It’s Exposition mania in the Archives right now. The exhibit Exceptional Expositions is designed and everyone is busy mounting pieces of it and preparing text. It will soon be hung in the cases with care in hopes that on opening viewers appear. The Exhibit celebrating the centennial of the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) and the publication of a new book, Into the Void Pacific, on the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition (GGIE) opens on Tuesday September 8th.
International expositions served as entertainment, education, mass media, and industrial marketing. The 1876 Centennial Exposition was followed by numerous fairs in the U.S. including Chicago’s Columbian Exposition (1893), Buffalo’s (1901), St. Louis’ (1904), and Seattle’s Alaska Yukon Pacific (1909); as well as the depression era Chicago Fair (1932) and New York’s World’s Fair in 1939. Ironically, both the New York and Chicago Fairs promoted themselves as a vision of the future, while the GGIE placed itself in a Pacific Region that, in fact, turned out to be the future.
The PPIE and GGIE promoted San Francisco as the hub of the Pacific encompassing both Latin America and Asia. The architecture of the PPIE presented a Beaux Arts confection while the buildings of the GGIE presented a sometimes uneasy transition from a Beaux Arts to a modern design aesthetic.
The Panama Pacific International Exposition (PPIE) of 1915 had 80,000 exhibition booths spread over 3,731,500 square feet--the equivalent of 85 acres or 64 football fields. In 1911 during the planning stages of the Exposition Dr. Frederick James Volney Skiff was hired as director-in-chief of domestic and foreign participation, the same year the exposition began accepting exhibitor applications. Skiff developed an exposition taxonomy organizing the exhibition halls and the exhibitions within them according to perceived patron interest. A team of exhibition division chiefs was assembled between 1912 and 1914, who would go on to create 11 main exhibition departments, 56 exhibition categories, and 800 exhibition subclasses. To advertise the exhibition space, brochure advertisements were mailed to industry, trade, and scientific organizations enticing them to purchase an exhibition space that included police and fire protection but more importantly would allow them to showcase their goods and wares to an international audience...remember this is before the internet!
The same year the PPIE opened also marked the infancy of the implementation of building codes in America. This is reflected in the regulations established by the Exposition regarding booth construction. Exhibitors were expected to erect booths in the fair grounds that conformed to the exposition-defined standards. These standards included proscribed heights for display cases, table tops, cornices, and railings, among others. Even signage had to be “moderate in size and neat design.” Behavior within the confines of each respective booth was also regulated--eating was off limits, promotional materials like brochures had to be approved by the chief of that exhibition department, and goods could only be ordered and not directly sold from each booth.
The drawings of PPIE booths in our collection would have either been located in the Palace of Manufactures (housing “more refined goods”) or the Palace of Varied Industries. To see more of the PPIE booths and buildings as well as material from the Golden Gate International Exposition, another world’s fair held in the San Francisco Bay Area 24 years later, come see the Exceptional Expositions exhibition in the Environmental Design Library on view from September 8th to December 16th, 2015.
During more than thirty years as an archivist and social historian I have had the privilege of working with hundreds of personal and professional papers and government and institutional records. Material ranging from gold-rush diaries to Farm Security camp newsletters and from Chinese immigrant’s coaching letters for Angel Island to designs for the Sea Ranch. But none have given me the delight of perfectly and succinctly combining visual interest and social history as captured in twelve colorful blotters created by Allan Jacobs during his six year tenure as Director of the San Francisco Department of City Planning.
Jacobs started with two fresh blotters each year on which he “doodled” while on the phone. They illustrate, both literally and figuratively, issues on the desk of the Planning Director and thoughts generated by these issues. That he preserved them is evidence of his recognition of their scholarly potential as well as clearly relishing their artistic expression. These blotters serve as valuable documents of their time and place and as a visual diary of ideas, issues, and politics as well as of personal matters. We are very pleased to add them to the holdings of the Environmental Design Archives and to share them as an exhibit on our website: http://exhibits.ced.berkeley.edu/exhibits/show/jacobsblotters.
--Waverly Lowell, Curator
In the late 1960s Eckbo, Dean, Austin & William proposed that the Denver Botanic Gardens take the "logical progression from pure scientific usage to pleasing display in the arrangement of its general collection." They strived to create a space that would allow homeowners to see new plant combinations that they could try in their own gardens. In the spring of 2015, EDA Archivist's Emily and Chris were lucky to visit the Bontanic Gardens while in Denver for an Archives conference.The gardens have a heiarchy of meandering paths, wonderful water features and lakes, and a spectacular conservatory made of cast concrete.
Here are some gems from the Eckbo collection and some photographs we took during our visit. Enjoy!
Eckbo, Dean, Austin & William 1969 plan.
What the Denver Botanic Garden's look like today.
During the past 15 years, whenever anyone found a drawing with fun or interesting people in it, we made a copy and dropped it into a folder pending their use in a future exhibit. Mostly we just wanted to share these images because they were fun. One of the inspirations for this endeavor was the biomorphic man.
