximately 700 volumes published between 1560 and the 1930’s plus 43 albums, portfolios, and boxed sets of photographs. The books, many of which are rare, are mostly large, folio-size, and profusely illustrated. Many are in their original leather or cloth bindings. Most of the books are classic texts still in use today by architects and architectural historians.

Included in the collection are offprints, exhibition catalogs, prospectuses, annual reports, monographs, trade and industrial materials catalogs, journals, and periodicals regarding architecture and planning, housing, restoration, and bridges. The photographic materials consist of documentation of the work of Paul P. Cret and his successor firm. The books in the Cret Library will be housed in the Architecture and Planning Library. Photographic materials will be cared for in the Alexander Architectural Archive.

The Cret Library was acquired with funding from the Martin S. and Evelyn S. Kermacy Collection Endowment, the School of Architecture, the General Libraries, and the UT System Academic Library Collection Enhancement Program (ALCEP).

“This is a magnificent collection of great historic value to UT Austin and of current value to a range of architectural historians and practicing architects,” said Harold Billings, Director of General Libraries. “With the addition of this collection and the continuing expansion of the Alexander Architectural Archive we now have one of the major architectural resource centers in the nation on our UT Austin campus.”

In 1907 Paul P. Cret founded what became the most successful beaux-arts architectural firm in Philadelphia. In addition to his work on the UT Austin campus, he designed such prestigious edifices as The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., the Rodin Museum, and The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. While practicing architecture, Cret also headed the Department of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania for over 30 years. After Cret’s death in 1945, his four partners assumed the practice under the partnership of Harbeson Hough Livingston & Larson (renamed H2L2 in 1976). The Cret Library was acquired from H2L2. It is highly unusual that a collection of this type and size should survive in its entirety.