So this February we began developing the exhibit Designing People (currently on display until May 19th in the Environmental Design Library) and began looking more closely at the images. We discovered there is almost no literature on the subject and that some designers use figures regularly and others rarely. Initially, the primary reason people were included in architectural drawings was to convey scale, and they still are; however, figures are also represented in these drawings to help the client imagine who might inhabit their structure or landscape and how it might be used. The technology of representation has changed from pencil and watercolor to computer “scalies”, but sadly the figures remain limited to the white middle class, unless diversity is a key element of the project. Although intended to sell the proposed design to the client, figures in presentation drawings also provide a rich graphic resource for conveying the social behaviors of their time and place. Often they reveal gender roles prevalent at the time of the rendering. Most of the midcentury renderings have the woman indoors or in the kitchen and the men outdoors or reading. Not that this comes as a surprise, but it is so clearly and frequently rendered. In one drawing the woman’s perspective is understood as it illustrates a view from the kitchen looking into the dining room to watch the baby and beyond to her husband reading the paper.
There is also the pure pleasure of looking at the fashion of the time, or enjoying the designer’s sense of humor.
Primarily the renderings convey a desirable environment showing playing children, happy shoppers, apartment house dwellers enjoying their sunny decks, or students studying, but in special situations someone shows us the workers. Please come see the show if you get a chance.
--Waverly Lowell, Curator
The Environmental Design Archives at UC Berkeley presents the exhibit
February 11 – May 19, 2015
The figures that inhabit architectural and landscape renderings are not the actual focus of the drawings. Homeowners, children, pets, shoppers, and condo-dwellers are included to convey the scale and functionality of a proposed design. They humanize and create an emotional appeal in what might otherwise appear to be sterile environments and allow the client to imagine how a space will be used. From the watercolor Victorian to the scalie hipster, this exhibit features more than a century of designers’ representations of people from the Environmental Design Archives.
On view at:
Environmental Design Library
Volkmann Reading Room, Raymond Lifchez and Judith Stronach Exhibition Cases
210 Wurster Hall, University of California, Berkeley
Information, Hours, Directions: 510-642-4818
Curators: Waverly Lowell and Chris Marino, Environmental Design Archives
Exhibition Team: Cailin Trimble, Emily Vigor, Alison Ecker, Andrew Manuel, Brandon Wolinsky
Considered one of the earliest ecological designs, for anyone lucky enough to spend time there it is a very special experience.
Originally settled by members of the Pomo Nation and then called Rancho Del Mar, the plot of land 100 miles north of San Francisco was purchased by Hawaiian real estate developers Castle & Cooke. Their subsidiary Oceanic Properties had originally intended to develop a “new town” but were convinced by company vice-president Al Boeke working in collaboration with noted landscape architect Lawrence Halprin, that a development of “second-homes” would be a more appropriate and feasible use of the land. The result, as we know, was a non-traditional planned community built with the idea that human dwellings should be in harmony with the landscape.
The two primary architectural firms working with Halprin were Joseph Esherick & Associates, and the emerging Berkeley firm MLTW [Moore, Lyndon, Turnbull & Whitaker]. The Sea Ranch plan included both individual houses and group housing in the form of condominiums [designed by MLTW]. The rooflines of the ecologically innovative row houses, designed by Joseph Esherick, were sheltered by the trees and carefully designed to echo the angle of the wind blowing in from the sea.
Although each firm was working independently, they arrived at complementary designs that reflected Bay Region traditions of local materials and a sensitivity to climate and lifestyle. Ideas that were emphasized in all the designs were: use of topography to minimize human intrusion on the landscape, cooperative living, and sustainable development.
Enjoy the celebration of The Sea Ranch with The Sea Ranch Audio Walking Tour narrated by Donlyn Lyndon (of MLTW) an introduction to the architecture and landscape of The Sea Ranch, noting the ideas and features that have made it world renowned. http://www.tsra.org/news.php?viewStory=1938
Or check out the Sea Ranch anniversary home page http://www.tsra.org/news.php?viewStory=1380
- Waverly Lowell, Curator
In May of 2014, the EDA was pleased to receive a donation of the work of architect Tallie Maule, who practiced in Tennessee, Okinawa, and San Francisco from the early 1950s until his premature death in the mid-1970s. Maule earned his M.F.A. in architecture at Princeton University (1948) where he was a Lowell Palmer Fellow. He taught architecture for one year at Oklahoma State University (1947- 1948) before going to work for Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) from 1947 through 1955 in their offices in New York; Chicago; Oak Ridge, TN; Tokyo, Japan; and San Francisco successively. After leaving SOM he spent nearly four years in Japan and Okinawa working on large-scale post war building projects. Maule established his own practice in San Francisco (1957-1974) and secured a position as Chief Architect of design coordination for the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) Agency from 1966 – 1973, as well as serving as consulting architect to the Metropolitan Atlantic Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) and the Metro in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
Embarcadero Station - view of consourse and platform levels
The collection is filled with wonderful textured drawings. To create texture in his drawings Maule often used a screentone technique, which is a process that involved transferring preprinted pattern adhesive sheets to line drawings – see below for some interesting examples: