THE HISTORY OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE, UNIVERSTIY OF OREGON, EUGENE, OREGON

 

 

by

 

Michael J. Clark

1848 Onyx Alley

Eugene OR 97403

 

mclark7@mindspring.com

 

1985

 

 

 

INTRODUCTION. 

SETTING THE CONTEXT

 

I.  THE FIRST AMERICAN ARCHITECTURE

    STUDENT

 

From 1845 to 1855, Richard Morris Hunt studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, and then worked in France upon his graduation. Hunt returned to New York in 1857, fired by his experience, and by his love of European architecture.

   Hunt opened an atelier on 10th Street in New York City, and began what Professor Hamlin has described as "the nursery of architectural education in America."  He attracted many promising young architects, including William Robert Ware, a graduate of the Lawrence Scientific School of Harvard, and Henry Van Brunt, an architecture scholar.  Hunt's passion for architecture and for the method of instruction he had learned at the Beaux-Art in Paris was dilligently passed on to his associates.

   In 1865, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (then Boston Tech) determined to establish a professional school in architecture.  William Robert Ware was appointed director of this school, the first in America, indeed, the first school of architecture to be established in an Anglo-Saxon country.

   In Fall 1868, the department opened its doors to four students.   Initially, few courses were offered, all closely allied to engineering.  Over time, courses in architecture history, working drawings, specifications, and design were offered.

   In 1872, Ware determined that a well-qualified design instructor could not be found in the United States.  He turned to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, hiring Eugene Letang, a stone-cutter in his youth, and graduate of L'Ecole, as the first director of architectural design at MIT.  The influence of Richard Morris Hunt's atelier had exerted itself in a profound way, and the importing of the Beaux-Arts method began at the inception of American architecture education.

   In 1873, Henry A. Phillips was the first American to be graduated from an American architecture program, MIT.  Ironically, he did not choose to pursue architecture as a profession.

 

Eugene Letang governed the design curriculum at MIT for 18 years.  He emphasized the beauty of the plan, formal symmetry, and draftsmanship.  He died in 1890. 

   Another Beaux-Arts graduate, Desire Despradelle, was hired as the Director of Design.  Despradelle had entered the Ecole at the age of twenty, having won first place among 140 students.  In 1889 he was awarded the premier Second Grand Prix de Rome,  and was declared the Laureat de l'Intstitute de France.  His reputation was international.  After coming to America, his fame would reach its apex, with his famous design for "A Beacon of Progress," completed for the Chicago Exposition grounds.    

 

II.  THE INFLUENCE OF THE BEAUX-ARTS

     SYSTEM

 

Other programs in architecture had begun to appear in America.  In 1867, the University of Illinois at Urbana offered an architecture program, allied with its engineering department.  In 1871, Cornell University also initiated a program in their College of Engineering and Architecture. 

   In 1881, William Robert Ware left MIT, joining his former Hunt colleague, Henry Van Brunt, in the architecture program at Columbia University.

 

By 1900, a large group of Beaux-Arts trained American architects (Hunt, Henry Hobson Richardson, Charles Follen McKim) were emerging as leaders of the profession.  Their impact of the policies of architectural education was profound.

   During the first five years of the twentieth century, at every important Eastern school, design was directed by a Frenchman, usually assisted by American instructors.  Any school unlucky enough not to have a French director of design was considered second rate.  This Beaux-Arts influence was not limited to eastern schools.  It also had a major impact on educational thought in new schools emerging in the midwest and the south.

   The cornerstone of the Beaux-Art system was the "design problem," assigned to students early in a term as an "equisse " (sketch problem) and ending "en charette" (from the French, meaning "cart," referring to carts in which finished drawings were placed, at the deadline,  and then raced to the "master" for judging).  The system relied on brilliant instructors, was highly competitive between students, resulted in beautifully drawn final projects which were judged by a set of jurors, often on the grounds of "good taste."  Prizes were given to the top designs.  The style tended to be neoclassical; the building type most often was the monument.

 

In 1893, a group of American graduates from the Ecole de Beaux-Arts  formed the Beaux-Arts Society, with permanent articles of organization, and a president, William A. Boring, former director of the architecture program at Columbia.  The goals of the society were set forth thus:

 

                        "The means we think wise to adopt to our end are as follows: by

                        preserving among ourselves the principles of taste required at the

                        Ecole des Beaux-Arts; by endeavoring to propagate these principles

                        among the rising generation of architects and the public in general;

                        by setting our face steadfastly against the vagaries and abuses of

                        architecture as it is too generally practiced in the United States;

                        by affording what encouragement we can to young men desirous

                        of availing themselves of the extraordinary advantages for

                        obtaining an architectural education so generously held out to us

                        by the French government; by enlising in our ranks, as fast as they

                        return, young men who have had the advantages of such an

                        education; and by working together for ultimate formation

                        of an American school architecture modeled after the Ecole

                        des Beaux-Arts."

  

Ambitious goals, to say the least. 

   In 1894, the first general competition was held, limited to society members and to students at local eastern schools.  Also, that same year, the "Paris Prize" was established, to provide funds for study at the Ecole. 

   As a means to the educational goals sought by the society, ateliers were organized under leading designers from the organization.  In 1903, 16 of the original 72 members were connected with ateliers.  In 1905, 238 students were registered in the Beaux-Arts ateliers.  Eight years later, in 1913, enrollment had increased to 1100.

   The Beaux-Arts Institute of Design was incorporated in 1916, with the purpose of teaching architectural design, and sculpture and painting in relation to architecture.

   The great plan of establishing a National School of Architecture, a Beaux-Arts of America, was not greeted without resistance.  The American experience was not a mirror of France, with its history of royalty and centralized systems.

   It is hard to imagine that a country founded on a doctrine of individualism, and peopled by a race whose first generative act, in choosing to emigrate to a New World, involved a severing of ties with Europe would for ever follow an Old World model of architectural education.

   Indeed, the very act of rebellion, which had given America identity as a nation, had been a blow against centralization.  And, after independence, when Alexander Hamilton proposed a centralized banking system in America, distrust of too much centralized power led inevitably to Mr. Hamilton's downfall.

   That is not to suggest that all American architects obediently followed the precedents of France.  Louis Sullivan attended the Ecole des Beaux-Arts for two weeks during the late 19th Century, before leaving with the understanding that his interests were not in re-creating French architecture in America, but in discovering an essentially "American" architecture.  The "Chicago School" of architecture grew out of the premise that there existed a national architecture to be discovered and purveyed; the most famous "student" in this informal "school," of course, was Frank Lloyd Wright.

   Still, by 1914,  when the decision was made in Oregon to establish a school of architecture, the Beaux-Arts method of education seemed the unchallengeable guardian of the profession.

 

PART ONE. 

SETTING THE FOUNDATION

 

I.  ARCHITECTURE IN THE HINTERLANDS

 

In Oregon, in 1913, the dabate over a National School of Architecture went largely unnoticed.  Afterall, early that year the State Legislature had requested the State Board of Higher Curricula examine the courses of study at the State colleges to avoid any unnecessary duplication in their course offerings.  The State could not afford such luxuries.

  The State Board decided that, because of a lack of funds, the School of Civil Engineering, at Eugene, would be discontinued; and that Electrical Engineering should be confined to the State Agricultural College at Corvallis. 

  The Board granted to the State University at Eugene schools of Architecture, Journalism and Music.  And it assigned, as instructors of the new architecture school, those faculty it had just fired as instructors of Civil Engineering.

  The conception of the school of architecture at Eugene had, apparently,  an unlikely beginning.  A local artist/craftsman, Allen Eaton, a graduate of the University of Oregon in 1902, opened an art store in Eugene the year after his graduation.  He carried examples of fine arts and crafts, books and stationary.  The store became a popular meeting place for the lovers of art in the town.  Touring exhibitions were shown at the store; a visiting Japanese artist painted during a Saturday afternoon, discussing, as he painted, the principles of Oriental art.

  Mr. Eaton was acquainted with Prince Lucien Campbell, the President of the University.  It was a small town afterall; everyone knew everyone.  President Campbell often came to his store.  They became friends. 

  Campbell had graduated from Harvard; he had come west to teach at the Monmouth Normal School, and later he had become its president.  In the Summer of 1902, he became President of the University of Oregon.

  A friend spoke of President Campbell's early years at Oregon:

 

  "His devotion to the ideals of art in architecture, sculpture,

  painting and music filled an increasingly important place in his

  life.  His delight in good architecture, already noticeable in the

  Harvard period, grew with his years.  He believed in it profoundly. 

  To house an educational institution beautifully, he claimed, was to

  provide a truly educational environment."

 

It was Eaton, although admitting he had never seen an architecture school, who first suggested the idea to President Campbell.  Eaton had been elected to the Oregon State Legislature in 1906; and he served, as the only University of Oregon graduate, on the committee which funded higher education in the state. 

  To say that the legislature was not always supportive of the university at Eugene is putting it mildly.  There were threats to merge the Eugene campus with the Corvallis campus (the political power in Oregon was predominantly agricultural; and Corvallis housed the agricultural college).  There were attacks on President Campbell's currriculum.  Finally, there was the restructuring in 1913 which transfered the "technical" schools from Eugene to Corvallis.

  The residents of Eugene (many of whom were alumni) were outraged at this treatment.  To direct this outrage at the legislature was useless.  So the object of their distress became President Campbell.  There was even a movement to remove Campbell from office.  The Board of Regents, however, gave Campbell a vote of confidence.

 

In this fervid atmosphere, Allen Eaton suggested to President Campbell that a regeneration of the University might be served by instituting an architecture program.  He admitted that he knew nothing about architecture; however, he was reminded of the Victor Borge line when, after having bought a Connecticut farm, he was asked if he knew anything about raising chickens: Borge replied, "No, but the chickens do."

 

The seed had been planted. In such a bold move, Campbell could re-establish the sense of destiny of the University, through a vehicle which would certainly be supported by the Eugene community; also, he could initiate education in the arts, a field of inquiry very close to his own heart. 

  Quietly, Prince Lucien Campbell began planning for a School of Architecture and Fine Arts, intending to hire a permanent architect to act as its Dean.  The State Legislature had given him his cue in 1913; and he began to seriously consider to which architect he might pass his torch.    

      

II.  THE FOUNDING FATHER

 

Ellis F. Lawrence was born in Malden, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, on November 13, 1879.  His father manufactured artists' and engineers' supplies, and ran a Boston artists' materials store named "Frost and Adams Company".  In his earliest experiences, Lawrence became associated with architects.

  Lawrence attended Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts; then, despite the death of his father in a train accident, he studied architecture at MIT (Boston Tech).  In 1902, Lawrence received his Master of Architecture Degree (he had been president of his senior class).

  Lawrence's design instructor at MIT had been Desire Despraedelle, the Beaux-Arts master, who exerted a profound influence on Lawrence.  In fact, Lawrence kept a picture of the master over his desk throughout his life.

  Lawrence worked for the firm of "Codman and Despraedelle" for three years after completing his studies.   He also worked for John Calvin Stevens, a second major influence in Lawrence's life, who taught him, through his firm, the value of devotion and loyalty and co-operation.  This understanding would prove an anchor in later years when contemplating educational theory.

  Lawrence traveled to Europe in 1905.  At St. John's Chapel, in Chester, England, he was married to Alice Millett of Portland, Maine.  In later years, Lawrence would advise would-be student travelers: "Don't spend too much time in the centers, but get out into the country."

 

Lawrence apparently chose to live by his advice.

  In March, 1906, he traveled to Portland, Oregon, on his way to open an architectural firm for Stephen Codman in San Francisco.  In April, the great San Francisco earthquake struck, marooning Lawrence in Portland.  He liked it.  He decided to stay in Portland.  In 1910 he wrote home: "The West is the place for me."

 

Lawrence's professional life in Portland was varied and prolific.  He worked in a series of firms, then independently.  In 1913 he formed an association with MIT classmate and friend, William Holford, which would exist for over two decades.

  Lawrence was both a public and private man.  He was active in the Portland Architectural Club.  He taught a night class for carpenters at the YMCA for two years; then, in 1909, the Portland Architecture Club elected him to begin a Portland design studio affiliated with the Beaux-Arts Society.  This atelier offered Oregon's first formal classes to students interested in architecture.  Among his first students were Fred Allyn, who later would become his partner; and Louis C. Rosenberg, who would later gain international fame for his architectural etchings, and whom Lawrence would hire as the first instructor of architecture at the University of Oregon

  In 1909, Lawrence organized and chaired the first convention of West Coast architects.  This convention approved his proposal to create American Institute of Architects chapters in the western states, called the Architectural League of the Pacific Coast.  Lawrence was its founder, and later became its president. 

  He served as chairman of the founding group which established the Oregon Chapter of the AIA in 1911, and was elected the chapter's first chairman.

  His private life was somewhat less frenetic.  He was married, with three children.  He designed his family home in northeast Portland, which may have been the first Arts and Crafts style house in Oregon.  Later, he bought a 40-acre apple ranch near Hood River, where he built a summer house.  In 1910, his apples won the sweepstakes at the Oregon State Horticulutral Show.

  He loved to hunt agates on the beach, smoke good cigars, and listen to classical music.

 

III.  THE CALL COMES

 

Lawrence's first association with the University of Oregon came in 1914, as a campus planner.  He had been working in Portland with the Civic Improvement League since 1909, and had served on the mayor's 1911 Greater Portland Plan which commissioned Edward H. Bennett of Chicago to prepare a Portland Plan.

  Lawrence's reputation as a designer (he would design hundreds of buildings in his years of practice), his knack for planning and organization, his commitment to elevated professional standards and to a refinement in the allied building trade, plus, of course, his education at MIT, made Lawrence a logical choice to head the new school of architecture at Eugene.

  The impetus to hire Lawrence again came from Allen Eaton however.  He had attended an exhibit of architectural drawings organized by Lawrence for the Portland Architectural Club.  He was very much impressed by Lawrence.  He suggested to President Campbell that Lawrence be considered to head the new program.

  This is not to suggest that Eaton played the role of puppeteer, moving events quietly from behind a curtain of relative anonymity.  Apparently he was a man of sensible tastes, who became, with time, a valued advisor to President Campbell.

  Lawrence was hired. 

 

Oregon, in the early Twentieth Century, was a sleepy frontier state, with no great tax base or private fortune to fund its educational programs.  The University could offer Lawrence only a meager salary.  To compensate for this, Lawrence was given exclusive commission to design all of the campus buildings as long as he continued as head of the architecture program.        

   

IV.  ARCHITECT AS EDUCATOR

 

Lawrence came to the University with strong foundations in the Beaux-Arts tradition.  Essentially, in the beginning, he adapted his program from the MIT model.  However, he was acutely aware of the opportunity he had been given to make the program "a genuine experiment in art education."

  Encouraged by the ubiquitous Allen Eaton and by President Campbell, Lawrence decided to teach architecture in close collaboration with the arts allied to it--weaving, textiles, pottery, tile, terra cotta, modeling and carving, interior decoration, landscape design. 

  There was no engineering school at Oregon.   Hence, this emphasis on architecture in the context of the building arts rather than engineering was a significant departure from existing programs.  Indeed, it was also a departure from the Beaux-Arts system, which, as Lawrence wrote, was often indifferent to the arts "as (it)...does not care for final results as (much as it) does for...presentation and paper design."

 

Lawrence began surrounding himself with strong faculty members.  First came Alfred Schroff, a painter and stained-glass artist, from Boston; then Roswell Dosch, a Portland sculptor who had studied under Rodin, was hired to teach drawing and modeling.

   In 1915, Louis Rosenburg was appointed instructor of design.  Rosenburg was born in Portland, educated at MIT.  He had won a coveted traveling prize at school; but the outbreak of World War I delayed his travel plans.  He would later gain international fame for his drawings and etchings.

  Allen Eaton was also hired to teach art in the new program.

  Later, noted faculty were added as instructors: Maude Kerns in Art, Ayard Fairbanks in Sculpture, Victoria Avakian in Industrial Art, P.P. Adams in Graphics, Eyler Brown in Architecture, E.H. McAlister, also in Sculpture, Brownell Frasier in Interior Design, and W.R.B. Willcox in Architecture.

  About Willcox much more will be said.  For it was primarily he, with his friend Ellis Lawrence, who gave drama and content to the program during the years in which its own educational principles were being fashioned.   

 

Lawrence would write later in life (reflecting on  a lecture given by Eero Saarinen):

 

  "An ideal School of Architecture should be a happy home in

  which the student is helped to educate himself.... The ideal would

  be to cement all the individuals involved into a genuine cooperative

  undertaking in which all are free to protect that freedom by a sincere

  and deep appreciation of the rights of others.  In such a group it

  would be disastrous to one's own prestige to be selfish, intolerant,

  or arbitrary."

 

If this was a conclusion Lawrence made after years of experience in education, its seemed to reflect his natural approach to education from the beginning of the program.  Perhaps partly because the program was so small, Lawrence tended to view the department as his family.  The atmosphere was quite different than what it had been at MIT.

  Also, the influence of John Calvin Stevens was making itself felt: the emphasis on loyalty and cooperation in Stevens' office had made the workplace a haven of profesional commitment and mutual education.

 

Lawrence felt very strongly that the "building arts" and design were elements of the same process.  Thus, from the beginning, he linked the academic program with the University's building program (his role as University Planner was invaluable toward this).

  Especially during the the very active University building cycle (1919-1923), Lawrence made the University his personal lab of instruction.   His part-time faculty became the chief of construction and the mechanical inspector; classes in construction and working drawings centered on buildings being designed and built for the University.  Lawrence even held night classes at which the construction workers and students met to discuss each other's work.  Social events ("smokers") were held for workers and students, with music, wrestling, barbecue and cider.

  The ornamentation of campus buildings was produced by faculty and students working together on the campus.

 

In 1917, the first students were graduated from the architecture school: Mary Louise Allen, Eyler Brown, and Walter Church.  Miss Allen was the orphaned daughter of an engineer.  She wished to pursue a career allied to her father's.  Her large drawing "A Model Dairy Farm" received first mention from the New York jury of the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design. 

  Eyler Brown, of course, was soon after hired by Lawrence to teach at the school.  Walter Church, the step-son of President Campbell, attended the master's program at MIT, and later became an influential West Coast and Portland architect.  

 

The first order of business for Lawrence had been to build a ship that would float.  This he had accomplished.  Charting the course the ship was to sail would be a continual process.  This navigation did not begin in a rejection of the compass or the sextant. 

  However, for a mind to be creative it must be willing to question its assumptions.  Were the methods of architectural instruction, as inherited from France, appropriate to Lawrence's program? 

  Or, as radio technology had revolutionized navigation, so could a new idea or method help to enrich architectural education?  

 

 

V.  LAWRENCE AND THE BEAUX-ARTS SYSTEM:

     PEACEFUL CO-EXISTENCE

 

Philip Dole, Professor Emritus at the University of Oregon, when asked about the historic break with the Beaux-Arts tradition, replied: "There was all that about cooperation versus competition, and non-graded studio courses, but the real importance of it, as far as I'm concerned, was that, for the first time really, context became important.  That was not something that any other school was doing."

 

One cannot overlook cultural geography when considering the nature of the program at Oregon.  Oregon was provincial.  The current styles sweeping in from Europe, which so moved east coast schools, did not travel quickly in the west.  Indeed, the impact of European movements seemed to evaporate with distance.  The "transportation" of ideas was labored, at best, under the technology of the day.

  Too, the independence from European thought, for good or bad, was more accentuated in the West.  It was not space alone.  Neither was it technology.  For the East and the West Coasts of America are even today quite dissimilar in tastes and modes of living.

  It has been suggested that the East Coast is influenced by its closest neighbor, Europe; and that the West Coast is influenced by its closest neighbor, Asia.  Others suggest an explanation through myth: that the mythology of "rugged individualism" is inherent in the Western mythology, and in a promised "land of opportunity"--which is, itself, essentially democratic.     

  Whatever the reasons, it was no accident that the rebellion against the Beaux-Arts system (essentially, against European guidance, which some opponents came to consider cultural colonialism), began in Chicago, a western enclave, and proved to be strongest, initially, in the West.

 

Ellis Lawrence, in the beginning,  accepted the Beaux-Arts tradition as a model for his department.  It was the model he knew.  He had reservations about it.  The reservations grew.

  In 1913, the Architectural League of the Pacific Coast had passed a resolution affirming their support of Beaux-Arats.  Influential Portland architects, such as A.E. Doyle, believed strongly that Beaux-Arts was "fundamentally right."

  Lawrence had no desire to alienate either local professionals or the established eastern schools at a time when he was just fashioning his craft.

  In 1916, he wrote:  "The Beaux-Arts Society...is full of faults (but) it will probably ultimately be the best medium through which to work."

 

Two years later, Lawrence justified the school's conformance to the Beaux-Arts System on the grounds that "it offers our best contact point with the East."

  He feared that a total break with the system might create "outcasts" of his students and his program.

 

In July of 1918, in a letter to a friend, Emil Lorch, he wrote: "At first I felt competition was the very essence of success but...are we justified to make a sudden change in methods?  I hope to go gradually at a reorganization... That does not mean however that I am altogther  a radical against the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design.  I (would) rather correct its system, than to destroy it."

  He was following his own course.

 

The war came.  In April, 1917, President Wilson announced a declaration of war.  More than 2000 University students enlisted in the armed forces. 

  At one point, only three students remained at the school of architecture, one being Arthur W. Weatherhead, professor of drawing at the University of Southern California, who had come to Oregon to study architectural education.  Upon completion of his work, Weatherhead would return to USC to continue teaching.  He would later write The History of Collegiate Education in Architecture in the Uniter States, in which he would focus much attention on the program at Oregon.

  Allen Eaton resigned his position in the school and traveled east to lecture on "Art in the West".  He wanted to participate in the war effort more directly.  While in Michigan, he accepted a position as Field Secretary for the American Federation of Arts.  He worked to prevent strikes and lockouts in New England factories and shipyards, which might hamper the war effort.  He later accepted work in research with the Russell Sage Foundation, working in the Department of Surveys and Exhibits.

  Louis Rosenberg had moved to France, where he married Mary Louise Allen, the first female graduate of the program, and was working in army camouflage.

  In 1917, Colonel John Leader, an officer in the English army journeyed to Oregon to begin work with the campus ROTC.  He met Professor E.H.McAlister, structures instructor at the school.  He described a problem to McAlister: the army had a great need of a portable bridge, which must be so designed as to be easily dismantled, and which could be carried on a 10-ton truck.  Professor McAlister, in a short time, had designed and constructed a bridge, meeting all the government requirements, weighing only 9 tons.  Leader and McAlister received letters of commendation from Washington, Ottawa, and London.

  Lawrence received letters from students throughout the war years, first from places like Fort Stevens (Astoria), Camp Miller (Long Island), Edgewood Arsenal (Maine).  His students were serving in gunnery units, aviation, infantry divisions, some in camouflage.  Later, letters from France would inform him of miserable weather, of massing in the Argonne Forest.

  On November 11, 1918, the Armistace was declared.  Finally, as much as was possible, the school would return to normal. 

 

In 1919, Lawrence traveled to Nashville, Tennessee, to attend the Sixth Annual Meeting of the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture.  Lawrence petitioned for his school's admission to the select group.  His application was studied; and the School of Architecture at Oregon was accepted as a member in the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the first school ever admitted after only five years of existence.  Twelve programs were selected out of 40 which applied for membership.

 

The local Eugene newspaper headline rang out:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If momentum had been lost during the war years, it was again being re-established.

 

Lawrence's comments, in responding to the program's recognition, are also noteworthy, especially in the light of an increasing sense of context:

 

  "We feel that Oregon, in pace with all the rest of the nation in

  the forward march of development, needs highly trained men

   and women in its architects' offices.  We are going to put them

   there through the university school.  To begin with, our

  graduates are of the West, and understand the West and the

  Western Ideals.  They have as high a standard of training as

  can be obtained elsewhere, and the advantage of obtaining it

  in the Western atmosphere, and so they retain their touch with

  Western Ideals.  They will, of course, broaden their knowledge

  and round out their education in the profession by travel and

  experience in other fields.  But when they return to Oregon to

  help her in her development, it will be with a loyalty and spirit

  to be obtained nowhere else.  That is one reason why we have

  raised our standards so high..."

 

An essential significance of this statement is the line Lawrence was drawing in his mind between East and West, essentially between national influence and regional form.  That is, context.

  Of Lawrence's architecture, Michael Shellenbarger, Professor of Architecture and Lawrence scholar, writes:

 

  "Lawrence was deeply committed to modern notions regarding

  informality and openness in plan, daylighting, functionalism,

  spatially complex responses to complex sites, and architecture's

  mission to society.  He often ordered his designs with Beaux-Arts

  formality, but then dramatically deviated from traditional formulas

  with new spatial configurations rooted in American informality. 

  He dressed these forms in familiar details and ornament which

  were often assembled in unexpected juxtaposition, for example,

  at the Museum of Art at the University of Oregon.

     A striking expression of this approach is the contrast of the

  formal front and the informal rear of so many of this buildings. 

  The front of many of his houses is symmetrical and predictable,

  but the rear breaks out in unexpected directions and planes. 

  Lawrence may well have pioneered this type of residential

  design in the Northwest.  His Spencer House of 1909 is the

  earliest known example.  He may have been the first architect

  to introduce the Arts & Crafts style into Oregon, in his own

  home of 1906.  His Bronaugh house of 1911 may have introduced

  the open interior plan into Oregon.  These early experiments

  suggest a role for Lawrence in the development of the Northwest

  Regional Style which has yet to be described."

 

What a strikingly appropriate form of the architect's own quest for a balance of oppositions: a formal front, an informal back; a traditional, symmetrical fore; an untamed, very Western, "modern" aft.

  In his work and thought Lawrence sought to merge his respect for traditional architectural values and his growing awareness of a Northwest vernacular form.

 

The 1919-1920 University Catalog, in describing Oregon's program, noted that, for the first time, the time spent on Beaux-Arts programs would be much less than called for by the Beaux-Arts Society.

  In an article published in the The Spectator, April 1920, entitled "Experiment in Architectural Education," Lawrence wrote:

 

  "The usual academic problems...have been largely supplanted

  by practical problems given under much the same conditions as

  exist in general  architectural practice...(including) specific

  conditions of site."

 

Again, context was becoming the issue.  The more that context became the issue, and the more that "local rule"became a desire, the less influence would be played by the Beaux-Arts. 

 

Lawrence continued to work in Portland.  He caught the train from Portland each Tuesday.  He would teach during the middle of the week., speding nights at the Hotel Osburn (later he would take a room at the Colier House, on campus).  He would return on the train to Portland each Thursday.

  His relations with Portland architects were not always good.  Some felt his program was becoming too independent from the Beaux-Arts guidelines.  Also, he had been very critical of the profession.  He was considered by some an idealist who did not understand the requisites of the profession.

  In 1916, Lawrence had written to W.R.B. Willcox: "There is a great hope (for) the profession in the West--absolutely... If I am able to do anything in the future in up-lifting the profession, it will be more through (the University) connection than anything else."

 

 

PART TWO. 

THE GOLDEN AGE

 

I.  LOUIS SULLIVAN'S AMERICA 

 

In the 1880's, Louis Sullivan had written:

 

  "Unless subjectivity permeate an art work that work cannot aspire

  to greatness... To vitalize building materials, to animate them

  with a thought, a state of feeling, and charge them with a social

  significance and value, and to make them a visible part of the

  social fabric, to infuse them with the true life of the people, to

  impart to them the best that is in the people, as the eye of the

  poet, looking beneath the surface of life, sees the best that is in

  the people--such is the real function of the architect--understood

  in these terms, the architect is one kind of poet, and his work one

  form of poetry."

 

America in the late 1800's had been driven by a sense of its destiny.  The Civil War had ended.  The country had survived a brush with self-destruction; and an even larger sense of an "American" identity was again burgeoning.  The railroad was assisting further expansion, broadening horizons, opening the West.

  In literature, this heightened sense of national identity was exemplified by the masters of the American idiom, Melville, Hawthorne,  Poe, and especially Whitman.  Sullivan's ideal of an "American Architecture" was very much tuned to this energy for self-discovery. 

  The creating of "new" forms of expression, to replace what was considered to be outmoded ideals, was at the heart of this national expressionism (Vincent Scully would later call it "Romantic Rationalism").  This focus was an affirmation of the future; of course it was also anti-historical, in one sene, in that it assumed what was really a very optimistic value: that forms were improved in time and through experience. 

  It assumed, also, what was a very American idea: that the individual had the power (that is, the freedom) to create new and better worlds; and, even more, that the individual had a spiritual and a moral responsibility to do this.

 

A dialectic animating or circumscribing American intellectural history concerns the extent to which American cultural forms draw upon European models for guidance and inspiration.  There is a significant inferiority complex among American intellectuals, with reference, especially, to Europe.  American criticism seems to spend an inordinate energy apologizing that its native creative production is not more European.  It is easy to understand, when comparisons are drawn between a cultural  emanation representing a millenia of expressions and an incipient culture of merely two hundred years experience. 

  An assumption which is seemingly made in such a comparison is that the goal of American culture is to reproduce the art of Europe.  This assumption was challenged by Sullivan, who believed in America's own personal (cultural) destiny would express itself through forms unique to its own nature; a "voice" would be found, inherently "American," which would itself incorporate and reflect the American Soul.

            One should not waste time searching older continents for models, rather, through the power of the singular eye of creation, one should "create" these models from the archetype of a national existence.

 

 

II.  THE ADVENT OF WILLCOX

 

The greatest influence in Walter Willcox's professional life had been Louis Sullivan.  Ellis Lawrence wrote a "characterization" of Willcox in the early 1920's:

 

  "The son of a clergyman who was president of a denominational

  college, Willcox's early training was in a family of individualists

  where life was rich in intellectual content and freedom of action

  unusual in that day and in such families.  His mother was a

  woman of rare philosophic poise.  One brother is a librarian

  who believes so much in the use of books that he leaves his

  stack room open to the public and does not lose books by so doing. 

  Another brother is a journalist; a sister is a producer of pageants.

     Willcox was educated...at the University of Pennsylvania. 

  His early architectural experience brought him in touch with

  Louis Sullivan and the younger Frank Lloyd Wright.  While the

  influence of Sullivan is strong in Willcox's approach, he never

  adopted that master's style.  He sought his own; to no other

  could he be true.  However, when he conceived the memorial to

  Sullivan and tried to catch the master's individualistic ornanament

   to express his personality, he showed a rare understanding of the

  basic principles of the Sullivan manner."

 

Willcox was born in Burlington, Vermont; educated, first at MIT, as an "unadmitted" student, then at Penn and Drexel. After schooling, he returned to Vermont for 12 years of practice, executing some 200 projects.  He traveled in Europe for several months in 1904.  Upon his return, he moved to Seattle, where he practiced until accepting Lawrence's offer to direct the School of Architecture.

  Lawrence came to know Willcox through the organizations of Northwest architects.  They shared a love of city planning.  Willcox had served on the Bogue Committee, which developed a city plan for Seattle, only to have it rejected by city voters in 192.

  Lawrence admired Willcox almost immediately.  Willcox was a very large man, that is, his personality was imposing.  He was opinionated.  He had something of genius about him.  People were drawn to him.  He had very strong feelings about education.  Lawrence also admired his architecture: simple vernacular forms, asymmetrical planning, with great attention to craft.

  Willcox believed in the unique quality of the individual; that, within each individual, there existed an inherent urge to create, latent energies which were rational and charged with poetic order.  He believed in an architecture that was an embodiment of its time and place: the values, aspirations, energies and "history" of the society which creates it. 

  Again, context: an architecture which was, itself, Time.

 

Lawrence invited Willcox to Eugene to lecture his school.  Several times he came.  He liked Eugene: there was something remote, something pastoral about Eugene.  There was almost a monastic quality.

  Lawrence several times suggested Willcox consider a professional role in the school.  Then, on May 13, 1922, Lawrence wrote:

 

  "Dear Willcox:

 

  I am planning to leave on the second for Chicago, via Northern

  Pacific.  Can't we tie up and go together?  I am very anxious to

  have a talk with you on many things. ..  Could you be seduced

  into taking the headship of the Department of Architecture in

  our school at the University?  I would retain my professorship

  and appear on the books as the Dean of the School, but I am

  earnestly seeking someone who would take the direction of the

  Department, who would look at it as a life job.

     We can talk a much larger salary than when we brought up the

   subject before.  You would have a good deal of spare time for

  writing poetry!!! and I am sure you would get much pleasure

  and inspiration out of the work.....

     I hope you will give this your most serious consideration. 

  I have."

 

Lawrence met with Willcox on May 22, wrote a second letter on May 26.  On May 31, Willcox responded by Western Union Telegram:

 

  "HEREBY NOTIFY YOU OF MY ACCEPTANCE OF

  APPOINTMENT EUGENE AS PROPOSED AND EXPLAINED

  IN YOUR LETTERS MAY THIRTEENTH TWENTY-SIXTH

  AND IN PERSONAL CONFERENCE TWENTY SECOND. 

  W R B WILLCOX"

    

In Lawrence, the School had found a father.  In Willcox, the School had found a prophet.  For 25 years this brotherhood would labor to clarify the nature of architecture and education.

 

 

III.  A NEW AGE OF ARCHITECTURE

 

There is something in reflection which renders the most remote ages somehow grand and uncompromised--that is, mythological.  Much as the child's eye sees adult forms in an early aspect of deity, so the pristine complexion of by-gone eras often glimmers with immensities inexplicable but ultimately real, as a dream is real.  

 

The first year of Willcox's tenure was spent mostly in observation and contemplation.  His observations helped to clarify "principles" he believed essential.  He came to believe that the aim of architecture education was to produce in the student:

         1.            personal growth and maturity

         2.            a broad cultural understanding

         3.            fluency with basic skills of expression

         4.            basic knowledge in the fundamentals of the profession

         5.            a clear, rational problem-solving method.

 

As Lawrence scholar David Shelman observed: "These objectives point out that the focus of this approach was on the problem and the problem-solving rather than on the solution.  It (was) this orientation that (set) it in sharp contrast to the Beaux-Arts System."

 

Some observers of these early years assume that it was the Willcox influence which ultimately led to the historic break with the Beaux-Arts System.  There is reason to believe, however, that Lawrence had already broken with Beaux-Arts; and that he hired Willcox because of this decision.

     Lawrence later wrote that it was Professor Avard Fairbanks who was the dominant factor in doing away with competition in design. 

     In fact, the break with the Beaux-Arts tradition had been a process of erosion; and a faculty had been assembled by Lawrence which was broadly or, in some cases, radically supportive of a new approach to design education.

     The 1923 University Catalog read quite simply: "All design problems are given by individual assignments.  The competitive system of teaching design has been abandoned by this school, accent being placed on honesty of thought and expression, and on stimulation of a spirit of cooperation."

 

If Willcox was not the "cause" of the break with Beaux-Arts, he was the dominant symbol of it.  He was the vocal spokesman of it. 

     Willcox wrote, in his Autobiography:

 

     "Education is a growth.  It requires that the roots of one's being

     go down into the soil of life.  These cannot be forced down. 

     All that another can do is to fertilize that soil, to expose the

     student plant to the sunshine of intellectal curiosity, water it

     with sympathy and with insight into the nature of the

     individual plant, prune it of dead or dying interests, and protect

     it from the blights which either limit its contact with fields of

     human thought, or constrain it to develop according to the

     choice or limitation of the teacher.  The cabbage cannot become

     a chrysanthemum, but by regarding its peculiar nature it may

     become a fine cabbage.  By the same token, a chrysanthemum

     cannot become a cabbage, but it may become a weak, ungainly

     chrysanthemum by disregard for its inherent propensities for      

     growth."

    

The two major fallacies of the Beaux-Arts had been:

     (1) it assumed individuals of similar levels of

            training would also be of equal ability;

     (2) it assumed that recognition was the highest

            motive of creative aspiration.

    

In fact, the Beaux-Arts System was abandoned in America because it was a French construct, built from French experience; it did not fit in the American context.

 

Perhaps it was the remoteness from the East Coast schools which had make the break occur more easily in Oregon.  It  was not without repurcussions, however.  Many influential architects in Portland were outraged.  Pressure was exerted on the Univeristy President to reverse the decision.  In 1925, a bill was drafted by William Knighton in the State Legislature to abolish the School of Architecture. 

 

Arthur Weatherhead, who had attended the Oregon program during the war years, would later write in his History of Collegiate Education in Architecture in the United States:

 

     "The School of Architecture and Allied Arts at the Univeristy

     of Oregon was the first American school to abandon the

     traditional Beaux-Arts methods... The readjustment represented

     a very positive break with the current educational  processes

     and has since formed the basis for several similar experiments

     in other schools.  The reorganization effected may be resolved

     along two general lines:

         1.            The competitive system in the major subject of design

            was completely abolished...

         2.            Other schools of architecture have been organized in

            connection with department of the related arts, but the

            University of Oregon was the first to establish a positive

            program of collaboration....

 

     The individual non-competitive character of the system has

     often been a factor in the success  throughout the years of the

     University of Oregon collaborative plan."

    

A decade later, nearly all the East Coast schools had followed the lead of the Oregon School of Architecture.         

 

IV.  THE CONTEXT OF THE "EXPERIMENT"

 

The rejection of an existing system of thought necessitates the emergence of the new system to take its place.  Willcox became the prime creator, and primary spokesman, of that new system.  The theme of the experiment was that democracy was to be trusted.

     Willcox believed that for growth to occur, three conditions were required:

         (1) an healthy atmosphere (environment);

         (2) adequate and proper nourishment (curriculum);

         (3) appropriate care (method).

    

An healthy atmosphere would best be described as one which allowed, even encouraged, the creativity inherent in each student and faculty to surface.  An healthy atmosphere would be comprehensive in nature, synthetic in purpose, encouraging discussion of ideas, requiring, as Prince Lucien Campbell put it "the minimum of restraint and the maximum sense of responsibility." 

     The School's physical environment is suggestive of this desire for commonality, or family.  It was, as it continues to be today,  an amalgamation of buildings, built at different times.  It included the old power plant and the burned out hulk of the women's gymnasium.  These buildings were unified around a common courtyard, which was the actual and symbolic center of the program.  It was a place of gathering, of resting, discussion.  It was where students of the different disciplines met to exchange ideas on pottery, planning, architecture, painting, politics.  Willcox would often encourage students to leave their drawing boards and gather in the courtyard.

     Willcox insisted that all architecture students work together in one immense drafting room, one containing space for 125 drawing boards.  The discipline of the room was based on individual responsibility.  Willcox posted a "code of conduct" about the room, called "The Coin of the Realm:"

 

     "The Coin of the Realm is Consideration for others;

      the more put into circulation, the better for carrying on the

     work of the school.  The Coin is of three denominations:

     consideration of amother's Time; another's Property;

     another's Nerve."   

 

This physical arrangement was to encourage discussion, to collect faculty and students together, with no artificial separation between the two.  He encouraged experimentation, realizing that receptiveness to new ideas would enhance the growth  of each member of the school.

 

The proper nourishment of the student came from a well-structured curriculum.  First of all, Design was central.  It would be through one's own design that the multiplicity of understandings involved in architecture would make themselves known, at an individual's own pace.  Projects were so selected as to ensure that each student would consider a wide range of types of problems, scales and complexities.  Over time design problems would move from elementary to increasingly complex.   Students in a certain program level were given projects of a common type, to encourage discussion.   In every level of complexity, programmatic elements were omitted, to be selected by the student.

     All other parts of the curriculum, broadly listed as Theory and Practice, were generated by the design program.  Theory courses included design theory/methods, history, ethics.  Practice courses included media (clay modeling and life drawing), construction, structures, mechanical systems.  An important assumption made in this curriculum was that application should precede abstract theory.  Efforts were made to demonstrate the nature of a problem prior to engaging in the theory behind its solution.

     Willcox also structured courses to require collaborative efforts by the different disciplines in the school: joint projects between painters, sculptors, architects, metal-workers.  In this, he encouraged architects to learn painting from painters; to learn about the nature of metals from scuptors or metal-smithers.

     Willcox considered himself Everyman.  He considered his era a kind of Renaissance, in which students, by learning the arts, by learning how to think and live creatively, could be complete human beings, as well as practitioners of their art.

 

The third element of Willcox's order was appropriate care or method.

     Elimination of the Beaux-Arts System, with its inherent motivations and inegalities, was the first step.  Next, grades were eliminated. 

     It must not be understood that Willcox dictated these changes.  As we have seen, other faculty were instrumental in developing and supporting this new order.  Still, Willcox was now the leader.

     Grades were not a true motive for education.  Inherent in the human soul was a thirst for understanding, a motive to discover and express beauty , and a poetic logic needing only to be nourished.

     Architecture was primarily problem-solving.  The student must be supported in a personal quest through which he or she might "establish a set of values and principles by which any problem may be solved."  The teacher was a sort of midwife; certainly not an autocrat.  The function of criticism was to reveal problems in a solution, and to encourage a new perspective of thought concerning the problem.  Behind it all was a spirit of  good-will.  Together they should live and learn and aspire.

 

The synthetic event of this era, combining atmosphere, nourishment, and appropriate care, for both students and faculty occurred every Wednesday night at the Willcox house.  Posted around the buildings of the School were posters similar to the one here:

 

            CLUB NIGHT

            EVERY WEDNESDAY EVENING THE

            WILLCOX HOUSE WILL BE

            OPEN TO ANY AND ALL CLUB

            MEMBERS FROM 7 TILL DAWN

                        NOTE

                        ALL DEPARTMENT REGISTRANTS

                        AND STAFF MEMBERS HAVE

                        BEEN ELECTED CLUB MEMBERS

    

            IF YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY,

            COME THERE TO SAY IT.

            IF YOU ARE MINDED TO LISTEN,

            COME TO HEAR WHAT OTHERS

            MAY HAVE TO SAY.  IF YOU ARE IN

            AN ARGUFYING FRAME OF MIND,

            CALL AROUND AND DISCUSS TO

            YOUR HEART'S CONTENT.

            IF YOU HAVE A PICTURE TO

            SHOW, A BOOK TO READ, OR A

            STORY TO TELL, SPRING IT THERE. 

            TOBACCO IS NOT TABOO.  CANNED

            MUSIC OF A SORT IS ALWAYS ON

            TAP.  THERE IS A KITCHEN,

            DISHES AND A RANGE AT

            MEMBERS' DISPOSAL...

 

            DROP IN IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT AND

            BRING ALONG ANY NON-

            MEMBER FRIENDS YOU MAY

            HAVE IN TOW.

           

 

Every Wednesday night faculty, students and visitors would gather at the Willcox house on the Millrace, a calm finger of the Willamette River, and discuss everything from architecture to taxation to European political movements.  This, from all reports, was the ideal "ideal environment."  In fact, Lawrence once referred to it as "the backbone of the school."  Often visiting lectureres or architects were invited.  Bernard Maybeck came often.  Frank Lloyd Wright, Erich Mendelsohn, and Serge Chermayeff also attended Club Night.

     A photograph of Club Night shows the slightly imposing Willcox sitting in his den, in a large black leather armchair.  Across from him is Lawrence, also in an armchair, smoking a pipe.  Seated around the two giants are students eager to catch the real meaning of their exchange.  There is the warm atmosphere of home: lights are bright; books are in the foreground, on the far desk.

     It was an innocent era: the shared sense of a new adventure, a common quest for knowledge and understanding .  Anything was possible here.

 

America in the 1930's.  When a student was asked what he thought of Willcox, he replied: "Mr. Willcox?  Yes, I can tell you how I feel about Mr. Willcox.  If I didn't have a father; and if Mr. Willcox were looking for a son--well, I would apply for that position and pray that he would select me."

     It was an era of innocence.  

 

   

V.  MOMENTUM AND FRUITION: A GALLERY

     OF PLAYERS

 

Willcox was now the driver.  But to gain and retain momentum he would need both faculty and students who believed in and could thrive within his environment of individual responsibility.

     The supporting cast was not without color.

     Lawrence wrote of Camilla Leach, the Art Librarian:

 

     "Sometimes Miss Camilla made me think of an exquisite

     cameo.  Perhaps the impression came from the finely molded

     face with the pallor, planes and lines of old age, sharp in

     contrast with paisley shawl  it was her habit to wear.  But

     when she came tripping down the campus path under the firs

     and cedars, she made me think of a busy little rusty song

     sparrow.  When she emerged from the shadow and the sun

     embraced her, I seemed to hear the beautiful song of the little

     fellow -- 'Merry, Merry Sweet'!  She invariably stopped there

     to worship an imported Balm tree, at the entrance to the Art

     Court.  This rare specimen was fragrant and lacey pink with

     bloom in the Spring, russet and garnet in the autumn, and

     bronze, studded with red berries like rubies in the winter. 

     Likely as not she would come to my office with what was

     in her heart.  "Come," she would say, "see the Balm tree this

     morning."  And together we would look down upon it until

     the spell had run its course.  I think her special delight

     in that tree was in early Spring, with the winter berries

     in Spring bloom, the new leafage all mingled with the bronze

     dead leaves of winter.  Some special charm it had then which I

     always thought was much like her own. "

 

Camilla Leach was the University of Oregon Librarian in 1897.  With the creation of the School of Architecture she became the Art Librarian.  She was in many ways the soul of the school.  An artist herself, who exhibited her work in the Northwest, she was a lover of art and fine books. 

     On Lawrence's first day of work, he found a red rose lying on his desk, from Miss Leach.  Later, when Lawrence was lecturing Miss Leach on the importance of art, she leaned across his table, and, in a snappy voice, informed him: "Sir, I was teaching art before you were born!"

     There was a student in the program in the early days, from China.  His name was Fook Tai Lau.  He had been a young student in China, in 1911, when the democratic revolution against the imperial party gained its apex.  He went to the revoltuionists and tried to enlist.  They rejected him, telling him the country would be better served through his education.  He went to his father, in Hong Kong, who was a successful merchant.  He asked his father for $180, by which he could buy himself the material of war, guns, boots, khakis, by which he could help fight the emperor.  No need.  The emporer abdicated. 

     In 1914, he sailed to America, full of dread, for he feared he sailed to "a country full of Christians," where he would be in danger.  He traveled as far as Detroit, where he worked in the Ford Plant, as a rivet driver, then as a draftsman.  He decided to study architecture.  He enrolled at the University of Washington; he stayed a short time, saying they had no true sense of "democracy."  He enrolled at the University of Oregon.

     When Camilla Leach discovered he was living on 10 cents of rice a day, she arranged a job for him in the Oriental Museum.

     When a local newsman realized there was a "Chinaman" in the Department, he rushed to Miss Leach, crying: "I hear you have a new student, a Chinaman.  I want an interview with him!"  Miss Leach replied: "We have no Chinaman here; but we do have a Chinese gentleman.  I will introduce you to him."

 

There were others.

     Roswell Dosch, sculptor instructor, who studied in Paris at the Sorbonne under Rodin and Rodin's great pupil, Bourdelle.  Dosch was selected by Bourdell from a class of 150 as one of four students to be his private pupil.  His post-World War I work, entitled "The New Earth," a portrayal of Democracy, in the form of a young man, freed from the fetters of war (the Old World), won national praise.  Dosch died of pneumonia in Portland at a tragically young age.   

     Avard Fairbanks, sculptor instructor, who at the age of 13 had won a scholarship in Art Student's League in New York, and by age 14 was exhibiting work in the National Academy of Design, produced his war memorium, "Idaho Doughboy," which Lorado Taft, a leading American sculpture critic called, "one of the best works of its kind."

     There was the proud, beautiful Maude Kerns, a local daughter of Scotch-Irish parents.  They traveled from Indiana, spent a year gold-mining in Spanish Gulch, then settled in Eugene.  She studied art in San Francisco, Eugene, at Columbia University, in France.  She came to teach at the University of Oregon in 1921.  For 26 years, she was the most striking figure on campus, queen-like, with piercing blue eyes; she was nicknamed by other faculty "the Duchess."  Her artistic output over the years was vast.

     In quite another vein, there was Billy Rivers, the janitor.  There had been a history of impressive janitors at the School.  In 1922, there was a  great fire, which had destroyed much of the old women's gymnasium, which was used by the school as painting and sculpture studios.  In fact many of Maude Kerns' paintings and some scupture and studies of Mr. Fairbanks were lost.

     The School janitor at the time, named Baird, apparently only Baird, like an English butler, had discovered the fire raging.  The firemen had arrived and were trying to battle the blaze.  Baird disappeared into the flames.  He returned with Mr. Fairbanks clay sculpture entitled "Oregon Motherhood."  He had saved it from destruction.  Baird was not finished.  He darted in a second time and returned with two typewriters (perhaps the smoke had been too thick for him to see things of real value--or perhaps he intended to save each piece of furniture, one by one).  His attempt at a third excursion was curtailed by the firemen.

     Billy Rivers came later.  In the mid-1940's, Lawrence wrote about Billy:

 

     "(The Dean) remembered the daily cheery greeting, with that

     contagious, kindly smile: 'Why, hello Dean!," as he entered the

     courtyard every morning at seven forty-five.  For twenty years

     that had been going on.  What good conversations there were

     before thestudents came streaming in, and how much common

     sense and wisdom Billy gave to help keep the school a happy

     home!  It had been Billy's school all those years, as it had

     been the Dean's.  They both loved it.

         Billy was interested in everything going on about him, but

     the students' work and the students' play were his special

     hobbies.  In the early days, the Dean recalled once finding

     Billy out in the Court, showing up two students on the

     wrestling team, which he did by tossing both, amid the plaudits

     of the boys and girls.

         When the first big fresco was undertaken and no one knew

      just how to proceed with the plaster, it was Billy who did the

     trick.  When easels or looms needed repairs, or canvas needed

     stretching, Billy always seemed to be on hand and ready to

     help.  Billy was always asking about the old students and he

     and the Dean enthusiastically shared  the letters from Tai Lau

     in China, Tominaga or Tsuboi in Japan, Pinedo in Peru, Van

     Nice in Istambul, or Steven, now Captain in the Air Corps, and

     all the others.

         He thought of other times when tragedy had knocked at

     Billy's door.  When his wife was reported near death's door as

     the last of their babies was born, the story somehow reached the

     drafting room that a blood transfusion was the last chance.  The

     boys left their work, en masse, and marched to the hospital. 

     When his old father died in the middle west, Billy did want to

     go to his funeral, but had no surplus for the trip.  The faculty

     found it out and they fixed it up at the bank so Billy saw his

     father once more.  Then there was the time when Billy was

     having a siege of rheumatism and the doctor said he should

     have his teeth out -so the faculty gave him a birthday present

     of dental plates.  It was really amazing, this expression of love

     for Billy; and, as he thought of it the more, the old Dean muttered

     to himself: 'Give human nature a chance and it's pretty fine.'"

 

In the early 1930's a fiery thin brunette was hired to teach in the interior decoration program.  Her name was Brownell Frasier. 

     The program in interior decoration had been initiated in 1927 under N.B.Zane, a Portland artist who had won national recognition for his Oriental decorative panels.

     Miss Frasier had been a student in the the University in the early 1920's, minoring in art.  She had won several prizes for her drawings.  She was a thin, sharp-witted woman, who chain-smoked cigarettes.  She was very much attuned to the national and international styles of decoration, and very outspoken in her taste.  She would soon become the program director in Interior Decoration, which would in time come to be considered one of the finest programs in the country.

 

         *                         *                      *

 

And, of course, lest we forget the students: there was Gil Farnsnow.  Farnsnow had enrolled in 1946.  He was a student in Art Riehl's design studio course. 

     Reihl was an Oregonian, a German American, and a former professional wrestler.  He was short, thickly built, with a flat nose and cauliflower ears.  The students used to mimic his language, which was not always respectable in an urbane society.  His favorite saying, as he would lean over a student's drafting table, considering the design work, was "Yes, let's analyze this."

     The students, of course, after Professor Reihl had departed, would stride around the room, pugnaciously, edging toward one another, rubbing a chin, mimicking: "Ahh, yes, let us analyze this!"

    

Arthur Riehl had been a student at Oregon and at MIT.  While a student at Oregon he had won the prestigious Ion Lewis Traveling Fellowship.  In the late 1930's he traveled through Europe, seeing much of the continent: Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany.  He had plans to meet a fellow student in Germany; then they would travel together, by train, to Paris.

     It was April 4, 1938.  He was in Stuttgart.  He had left his clothes at a local cleaners the evening before.  Early that morning he returned to the cleaners, knocked on the door.  No answer.  He walked across the street to a cafe and had a cup of coffee, feeling that the shop would open later in the morning.  After his coffee, he returned to the shop.

     He had noticed two men watching him as he had stood earlier at the shop door.  This time, as he again knocked on the door, the two men approached him and told him he was under arrest.

     This was Hitler's Germany.

     Two days earlier he had been in Lubeck.  He photographed a factory, for he found the architecture interesting.  He had been stopped; his film was confiscated.  He later assumed that this had occasioned his being followed.

     Riehl was charged on 19 counts of high treason.  He was brought before his accusers on many occasions; they demanded a confession.  At first, he answered their questions in German; this, however, led them to assume he was a spy--afterall, what American, except a spy, would speak German!

     He was held for seven days and seven nights in solitary confinement.  Finally, the U.S. Embassy arranged for his release.

 

            *                      *                      *

 

One night, late, the night before a sketch problem was due, the drafting room was filled.  It was 1946.  Riehl was now teaching at the School.  There had been a call.  Gil Farnsnow was at the train station.  He needed one of his fellow students to pick him up.  Who? the students asked.  Gil Farnsnow.  Oh, yes.  He sat over by the window.  Oh, ok.

     Who had a car?

     It fell to Sy Nance.

     Nance drove to the train station at 2:00 AM  to pick up Farnsnow.  There was no one at the station.  He waited.  He searched everywhere.  No one.

     The next day, when sketch problems were due, each student turned in a project.  There was one additional project turned in however, by Gil Farnsnow, which proved to be a very imaginative creation.

     Who was this Farnsnow? Professor Reihl asked.

     No one was sure.

 

So, Gil Farnsnow was born.  Every now and then, in homage to the great Kilroy, a sign would appear on a wall:  "GIL FARNSNOW WAS HERE!" 

     From that point on, for many years, whenever sketch problems were due, an extra sketch problem would be turned in, with Gil Farnsnow's name on it. 

     It seems that students in the program, fearing that Gil, whose attendence was spotty, to say the least, might not realize that the sketch problem was due.  In order to save him from embarassment, or, even worse, failure, the students took it upon themselves, a different one each time, to submit a sketch problem of which even Gil Farnsnow could be proud.

     One of the classic Farnsnow "solutions" came in a design studio given by John Briscoe.  One of the Science Buildings on campus had a problem: the logging trucks roaring by on Franklin Boulevard shook the building to its foundation.  The assignment was to create a design solution to this problem. 

     Farnsnow thought about it awhile.  There was an open space east of the Science Building (where Oregon Hall now stands); it was used as a parking lot at the time.  Gil's solution to the problem was to design a drive-in theatre for that parking lot location.  The theatre would specialize in pornographic movies.  As the truckers would pour into town, they would slow as they passed the drive-in, trying to see as much of the movie as they could in passing; some might even stop and buy a ticket to the show.  Thus, the problem would besolved.

     Gil Farnsnow has attended classes in the school for several decades. No one seems certain whether he ever received his degree.  But there is some reason to believe he may have, perhaps even with honors. 

 

(Gil Farnsnow's name came from a combination of the names of Gil Davis, who later became the Head of the Portland State University program; Neil Farnham, an influential Portland architect; and "snow job," which seems, in many ways, to describe the cool, somewhat existential attitude of the student.)

 

    

VI.  AN ERA WINDING DOWN

 

There was somelthing mythological about the era, something which made it real and not real at the same time, something medieval: magical and clean and somehow like a dream.  There is a state somewhere between waking and sleep, part dream, part wakefulness.  It is the place where Time is born, the Dawn of the Idea: it is the place of Origin. 

     It is the place where one can remember quite clearly what was (the dream) and see quite clearly what is to be (the vision), poised in a magnificent moment in which all elements of the puzzle seem co-existent and coherently assembled.    

        

Lawrence had desired the universal city: a medieval village, wherein Man was all things: builder, poet, artist, farmer. 

     That had been his dream.

 

            *                      *                      *

 

Time passed.  A depression. A war.

    

Lawrence continued his pattern, unshakably: three days in Eugene teaching, four days in Portland practicing architecture.  He still ran a firm with William Holford.  In the mid-1930's Fred Allyn would join them.  The Depression hit the Portland architectural community very hard; yet Lawrence's firm continued to have work.

     In 1931, Lawrence wrote to Willcox: "Yesterday was typical--first a cripple selling trinkets, followed by an old French draftsman wanting $2 to get his coat out of pawn, then three former students--no job--no way to get back, then a call from (an acquaintance) trying to find a loan."

     In December 1933, Lawrence's proposal that the historic Portland Pioneer Post Office be replaced generated a virulent personal attack.  Lawrence's motives seemed selfish to other Portland architects.  He had designed a nine-story civic building to be financed with credit from the Public Works Administration.  This would generate some one million hours of construction work, for a work-force which, at the time, was 83% unemployed.

     The building proposed by Lawrence would provide museums of art, natural history, history, as well as a civic theatre and library.

     The Oregon chapter of the AIA, in response, passed a resolution urging preservation of the Post Office.  The resolution accused Lawrence of conduct "injurious to the interest of the Chapter," and suspended his membership (in the federation he had founded) for six months.

     Three months later, a "Lawrence Day"was held by the Oregon Building Congress, honoring Lawrence for his efforts to generate work for builders in the Northwest, recognizing his contributions to their organization over several decades . 

    

 Lawrence had a long history of allegiance to the building trade.  He had long been committed to a highly skilled and creative building "guild."  In fact, when the School was founded, and Lawrence chose to allign architecture with its allied arts, he had said:

 

     "One of the achievements of the middle-ages which, sad to say,

     we have lost...is the craftsmanship of the workers.  In those days,

     every workman was not only a workman, but a craftsman as

     well.  Into those medieval cathedrals, they wove not only the

     plan and the pattern of the architect, but also their own ideas

     and expressions of mind and ideals.  We would give much to

     bring back the spirit of craftsmanship to each individual

     workman on our buildings nowadays."

 

In 1911, Lawrence had founded the Builders Exchange of Portland, a society of builders, contractors and architects brought together to further the building interests of Portland.  In November 1921, he presided at the organization of the Association of Building and Construction (later the Oregon Building Congress).  The Oregon Building Congress consisted of a "round-table" of architects, craftsmen, material suppliers, realtors, builders, plus representatives of the governor.  On several occasions, this round-table actually successfully settled labor disputes.

  Lawrence had been the president of the organization during the first three years of its life, helping to pass a Code of Ethics for the Building Industry, drafting legislation for an Oregon arbitration court, as well as establishing an apprenticeship school and the Guild of Craftsmen.  The Guild of Craftsmen, an idea of architect Charles James, honored selected craftsmen for exceptional skill in a craft, conferring upon them the title of Master Guildsmen. 

  The Guild was praised by both Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt.  And guilds based on this model were begun later in New York and Philadelphia.

  Lawrence often spoke of this work as the greatest undertaking of his life. 

 

In September 1932, Lawrence had sent a telegram to Willcox: "NERVES SHOT, ABOUT TO ASK FOR LEAVE OF ABSENCE AS ONLY SOLUTION."

   He had taken a year off.  During that time he was considered for the position of Dean of Columbia's School of Architecture.  He was not interested in moving back east.

  The Portfland professional response to his proposal for the Portland Post Office Building had increased his sense of alienation from many Portland architects.  He considered moving to Eugene.

 

At the 1935 Annual Report of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture, presiding President Roy Childs James, of the University of Minnesota, wrote:

 

  "The great ferment of these present times has permeated the

  schools of architecture to no small degree.  The pats year, schools

  everywhere are willing to experiment, willing even to tear down,

  if necessary, to build a new and better (way).  They can listen

  without a shudder to certain voices that long cried unheeded in

  the wilderness.  They no longer so suavely turn that Rome- or

  Paris-tailored cold shoulder on the Oregons, the Taliesins, or

  the Cranbrooks..."

 

That year, more than a decade after Oregon's break with the Beaux-Arts, Harvard followed suit. 

  In 1937, Grant LaFarge, a New York architect, visited the school in order to gather notes for the reorganization of Columbia's program.  That year , Columbia broke with the Beaux-Arts.

 

Willcox became, more and more, the flame lighting the school.  The reputation of the school and Willcox's preseence became more and more interwoven.

  Philip Gilmore, a student at the time, and later a faculty member at the School, traveled with other students to see the office of Frank Lloyd Wright in the 1940's.  As they were touring the office, Wright overheard that they were from Oregon; he looked up from his work: "Oh, they're from Oregon.  That's where Willcox is.  He's the greatest teacher of architecture design in the country."

 

Willcox taught, not by answering questions, but by asking them, and urging the students to ask these of themselves.  For he believed that it was through the process of asking questions of oneself that one eventually could become an instructor of oneself.

  Willcox idealized the poet.  He believed in an architecture which was at once poetic and historical, personal and social.

  Don Genasci, architect and Willcox scholar, has written:

 

  "It is apparent that Willcox, in his own thought and work, is also

  very concerned to offer an egalitarian basis for the understanding

  of architecture.  This is an architecture which is essentially poetic

  in conception, in order to convey direction, emotional meaning to

  people who are not educated in art.  Meaning is to be conveyed

  through a direct interpersonal expression or empathy, not by an

  intellectual process requiring knowledge of conventions

  of expression.

     The academic traditions, literal acceptance of Roman and

  Greek architectural references, and the structure of rhetoric as

  opposed to the underlying principles of architecture, is, in

  Willcox's view, a fundamental error.  This insistance on particular

  forms replaces cultural understanding determined by shared

  experience with rules which depend upon a kind of artificial

  knowledge, and, thus, removes the understanding of architecture

  from members of a society not educated in art.

     What he proposes...is that knowledge of architecture is the

  result of a lived understanding of a particular culture.  Thus, the

  role of the artist is to 'express, unconsciously, the mind and

  thought of his time.'  This unconscious expression of personal

  and cultural values is to be accomplished in juxtaposition with

  the architects's formal training.  The role of formal training is to

  teach the architect to think fundamentally and rationally about

  the lived culture rather than to learn rules or styles." 

 

In 1941, Lawrence considered resigning as Dean but worried whether the ideals of the school would survive without his guidance.  He took another leave of absence and wrote reminiscences, sketches, and two novels, The City of Good Will and The Red Tide.  Neither were published.

  Lawrence wrote: "I'd drop my writing quick if I could get a real job designing a worthwhile building."

  He returned to teaching the following year.

 

On February 27, 1946, in his room at the Collier House across the street from the School of Archtitecture, Ellis Lawrence died of heart failure.

 

         *                         *                      *

 

In the 1940's, Walter Ross Baumes Willcox wrote tracts on taxation and developed principles of economics.

  In 1943, he retired as the Director of the School of Architecture.  He continued to teach courses in city planning and office management.  

 

In April, 1947, W.R.B.Willcox died quietly at his home on a Saturday afternoon.  He had been 77 years old.  And an era had ended.

 

 

PART III. 

PERIOD OF TRANSITION

 

I.  A PERSPECTIVE

 

The revolution in educational methods at Oregon under Lawrence-Willcox must be understood in the context of the culture in which these men lived, of which they, themselves, were that "unconscious reflection" Willcox believed all artists inevitably were.

   The culture was "inward looking," even to the point of isolationsim.  A running dualism in American history can be described by periods of "isolationism" and "missionary-ism." 

   The "isolationism" which was emphasized at Oregon (Willcox was even reported to have taken books away from students, informing them that the answers they were seeking would not be found in books)--that is, the concern with the local, in form, material, and content--was a reflection of that same spirit which permeated America at the time. 

   Inwardness; emphasis of the poet over the intellect (Europe was essentially "intellectual," in the worse sense of the word, in the sense of old, effete, academic, non-natural); a growing sense of a "national" identity: these were all elements of a cultural season.  It was the season of the dream.  The flowering of the myth.

   America rejected Europe in a political sense also; there was no popular support to enter World War I, which was seen largely by Americans as a "European problem."

   America perceived itself (and so it was really) as largely  removed from the world, benefitting from reflection, indifferent to the styles and the tragedies of the worlds far away.

   Eugene, too, was a sort of island, a sort of medieval city-state, almost monastic in quality, in which a quest for Truth could be unhindered by outside forces.  The Lawrence/Willcox "modernism" was rooted in locale; it was very different than the European "modernism" which was rooted in style.

 

D.H. Lawrence, after moving to New Mexico to start up his own "Ideal City," wrote: "Why do we come to America...?  There is all the talk about freedom and democracy, which is in some sense true...but the real motivation is to get away from everything, to escape what is old."

   Isolationist America was imbued with the vision of itself as the "New World."  The "Old World" was somehow  false, somehow old and nearing its end.

    In this sense, the New World Quest was anti-historical: for, from the conclusion that the Old World had failed, came most naturally the assumption that to follow its ways was to follow it to the graveyard.  Life was more insistent than was History, afterall.  

   The "isolationism" continued after the First War; for, although America helped create the great International Idea after the war, the League of Nations, it did not vote itself to become a member. 

 

Pearl Harbor was the "sound" which awakened America from its dream. 

   America was thrust into the world, force to recognize outside forces, really for the sake of its own survival.

 

When the destruction was complete, America stood, as a new-born giant, in a much smaller world, an "international" world, wherein ideas were being exchanged again.  The local, national ideation had had its day, and was being replaced.

   There was much to do in this world.  This world was in need of re-creation.

   The "practical" element of Time dethroned the poetic element of Space, which was, itself, the fabric of Thought.

 

The deaths of Lawrence and Willcox, similarly,  awakened the Architecture School from its dream.

   Phil Gilmore, a student in the program in 1939, then again in 1947, after the war, said: "The void was immense.  Without the voice, the speaker, there was only an ideology.  But empty, without the spirit of its creator."

   The commitment to the old ideas remained.  But the spirit was gone; the genius had evaporated.

  

In many ways, the "New Idea," which Lawrence-Willcox had embodied, had, inevitably, through the magic of Time (He Who plays tricks of perspective on His guests) become the "Old Idea."

   Genius always is self-creating--always replacing itself with a mirror of itself.

 

II.  CONFRONTING THE VOID

 

 George Andrews, Professor Emeritus, who came to the School in the late 1940's, described the post-Willcox environment thus:

 

   "An interesting symbol of the change was the School Library. 

   Before, under Willcox, it was housed in a very small room. 

   There was no real emphasis on reading about architecture. 

   Architecture was something one discovered by doing

   it, in the Design Studio.  With the new faculty that came in,

   the intellectual aspect was more important.  Where it had been

    an architecture of feeling, and of art, before.  In the late 1950's

    it began to become an architecture of ideas."

 

Sidney Little was hired to replace Lawrence as Dean of the School: a sharp, intense man, with a full black mustache. 

   Little was educated at Cornell, received a diploma from the Ecole des Beaux-Arts; later, he received his masters degree from Tulane.  During the war he had been a Lieutenant Colonel in Burma and China.  He had returned to his home in Auburn, Alabama, after the war; he was teaching at Alabama Polytechnic when he was offered the job as Dean.

   It is hard to follow a legend.

  

An interesting accent on the nature of time and place: whereas Lawrence had been the Building Executive during his tenure, one of Little's earliest appointments was as Head of University Civil Defense.  In 1951, he issued a study wherein the University community could plan for nuclear war: the student union would become a hospital; the swimming pool the campus water supply; the Faculty Club as military headquarters; the fraternity and sorority houses would become homes for evacuees.

   Reality had changed.

 

The post-war reality was much different than the dreamy days of the Ideal City.  World War II had significantly increased the tempo of the world.  There had been a technological quantum leap.

   Enrollment at the School soared.  Military men, funded by the government to attend school, swelled the college campuses. 

   There were 75 students enrolled in the Architecture program in 1925.

   In 1951, there were 410, which totalled 3.4% of all architecture students in the country.

   To deal with this influx, the program had been modified into an "upper division curriculum"--that is, students took a general curriculum the first two years and then "transfered" into architecture in the third year.  The idea was that only the best students would survive the first two years and pass into major architecture courses.

   The program was especially demanding.  In 1952, there was a 40% "mortality rate" in the program--that is, for every 10 students beginning the program, only 6 completed the degree.

 

As there was an influx of students to be taught, so there was an influx of instructors to teach them.  A strong Allied Arts "Old Guard" remained: Eyler Brown,  Wally Hayden,  Maude Kerns, Victoria Avakian, Brownell Frasier, Andy Vincent.

   In the 1940's came new architecture instructors: Marion Ross, George Andrews, Bob Ferens, Norris Gaddis, Wallace Treadaway, Stan Bryan.

   In the 1950's, came an even greater influx: L.T. Chadwick, Donald Sites, John Briscoe, Earl Moursund, Doug Shadbolt, Philip Dole, Albert Poe, Walter Gordon, James Balzhiser, Dale Benedict, Ting-Li Cho, Lee Hodgdon, Art Edelman, Alvin Boyarsky.

 

The leadership of Lawrence and Willcox had helped draw talented instructors into the family, unting diverse interests through a commonality of vision.  But there was a void in the School in the post-war years.  It was no one's fault really. 

   It was as if a new actor had walked on stage after a great drama had been enacted.  The audience was still present, still alert, even willing to be moved.  But when the actor looked to find the script, he was told that the writer had taken it home with him.

   A new installment of the script needed to be written. 

    

 

III.  THE FIRST BUILDING CONTROVERSY

 

In the early 1950's discussion began in the School about the state of the School buildings.

   Lawrence had  inherited an odd menagerie of buildings which came to house the School of Architecture.  In 1921, before the fire, the composition was a broad configuration of loosely-connected buildings .

 

 

In an architectural sense, the fire of 1922 was not a great tragedy.  It led to a recomposition of the building complex, designed by Lawrence, into a united plan, centered around a courtyard which acted as the heart of the school.

    Lawrence spoke about the project:

 

    "Great art is collaborative in its essence.  Cooperation and

    sacrifice were the keynotes of the Gothic period in which the

    cathedral was the art school of the time, as was the workshop

    of the goldsmith in the Renaissance.  So the new university

    arts building, with its workshops and its studios, has been tied

    to the old architecture building by a simple ambulatory about

    an internal courtyard.  The effect of this plan is already being

    felt on the espirt de corps of the art students and their outlook

    upon the sister arts."

 

  Miss Camilla Leach wrote in her unpublished manuscript:

 

    "The new building was so arranged that a pleasant open-air

    court is its center, with one side separated only by columns

    from the University grounds.  The principal entrance into the

    new building is made beautiful by the panels of rich stained

    glass in its two doorways, the pediment modeled in low relief

    over the one on the western front and the corbels.  There are

    also a number of fine tiles in the floor of this entrance hall.  

    All of these decorations are the work of students: the stained

    glass having been made under the direction of Professor

    Schroff; the bas relief and corbels by students of Professor

    Fairbanks; and the tiles in the studio of Miss Avakian.  The

    decorations in the courtyard have been developed in the same

    way, and the plan will be carried out from year to year

    by different classes."

 

 

 

The "collaboration" spoken of by Lawrence was with his faculty and the students in his School.  Stained glass windows were designed and painted by the class of Alfred Schroff.  Small windows, about 13 inches square, were made, eight for the large door of the museum, and three for the small door leading to the court.  The windows represented the crafts: Goldsmith, Stone-Cutter, Embroidress, Printer, Ship-Carver, Potter, Weaver, Lace-Maker, Tapestry-Worker, Glass-Stainer, Scribe.  Each was designed and fashioned by a different student in the School.

    The architecture students developed the entrance to the court : twisted conettes, with capitals decorated with Oregon grape and pine-cone motives.

   The class in applied design contributed a mosaic of soft grays, greens, and blues, using colored cement tiles as inlays, around the Univeristy entrance to the museum. 

    The use of stucco walls allowed for ornamentation of bas-reliefs, mosaics, scraffitto, cartouches and murals. 

    The theme of "Art Serving Truth" inspired a relief panel created by the advanced students in sculpture to be placed about the door of the museum.  Truth, the central figure, the goal of art, was created by Kate Schafer, assistant instructor in sculpture.  To the left of the panel was the spiritual side, a man and a woman uniting to raise the torch of knowledge, casting its light on Truth.  The masculine figure was executed by Paul Walters; the feminine figure by Margaret Skavian.  The right side of the panel represented the material side: the various allied arts, aiding Truth with materials of expression.  A figure seated above an architectural capital symbolized Architecture; in his hand he held the pallett of the artist.  Mildred Heffron executed this figure.  Leaning over the shoulder of the seated figure was Time, holding an hour-glass (the work of Alicia Agnew).  And, at the feet of the figures, was a sphinx, as representations of the crafts.  Beatrice Towers modeled four separate heads of Painter, Sculptor, Architect and Craftsman for the four corners of the museum ceiling.

    Later would come frescoes representing the Oregon coastal life, Oregon forestry, and Oregon fruits and flora.   Byzantine tile-work from Victoria Avakian's class.  A lunette, representing the unity of architecture and sculpture, placed over the doorway of the sculpture building.  A mural depicting an incident in the battle of Silver Creek following an Indian uprising in the 1880's.  A mural of Paul Bunyan.  Designs painted on the ceiling rafters of the school patio, each design being created by a different student.  Walter Pritchard's carved corbels of Japanese oak.

 

The building became a monument to the Lawrence-Willcox vision of a "renaissance" America, a fusing of art and craft.  With simple elegance, Lawrence had united a series of discordant building elements into a unified entity, one with charm and dignity.  A building which he envisioned as  a laboratory for his students, for ever to be unfinished; each class would add an element to the motif; each decade would represent a new skin of the creation.

 

This "work-in-progress" was a source of much pride to the School.  It was a living history. 

    So, when Sid Little recommended that the south wing be replaced by a new addition, it was taken by many faculty to be an attack of the School itself, and the School's history, through Lawrence.

    Some faculty felt it was Little's way of trying to firmly establish control of the School, to wrest authority from the past, and carry the School into the future.

    The building was run-down; no renovation work had ever been done.  Some faculty called for that:  renovation of the deteriorating conditions.  The building had a charm, a personality.  It embodied the principles of the School.

    Other faculty felt a new addition made perfect sense and represented progress.

    The faculty divided over the issue.

   

Students in the Architecture School also sensed a political struggle in the form of the new building.  In the Spring of 1955 a Student Proposal was written and presented to the faculty.  The essence of this proposal was an expression of concern that educational principles which had been the basis of the program at its inception were being forgotten.  

   

There was no strong awareness of the issues of preservation in the early 1950's.  With the end of the war, the future again became promising.  American belief in the future also carried with it the premise that created forms improve with time.  The old was replaced by the new simply because the new was better suited to its time.

    In many ways that was very similar to the ideas of Willcox who had found architecture an "expression" of  time. 

    The "times" now were different. 

    An "International" architecture was now exerting its will.  Europe was being heard again, exerting its influence on American architecture, mainly through the influence of Mies Van Der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier.

    These were new ideas.  And not necessarily ideas with which the followers of W.R.B. Willcox found much agreement.

 

The proposed demolition of the Lawrence wing and design of a new south wing came to a faculty vote.  The faculty vote was deadlocked, 14-14.  Landscape faculty member, Fred Cuthbert, as head of the Building Committee, voted to break the tie.  He voted in favor of the new building.

    The building became a symbol to many faculty and students who felt that Dean Little was unsympathetic to the philosophies upon which the school had been founded.  Dean Little had been educated in the Beaux-Arts tradition, even taking a diploma at the Ecole.  He was a practical man, who seemed impatient with Willcox's dreamers.

    From Little's perspective, the expansion was necessitated by the dramtic rise in enrollment.  The School's enrollment was nearly 6 times what it had been when Lawrence designed his 1920's building complex. 

   

Demolition of the old building began October 6, 1955.  The legislature had  appropriated $500,000 for the new wing (31,585 square feet) and remodelling (28,415 square feet).  An auditorium seating 200 people would be an essential part of the addition; this would serve as a lecture room, and also as a large lecture classroom.  The library in the new building would be twice as large as the old library.  The new building would also provide four seminar rooms, class rooms and an audio-visual room. 

    The three-story south unit would be the prominent feature of the project.  It would be constructed of glass, concrete and metal, and would connect to the north portion of the building with a two-story gallery.  The main entrance of the school would be in the south unit, with a public exhibition space in the entry foyer.

    Some art-work of the old south wing would be preserved, and incorporated in the new expansion.  Of course, not all of it could be preserved.

    The architects were Annand, Boone and Lei of Portland.  Dean Little also had been hired as a consulting architecture for the project.

 

In January, 1956, Dean Little made an administrative change which invoked a storm of controversy.  Dean Little abolished the position of Director of Curriculum, up until then administered by Wallace S. Hayden, Professor of Architecture.  In place of this position, Dean Little created the Chairmanship of Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Interior Design; he appointed Frederick A. Cuthbert, a professor in Landscape Architecture, to fill this new position.

    This move wore two sinister heads to many in the School:

    (1) it removed Wallace Hayden from curricular

        authority;

    (2) it seemed to reward Professor Cuthbert for his

        vote on the new building project.

   

Wallace Hayden had been with the School as an instructor since the early 1930's.  He had attended the program in the early days, under Willcox.  In fact, he, more than any other instructor in Architecture, represented the "Willcox method" of instruction: emphasis upon a socratic approach to problem-solving, which placed ultimate responsibility upon the student to find"solutions" through a personal quest.

    There was faculty outrage.

    Fifteen students in the School wrote the following letter to the University President, O. Meredith Wilson:

 

    "We students consider the recent readjustment of the staff to

    be more than routine processes for achieving departmental

    efficiency and harmony.  Rather we consider the current activities

    to be a turning point in the philosophy of architectural

    education at the University of Oregon.

        We feel the direction established in the latest staff

    reorganization, if pursued, will inevitably resulty in the

    training of technicians in a craft rather than the education of

    creative individuals to operate in the profession of architecture.

     Such a direction would damage not only the distinguished

    reputation that the school enjoys but would be a breach of faith

    to those of us who have invested, or will invest, our time and

    energy earning degrees from this university.

        We also feel that the present administration changes will

    set in motion patterns of policy that will be felt for years to

    come, and, as such, merits your most thoughtful examination.

        We would like to go on record as opposing what we feel is

    a philosophy of education determined by administrative

    convenience, and as favoring the philosophy exemplified

    by Mr. Hayden--that of unfettered personal inquiry as a basis

    for education.

        Reaffirming our belief in the ideas set forth in the Student

     Proposal of Spring 1955 for a return to a program based on

    the principles upon which the School of Architecture was

    founded, we, the undersigned, express our belief in Mr. Hayden. 

    We feel he is the only member of the architectural staff qualified

    by longstanding background, integrity and devotion, to assume a

    position of leadership in the administration of a program suited

    to the best interests of the students.

        The very encouraging program initiated this fall term under

    Mr. Hayden's direction has provided the first and only steps

    sympathetic with last spring's Student Proposal.

        However, the position to which Mr. Hayden has been

    relegated leaves him without authority or direct responsibilities

    and therefore renders him ineffective both as a teacher and as

    an influence in the formation of school policy.

        We want to be sure that Mr. Hayden is not held responsible

    for the dissention and discontent in the architectural area; the

    student action of last spring was neither directed against Mr.

    Hayden nor instigated by him."

   

President Wilson issued a statement that stressed his administration recognized only the deans of the professional schools; therefore, any organization below that level was the responsibility of the school's dean.

    Dean Little responded to the letter stating that the administrative change represented no change in philosophy: it was merely a procedural matter.  He was not surprised that the students were aroused.  He believed that the students felt Professor Hayden was treated unfairly.  He stressed the difference between educational philosophjy and operational procedure.  He thought there had been "a good bit of misunderstanding ...but most of the students understand now."

    Professor Cuthbert called the change an administrative simplification which did not affect policy.  He had issued a statement shortly after the appointment, saying the reorganization represented only a procedural change.

 

In 1956, construction of the new building began. 

    The house had grown larger, and the home more fractionated.  If the Lawrence-Willcox era had been as uncontentious as it is portrayed (Time sometimes cleanses portraits miraculously), then the rites of accession, in the post-war epoch, had brought to the School a new drama, which would become, itself, ultimately vivifying.  

   

 

IV.  EUROPEAN INFLUENCE: THE BAUHAUS

 

I have spoken of the early Twenty Century in America as an era of "isolationism," a period of cultural nationalism, through which "self-expression" gained dominance over "style".

   At the end of World War II America had been thrust upon the world, a giant filling a silent void.  The League of Nations, which America had not joined, was replaced by the United Nations, a federation created and funded and housed by the United States. 

   The world had become small.  Technology had changed the pace of movement.  A political internationalism had returned.

 

The "experiment" at Oregon had not been an isolated experience, free of historical movement, untouched by causal or typal parallels.  Ideas circulate; those who grasp the newest ideas are prophetic.

   In Germany, in 1919, the new idea was the Bauhaus.  The Bauhaus was a school of design, building and craftmanship founded by Walter Gropius in Weimar.  Gropius took over with the intent to unite art and craft.  He also believed that a building should be the result of a collective effort of architect, potter, furniture-maker, artist.

   A significant difference between the "experiment" of the Bauhaus, and the "experiment" at Oregon, was in the relationship of each to the "machine."  Initially, Gropius, although he did not oppose the use of the machine, stressed the need of maintaining the subservience of the machinery of building to the will of the designer.

    The influence of Marx was strong in Germany.  Gropius linked design with social movements (he was a sociologist as well as an architect).  He came to feel that, through the use of the machine, designers could be directed, not toward hand-craftmanship, but, toward the creation of type-forms which could serve as models for mass-production.  The architect, as such, could re-make society through creation of prototypes, which would generate products which would provide for the masses a better way of life.  It was an architectural manifestation of the factory.

   The founders of the program at Oregon, had, as a foundation, the belief in the West, in Individualism, in the power of democracy to transform the world.  A world of prototypes was as far from their considerations as was possible: for each student and each problem there was a unique solution.  Afterall, the answer was not the only issue; the question was also an issue.

   Individualism was inherently capitalistic; for it assumed that the best world resulted from free individuals assuming responsibility for creating their own worlds.  Unique forms of expression resulted as a consequence of  this responsibility.

 

In 1923, a Bauhaus exhibit was held, entitled "Art and Technics, a New Unity."

   The Bauhaus seemed ultimately "modern" in approach; the program at Oregon seemed more dreamy, existing in a sort of renaissance aura.

   The Bauhaus was moved to Dessau in 1925.  Buildings already existent were appropriated for the school.  In addition, Gropius designed a building for the school.  It consisted of 3 principal wings: a school of design; workshops; and student hostelry.  The first two were linked by a bridge over a roadway.  Within this bridge were administrative rooms, club rooms, and a private atelier for Professor Gropius.  The student hostel was a six-storey building consisting of twenty-eight studio-dormitory rooms.  The building was constructed partly of reinforced concrete.  In the workshops' wing, reinforced concrete floor slabs and supporting mushroom posts were employed with the supports set well back to allow a large uninterrupted glass screen on the facade extending for three storeys.  This was probably the first time so ambitious a use of the glass screen was employed in an industrial building; it helped to lead the way to similar constructions throughout Europe and America.

 

Here you have another parallel between the founding of the two schools: Lawrence and Gropius, the fathers of their respective "experiments," each  essentially inheriting a cluster of buildings as a home, with a free hand to design the unifying element of the complex.  

   Lawrence chose the "hand-crafted," ornate stucco building, with a central emphasis on a courtyard which brought together all the disparate allied arts for cooperation.  It was more a medieval  monastery than it was a monument to technics surely. 

 

   Lawrence's favorite description of the School, "Harmony  through Diversity," described his essential belief in human-ism; and so the technical solution was never really a consideration in the Oregon context.  Of course, there were great contextual differences between Eugene, Oregon, and the urban centers of Western Europe.

 

The Bauhaus was ultimately "modern;" modern technics was a major philosophical issue.

   In 1928, Gropius resigned to devote more time to his creativity.  He ultimately hired Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to succeed him as director.

 

Mies was the son of a master mason who owned a stone-cutting shop.  Mies did not receive a formal education in architecture, but came to the profession by way of the building arts, especially cabinet-making.

    In the early 1900's he apprenticed with Peter Behrens, the most imaginative architect in Germany.  Behrens design of German factories was essentially modern and industrial; his design using exposed metal structural frame infilled with glass was compatable in the mind of Mies to his cabinet-making experience.

   Next, Mies worked with Hendrik Petrus Berlage, who derived a theory of architecture from the 19th century moralist theory of "honesty" through revealed expression of materials and structure.  

   After the First World War, Mies' career as a "modernist" hit full flight.  In two glass skyscrapers (1919 and 1920-21), Mies sought to dramatize the reflective powers of glass in free-form curvatures. These glass towers were powerful examples of the non-classical principles of naked, unornamented expression of structure and materials, and were types which Mies continued to develop.  

   Modernist influences in Germany were powerful; and Mies sought them out.  Expressionism from Holland; Constructivism and Suprematism from Russia; Frank Lloyd Wright's impact from America.  He helped found a magazine dedicated to modernism, "G" (Gestaltung: Creative Force).  He joined the Novembergruppe, founded in 1918 in celebration of the Russian Revoltuion.

    In  1930, Mies became director of the Bauhaus.  Nazi pressure almost immediately forced him to move his school from Dessau to Berlin.  Continued political pressures led to the closing of the school in 1933. 

   Both Gropius and Mies left Germany to escape the Nazis.  Gropius went to teach at Harvard; Mies, ultimately, went to teach at the Illinois Institute of Technology (Armour Institute).  Both Gropius and Mies were drawn to Chicago, which, in many ways, was the cradle of American architecture.

 

V.  LE CORBUSIER: BUILDING AS MACHINE

 

Another great source of the new style of architecture, which later came to be called the "International Style," was the Swiss architect Le Corbusier.  At his school in La Chaux-de-Fonds, and later in travel throughout Europe, including a period working with Behrens in Berlin, he was very early concerned with the issues of mass production and standardization.

   Different from the American mind, which equated "democracy" more with individual "freedom," the European mind tended to equate "democaracy" with group "equality."  As such, the "International Style" in Europe became an intellectual social movement; whereas, in its inception, the "American Style" of Sullivan and Wright became a personal expression of a physical/cultural heritage. 

   European "internationalists" sought to change the world through architecture; American "nationalists" sought to express the world through individual form (architecture).

   Mass production and standardization was seen as a method of achieving equality (in the political sense).

   To his social commitment, Le Corbusier married his passion for Cubism.  He wrote the journal "L'Esprit Nouveau" of an uncompromising reduction of all buildings to the basic geometrical shapes of rectangle, plane surface, cube and cylinder.  The architectural means employed by such reductionism to true (anti-ornament) form were free-standing columns at ground floor level, continuous strips of fenestration, glass walls, flat roofs.

   His radically functional renovation of the house he spoke of as "machines for living in."

 

In 1932, a book entitled "The International Style" was writen, from which the "movement" took its name.  (In Europe it was a movement; in America it was a style.)  In this early manual it is written:

 

   "There is, first, a new conception of architecture as volume,

   rather than as mass.  Secondly, regularity, rather than axial

   symmetry, serves as the chief means of ordering design.  These

    two principles, with a third, proscribing arbitrary applied

   decoration, mark the prooductions of the International Style. 

   This new stule is not international in the sense that the

   production of one country is just like that of another.  Nor is

   it so rigid that the work of various leaders is not clearly

   distinguishable...  In stating the general principles of the

   contemporary style, in analysing their derivation from structure,

   and their modification by function, the appearance of a certain

   dogmatism can hardly be avoided."

 

VI.  THE INTERNATIONAL STYLE: THE

      AMERICAN INFLUENCE

 

In the rebellion of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright and other American architects against European form (the so-called "Chicago School"), a new "style" was born.  These architects sought a typically  American "style" of expression.

   Sullivan's often misunderstood "Form follows function," was more a statement supporting context than an appeal to reductionism.  Form was not reduced to its function.  Form was inspired, even molded, by its function, its definition--that is, by its physical and cultural heritage.

   This American "rebellion" was not a dogma; it was essentially "anti-intellectual".  It was not a system of thought (as it became in the European useage); rather, it was an understanding, which did not dictate process but informed it.

   Lewis Sullivan would never have conceived of a building as a machine.  To Sullivan, a building was a manifestation of the soul.

 

Frank Lloyd Wright eschewed ornament in his buildings.  Yet, with Wright, each form was an individual expression of a specific context.  The content of the building was the context of the building--which is another way of saying "form follows function."

   Wright revolutionized house design in the early 1900's.  His characteristic plans in X, L and T shapes exhibited a free flow of movement between major living spaces; the organization was generally horizontal, spacious: the buildings almost carved from the earth.  Wright's houses appear fluid, almost solid elemental-forms (none more so, of course, than the Kauffman House--"Falling Water"--in which the house itself seems a higher element of the waterfall below).

   In terms of their construction systems, the dramatic use of cantilevering, free-standing mushroom columns, the creative use of reinforced concrete, all were new at the time, and would become essential parts of the "modern" style. 

   Wright's use of material (stone, concrete, glass) was essentially sculptural; his intention was more in having his work emerge from the earth, from its surroundings.  He was not motivated, apparently, by the European premise that  a building which showed its structure was more "true" or moral than a building which hid its structure.

 

Wright began publishing his work in 1901; and by 1910, his work had been brought to the attention of European architects.  This work included the Prairier House series, the Willitts House (1902), the Martin House (1904), the Glasner House (1905), the Robie House and the Mrs. Thomas Gale House (1909).  At least as influential were the non-domestic work, with its use of reinforced concrete, and complex cubic forms: the Larkin office building in Buffalo, NY (1904), the Unity Church in Oak Park (1906), the small hotel in Mason City, Iowa (1909).  The younger architects of Europe were very much moved by this revolutionary  approach to design.

   The impact of Wright's architecture on European thought is sometimes considered dubious.  One cannot look at Mies' Farnsworth House and not see the impact of Wright; or even the German Pavilion at the International Exhibition in Barcelona (1929).  Certainly the monumental "high rise" type of architecture in Europe in the 1920's and early 1930's was influenced by the work of Sullivan and Wright.  Sullivan's emphasis on function (while often misunderstood) was a major element in the subsequent ideology of the International Style. 

   Wright sought to discover, through his work,  a universal "organic" architecture however; his approach had very little in common with the  European notion of architecture as "machinery".  While Wright's use of materials was sculptural, in the highest sense of the word, his architecture was never sculptural, in the sense of being an object placed in the landscape.  His buildings seemed to grow out from the landscape; his search for elemental structure was more an aesthetic, architectural issue than it was a moral issue. 

  

The ideas of Sullivan and Wright in many ways helped to provide an intellectual foundation for what came to be called the "International Style."  With Sullivan and Wright, however, it was not an intellectual system.  When it returned to America, especially in the 1930's, to exert such an influence educationally as well as professionally, it had returned as an ideology: "poetic" thought standardized had become architectural dogma.

   The Encyclopedia of Modern Architecture describes the International Style thus:

 

   "Foreshadowed by the domestic building of Adolf Loos, the

   early industrial constructions of Perret, Behrens and Gropius,

   much work by engineers, European and American, and even the

   Futurist visions of Sant Elia, the new architecture of the pioneers

   among the second generation of modern architects, particularly

   the French-Swiss Le Corbusier, the German Gropius and Mies

   van der Rohe, and the Dutch Oud and Rietveld, representing a

   convergence of social and aesthetic aspirations characteristic of

   the second decade of the century, found early expression, mostly

   in projects, in the years 1919-23 immediately after the First World

   War.  The large-scale projects of Mies (his glazed towers of 1919

   and 1921), the Chicago Tribune Tower design of Gropius and

   Meyer (1922), and the spaced cruciform skyscrapers of Le

    Corbusier's "City of Three Million," also projected in 1922,

   indicated a generic debt to American achievement in building,

   and by the mid century the International Style would even come

   to seem to many a characteristically American style."

 

 

VII.  RETURNING TO EARTH   

 

The building addition to the south wing of the Architecture School complex at Eugene was designed very much with regard to the principles of the so-called "International Style": exposed structural elements; lack of ornamentation; standardized, mass-produced concrete panels as a construction system.

   The wing was very much a "modern" building; it was also very much in opposition to the principles of Lawrence and Willcox.

   The building was opened for the academic year 1957-58. 

   On the eve of the new school year, the flier below was distributed around the building:

 

   "To all 4th and 5th year students, graduates and instructors in

   the School of Architecture & Allied Arts.

      It is our belief that nearly all the student and professors of

   the school object very strongly to the new working environment

   that has just been provided for the students engaged in the creative

    arts.

      A sentiment of disgust, discouragement, and bitterness rates

   high among us, because we have known something better and

   expected something more from a new school of Arts.  Should

   these feelings remain in the rumor stage, half-buried within us,

   expressed only in small conversation groups, it might be thought

   that our opinion is not unanimous, that it is just another one of

   those art quarrels where half of the people hold one opinion and

   half the other.... In this case it is not so...

      We believe that good architecture can only be taught in good

   buildings....  This action is not intended to bring the new building

   down.  We realize that it is up and will stay up... The purpose

   behind it is not aimed against the staff, or the dean of the school.

      Being students we are not in a position to know what

   circumstances made this building possible, who are the guilty,

   and to what degree.  It may have been just "mere chance" that

    took an unguided course, and produced it...

      Let, with a minimum of sacrifice, each one of us show our

   feelings...  Let no upperclassman or instructor appear in the

   school Monday the 30th and Tuesday the 1st.

                                                  GIL FARNSNOW."

 

The general strike was not observed.  However, the sentiment expressed in the Farnsnow epistle was shared by many.

   In February 1958, Sid Little resigned as Dean, in order to devote more time to practice and to instruction in the School.  In a matter of months he would accept the position as Dean of Architecture at the University of Arizona.

   His administration of 12 years had been an era of contention.  The School had grown profoundly, in terms of the physical site and in terms of enrollment.  University enrollment now totalled more than 6200.

   In terms of the School's philosophy, there had been a slight modification of emphasis, portending the coming era of "environmentalism."  The School published a brochure in 1958 with the following description of the program:

 

   "As an artist, planner, technician and economist, the architect is

   largely responsible for the physical makeup of his community. 

   In his broad professional role he must have an understanding of

   the nature of people and the landscape in which they live, and,

   in the light of these things, develop an appropriate architectural

   language.  In our democaracy, he creates for many people.  The

   influence of his professional knowledge has direct bearing on

   the physical and mental health of society.  As such, the architect

   is an environmentalist."

  

VIII.  TOWARD AN AWAKENING

 

In the Autumn of 1958, Walter Gordon was hired to succeed Sid Little as Dean. 

   Gordon had studied architecture at Princeton; then he had taken an MFA.  He studied at the University of Paris, and was a Carnegie Fellow at Yale.  He was the curator of the San Francisco Museum of Art from 1936-1939.  He then worked with Pietro Belluschi for 7 years, before opening his own office in Portland.  He taught courses in  art history at Reed College during those years.  Then, in 1957, he began teaching at the University of Oregon.

   Gordon was generally well-respected by his peers.  He was a sensitive man, artistic, with a broad knowledge of architecture history.

   Two interesting trends later emerged in the School and seemed to have appeared in the figure of Walter Gordon: first,  architecture history was deemed worthy of study.  Much of the modern movement eschewed historical study as inappropriate to the creation of modern form.  Willcox had de-emphasized history; Gropius, at Harvard, had abolished history for a time, then, when threatened with loss of accreditation, had allowed only the teaching of the history of Egyptian and Medieval Architecture.  Gordon was primarily an architectural historian; in fact, with his promotion to Dean, more courses immediately were offered in art history.

   Second, an administrative "Princeton Connection" began.  The School would hire no less than five faculty from Princeton in the next two decades, four of whom would play major administrative roles in the School.

   There would prove to be a persistent "connection" between Oregon and three schools over the next two decades, in terms of interchange of ideas, faculty, and other intangible influences.  These schools were Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of California at Berkeley.

 

The new building was dedicated Ellis Lawrence Hall in April 1958.  Pietro Belluschi, native Portland architecture, and Dean at MIT, presided over the dedication.  A statement writted by Frank Lloyd Wright was read as a part of the dedication to Willcox, whom Wright called "a man of vision...a beacon of light for the young architects long before general recognition came (to him)."

   Richard Neutra visited to lecture on "Recent Contact with the New Architecture."  Robert Wilmsen and Charles Endicott, graduates of the program, were commissioned to develop a 50-year master plan for the State Capitol in Salem.  Jack Wilkinson, the nationally-recognized painter, a balding, muscular, intense man, was beginning a mural of hieroglyphs on the south face of the new wing.  Bruce Goff visited, scoffing at the new architecture as mere boxes wearing hats.  Will Martin graduated from the program.  George Andrews attended an 8-week course at Penn State on the design of fall-out shelters; a year earlier he had spent a year studying Mayan ruins while on sabbatical.  Bob Ferens took a leave in 1961 to work as the supervising architect on the Volta Dam project in Ghana.  Earl Moursund had been awarded a nationally-funded grant to study the influences of land ecology on village patterns as an architectural expression.  Walter Creese, a Visiting Professor from the University of Illinois, gave a lecture on the role of history in the discipline of architecture.  Walter Gordon offered a seminar on ethics in the practice.  Eugenio Batista, professor of architecture in Cuba, had been forced to flee his homeland after Castro's revoltuion; he was hired by the School after spending a year at MIT.  Stan Bryan presented a lecture on the architecture of Finland.

   Gordon, following Lawrence's example, sought to return some of the local influence to the program by hiring graduates of the program who were working in Eugene. 

   He also sought to bring in new ideas by hiring three fresh intellectuals from the East Coast: Peter Land, Alvin Boyarski, and Lee Hodgdon.  These three brought with them the philosophies from Europe: Corbu, Mies, Gropius: that is, the "new" architecture.

   Land had been educated at the Royal Academy School of London; he had then taken a Master's degree in city planning from Yale. He had been teaching at the Carnegie Institute of Technology when hired to come to Oregon.

   Boyarsky studied at the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada; then at the AA in England.  He was teaching at Cornell, a member of the Organization of Cornell Planners.

   In 1962, he gave a lecture on "Camilla Sitte: The Art of Building Cities."  Sitte's late 19th Century book on "city building according to its artistic fundamentals (had) burst like a demolition bomb on the city planning practices of Europe."  Sitte had helped set the Germans on the path to a national style; his influence had swept through France, then to England.  The lecturer regretted that his influence had remained negligible in America.

   Boyarsky, with Land and Hodgdon, exerted a strong but short-lived influence on many of the young architecture students in Eugene.  They arrived as proud (some said arrogant) Eastern spokesmen of the new architecture, carriers of European ideas.  The ideas seemed new and exciting to many students.  They helped to vitalize the School through a heightened debate on the relative values of "modern" and "traditional" architecture. 

   They did not stay long.  Each would go on to a distinguished career, returning to practice and to teach on the East Coast.

 

Buckminster Fuller visited the School again in 1962.  He lectured on "The Invisible Trend", proclaiming: "I predict that within 10 years our present cities are going to become university-dominated centers."  Fuller claimed that 99% of modern technology occurred on the invisible level; that the world stood on the threshold on a new civilization which would banish all forms of darkness through the harnessing of this invisible technology.

 

Walter Gordon resigned as Dean in January 1962.  He wished to resume his practice, and teach part-time again at Reed College. 

 

 

IX. A NEW BEGINNING

 

Walter Creese was selected as the fourth Dean of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts.  Creese had studied at Brown University; he had received a master's degree and a Ph.D. in art history from Harvard.  He had taught at the University of Illinois before accepting a position as a Visiting Faculty member at Oregon.  He was the current President of the Society of Architectural Historians.

 

Walter Creese circulated his "Goals for the School" among the faculty after his appointment:

 

   "As teachers of the arts, it is inevitable that we be concerned

   with the quality of life.  That is our particular  obligation...

      Your school intrigued me from the first because it exists in

   a natural surrounding which, so far, has not been completely

   occupied or transformed by man.  This brings us close to the

   original tradition of American romanticism.  The sense of

   developmental exploration which I detect in your discussions

   of teaching appear as American as anything can be.  It is

   considered within a framework of informality which has its

   architectural counterpart in this region in a tendency to work

   from the house upward toward the monumental building, which

    in turn goes back to the 17th Century tradition in America. 

      As Americans, in general, we are wanderers, adventurers and

   improvisers, free individuals upon the open stage.  In our

   structures we have sought wider spans and more frequent

   turns, and always a sense of spatial release internally through

   open windows, and winged plans, and outside a pervading

   consciousness of the landscape.

      The Northwest is the only part of the country where this

    romanticism remains virtually intact.  Swelling populations

   and a growing urbanism have so far not rooted it out.  This is

   when and where we ought to make a last and searching test of

   the possibilties of romanticism.  It would require one crucial

   change in attitude, however, which I hope we might be ready

   to make.  We would have to accede to a crystallization of

   romantic ideals, bringing them into better focus, rather  than

   depend alone upon the open-ended drive and momentum of

   our culture to carry us on to yet happier solutions...

      One of the first things which struck me about Oregon, long

   before I had any inkling of permanent association with it, was

   the marked character and individuality of its faculty. This I

   regard as an extremely favorable condition.  I also agree

   with those who contend that the state university is the

   educational form of intrinsic originality in America.  The

   problem is, however, that with the exception of the revolution

   in painting instruction at the University of Iowa in the 1930's,

   no new vision of artistic education has come out of

   any of them.  This opportunity has been left to the private

   institutions.  Isn't it high time we generated some new leadership

    in our state institutions?  I do not see why Oregon, with its past

   of individualism and originality, could not be outstanding if it

   takes time to think its program through.  My thought tends

   presently to linger around the conviction that the Pacific West is

   a visually new and promising country."

 

Post-war America had been profoundly influenced by the ideas inherent in the "International Style".  To say 'profoundly influenced' suggests causality; to suggest that the "ideas" of the imported doctrine drove the society is misleading; the generating Idea, of which "modern" architecture was a reflection, was also reflected in the other forms of American society.

   No symbol of this Idea is more telling than the suburban tract home: standardized, compartmentalized "machines for living," functional units in a fabric of life which found as its generating image "the factory".  The units of society (the "living" in the "machines for living") were cogs in a machine, each essentially interchangeable, mass produced, without distinctiveness: function and sameness were ideals.  The Individual did not matter.  America was still at war, afterall.  Korea had come.  Joseph McCarthy had flushed out treason from the State Department.  The War was cold perhaps, but bomb shelters were becoming a standard item in the design of houses.  Sputnik had arrived.  Russia was building an arsenal of nuclear warheads and the world was in danger.   

  

As a new energy would come to America in 1960 in the figure of young John Kennedy, to help provide purpose and a sense of direction for the country, so the Department of Architecture would be visited for a short time by a young dynamic figure who would, largely through his energy, re-invigorate the Department and set it moving again upon its course.

 

Also, the first signs of rebellion against a scientific standardized view of life was appearing in the form of "beatniks," bearded, anarchistic youth, idealistic in some cases, degenerative in others.

   George Boas, Professor Emeritus at Johns Hopkins University, spoke at the Oregon graduation ceremony in 1960: "No one will reform society by growing a beard, putting on a dirty t-shirt, and going to the woods.  Let them go to the woods.  We are better off without them."

 

       

PART III. 

REGENERATION

 

I.  THE CONTEXT OF EUGENE

 

The remote physical context of Eugene, set at the southern tip of the Willamette Valley, some 110 miles south of Portland, had proven to be both a major strength and a significant limitation of the School.  Removed from major urban areas, the School had proven resistant to (some might argue unaware of) topical "styles" of architecture animating many cities.

   The "atmosphere" of Eugene had always been somewhat reclusive.  The "romanticism" of the Northwest, of which Walter Creece spoke, was a characteristic of the place, and had been since Lewis and Clark first "discovered" its foggy, forested mysteries.

   The School at Eugene had always emphasized the human scale, the human involvement in the act of architecture.  The social movement misnamed the "International Style" in Europe became, in America, a generalized "style" emphasizing technology as an architectural solution.  It was not, in America, a social solution; in Eugene, as a style, it spurred very little folowing largely because of its de-emphasis of the human role in Architecture as an act and as a result.  And because of that aforesaid "romanticism" which found in traditional and vernacular forms more merit than in the modern style.  Romanticism is esentially anti-technological, as it is usually anti-modern.

 

To say that the Architecture School had stagnated in the post-Lawrence/Willcox era is perhaps unfair.  The School was looking for direction however.  A new kind of energy was needed to rekindle the School.

   The program was quite demanding.  Where Dean Little had spoken of the high "mortality rate" among architecture students (that is, the high percentage of students who did not finish the degree), he was describing a fairly lock-step 5-year curriculum which culminated in an individual thesis studio, in which each student worked independently, with faculty advisors, on a project chosen and defined by the student. 

   At the end of the year, the "thesis" work would be reviewed by a panel of faculty.  A very small percentage of students in thesis studio completed the requirement.  In fact, Don Genasci, a student during the learly 1960's, and now a faculty member, recalled that of his class of 90 students only about 15 completed the degree.

   A high level of design skill was required by the faculty.  Some students found the criteria of review somewhat arbitrary.  Some students who did not complete the degree entered the profession and began distinguished careers, such as Fred Coeder.  However, as Genasci remembers it, it was a very rigorous program, with a very high set of design standards.  It was generally accepted by faculty and students that almost no one would complete the degree in five years.

 

Another factor which led to the slow completion of degrees (the University President's office had released a study showing the average time required to complete the B.Arch five-year program was 7 2/3 years) was the variable credit system.  This system assigned a percentage to different parts of the thesis, from initial site and program research through design development and presentation of the finished product.

   If a student completed only part of his thesis project, that student was given a percent of credit.  A student could, in theory, return each year, complete only part of the thesis, and continue to amass credit for unfinished work.   In fact many students did repeat parts of the thesis for partial credit. 

     

 

II. RESTRUCTURING

 

In 1963, the ACSA visited the School of Architecture as a part of its five year accreditation review.  Wallace Hayden, Head of the Architecture Curriculum, had informed the faculty of the visit the day before the visit was scheduled.  He told the faculty it was a simple matter; there was nothing to worry about.

   The Board of Visitors found the Architecture Program disorganized, unprepared for the visit; there was no clear structure to the curriculum (there were too many students floating in the program, somewhere between 5th year and graduation).

   Accreditation of the program was placed on probation.

 

This was a major blow to what had been considered one of the top ten schools in the country.

   This rebuke provided an opportunity for restructuring.  The School had become too large.  The small family setting of Lawrence-Willcox, the interdisciplinary school, had been transformed into a metropolis of competing and even contradictory interests.  Administration of the School, from one office, had become too unwieldy.

   The faculty had already begun a process to break the School into administrative units or departments.  This would be highly beneficial.  The main administrative tasks of each department would be handled by that department; and each department would be administered by a department head and departmental committees.

   Creese needed to revitalize the Architecture Program.  He could not do that from his position as Dean.  He needed to find a department  head who could lead the program with some new bold initiative.

 

 

III.  THE PRINCETON CONNECTION

 

The Architecture Program at Princeton, in the 1950's, produced a series of architect/educators which would affect quite proundly the profession of architecture and architectural education in America, especially on the West Coast.  Students in the Princeton program included Ken Venturi, Chalres Moore, Bill Turnbull, Del Hylands, Dick Peters, Bill Kleinsasser, Robert Harris, Wilmot Gilland, and Donlyn Lyndon.

   The guiding spirit of the Princeton program was Jean Labatut, a direct product of the Beaux-Arts System, a runner-up in the Grand Prix.  Labatut was a large personality, a primary sun, around which revolved the other (lesser) faculty and students.  Labatut was the director of the graduate program; but since all students worked in the same room, his influence touched everyone.

   Wilmot Gilland, a student in the program and later Dean at Oregon, remembers Labatut:

 

   "Labatut was an extraordinary teacher in the sense of challenging

   you to think about your work...  Architrecture was not being

   considered only as building but as cityscape too...the tissue that

   connects, the space that connects buildings together.

      One of the things that Labatut said as a way of working

   was 'learn, assimilate, forget, create'.  This was a set of four stages

   towards thinking about design...

      Labatut was always very supportive in the studio and had a

   great sense of humor about your work as well... One of Labatut's

   favorite words was 'spectacle'.  He was always talking about this

   'spectacle' he had designed for some festival or international fair.

   It would have fountains and jets of water and searchlights and

   everything.  I think Charles Moore was very much swept up in

   all of that too, and a lot of his subsequent work has been involved

   with thinking about the full range of possibilities."

 

Bill Kleinsasser, Professor at Oregon, remembered Labatut mostly as a "charming Frenchman."  He was the strongest influence at the school, but mostly for his personality.  "He was a wonderful Frenchman," Kleinsasser said.  "But, no, he was not a designer." 

   Louis Kahn visited Princeton often, lecturing, critiquing design work:

 

   "I found that the things Labatut would talk about have really left

   me, by and large.  I remember them as being fascinating a the

   time...he was fascinating...  On the other hand, I remember very

   many things that Kahn said, very important, insightful discussions

   of things that he would express with a very strong conviction. 

   It came out of his making of buildings, and out of his

   understanding of particular design situation.  I think the difference

   was that one man was very close to the act of making real

   buildings and the other one wasn't." 

 

There was a bitter rivalry between Princeton and Harvard, of course.  Harvard, with Gropius, was the famous program, with students regularly winning competitions.  Many of the Princeton students were envious of the glamor of Gropius's program.  But, Kleinsasser recalls: "The Princeton 'modern dogma' was different than that of Gropius and Harvard.  It was more humane, more experiential.  Over time, most Princeton students were relieved that they had not attended Gropius's school."

 

Besides the influence of Kahn, there were other strong faculty.  Bill Shellman taught media courses with a very human approach, tending to define architecture as places seen by other people.  Enrico Peresutti, an Italian architect, offered a course in designing and building a chair, with a keen emphasis on detail.   Mario Salvadori taught courses on the infleunce of structural systems on design.  Buckminster Fuller was a regular visitor.  Donald Egbert taught a course in the history of modern architecture; and George Rolle on oriental art and philosophy.

  

Charles Moore went to Princeton because he wanted to be an architectural historian.  He attended graduate school after working for years in the profession.   He remembers:

 

   "The fall term of the year I was an assistant to Lou Kahn -

   I had just finished my doctorate and was teaching - was a class

   of four, of which Bill Turnbull was one.  The spring term

   was a class of eight, of which Don Lyndon was one, and

   Bob Harris was one, along with some others.  It wasn't long

   before several of the members of this very small group had

   become heads of schools at some place or another: the so-called

   "Princeton Conspiracy."  I think it happened because education

   was a very interesting thing at Princeton then, so we all ended

   up being educators."

 

Bill Kleinsasser felt the program at Princeton was not strong, the curriculum was weak; but the students were strong:

 

   "Most of the people at Princeton were privileged people in

   one sense or the other.  They were privileged either because

    they were intelligent enough to get in; or wealthy; or

    intelligent and wealthy; or confident for other reasons,

   because of talent or skills.  A school like that had a very

   selective admissions office.  I don't think there is any doubt

   that that contributed a great deal to the reason why so many

   successful people came from the school."

    

 

II.  DON LYNDON

 

The finalists for the position of Department Head at Oregon in 1964 were William Wurster, former Dean of University of California and MIT; Walter Netsch Jr., chief designer of SOM; Robert Marquis; and Donlyn Lyndon.

  

Charles Moore had completed his doctorate, then taught at Princeton.  He was hired as an instructor at the University of California at Berkeley, where he had opened a firm which became Moore/Lyndon/Turnbull/Whitaker, one of the most prestigious young firms in the country.  By 1964, Moore had become chairman of the program at Berkeley.  He wrote to Walter Creese, concerning Don Lyndon's application:

 

   "I have known him for rather over nine years, first as an

   undergraduate at Princeton while I was there in graduate

   school, later as a graduate student while I was on the

   faculty there, and most recently as an instructor and

   assistant professor here at Berkeley, where he and I have

   taught in the architectural history program and in the design

   sequence, and have together developed a new course in

   oriental architectural history, which he has this year taught alone. 

   About three years ago I found myself writing: 'I can say without

   reservation that Don's capacity to understand, create, develop,

   relate, and transmit architectural ideas surpasses that of anyone I

   know,or know of, but that carries the inaccurate suggestion that

   he is a critic only, in some way incapable of making a creative

   contribution himself.  This is far from the case; he is an

   extremely gifted designer, whose gifts are all the more worthy

   because they are not hemmed in by any too rigid assumptions or

   hasty stereotypes...  The immense advantage to us of Don's

   attributes is that he brings the same sort of creative insight to bear

    on ideas about and theories of architecture that he brings to

   architectural design problems--and this makes him just about

   unique."

 

Lyndon was 28 years old at the time of his application.  He was the son of Los Angeles architect Maynard Lyndon; he had worked with the Olgyays on climate-design research; he had been a Fulbright scholar in India, studying Hindu temples; he had worked on the Sea Ranch Condominium design with Charles Moore.  He had lectured on topics as wide as "Le Corbusier's Hellenic Landscapes" to "The Drawings of Eric Mendelsohn" to "Organization of Form in Hindu Temples."

   Lyndon was hired.

 

Many faculty at the School teaching during the Lyndon years remember him as a force of regeneration in the program.  He was young, energetic, positive.  He offered new courses; he placed a great emphasis on history; he was willing to make administrative decisions.

   The program, after the early days, had been lacking a strong will to leadership.  The ship had drifted; the wind (the Ideas generating motion) had been listless.

   A group of faculty had resisted the restructuring of the School into departments on the grounds that it broke with the Lawrence/Willcox legacy.  When Lyndon proposed further changes, some of these began a resistance.  Lyndon fired several of them.  Students protested the firings.  Lyndon met with the students and explained his reasoning for the firing.  The meeting calmed the students' protest.

   He was concerned with the small percentage of students actually completing the program.  He understood, from his work in an offic, that there were many jobs within an architect's office.  Not every architect must be Frank Lloyd Wright to complete a degree, or to be useful in the profession.  He expressed these views to faculty, with the conviction that the rigorous judgment of thesis studio work should take into account this understanding.  Also, he abolished the variable credit system.

   A higher percentage of students began to graduate.

   Morale improved among students.  Gary Moye, a B.Arch student at the time, remembered: "Students could feel a cloud lift when Lyndon came.  There was just a general sense that things were improving."

   He encouraged new courses and research for faculty.  He was an active force.   He hired new faculty.

  

Mike Pease was one of the first of a series of faculty hired from Berkeley.

   Bill Kleinsasser was the first of a series of faculty who had worked in Louis Kahn's office in Philadelphia.  David Rhinehart came in 1965.  He stayed a short time before moving to the University of Southern California.  He recommended the hiring of Pat Piccioni.  Thom Hacker came next, followed by Richard Garfield, then Gary Moye.

   Lyndon felt that, to achieve the quality of program he and Walter Creese desired, exceptional faculty must be brought to the department.  He expected faculty to be committed to this role.  He was ambitious for quality in the program.  Many faculty were excited by this conviction. 

   In a statement of objectives written for the faculty after his appointment, and later distributed to students, he wrote:

 

   "To have a department of architecture sufficient to its task

   depends heavily on the quality of the faculty assembled...

   There is, in my view, no 'ideal' teacher of whom all others

   are pale shadows.  In  a complex society it takes many kinds

   of men to teach, as it takes many kinds of men to build.  It is,

   however, imperative that teachers be men of commitment and

   perspective, capable of articulating and demonstrating their

   point of view...

      To profess architecture, teachers should also be sufficiently

   committed to their field to continually check their ideas--to

   review their relevance and test their validity through design of

   scholarship.  We all need periodically to meet the challenging

   circumstances of situations outside the university, to struggle

   with unassimilated ideas and confront old theories with new

   observations... The pace of change and development in the

   whole of our society is now very rapid, and it is important for

   faculty to have a background rich enough to enable them to

    keep pace with events and understand their significance...

      It seems to me fruitless to attempt to distinguish what is new,

   what old in these objectives--we should, rather, try to be sure

   that they are inclusive, appropriate, feasible and sufficiently

   far-sighted."

 

Lyndon brought architects up from San Francisco, Moore, Turnbull, others, to lecture and to teach.  He put a high priority on good relations between the department and local architects.

   He was young and impatient.  There were not many opportunities to sustain  a significant practice in Eugene.  Because his reputation as a "young Turk" administrator was growing, he began to be courted by other universities.  The University of California at Los Angeles offered him the position of chair of their architecture department.  Then came a similar offer from MIT.

  

There was a growing strife in the School.  It had begun with the restructuring into departments, which had been opposed by many in the School on philosophical grounds. 

   Dean Creese began to consider budgetary needs on the basis of the major-count of each department.   The Fine Arts Department offered many courses to university students, and, especially, to architecture students: however, these were no included in the Dean's accounting for budgetary needs; the Fine Arts major count was small. 

   The Head of Fine Arts was Jack Wilkinson, a proud, likeable, but intense man who considered himself a revolutionary.  There was revolution in the air.  The free-speech movement had awakened Berkeley; the war in Vietnam was becoming a major political issue on college campuses. 

   Wilkinson felt his Department was being treated unfairly.

   Walter Creese was a proud, small man, who, because of polio, walked with the aid of braces and a cane.  He was very strong-willed.  He and Wilkinson readily became adversaries, political and personal.

 

Creese and Lyndon were close friends; there existed almost a father-son type of relationship between them.  The Fine Arts faculty resented what they saw as favoritism toward Architecture.  Lyndon was also outspoken about his belief that Architecture, since it was a larger program, had greater needs than the smaller departments.  A schism between the disciplines was developing.

   Lyndon, when being courted by UCLA, wrote a letter to Creese identifying reasons for his considering the offer:

 

   "It is my distinct sense that there is inadequate recognition

   of the great difference in need brought about by size differentials

   between departments.  Further, it should be clear to all concerned

    that the only group in the university with wihich I have not

   enjoyed working are the assembled department heads of the

   School.  Indeed, the self-seeking conservatism, shading into

   paranoid mistrust, which has characterized the actions of several

   members of that group has been the major source of any

    impatience that I may have with the School.  The barriers which

   have been established to rational discourse, intellectual exchange,

   and thoughtful consideration of common goals and needs, show

   every evidence of being so firmly embodied in the minds of some

   as to negate the benefits (which I had hoped would be numerous)

   of a common school."

 

He listed other problems: the Department was desperately understaffed; there were significant gaps in the collective competencies of the faculty; there was no budgetary recognition of the immense administrative tasks in the Department; physical facilities were insufficient; the library was inadequate; faculty must be encouraged or required to engage regularly in practice, travel or scholarly endeavor.

   He continued:

   "Finally, though I have tried to make improvements within the

   existing curriculum to avoid the procedural delays inherent in

   major structure change, it is now evident to me that there must

   be a sweeping review of the present curriculum which

   presently balances irrelevant detail in some areas, such as

   structures and professional electives, with conceptual inadequacy

   in others (Economics, Social Studies, Business Administration,

   and the Liberal Arts generally)."

      There is, on my part, no a priori wish to leave Eugene.  The

   School and the University have been good to me and have been

   an exciting place to work.  Most particularly I would like to

   comment on the extrardinarily helpful and openminded attitude

   that the faculty in the Department of Architecture have retained

   throughout."

 

In December 1966, Don Lyndon accepted the position of Director of the Architecture School at MIT.  He recommended to Walter Creese that the School consider Robert Harris for Department Head.

 

 

III.  THE VIETNAM WAR

 

No history which encompasses the 1960's can avoid recognition of the Vietnam War.

   Social issues became predominant in the years after Don Lyndon left the School.  The Civil Rights Movement had occurred in the South; the "Free Speech" Movement in Berkeley; drugs; the televised war in Vietnam.

   There was a sense, around most campuses in America, that scholarship was secondary to social involvement.  Also, the campus was a refuge from the military, since college deferments essentially protected male college students from the draft.

   Earl Moursund, Professor Emeritus, remembered: "We were still teaching.  We were holding classes as we had always done.  But, generally, the students weren't working as hard.  We didn't fail anyone; to fail the men would mean they would be eligible to be drafted.  Besides, there was a general feeling that the war and the demonstrations were very important at the time."

   Jerry Finrow, former Department Head, remembered: "A student strike had been called, but the faculty was order to continue teaching.  So some of us taught seminars on war and social history."

   Enrollment swelled.  There was an open admissions procedure.

 

In 1968, the Tet Offensive struck.  Major fighting was broadcast home.  There had been a sense that the war was being won, slowly.  The Tet Offensive shattered that illusion, even though, militarily, the offensive was broken, and became a victory for U.S. forces.

   Martin Luther King was assassinated.  Riots broke out.  Cities were burning throughout the Northeast.

   Robert Kennedy was killed the night of his victory in the California Primary.

   The nation was in shock.

 

Under Richard Nixon the direct involvement of American military ground-forces was scaled back.  Bombing was intensified to fill the void of American soldiers who were returning home.

   In Spring 1971, U.S. forces invaded Cambodia.  For the entire war, the North Vietnamese Army and the Viet-Cong had used the borders of Cambodia and Laos as a staging ground for the war against South Vietnam, generally with impugnity, since American administrations wished to avoid a wider war, engulfing all of Southeast Asia, and perhaps drawing China into the war. 

   The invasion of Cambodia uncovered massive stores of ammunition and provisions stored by soldiers fighting the insurgency in South Vietnam.  It was militarily a successful mission: few casualties, the capture of enemy resources in vast quantity.

   At home the reaction was broad and swift.  There had been a perception that American involvement was winding down.  The invasion of Cambodia proclaimed that this was not so.  Demonstrations broke out all over America.  The campuses shook. 

   At Kent , Ohio, the state governor called out the national guard to quell the demonstrations at Kent State.  The national guard fired on the crowd, killing four students. 

   At Jackson State, in Mississippi, more students were killed in campus demonstrations.

   Massive demonstrations followed these shootings; universities were closed down by strikes.  Many universities sent students home early for summer vacation.

 

Oregon was one of many smaller universities, away from media centers, which had significant local opposition to the war.

   There was a great tension in the air.  Much of the opposition to the war came from the universities; whereas many citizens not connected with the universities (Nixon's so-called "Silent Majority") supported the war.  It led to great internal polarization in the country, generally between the conservative"working class" and the more radical "intellectual class."

   The main east-west artery through the University of Oregon was 13th Avenue.  It had always been a through-street, leading through the heart of the campus.  With the conflict over the war, 13th Avenue brought traffic through the campus much of which was hostile to the demonstrations.  Log trucks and other traffic would roll through campus flying American flags, shouting at demonstrators, to be met by insults and rocks hurled at their passing vehicles.

   One Sunday night, a group of students (including Architecture students) erected walls of mortar and cinderblocks at each end of 13th Avenue, at University and at Kincaid streets.  This effectively closed through-traffic to the university.  Meetings were held by the university administration and by the Eugene City Council to consider a response.  There had been, for years, complaints about the dangers of traffic through the center of campus.  The City Council voted to permanently close traffic on that short section of 13th.  When this decision was announced, the students standing guard at the walls dismantled the barricades they had built.

   Several days earlier, a car had been  driven into one of the walls in an attempt to knock it down.  The wall had stood.  There was a sense of satisfaction in the School that the wall had been built along sound structural principles.

 

An incident less pleasantly resolved occurred in 1969.  The "Vet's Dorm," an Army ROTC building near the current Music School was bombed; and fire swept through the building.  The Architecture Department was using the second-floor of the building to house graduate design studios.  Students evacuated the building upon feeling the bomb's concussion; then they stood and watched the fire sweep through the damaged structure up to the second floor.  Much of their work was destroyed by the fire.

   In 1971, weeks of demonstrations, especially around the campus ROTC buildings, led to violence and arrests.  The university requested the governor to deploy the National Guard.  The campus had become a battleground. 

 

 

III.  THE BERKELEY CONNECTION

 

In many ways, the University of California at Berkeley had taken a position as the leading Western university.  It was strong academically; it had "led" the social progress movement through a "Free Speech Movement" in the early 1960's; it supported the Civil Rights Movements; and it was perhaps the most politically radical campus in America, along with Columbia, during the Vietnam years.

 

Christopher Alexander was born in Oxford, England.  He was a boy geiuns, who attended Cambridge in his teens to study mathematics.  He studied architecture at Cambridge and then attended Harvard to complete his graduate degrees.  His Ph.D thesis, "Notes on the Synthesis of Form," stirred the academic community, and proved to be a seed of thought which later blossomed into a system of architecture patterns which were codified in the book A Pattern Language.

   Alexander took a job teaching at Berkeley, and was a full professor before he was 35 years old.

    It is difficult to talk of Alexander's "thought" because it was not a fixed thing really; by definition, it was ever-changing, ever modifying itself.  There is no doubt that his mathematical training was instrumental in his approaching architecture with an eye toward a rational system, or law.

   In his Ph.D thesis, Alexander wrote: "

 

   "The shapes of mathematics are abstract, of course, and the

   shapes of architecture concrete and human.  But...the crucial

   quality of shape, no matter of what kind, lies in its organization,

    and when we think of it this way we call if form.  Man's

   feeling for mathematical form was able to develop only from his

   feeling for the processes of proof.  I believe that our feeling for

   architectural form can never reach a comparable order of

   development until we too have first learned a comparable

   feeling for the process of design...

      My main task has been to show that there is a deep and

   important underlying structural correspondence between the

   pattern of a problem and the process of designing a physical

   form which answers that problem.  I believe that the great

   architect has in the past always been aware of the patterned

   similarity of problem and process, and that it is only the sense

    of this similarity of structure that ever led him to the design

   of great forms."

 

His rebellion against modern architecture was profound:

 

    "On the one hand we have these very brutal cubistic buildings

   which are not in the realm of feeling at all; and on the other had

   we have the world of redwood burls and soft-cornered sculptures

   which has a soft, vaguely lovable quality but is not actually

   dealing with feeling either.  Rather, it is a shriek of protest and

   outrage against the brutality of the cardboard-like world of

   cubism." 

 

The way to the deepest human feeling (which was the basis of great architecture) was through the "making" of things. 

   This understanding had at least two edges, the first implicit, the second manifestly revolutionary: (1) the best architecture, that is, which elicited a response of deepest feeling, would develop from a process in which those who were to use the architecture actually were to "make" it; (2) that great architecture, which came out of and expressed deepest human feeling, grew out of an understanding that the architect was essentially a "builder."

   Alexander's process sought to de-scale architecture, to de-mythify the architect, reducing his role from creator to facilitator.  In many ways the system was a political-social response through the medium of architecture.  A leveling of the established role of architect; a "democratic" raising of "the people" to a place of decision-making.

   One cannot forget the revolutionary context of Berkeley (and America) at the time of this experiment.  Alexander's rebellion against modern architecture was not only a rebellion against its style, but also against its ethic and structure.  This process, wherein user and architect and builder were one, ultimately would lead to the East, and into so-called Third World countries for models and fabrics of "proof".

   He would later write:

 

   "There is an unchanging principle which I have described in

   THE TIMELESS WAY OF BUILDING and which I have felt

   now for several years and which these recent discoveries

   in geometry and color have only confirmed.  This principle

   is very simply that to make a thing which lives comes about to

   the extent that you can succeed in letting go of yourself.

      In the end, it has to do with freedom.  It is only the word

    freedom which connects up these somewhat esoteric and spiritual

   matters in the realm of color and ornament with the possibility of

    making a building which is like a life lived rather than some

   abstract, archited, formal object.  It also connects up the questions

   of the political organization of a neighborhood, the forms of

   taxation, the way people live when they actually design their own

   houses for themselves and cooperate to design the larger common

   land, and so on.  Whether you want to talk about genuine human

   freedom, real freedom of the spirit, freedom from the tyranny of

   one's own self and of others is the crux of the whole thing.  It

   unifies the two strands, the political strand on one hand and the

   strand that has to do with the deep artistic problems of "The One"

   on the other hand."

 

A synthesis of political-social ethics and an architectural method appealed to many students at Berkeley.  Many who studied with Alexander became proponents of his ideas, and, upon graduation, tranmitters of his message: human-scale, romantic, non-technological, user-generated architecture.

   Oregon was appealing for several reasons: the state had a history of political progressiveness; Nature was bountiful, beautiful, even overwhelming (Nature is God to the romantic).  The Architecture School  at Eugene had a proud heritage of architecture and humanism, and a strong reputation for concern with design.

 

Don Peting was the first to come from Berkeley to Eugene, although not as an Alexander "disciple," more influenced by Joseph Esherick.

   Then, with the coming of Don Lyndon, a strong flow of Berkeley graduates began heading north.  Mike Pease, Jerry Finrow, Gunilla Finrow, Christie Coffin, Coral Cottage, David Sandahl.  Later, Wilmot Gilland, who had studied at Princeton, later taught design procedure at  Berkeley, was hired to teach Design Process and Methods at Oregon.  He would later become Department Head; even later he would become Dean of the School.  Chuck Rusch, who was hired as Department Head; Don Corner, who would later become Department Head; Jenny Young, Howard Davis.

 

In 1970, the University of Oregon Campus Planning Department sought to develop a master plan for university.  Jerry Finrow suggested consideration of Christopher Alexander's "Pattern Language" as a method for this plan.  Alexander presented a master plan.  After extensive interviews, Alexander was hired.  He documented this planning process in a book published in 1975 entitled The Oregon Experiment. 

   Jerry Finrow, in a recent article for Architecture magazine, summarizes the essential aspects of six planning principles which acted as guides to the campus development:

   "1. Organic Order: 'Planning and construction will be guided

         by a process which allows the whole to emerge gradually

         from local acts... The most basic fact of this process

         is that it enables the community to draw its order, not from

         a fixed map of the future, but from a communal pattern

         language.'    

   2.      Participation: 'All decisions about what to build, and how

         to build it, will be in the hands of the users.  To this end

         there shall be a users design team for every proposed

         building project; any group of users may initiate a project...

         (and) the time that users need to do a project shall be

         treated as a legitimate and essential part of their activities.;

      3.   Piecemeal growth: 'The construction undertaken in each

         budgetary period will be weighted overwhelmingly toward

         small projects.  To this end...equal sums shall be spent on

         large, medium and small building projects, so as to

         guarantee the numerical predominance of very small

         building increments.'

      4.   Patterns: 'All design and construction will be guided by a

         collection of communally adopted planning principles

         called patterns.'  Patterns developed for the Oregon

         Experiment dealt with such issues as a desirable growth

         rate for the university, the relationship of the university

         to the town, knitting the living and learning environments

         together, departmental identity, and integration and character

         of common spaces.

      5.  Diagnosis: 'The well being of the whole will be protected

         by an annual diagnosis which explains, in detail, which

         spaces are alive and which ones are dead, at any given

         moment in the history of the community.'

      6.   Coordination: 'The slow emergency of organic order in

         the whole will be assured by a funding process which

         regulates the stream of individual projects put forward by

         users.  To this end, every project which seeks funds...

         shall be submitted to the planning board.(and every)

         project submitted for funding...shall be put in order of

         priority...by the planning board, acting in open session;

         at this session projects shall be judged by the extent to

         which they conform to the community's adopted patterns

         and diagnosis.'"

 

The "romanticism" of Alexander had much in common with the romanticism which had actuated the founders of the school: the emphasis upon context, vernacular form and indigenous materials; the image of architect as builder as well as designer; the emphasis upon a human craft. 

   There were major differences, however: under Lawrence and Willcox great emphasis was placed upon the individual's quest for truth; this quest was ultimately unique, and could never really be codified.  Architecture was an unconscious expression of a culture through the architect; it would never have been thought of as primarily a political act consciously considered by the community to inform the architect of their will.   

   The individual was essential to the mind of Lawrence and Willcox, for that romanticism was a Western Ideal.  The quest of that day was to discover an essentially "American Architecture".

   The romanticism of Alexander was essentially anti-Western, as was much intellectual thought in the late 1960's and 1970's.  The individual (at least as self-conscious "ego") did not matter.  The life of the community mattered, which was made "known" to the architect through an understanding of this community's "patterns" of living.  The architect's role was not to express the life and aspirations of the culture, but, instead, to facilitate will of the community.  There was genius in the untrained eye.  Architecture was an expression of building, and it was not an abstract expression of the mind.

   The Lawrence and Willcox's synthesis, the architect became large.  In Christopher Alexander's synthesis, the architect became small.   

  

As a "movement," Alexander's ideals had more in common with the ideals of the early European "International Style," which sought social and political change through the mechanism of architecture.  And which sought, in Corbus's phrase, "machines for living," as an element of "democratic/socialistic" progress.  A mission implicit in this process was that one could effect positive political change through architecture. 

   As a "style" of architecture, it had much in common with vernacular form. 

  

It was a paradox: part this, part that.  Part mathematical solution, part anti-rational method.  Although it rebelled against the "functionalism" of the post-war style, it was also a kind of "functionalism," call it "social functionalism." 

   Critics would suggest that it turned architectural design into decision-making by committee.  Yet, it was an era of "choice".  And there was a rebellion against the definition of architect as a god imposing personal objects on the world, without regard for the masses of people condemned to live within the god's experiments. 

   That god was now on trial.  That god was being deposed.   

    

 

IV.  A SECOND BUILDING CRISIS: THE

      ADVENT OF BOB HARRIS

 

In 1967, Robert Harris was hired to succeed Don Lyndon as Department Head.

   Harris, of course, was a member of the "Princeton Conspiracy."  He had taken a bachelor's degree at Rice University, and been named a Hohenthal Scholar.  He studied in the graduate program at Princeton.  Harris and Lyndon were friends.

   He taught architecture and planning at the University of Texas at Austin from 1960-67.

   He came to Oregon with an understanding of the problems: faculty workload; outdated curriculum; insufficient funding (a continual problem in State-funded higher education); inter-departmental strife.

 

The most glaring break with the legacy of the School's founders was in the relationship between architecture and its allied arts.  There was a war going on in the School.  Walter Creese was a stubborn man; Jack Wilkinson was a stubborn man.  The departmentalization of the School had been required by the size of enrollment  and complexity of curriculums and administrative tasks.  The simple world-family of the formation of the School was gone.  However, the Fine Arts Department felt it had been slighted.  Perhaps with some justification.

   First came the budgetary restructuring, based on major count.  Fine Arts had few majors.  Wilkinson, in response, proclaimed that Architecture students would not be allowed to enroll in Fine Arts courses.  Both Painting and Scupture were a requirement in the Architecture program.  Creese informed Wilkinson that it was not his decision to make.

   Then came the building crisis.

 

   The east wing of the building complex was to be "renovated."  A four-story concrete-mass addition in the "Brutalist" style would allow for an expanded library, expanded studio spaces for Architecture, a 4th-floor home for Interior Architecture.  The east wing had been, up to this point, essentially a Fine Arts wing.  Space was provided for painting and sculpture in the northeast corner of the first floor of the addition, connected to parts of the old Fine Arts complex which would remain intact.

   The Fine Arts faculty responded to the new design with outrage.  The design had no respect for the original building, or for the design aspirations of Lawrence and Willcox.  Even more importantly, it seemed as though Architecture was getting everything.

   Fine Arts faculty and students first began wearing t-shirts with lettering: "The School of Fine Arts and Architecture".  There was even a motion to formally change the name of the School. 

   By 1968, Fine Arts faculty began to clamor for secession from the School.  It became a university issue when Wilkinson went to the President, Arthur Flemming.  He called for a separation of the Fine Arts programs from the School of Architecture, and a new administrative union with the School of Liberal Arts.

  

It was an era of rebellion against authority.  To Wilkinson and the Fine Arts faculty Creese was "the establishment."  To Creese, Wilkinson was a rabel-rouser.  Architecture was the discipline concerned with "form"; Fine Arts was concerned with the formless--that it, the search for "truth."  There were times, in meetings, when Creese and Wilkinson had to be physically separated to keep from coming to blows.

   The struggle in the School seemed a microcosm of the struggle in the University, and in the society, in general, incited by the war in Vietnam.

   Wilkinson argued that the Fine Arts programs should be moved across the Millrace, to the largely undeveloped University-owned land close to the Willamette River.  The money allotted for Fine Arts in the new building could be used to construct new buildings on this site.  Wilkinson argued very rationally the addition's cost of $90 per square foot compared with the North Site's cost of $10 per square foot: more could be obtained for less.  Plus, the Fine Arts programs could have the physical separation they needed to help them establish their own identity, separate from Architecture.

   The Architecture Faculty was outraged.  The whole notion of the founding fathers of the school had been the "marriage" of architecture and the arts. A secession or a physical separation was not to be tolerated.

   In 1968, President Flemming  ruled in favor of Fine Arts.  They were to be removed from the Architecture School, to be administered through Johnson Hall, by Marshall Wattles, Dean of the Faculty.

 

In 1969, both Creese and Wilkinson left the University, Creese returning to Illinois, Wilkinson to teach in Louisiana. 

 

Fred Cuthbert, Head of Landscape Architecture, was named the Acting Dean.  And, through his aegis, over time, Fine Arts returned to the School of Architecture. 

   There was a period of healing. 

   The War in Vietnam ended.

 

 

V.  THE COUNTER-CULTURAL IDEAL

 

"Freedom" had become the dominant cultural theme in the 1960's and early 1970's.  Racial freedom; political freedom; sexual freedom; personal freedom (the drug culture).  Form or structure was attacked, as being restrictive.  The West was corrupt and dying.  American culture was an abomination. The American experiment had failed.

   Guilt surfaced: self-examination, self-judgment, self-condemnation, self-destruction.

  

The Idealist, faced with the flaws of the American Ideal, concluded that, one, the flaws, instead of being characteristics in a unity, represented essence, and therefore were damning; two, if America were evil, in a world of inherent dualism, then the "opponents" of America, by that law, must represent good.

   Several models of change were proffered.  One model was predominantly political, and looked to the"communal" societies of Russia, China, Cuba, North Vietnam as model societties.  The less radical looked to Sweden or other "socialist" states of Europe as a model for the next world.

   Another model rejected the political solution.  This turned away from politics, toward spritiual salvation.  Yet, because Western values were inherently wrong, Western religions were also unacceptable.  Far Eastern spiritual values and philosophies were sought as a means to enlightenment and salvation. 

 

Oregon, especially Eugene, became a mecca for the "spiritual rebellion," much as Berkeley had been a mecca for the "political rebellion."

 

   Adherents to the counter-culture essentially rejected the culture in which they were living.  And sought to excavate or mirror a life-style in which Truth was a more essential element.  Anti-materialism was a linch-pin of this philosophy.  The world of form was merely a shadow of what was true: the timeless, formlessness Idea.  Poverty was good.  India and the Third World were the places to go to discover enlightenment.

   In Far Eastern thought, relativity prevailed.  So, it was also, since Einstein, in Western physics.  The two worlds were drawing together: the synthesis of opposites.  Truth was an illusion.  The world was really an opinion, without Absolute Reality.  Each Idea was as true as the next.  Ideas were essentially different "times" existing together in a Whole Time, Eternity.

  

         *                       *                        *

 

Bill Kleinsasser remembers: "During my first year at Oregon I remember talking to Don Lyndon and asking him what the most imporant thing for us to do was and he said: "Change the curriculum'; and I agreed.  It was exactly what we had to do.  That was in 1966."

   The curriculum had retained a basic structure since the inception of the School, with certain modifications in emphasis and courses, to account for topicality.

   In 1966, the curriculum was essentially a lock-step structure, as it has always been.

 

            First Year:       Design Studio I

                                    Painting, Sculpture, or

                                    Drawing

                                    Mathematics

 

            Second Year:   Design Studio II

                                    Architectural Graphics

                                    Design Orientation

                                    Physics

                                    Survey of Visual Arts

 

            Third Year:      Architectural Design

                                    Mechanical Equipment of

                                    Buildings

                                    Theory of Structures I

                                    History of Architecture I

                                    City Planning I

 

            Fourth Year     Architectural Design

                                    Theory of Structures II

                                    History of Architecture II

                                    Suurveying for Architects

                                    Art & Architecture Elective

                                    Liberal Arts Elective

                                    Fundamentals of Speech

 

            Fifth Year:       Architectural Design

                                    Ethics & Practice

                                    Working Drawings

                                    Architecture Elective

                                    Liberal Arts Elective

 

Bill Kleinsasser, who has been involved in each of the curricular re-structurings occurring in the 1970's and 1980's remembers:

 

   "When I came to Oregon the curriculum was very traditional... 

   The existing courses had all been typical, stratified, serial

   courses, all very large.  The work was extremely thin, and very

   little was considered well and developed very seriously.  The

   first major changes were made after Don Lyndon left and

   after Bob Harris arrived, in 1970.  Bill Gilland, Bob, and I

   were all involved with the curricular committee at that time. 

   Our reaction was to respond to the need for change; that was

   not really a change towards less structure, but rather a change

   to revising the old, pat way of taking everybody through school

   in the same way.  The courses were very bad by then: they had

   gotten much out of date.  Thus, we dropped the requirements to

   take history and everything else.  Bob suggested the idea that

   design only be taken two terms out of three because we had an

   overcrowding problem.  There weren't enough faculty to go

   around.  We were teaching 25 to 30 people in a studio.  My

   first studio assignment here was in 1965; I have a first-year

   design studio with 48 people in it, plus a third-year studio with

   about 25 students in it.  I sometimes taught two studios a day,

   and, of course, nothing else. 

      To correct this kind of problem, we introduced the two out of

   three terms of design, as Bob had suggested, and that made the

   staff go around.  It also helped with our problems with studio

   space, because we literally had not had enough space for

   everyone before.

      Our intentions were to slowly introduce a new structure of

   new courses with greater diversity to support better design.  We

    felt that, once this structure was established, we could then begin

   to decide what should be required and what wouldn't be required.

   The trouble was that, for 10 years, this structure didn't get

   implemented... The process of implementation took so long that

   everyone got the idea that we had replaced a highly structured

   curriculum with nothing, and, in fact, that was true.  (But) it was

    never the intention."

 

By the early 1970's the Departmental requirements were:

 

   Interconnections:      Environment and Communication

                             Environment and Cultural Milieu

                             Environment and Life-Support

 

   Design Studio:  Arch 180, Introductory Design

                             Studio (1 term)

                             Arch 380, Architecture Design

                             Studio (9 terms)

                            

   Subject Area:    70 credits from any course under

                             the course headings:

                             Design Theory and Procedure;      

                             Architectural Media;

                             Environmental Control Systems;

                             Structural Theory;

                             Construction Processes;

                             Physical Context;

                             Cultural Context

 

In this new curriculum students would be free to choose which courses they found most relevant to their education.  Ultimately, it would be the responsibility of the students to build their own curriculum.

   "Choice" was the key word, the animating concept.  The freedom to choose.  In fact, the curriculum was an experiment in "user participation," an essential element in Christopher Alexander's theories of a design process based on a "democratic" involvement.

 

 

VI.  STRUCTURE WITHOUT STRUCTURE:

      THE TAO OF ARCHITECTURE

 

Bob Harris became the Dean of the School in 1971.

  Wilmot Gilland was chosen to replace Harris as Department Head.

  

Harris had become very interested in the ideas of Christopher Alexander.  These ideas seemed to fuse architecture, politics and culture, in a holistic method. 

   When Alexander's Oregon Experiment became the process for campus planning, Harris, with Jerry Finrow and Bill Kleinsaser, devoted himself to its implementation. 

 

Many beneficial effects emerged from the new curriculum.  The decision to provide design studio courses for each student in two of the three terms, instead of each term, relieved the faculty teaching load enormously.  The size of advanced studios shrank from about 25 students to about 17.  This allowed for more direct involvement by faculty with their students.  It also freed up time for faculty to begin developing new courses.

   Since there were "no requirements" in the Subject Area, whether courses lived or died was primarily determined by popularity, or "relevance," another key word of the day.

   A great deal of experimentation in courses began to occur.  New courses emphasizing the role of architecture in a social context were being offered, mainly by Berkeley graduates: "Design Process and Methods," "Ecological Implications in Design," "Social and Behavioral Factors in Design,""Design Criteria," "Research Methods." 

   The introductory Interconnections courses, the only "required" non-design courses, were also based largely on the "behavioristic" investigation: "impact of physical environment and of ideas about it on social organization and cultural evolution."

      The book The Pattern Language was used by many faculty as a guide-book in design studio courses.

 

Dean Harris also encouraged faculty to develop other "architectural theory" courses: Earl Moursund began to develop his course "Spatial Composition & Dynamics"; Philip Dole taught "Settlement Patterns," investigating patterns of Oregon settlement and the Northwest vernacular style; the course "Architecture as Form" was also being developed.

   It was an exciting time for faculty, in that a new freedom to offer "experimental" courses had appeared.  Research was encouraged.  Ultimately, in line with the ideas of "user participation," students, through the process of  natural selection, would determine which courses were valid, and would create their own curriculum through the choices they made during enrollment.

 

Another imporant impact of the new curriculum appeared through the abolition of the year-level design studio structure, and the "Thesis Studio" as a culminating act of the curriculum.  Enrollment had surged in the 1960's until, at one point, it approached 800 students in the Department.

   The "Thesis Studio" structure, essentially independent study, with one primary faculty member, and a committee of three faculty, was no longer practicable.  There were not enough faculty to go around now.  Besides, there was much feeling on the faculty that the quality of design work had tended to regress, through the independent studio.  There were serious questions as to whether it really did work.

   The new structure would require one Arch 180 studio, and nine Arch 380 studios.  Each 380 studio would be fully "integrated," with advanced undergraduates, graduates, and lower-level undergraduates working side by side.  The instructor would base his expectations for each student on level of design experience and individual development of understandings.  Of course, as always, studio courses were not graded.

   Subject Area courses were divided into two groups: "A List" which were courses offered by the Department under a series of subject matter headings; and "B List," courses offered in other departments which might provide elective coursework relevant to architecture, everything from Fine Arts drawing courses, to Physics "Sun As a Future Energy Source," to Architecture History.  A maximum of 16 credits could be accrued from the "B List."

 

To say that there were no Subject Area requirements is true, but somewhat misleading.  Faculty, acting as advisors, stressed the imporance of a balanced understanding of the discipline: technology, theory, skill development, synthesized through design. 

   Still, students built their own houses.  Most did so self-responsibly, in terms of seeking a thorough knowledge of the discipline.  Some did not however.  Some graduated without taking a structures course.  Some without any sense of achitectural history. 

   It was considered reactionary to fail a student.  From the over-rigid design-quality requirements of the late 1950's to the non-criteria of the 1970's was a great leap.  The "process" had replaced the "product" as a primary concern: educating students to be enlightened intelligent whole beings became the goal.  To fail a student would have be a judgment on the person even more than on the work.

 

"Synthesis" was the word of the day.  Alexander wrote about it, the synthesis of art and science.  Bill Kleinsasser would devote more than a decade to the composition of his vision of a design method based on an integrated synthesis of experience.  The bringing together of seemingly contrary parts through unification into a holistic system.

   The social polarity of the Vietnam Era had given way to the spiritual unity of the 1970's.  To some of Alexander's associates who found the political message of the process most palatable, this development was not rewarding.  Some left the School.  Some headed back to Berkeley where the social ferver still resided, mostly as nostalgic residue.

   "Synthesis," afterall, by its very definition, indicates transmoral unity.  Polarization, the source of energy, was transmogrified into wisdom.

   It was happening in Western Physics.  A popular book at the time was The Dow of Physics, in which the author synthesized Western Science and Eastern Religion in a unified system.  Synthesis was the death of contrast, the de-scaling of judgment.  Right and Wrong were merged; Shadow and Light became equal parts of the One Element.  Matter and anti-matter rush together, annihilate one another: thus, they are synthesized, each becoming the other, exchanging garments if you will.

   It was hard to talk about values, because such differentiation showed a lack of wisdom.  Quality, itself, had become suspect.  Standards had become relative.  History had been abolished again.

 

That was not to say that these "ideas" were generated in  the Department.  These were ideas in the cultural "body," shining through the cultural forms of expression much as a light might through a magic lantern.  The Ideas which animate or sedate a culture may be seen as different colored lights in this lantern.  As the colors change, so the cultural forms change with it, in intensity and temperature and aura, each Idea having its programmatic logic.

   America had been through a decade of stress.  It needed to rest.  This synthesis was its method of rest and reflection.  Returning into unity:  a full circle had been made. 

 

 

VII.  THE INSISTANCE OF FORM:

        THE LOUIS KAHN CONNECTION

 

      "One day, as a small boy, I was copying the portrait of

      Napoleon.  His left eye was giving me trouble.  Already

      I had erased the drawing of it several times.  My father

      leaned over and lovingly corrected my work.  I threw the

      paper and pencil across the room, saying 'Now it is your

      drawing, not mine.'  Two cannot make a single drawing.

         --Louis Kahn, The Notebooks and Drawings of Louis Kahn

 

Bob Harris was a very strong figure, with very strong ideas.  One of his primary contributions was to help recruit strong faculty to the School.  It is difficult for Oregon to recruit faculty.  Because of limited funding in the State system, salaries are not comparable with other major universities.  There is not a consistent building climate, so architectural practice cannot be assumed.  Other amenities must be stressed, to compensate for a relatively meager salary: quality of living environment; academic quality of the Department.

   There was already a core of strong faculty in the program.  The Berkeley connection had brought a new strength.  Harris also sought to recruit faculty with ties to the office of Louis Kahn, the great architect from Philadelphia.  Bill Kleinsasser had come first.  Kleinsasser would later come to criticize the "formalism" of Kahn; however, when Don Lyndon had visited him in Kahn's office in the early 1960's, and had later offered him a job teaching, the second major connection had been initiated.  David Rhinehart, who had worled with Kleinsasser in Kahn's office came in 1966; he stayed a short time, but, upon leaving, recommended the school consider hiring another student of Kahn, Pasquale Piccioni. 

   Piccioni wa a fire-ball, a vocal, energetic Italian with strong opinions and a love of intellectual combat.  He would teach courses on environmental implications, on Kahn and on architectural structure; he would become one of the Department's strongest design instructors. 

   Later, in support of Piccioni's application for promotion and tenure, Kahn would write a succint letter: "Pat Piccioni is a man who is all heart!"

  

In 1970, Harris was visiting at Carnegie-Mellon.  A young Kahn protege, Thom Hacker, approached Harris with a portfolio of work.  Hacker spread his work out on a table; they were standing in a very elegant hall, discussing the poetic work of the young graduate.  Hacker was a very charismatic man.  Harris quickly fell under his spell.  Not only could he talk about his work, loving to perform, aware of his impact, but in an unassuming manner--but the work was also very good.

   Hacker was hired soon thereafter.  Hacker's best friend, Richard Garfield, another Penn graduate, who had recently been managing construction projects in Nepal for Kahn, was hired in 1974.  Garfield was a charming man, with a flaring black mustache, laughing eyes, a love of words and an acute knowledge of construction management.  In 1977, he would become the program's Assistant Department Head.

   The last addition to the Kahn group was Gary Moye, who had studied in the program at Oregon in the mid-1960's, working closely with Earl Moursund and Philip Dole.  Moye had attended the graduate program at Penn, where he had established an especially close relationship with Kahn.

 

Louis Kahn was born on the Russian island of Saarama in the Baltic Sea in 1901.  He immigrated to the U.S. while still young; and then studied architecture, in the Beaux-Arts tradition, at the University of Pennsylvania.  He worked for a time with George Howe, a pioneer in the "modern" idiom in America, who helped create the earliest "International Style" skyscraper outside Europe, the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society Building.

   Kahn's first independent practice began in 1947.  He was resident architect of the American Academy in Rome in 1950; he became a design critic at Yale upon returning to America.  In 1955, he was named professor at the University of Pennsylvania.

   Kahn's work is impossible to define in terms of a movement.  He was, above all, an individualist, as Wright had been before him (both were immigrants; as such, they may have been more closely connected, in experience, to the American mythology of the Rugged Individual).  Kahn was influenced by the "modern" movement; one can feel the presence of Le Corbusier in both the Salk Institute and the National Assembly of Bangladesh.  Some have suggested a tie to the mid-19th century Victorian design principles ("picturesque, red-brick conglomeration").  There was the influence of his Jewish heritage: a fundamental search for order; and meaning within that order.

   As an educator, Kahn was sympathetic and encouraging.  His real friends were his students.  He made no strong attachments to his colleagues in the profession.  He would say: "The University is my chapel.  The profession is in the marketplace."  He had a passion for his work, which was essentially a "religious" search for truth, in the broadest sense of the word.

   He was a small man, with a faced scarred by a childhood accident.  He nearly always dressed in a bow tie and blazer, and spoke in a fast, high-pitched voice.  His did not speak merely to speak however.  Often he would sink into lengthly silences, contemplating through a student's work his own understandings of architecture; when he again began to speak, it would be almost hesitantly, still thoughtful; then, gaining momentum, his voice would rise to a passionate level of discussion.

   One of the primary considerations of the "modern" movement had been to break down the differentiation between inside and outside spaces.  This was, in large part,  a reaction to the industrialized society, in which housing projects (the "inside") had become dangerous to human health.  Slum conditions, which generated disease, were "opened" to the influence of the outside--light, air, ventilation--for the sake of the health of the inside.  Glass was a way to bring the healling powers of light inside the building.  The structure of the building was brought to the surface, enhancing the connection of outside to inside.  The "private" (the Individual) was re-connected to the "public" (the Group).

   Kahn felt very strongly in the need to keep separate the outside and the inside.  The outside was not absolutely beneficial.  Perhaps this sense was enhanced by being Jewish in a post-war world in which the "public" (the "outside") had shown a very destructive character in Germany.  The idea of Sanctuary is very profound in Jewish scriptural history.

   Be that as it may, to Kahn, the modern de-demarcation of outside and inside spaces was not a productive development.  To Kahn, the "room" was the essence of architecture, each being unique in personality and affective through its nature.  Space was an essential element of architecture, not as a result of assembled functional elements, but as a tangible element itself, capable of giving order to a complex system.  Space and Place were inseparable, Place giving human content and helping to "shape" Space.  

   Kahn did not believe in an absolute separation of inside from outside; so the analogy of the Sanctuary is not perfect.  Light was a prime connector which brought life from outside to inside.  Light did more than merely connect, however; it also enhanced, creating effects, helping to developed the unique "personality" of each room.

   Architecture was not a social instrument to Kahn.  Pat Piccioni recalls Kahn's insistence upon the distinction between "needs" and "desires".  Needs are primarily biological.  Social needs are to be addressed by social institutions.  Needs relate to "Man the Species", rooted in biology.

   Desires, on the other hand, were the basis of  "a man" or "a woman," an individual entity.  Social institutions were the mediators of the problems of "Man as a species."  Architects were concerned with the desires and aspirations of humanity.  This work was characterised by the individual expression of the creator, who sought, through aspiration, to express the (singular) man's desire.

   Piccioni recalls Kahn saying: "Needs are basic.  Beethoven's Ninth Symphony is not basic; it is not a need.  However it expresses something essential in the human soul.  Once the world has experienced it, it can never be the same again without it." 

       

Kahn approached each project as a unique consideration.  (He had this in common with Le Corbusier.)  He would ask: "What does the building want to become?" 

   As each room had a unique character, so each building was essentially unique; and it informed the architect as to the essential form of its nature.  In many ways, the success of a project was dependent upon the how well the architect could "learn" from the building.

 

The bringing together of these two main strains of thought at Oregon, Alexander and Kahn, led to no unanimity of approach.  They were contrary methods.  Kahn emphasized the essential character of the building; Alexander emphasized the essential character of the human users of the building, whereby the building became a vehicle to a higher service of community.

   Critics of Kahn pointed to his concept of "servant and served space," as an indication of Kahn's "feudal" social notions.  Kahn had a great dislike of exposed "equipment" in buildings: pipes, wires, ducts.  He thought about the "nature" of this equipment, and concluded that these were the "modern equivalents of servants."  He used for his illustration the organization of the 19th century house, in which there were "servant" quarters and "master" quarters ("served space"), which existed together for function and utility but remained separate in terms of spatial organization.  The technological equipment in the modern building was the equivalent of "servant space," which existed for functional purposes but need not intrude on the "master" spaces.  He designed spaces for the mechanical equipment, running through the building, with its own "chambers," but not visible in the master spaces.

   Some infered from this a professional ethic: the architect as master; the public as the servant of the master's aspirations.  To some this was an attitude equated with the tyranny of modern form.

    

  

VIII.  THE "EXPERIMENT" OF FREEDOM

 

That the curriculum based on "freedom of choice" worked at all was primarily the result of a talented, dedicated faculty, and a student body which recognized that their own personal interest was to be served by an education which was fundamentally broad.

   There were problems: since the most popular Subject Area courses were not regulated, in terms of enrollment, by class standing, competition for places in courses became intense.  A "yellow slip" pre-registration system required students to sign up with faculty prior to registration.  This was a way of ensuring a limit on course size.  The competition was esssentially democratic--that is, first come, first served.  Popular courses would see students begin forming lines as early as 4:30 am in Lawrence Hall, for a sign-up beginning at 9:00 am.  Long lines were strewn about the building, students waiting for hours to secure a course, then hurrying on to join another line to secure another "yellow slip".  Of course there was no guarantee that waiting in line for hours would secrure a course: there were a limited number of places.  This led to a great frustration on the part of students.

   Another frustration came through the selection process for design studios.  Students would preference for design studios, ranking faculty from first to last in terms of enrollment preference.  Faculty initially chose their own students from these preferences.  As has always been the case, certain faculty were especially "in favor" as design instructors.  These faculty had a high preference profile.  Students would make appointments with faculty, sometimes carrying work with them, to almost "apply" for a place in the studio.  It was almost like applying for a job.

   The most popular design instructors during that time tended to be the two "deans" of the faculty: Earl Moursund and Philip Dole. Earl Moursund had studied architecture at the University of Texas; then he had completed a master's degree at Cranbrook. He had come to teach at Oregon in the early 1950's.  His primary interest was in "extending understanding of architectural content, that is, nonverbal 'information' experienced as intrinsic properties of a building of place."  This included an investigation of spatial composition, that is, "the principles of organizing spaces through pattern and structure to shape the experience which is the expressed content."

    He would later expand that understanding to include architectural typology, the identification and classification of 'distinguishable environmental experience,'--street, library, bank, porch--as transmitters of cultural meaning.  He believed that architecture had its own 'language,' its own content; that the tendency of the time to view architecture as a generic process, comparable to other arts or sciences, or social sciences, misunderstood the unique character of the discipline.  On the surface only did the generic or synthetic view retain validity; a deeper investigation revealed a unique language, and an historical experience of meaning.

   Moursund developed a following of students (Jeff Smith, Peter Bloomfield, Charlton Jones, among others) who explored the depths of this "spatial language," developing a nomenclature which, to some, seemed like a private, incomprehensible definition of architectural experience. 

   The writings of Hanna Arendt and Christian Norburg-Schulz were poular at the time.  Moursund offered German late Baroque Churches as examples of spatial ambiguity and illusion; 18th Century North Italian work of Santini, Guarini and Vittone for compositional technique; the English courntry houses of Edwin Lutyens for the sophisticated level of architectural content.

 

Philip Dole was educated at Harvard, under Gropius; then he completed a masters degree at Columbia.  His major interest was in Oregon pioneer buildings and settlement patterns.  He also investigated Palladian expression in houses of the 1850's and Gothic masonry work.  He was instrumental (with Mike Shellenbarger and Don Peting) in establishing an Historic Preservation program in the School in the early 1980's.

   Dole's emphasis was on vernacular design principles, and historical  and regional context.  He had little patience for "modern" disregard of historic values.  He was probably the most direct link to the architectural principles of the founding fathers of the program, especially Willcox, which emphasized regional form and indigenous materials.

   Dole's admiration for Thomas Jefferson as a man and an  architect paralleled the vision of Lawrence and Willcox of the "Renaissance Man" as an ideal.

  

Other design instructors in heavy demand were the "Kahnites": Thom Hacker, whose personal appeal and a design process which emphasized "intution," and poetic conceptions; Pat Piccioni, whose rigorous process emphasized space, structure and light: "the generation and inter-relationships of the elements of composition and expression; the relationship of space to light to structure to material." 

   Bill Kleinsasser emphasized the personal establishment of a comprehensive theory base, including the following frames of reference: response to context; activity support; construction integration; service integration; achievement of clarity and wholeness; maintenance of historical continuity; establishment of longevity and vitality; achievement of design systhesis." 

   Two former students had returned and had formed "followings" among certain students:  Gary Moye, who listed his primary architectural influences as Sir Christopher Wren, Thomas Jefferson, Louis Kahn, John Yeon.  Don Genasci had, in some ways, followed the steps of an early mentor, Alvin Boyarsky.  When he completed his bachelors degree at Oregon, he traveled to study in England, at the University of Essex and at the AA in London.  Boyarsky's instruction in urban design issues had triggered an enthusiasm in Genasci which was to motivate his own studies and help to define his approach to design.

   Rosaria Hodgdon came to the Department in 1970.  She was a very strong-willed woman who had a very definite sense of "good architecture".   Her research centered on urban design.  She had taken a degree at the University of Naples in 1945.  She had worked in Italy and, later, in Boston.  She valued work which exhibited a balance of the major currents of Western architectural tradition: the Classical and Medieval.  Main issues she addressed were: the foundation of architecture in history, tradition and culture; the importance of public spaces and building "faces" to civilized life; the sense of detail; the concept of rule; the concepts of manners and civility applied to urban architecture.

   Two instructors of Architectural Media also achieved trememdous popularity in the Department.  Mike Pease, one of the first instructors from Berkeley, was an especially sensitive artist and instructor.  His work in prismacolor (using primary colors) and, later, in watercolor, were stunning for their texture and subtlety of shading.  He would later leave the program to devote himself fully to his own art work. 

   Tom Hubka had studied in the graduate program at Oregon (he had taken a bachelors degree at Carnegie Tech, where he was, incidentally, a star quarterback on the football team).  His rendering skills were highly expressive; his influences had been Richardson and Sullivan.  He was primarily interested in vernacular architecture.

   It is somewhat difficult to speak of discipleship in technical coursework, especially in a "design" program.  Steven Tang was an exceptional instructor of structures.  He had developed his own instructional methodology, which he called "Tanguage," the main purpose of which was to integrate a design decision-making model with technical structures content, and to illustrate the levels of complexity and interconnectedness of design decisions.  His professional projects included the Illinois Telephone Buildings and the Inland Steel Building in Chicago, the Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles, the University of Illinois Research Center, the Park Davis Research Center in Michigan.  He had established an instructional exchange program with Tong Ji Univeristy in Shanghai, China in 1979, to take his structural language to the Chinese.

   With the exception of two structures instructors (Steve Tang and Mac Hodge, the Associate Dean), all faculty were, by faculty legislation, design instructors first.  This was a unique situation.  There was no "specialized" coursework, taught by specialists in an aspect of architecture.  All faculty at Oregon were hired, first, on the basis of their design skills, second, on their potential to teach needed correlative subject area courses.  This emphasis on design helped insist on the program philosophy that all subject area course matter be integrated with design: design was the focus of the program, as it was the synthesis of architectural education.

 

Another design consideration was strong in the Department.  In 1973, the Arab oil embargo had triggered panic in the industrialized nations, and had been the primary cause of a global inflation which bloated the world economy.  The price of oil was going up.  Energy costs would never be as low as they had been.  Energy became a prime architectural concern.

   John Reynolds studied at the University of Illinois, taking a B.Arch in 1962.  He completed his M.Arch at MIT in 1967.  He came to Oregon the next year, a "boy wonder" in the field of energy issues.  He taught the courses in Environmental Control Systems.  He would later co-author the standard textbook in the field, Mechanical and Electrical Equipment for Buildings.  He began to build a reputation for "solar issues" that would win for the Department and for himself national and even international recognition.

   Reynolds would be  joined by G.Z. (Charley) Brown in 1977, who had studied at Michigan State, Akron (MBA), and Yale.  Energy was a popular issue also with the environmental movement, which saw nuclear energy as an evil, and turned to solar applications as the way to solve complicated energy problems.  Brown and Reynolds developed coursework in Passive Solar Heating, Daylighting, Climate Design.  Brown later received a federally-funded grant to develop computer software which would enable designers to integrate energy considerations in the early, schematic design process.  In the later 1980's Brown would help secure another federal grant for the production of prototypes of low-cost, energy-efficient industrialized housing.

   Other new faculty also were arriving: Guntis Plesums, who had survived the Nazi invasion of his native Riga, Latvia, followed by an even more dismal occupation by Russian troops following the war.  He had an early interest in membrane and space-truss structure systems; he developed a passion for Japanese architecture, studying housing strategies based on minka, the Japanese folk house.  Jim Pettinari had also studied at the University of Pennsylvania.  His chief interest was in revitalization of urban centers, especially through the re-use of vacant and under-utilized lands connected with (1) vacant rail yards; (2) vacant industrial districts; (3) waterfront areas.  His aerial perspectives of urban "complexes" were stunning, showing the order of interrelationships which wove the city into a whole.  In 1986 he received an NEA grant to help develop an alternative waterfront public place in Astoria, Oregon's abandoned industrial waterfront district.  

        

Obviously, it is not wholly accurate to portray the Department as two contradictory ideas headed toward collision.  The Kahn "disciples" each had been influenced by Kahn; but each had an approach and an emphasis which was unique.  The Alexander "disciples," too were unique.  Jerry Finrow had an especial interest in housing issues and was researching housing for the elderly.  Mike Pease and Christy Coffin were working with the City of Eugene to help revitalize the run-down Whiteaker Neighborhood in the western part of the city.  Bill Gilland was studying Ancient Greek architectural design and site planning, as well as modern Scandanavian architecture.  Design Process and Method was one of Gilland's special concerens.

    

A "mentor" system evolved in the Department, although not by conscious intent.  The students' freedom to choose led to a mentor system.  Students would preference faculty on the basis of shared concerns.  Faculty would choose students on the basis of a knowledge of their skills.  Often they would continue to work together.  The beauty of the repeated studios with the same instructor was that little time was lost each term with introductory matters.  Students who had taken design and related subject courses with a faculty member were prepared to explore much more deeply, more quickly, leading to highly productive, singular design work.

   There was a two-sided problem to this system: (1) some students, whether because of lack of initiative or lack of opportunity, never were given a chance to work with the major design faculty; (2) this very deep education provided by the mentor system often was not a broad education, in that some issues were plumbed to the depths, while other issues were never considered.

   A modification of the preferencing system occurred in the late 1970's, allowing faculty to choose a "core" group of 5 students from those who had preferenced their studio.  This "core" could help provided leadership and generate energy for the studio.  At the same time, this process might allow a broader access to studios taught by the most prominent design instructors.

  

Earl Moursund remembered the late 1970's and early 1980's as being his most exciting period in the School in terms of design.

   Moursund had an amazing following for nearly a decade.  His course, "Spatial Composition and Dynamics," had been originally offered as a seminar-type class.  Enrollment had been moderate for several years.  Then, all at once, enrollment was nearly two hundred.  Then he offered it several times a year, in a large lecture format, with smaller labs.

     Thom Hacker generated an avid, almost cult-like following among many students (other faculty referred to them as "Hacker's groupies").  He was a performer, a personality.   He was also a highly skilled and sensitive designer.  His course "Architecture as Form" was, with Moursunds's class, perhaps the most exciting course in the curriculum, always heavily in demand.

   Bill Kleinsasser had strong student following.  Gary Moye, Don Genasci, Rosaria Hodgdon, Philip Dole.

   Virginia Cartwright, a student in the masters program at the time, currently a faculty membre, reflected on the 1970's program: "Many of us came to study architecture as it related to energy and social issues, but when we got here we were all swept up in the excitement generated by the work of Earl Moursund, Thom Hacker, Gary Moye, Don Genasci."    

 

Moursund remembered: "It was a very vital time in the studio, because students were there because they wanted to be studying with you.  It was the responsibility of the students to decide what was most important for their education.  It was a very good system for those students who, through assertiveness or talent or whatever reasons, got what they wanted.  It wasn't such a good system for the ones who either didn't know what they wanted.  Or who didn't know how to get what they wanted.  They ended up taking a lot of studios from adjunct faculty and didn't make the kind of progress that some of the other students were making."

   In terms of education, the rich got richer; the poor got poorer.  Showing quite clearly that Freedom and Equality, while, in themselves as Ideas, are not necessarily contrary, often, in application, prove to be adversarial.  For Freedom tends to generate inequalities.  Freedom allows for different choices; different choices allow for a different set of consequences.

   Moursund concluded: "It wasn't really proof that the system of choice failed, because some students did not get what they needed in their education.  Perhaps if there had been unlimited resources, then everyone, through choice, may have received exactly what they needed, in a more equal way.  Limited resources, not choice, may have been the problem."

 

There was an accreditation visit in 1975.  The visitation team was highly critical of the open air curricular structure.  They could not believe that a professional program would grant an architecture degree to a student who had not taken a structures class.

   They were also highly critical of the building facilities.

   Bill Kleinsasser recalls how the 1982 curriculum came about: "Our (early efforts to implement structure in the curriculum) were not successful.  This was our fault, the fault of the faculty.  Of course, this began to have bad results, and everyone began to complain about the way things were.  It was apparent in the acreditation visit of 1975.  I was the chairer of the curricular committee then, and I sort of took the brunt of the remarks of the visitation team.   Right after that I started writing down complaints about the school, and this helped to outline (the new curriculum)."

 

Not long after the accreditation visit, a report was released showing the performance of Oregon graduates in the professional licensing exam were significantly deteriorating.

   Also, Portland professionals were increasingly refusing to hire Oregon graduates, claiming that their education had not prepared them to work productively in an architect's office.

 

The era of "freedom" was slowly evaporating.  There was a growing sense that things had gone too far, that the School had forgotten its fundamentals.  Students would again begin choosing more structure in their education.  

 

 

IX.  THE TIDE OF REFORMATION:

      A DEPARTMENT IN CRISIS

 

Wilmot Gilland came to the School in 1969.  By 1971, he had been appointed as the Acting Department Head.  From 1972 to 1977, he served as the Department Head. 

   Jerry Finrow was appointed Acting Department Head for 1977-78.  Finrow was an administrative dynamo.  He first outlined his philosophy of administration in a meeting with the staff: "Nothing wastes energy like not being able to make a decision.  I believe that it is better to make a decision; and if it turns out to have been the wrong decision, then, at that point, we can try to correct it."  It was the administrative principle of never touching the same piece of paper more than once.

   In 1969, Finrow had become the founder and director of the Department's Center for Environmental Reesearch,which aided publication of literature relating to environmental design.  In 1975, he became a partner in the firm "Threshold: a Group of Architects, PC," which included among its other four members, Bob Harris, AAA Dean.  The firm would later become a partnership between Harris and Finrow alone.  Finrow wrote about the firm: "The firm was formed to allow the original five partners to develop in practice the theoretical ideas developed from teaching.  We have used and extended the pattern language approach to design originated by C. Alexander. ... We (have) pioneered such an approach to design with great success; this work is gaining a national reputation."

   Finrow also worked with Harris and Kleinsasser in helping to implement Alexander's "Oregon Experiment" campus plan.

 

The Department sought to recruit a new Department Head.  There were antagonisms in the program.  The warning given by the visitation team had awakened a sense that the Department was straying from the issues that were essentially architectural.  A new "formalism" was gaining strength.  The issue of "research" versus "design" arose. 

   Earl Moursund remembered the conflict: "It wasn't really 'research' versus design.  Everyone was for research.  Afterall, design is research.  The real debate was whether the appropriate research in an Architecture Department was Architecture, through design, or the Social Sciences, through architecture."

  

In Spring of 1978, three finalists were considered for Department Head. 

   Jack Long was a Canadian practitioner with an emphasis on planning issues and neighborhood revitalization.  A handbook written by Long's office cried out: "A new movement has begun.  A new spirit exists, a new morality which believes in the streength of every individual to be creative, to form groups for mutual aid.  It is part of a much wider movement throughout the world which is struggling to counter dominant forces and it has its unique implication at the neighbourhood level."

   Louis Lionni was an Italian, educated at MIT, who had worked with SOM and as Project Architect for Stanley Horawitz.  He had completed a wide variety of projects over the years in New York City, was currently teaching at Pratt Institute and consultant to the Pratt Center for Community and Environmental Development and to the Pratt Archiectural Collaborative for projects set in New York City ghettos. 

   In meeting with a class during his visit to the School, Lionni asked the students: "Over the next five years how much will 800 architectural students spend for traditional readings and materials?  A hell of a lot of money.  Could it be used better, or in different ways?  To cooperatively buy land?  To buy buses?  Campers...?"

   That was not exactly the message that certain faculty, who desired a more fundamental approach to architectural education, would find especially comforting.

 

The third candidate was Chuck Rusch.  He was young, attractive, energetic, seeming more at ease than the other two candidates.  He had been a multi-engine transport pilot in the Navy.  He had attended Harvard College and taken an AB degree in Social Relations.  He received a B.Arch and an M.Arch degree from Berkeley in 1966, receiving the AIA medal as an outstanding graduate.  He worked in firms in Berkeley and San Francisco; then, in 1964, he taught architecdture at Berkeley.  From 1967 to 1969 he was a Fellow for the Center for Advanced Study at the University of Illinois.  In 1969 he began teaching at UCLA, in the School of Architecture and Planning.

   In the early 1970's he founded and directed MOBOC (Mobile Open Classroom), a program based on his theory of 'transformational design':  "It means that both users and designers must work together to understand themselves and their own social context first; then the design work will flow rather directly out of that understanding."

   In 1972, he became a member of the Executive Board for Urban Innovations Group.  In 1976, he was coordinating architect and educational consultant on Krishnamurti School in Ujai, California.

   In 1975, Rusch became Associate Dean of Architecture at UCLA.

  

In speaking to the School on April 12, 1978, as a candidate, Rusch said:

 

   "We refuse to believe that we cannot shape behavior with

   good design.  That mistake cost us billions of dollars in

   Great Society money, burned up in model cities that no longer

   exist.  To me the environment is a manifestation of the culture

   at any moment in time, and what a good designer does is

   penetrate that culture deeply enough to resolve some of its

   inherent conflicts.  This act does not shape behavior, but

   rather releases behavior already imbedded in the culture."

    

Chuck Rusch was selected to be Department Head.  The vote had not been unanimous.

   In 1975 he had worked on schematics with Charles Moore's Urban Innovations Group, Inc., designing a residence for J. Krishnmurti, the spiritual master from India who had been chosen by the Theosophist Society, when a boy, to fulfill their prophecy of the manifestation of the great living being, the Second Christ.  Krishnamurti had turned down their offer.

   Charles Moore wrote a very strong letter supporting Rusch's candidacy.  Moore was a friend of Bob Harris, Bill Gilland, and other faculty in the Department.  Harris pushed strongly for Rusch's selection.  There was no real enthusiasm for the other candidates.  Rusch was obviously an intelligent and personable man.

 

Had Rusch been selected ten years earlier, at the dawn of the "social consciousness" movement, rather than at its dusk, his tenure as Department Head at Oregon may have been rewarding.  But the era of social involvement was ebbing.  Some would criticize the new students as the "Me Meneration," concerned only with their own personal ambitions.  In all fairness, however, after a decade of strife, and social guilt and self-judgment, a period of self-acceptance was returning.  The ideological polarization which had delineated the 1960's was becoming clouded.  Values were becoming more personal, more private.  In using Louis Kahn's ideas metaphorically: society was seeking to re-establish the demarcation between the outside and the inside, between group needs and personal aspiration and desires.

 

By the late 1970's, the Pattern Language was generally falling out of favor with students.  With the exception of Bill Kleinsasser, whose design process was highly personal and inclusive of other influences (Van Eyk, Kahn, Henry Mercer)--in fact, Kleinsasser seemed the synthesis he sought, both formalist and behaviorist, neither formalist nor behaviorist, belonging to neither camp and recognizing neither's legitimacy, for each was incomplete in understanding--the proponents of Alexander's user-participation method were not in the same rhapsodic demand as were other faculty through the so-called "mentor system."  In fact, some students refered to it snidely as "the bible," distrusting what seemed to some a standardized, almost mass-produced response to complex and singular architectural problems.

  

In Rusch's first meeting with the faculty,  September 1978, he outlined his background and his philsophy of administration: he did not see it to be his role to lead the Department in a new direction; rather, his intention was to encourage diversity, discussion and professional development among the faculty.  The faculty, as a group, would provide direction for the Department. 

   He concluded his presentation with this vision: "As to the future, I believe that there will be a gradual but drastic alteration of the professional role from expert to teacher, as we learn to help users take design responsibility for their own environments.  Our role will be to train our students to become these environmental teachers to lead, clarify, and work with people."

 

David Sandahl had applied for promotion and tenure.  He was the Department's resident researcher and behaviorist.  His emphasis, over five years, had been more and more on research.  His course enrollment had dropped.  The quality of his design studio work was not strong.  Student evaluations were generally negative.  He was denied a permanent place on the faculty.

   One of Chuck Rusch's first faculty appointments, Fall 1979, was  David Stea, as a Visiting Lecturer.  Stea was a very gifted, humane man, with strong foundations in the behavioral sciences.

   "Behaviorism," the psychological theory so popular in the 1960's, deduced from experiments by B.F.Skinner on laboratory rats, suggested that a modified environment produced a modified behavior: an enhanced, positive, supportive environment, therefore, would produce a more perfect social order. 

   A rational conclusion, based on this understanding, was that the designer's responsibility was not to the building one designed, but to the society which was affected by that design.  Environmentalism.  The building was valuable not in itself but in its power to change behavior, to help refine human nature.

  

Stea was a product of the 1960's.  His interests included environmental design; low-cost, culturally-adaptive, energy-conserving housing; community facilities; design for minorities, handicapped, elderly; design for the Third World; on-reservation settlements for Native Americans; social and environmental impact analyses; environmental and engineering psychology.

   He spoke English, French, Spanish, Portugese and Italian.  He had taken a B.S. with honors at Carnegie Tech in mechanical/aeronautical engineering; an M.S. in psychology at Stanford.  He had studied architecture at Stanford and Rhode Island School of Design with no degree objective.

   There was no questioning Stea's intellect or his social aspirations.  Yet, he was not an architect.  He team-taught a studio with David Sandahl in Winter 1978: a transportation system for Cerro Gordo Community, a New Age Oregon Intentional Community with ambitions to be "the first car-free community in the country."  Stea could not teach a studio alone, since he was not an architect.  The studio proved to be a disaster.  Students complained to other faculty that they were not working.  The goal of the studio seemed to be talking about problems.  Students told John Reynolds that they were embarassed to have their work reviewed.  Faculty attending the review were upset by the lack of work.

   Rusch assured the faculty at a Department Meeting that a similar studio,  at UCLA, in which Stea worked with a strong design instructor, had produced exceptional work.

 

In the Winter of 1979, Christie Coffin and Jerry Finrow began developing a Spring Term course, "Barrier-Free Design," in which students would design an environment for "physically handicapped" clients.  Consultants were hired to help with the work: one blind, another wheel-chair bound.  In April, Jerry Firnow announced that the course had been cancelled due to inadequate enrollment. 

   Rusch suggested that the Department investigate to see if the small enrollment was due to scheduling conflicts or to a lack of interest.

   At the end of the year Coffin would request a leave-of-absence to return to Berkeley to work in private practice.

 

There were administrative problems.  Richard Garfield, Assistant Department Head, had applied for a one-year leave of absence, to work for Daniel-Mann-Johnson-Mendenhall in Portland.  No one had wanted to replace him.  It was a thankless job.  There was only a token payment.  Garfield had worked nearly 70 hours a week during 1977-78 (he kept a record).  The position's primary responsibilities were in advising and admissions.

   When no one stepped forward to replace Garfield, Mike Pease volunteered.  Mike Pease was perhaps the most talented, sensitive, artistic faculty member in the Department.  He was not an administrator however.  He knew it; he had volunteered because the Department had needed someone.

   Pease was good with advising; he was good with people.  He also worked long hours.

   The admissions process was not very structured.  Both faculty and students reviewed applications.  When the Admissions Committee, of which Pease was director, made final selections, they admitted too many applicants. 

 

The first crisis of 1980 was caused by over-enrollment.  There were over 800 students in the program; 650 had been the target.  Too many first-year students had been admitted.  Also, many students who had been taking leaves-of-absence unexpectedly returned to school, expecting to enroll in courses.

   In January 1980, Chuck Rusch delivered his "State of the Department" report at a faculty meeting.  One-half way through his 3-year term, there were serious problems:

 

      1.   Over-Enrollment: There were 96 additional majors this year.

         Design demand had increased so significantly that Rusch

         had applied for emergency funds to staff 1 additional

         Arch 180 studio, and 3 additional Arch 380 studios for Fall

         Term.  He could have used money for 5 Arch 380 studios.

         In the Winter Term, design demand had increased by 80

         students, many of whom had returned from leaves of

         absence, due probably to the depressed national economy. 

         He had applied for emergency funds.  Paul Civin, at the

         Provost's Office, held emergency funds until the last minute

         of registration (5:15 pm), to determine real need; then he

         promised part, but not all, of the funds.  Alison

         Blamire's salary had come out of the Exhibitions and

         Services budget.

      2.   Design Standards: Arch 480 Design Studio instructors had

         reported that between 20-33% of Arch 480 students were

         not prepared or capable of handling level of work in the

         course.  There had been a tremendous surge in Special

         Advising Meetings (for students considered weak in

         design).  The old preferencing system had created

         inequities.  The would need to be modifications in the

         preferencing system and a bettter method of determining

         appropriate progress through intermediate level studios

          (Arch 380).

      3.   Faculty Recruiting: There was a need for greater clarity in

         an assessment of architecture and architectural education.

      4.   Administration: When Mike Pease had resigned as

         Assistant Department Head no one agreed to replace him. 

         An office reorganization had been instituted, hiring another

         classified staff member.  As with any change, there was

         a period of transition.  The office had been in a state of

         turbulence.  It missed the stabilizing presence of the

         Assistant Department Head.  The alternative structure

         created this year, to cover for the absence of the Assistant

         Department Head, had covered about 2/3 of the job.

            Major Departmental tasks being undertaken:

               -Lawrence Hall Building Project

               -Curriculum Revision

               -Department Office Reorganization

               -Urban Umbrella (Community Design Center)

               -Research Funding Effort

               -Outside liaison with the profession.

               -Accreditation Visit in the Spring.

 

Everything that could go wrong seemed to be going wrong.

   In February 1980, Rusch wrote his regular column in the Architecture newspaper AVENU, "Head-Tripping With Chuck Rusch.."  A visit by a student upset by perceived unfair treatment in the Department triggered the following essay by Rusch:

 

   "Most of us seem to have a strong expectation that life is

   supposed to be fair.  I would like to assert that life is not fair,

   that is is not meant to be fair, and, therefore, that expecting it

   to be fair can only lead to unhappiness every time one

   discovers that it is not.  I do not believe that life is

   intrinsically about justice, equality, comfort, satisfaction,

   or even the pursuit of happiness.  I believe life is basically

   about growth, all kinds of growth, but particularly inner growth

   or, more simply, learning... Most growth-producing

   circumstances are often those of hardship, discomfort, injustice,

   and tragedy."

 

In the last paragraph of the article Rusch even predicted that his meaning would be misunderstood.  It was.  There was furor about the fatalistic view which accepts injustice in the world; and how, as a leader, it was Rusch's proper response to mitigate or oppose injustice, not justify and idealize it.

  

In terms of faculty recruiting, the research/behaviorist position David Sandahl had filled had several strong candidates.  David Stea had written Rusch a short letter explaining that he had decided not to seek the job.  There was too much opposition among the faculty.  Don Corner, from Berkeley, with a strong background in construction, was a finalist; so was Gary Moore, a friend of Rusch's, with impressive academic credentials, but, again, in the behavioral sciences.

   There was already grumbling among the faculty, concerning Moore.  Many of the faculty had made it clear that they considered the social sciences as something extraneous to the discipline of architecture.  Design, of course, was bound up in human issues.  But the Department must not become a center for psychological study.  Study of the mind was an appropriate, exciting study: it was not the precinct of a School of Architecture however.

   There was a "movement" in the School, against which he was swimming.  He did not see the contradiction between form and behavior.  He did not fully understand why the passion of this reaction.

 

The evening of 21 February 1980, Gary Moore presented a lecture to the Department entitled "Architecture and Behavior: Examples of the Interaction of Research and Design."

   Moore had studied architecture at Berkeley, and psychology at Clark.  He had worked in the offices of Richard Peters, Don Olson, Sim van der Ryn, MLTW.  He had edited two books on Design Methods and on Environmental Knowing.  He had co-authored a third book, Designing Environments for Children.  His unpublished monographs, research papers, university lectures were countless.

   Rusch introduced Moore, speaking directly to the "formalist" faculty and students in the audience:

 

   "There is, at  the present time, a resurgence of interest in

   design and in design  teaching.  As architects, teachers, and

   students, we are gaining a new positive sense of what we have

   to contribute, what it is that we do that is unique; a real sense

    of our own strengths...

      I think it is important at exciting times like these not to just

   get excited, but to be cautious as well.  It is important to watch

   out, to make sure, to not over-react, and jump on still another

   bandwagon.  More specifically, we want to be sure that our

   renewed interest in form, our excitement over the work of

   Venturi, Graves, Meier, Moore or Rogers, Birkerts, Sterling

   or Rossi or whomever, is not emuulated or imitated superficially--

   but to the full depth of the levels of meaning they have plumbed

   with it.  Let's not suddenly return to mere formalism, but to

   formalism in its deepest meaning.  It is time, then, for maintaining

   balance, for keeping perspective, for reminding ourselves that

   buildings are built for people, for clients, for communities, and

   especially for users.  It is a time for reminding ourselves that

   design springs  from a base of information that must be

   understood, and expanded through research; that information

   must be gathered to exist, and applied to be useful; that firmness

   and commodity are as essential as delight."

 

After the lecture, faculty and students began to ask Moore questions.  Earl Moursund was one of the most vocal of the so-called "formalists."  He resented the label, because he did not consider himself a formalist.  To him the word "form" was misunderstood.  It was thought of as synonymous with the "shape," that is, something two-dimensional, concerned with surface. 

   "Form", to Moursund, concerned the ideas underlying "three-dimensional shape".  These "ideas" were "the form of form," if you will, the coherent structure (Ideas) beneath the structure, which was, itself, this "language of form," the essence of architecture.

   Opponents often considered the "formalists" reactionaries against a new movement, seeking in the "old rules" some sanctuary of judgment.  They could not comprehend the revolutionary new architecture.  They were the proponents of a return to the status quo, "establishment" architecture, or, as Ismet Guchan, the resident Stalinist student from Turkey accused, "fascist architecture." 

  

Moursund was an enthusiast for his ideas.  He asked the lecturer what research could do for architecture.  Moore answered in generalities.  Moursund asked for explicit answers.  He wished to see if Moore understood the issues of architecture.  Students also began to ask questions.  The responses remained general, unsatisfyjng.

   The general picture, the universal view, the international politic, is, by its very definition, clean and clear and synthetic.  It is a picture of all parts congealed.  It is a jigsaw puzzle, assembled, without contradictions, without uncertainties, without ready paradox.

   "Everything is one" is a corollary of "Nothing is all": although it seems to be profound, and is psychologically an essential wisdom, it is helpless to detail and dead to individual desire.  It is timeless.  And Time is the god who builds thought in evolving form.  Time is the shaper of Space, the life-force driving itself into and beyond complexity.

 

Dean Harris confronted Earl Moursund the day after the lecture: "I have never before seen a visitor to our School embarassed like Gary Moore was embarassed last night!"

   "Good!" Moursund replied.  "I have nothing against him as a man, as a person.  But he had to be exposed.  We need to understand what is being attempted in our Department!"

   When it came to a crusade, Moursund was a very estimable adversary.

 

In the March issue of the student-initiated Departmental paper, AVENU, Rusch communicated again his views of the synthesis of form and behavior:

 

   "There seems to be some confusion in the Department about

   the relation between the study of people and the study of

   architecture.  We all know that architecture is created for people--

   or their protection, emjoyment, and use.  However, some would

   argue that the study of architecture has to concentrate primarily

   on the creation of form.  We do not make people, we make places.

   We must know enough about people to be able to make buildings

   that (among other things) facilitate activities rather than frustrate

   them, but our study, our research, should concentrate exclusively

   on the making of forms and how those forms then speak to us and

   shape our behavior.  Or so the argument goes....

      I believe that there are two varieties of form: architectural form

   (or more broadly, physical form), and behavioural form.  By

   behavioural form, I am not referring to something at all abstract

   or remote; I am referring to real people arranging themselves

   in certain characteristic patterns...

      There is a language of architectural form... It is a...non-verbal

   language and its symbols, grammar and syntax are not well-

   understood and not easily manipulated.  It is an environmental

   language, always there to be received, but only transmitted at

   great cost of time, effort, and money.  In schools of architecture,

   what we do primarily is learn how to send meaning to others

   through the language of form.  We are here to learn the

   language, how to 'read' it, and how to create with it skillfully,

   so that we can communicate with others, can share our experience

   of space with them...

      There is also a language of behavioral form.  It is also

   non-verbal.  We learn to repond to one another through the use

   of very subtle behavioral patterns...We communicate attitudes

   and emotions and ideas about status, equlity, power, tc., to one

   another in the patterns our bodies take, whether in pairs, small

   groups or large gatherings...

      If one looks into behavior deeply enough, one sees form...

   If one looks into form deeply enough, one discovers behavior. 

   Form and behavior constitute what Cheramyeff calls a 'reciprocal

   unity'.  They are two sides of the same coin; looking through one

   reveals the other...

      Incidentally, Gary Moore is studying behavior to find the

   form in it.  So is Bill Kleinsasser.  Earl Moursund is studying

   form to find the embedded behavioral cues.  Both are essential

   investigations."

 

The world had changed so rapidly.  Chuck Rusch had, a few years earlier, existed at the cutting edge of a new development in architecture.  He had been the Earl Moursund of his school, the instructor with whom all the good students wanted to study.  It seemed to him that there had been some reaction, right as the flower was blossoming.

    He reflected later on the changing nature of his experience: "At UCLA, the courses I taught were always filled with the best students.  When I came to Oregon, my classes were not filled, and generally the best students were not enrolled."

 

There was another crisis, this with the office staff.  Joy Halliwell, a receptionist hired as part of the office restructuring, was informed by Mary Christofferson, her supervisor, that she would not be kept beyond her six-month trial period.  There was a general office upheaval.  Tisha Egashira, Mike Clark, and Betsy ___  all felt that the decision should be reconsidered. 

   Chuck Rusch had to deal with another crisis, one which affected the day-to-day production of work.  When the smoke had cleared Betsy had resigned, Joy was transferred to another unit, and the Department was understaffed again, as the production work on the accreditation report drew near.

   After a feeble attempt to resolve the missing Assistant Department Head problem with weekly rotating faculty members, Michael Utsey volunteered to take on the responsibilities for advising and admissions.   Utsey had a natural strength in administration.  He enjoyed it, was good with numbers, careful with language, enjoyed the subtleties of curricula, and had an affinity for planning.

   Had he been in a position to aid Chuck Rusch with administrative tasks early in his tenure then perhaps such damage may not have accrued going unnoticed.  Rusch noted his administrative failings to the faculty.  Indeed, in meeting with the office staff at the beginning of his term, in contrast to Jerry Finrow's homage to "decision-making," Rusch had stated his administrative philosophy: "If it really needs to get down, it will raise it's head more than once.  If it raises its head more than once, then I'll recognize it."

 

A more personal matter also played a part in this history.  Chuck Rusch had fashioned a friendship with Thom Hacker.  He admired Thom, who seemed to Rusch the best and the brightest in the Department.  He was young, charismatic, gifted, receptive.  He had designed his own home in Eugene, a spendid, mysterious house, its use of light provacative, its fine wood structure almost dense, but ethereal, almost oriental.  It was a house much talked-about in the School. 

   Chuck wanted Thom to design him a house also.  The work progressed.  Thom's method of design was highly idiosyncratic: conceptual and poetic, not user-oriented.  Chuck wanted to be more directly involved in design decisions.  Finally, their alliance broke down.  Thom felt he couldn't continue with the project.

   Thom Hacker had a special relationship with the Dean.  They had formed a bond when Thom had first approached him at Carnegie-Mellon, looking for a job.  Thom was very gifted.  Some resented him for it.  Some flattered him because of it.  Bob Harris admired his gift.  They had formed an alliance which was mutually supportive, and politically affective.

   Hacker had been the one link through whom Chuck Rusch might find support among the so-called "formalists".  When that broke, Time ran out.

                                                           

On 1 July 1980, Dean Harris released the following memorandum:

 

 

   Office of the Dean

                                                            July 1, 1980

 

   ANNOUNCEMENT

 

   The School of Architecture and Allied Arts announces

   several changes in administration as a result of deliberations

   undertaken by the Department of Architecture Faculty Council,

   the head of the Department, and the Dean of the School.  The

   general direction of these discussions has been to examine the

   structure of the faculty and to assess the role of the Council,

   as well as the role of the Department Head, in order to more

   clearly define  responsibilities and authority.  To facilitate the

   implementation of these discussions, Professor Rusch will be

   stepping aside from the headship effective August 15, 1980.

 

The Western Myth had reasserted itself, this time in the form of the European model.  The Far East, as a model of American destiny, had been dethroned.  The struggle was not unique to the School of course.  The School merely reflected the culture, as it must, by natural law, it being constructed of the "substance" of the culture.

   The era of the "counter-culture" as a dominant idea was passing; and the family of ideas, woven historically together by the power of Memory, designated the "culture," that is, National Identity, was again assuming direction.

   In the Tao of Architecture, all is fluid, ever-changing: the day had become night, and the night had become day again, invoking structure, Ego, and form.

 

 

X.     SMALL IS NOT BEAUTIFUL:

     THE BOB HARRIS LEGACY

  

The earliest stage of implementation of Alexander's Pattern Language as a planning process emphasized design/build projects.  The two most notable were the Kincaid Street Bus Shelter and the Bronze Casting Facility for the Department of Fine Arts. 

   The bus shelter, although it did not weather well, used wood lath and burlap as a permanent framework for a lightweight concrete roof vault system, which was later used in Alexander's Mexicali Housing Project.  Faculty Rob Thallon, John Meadows, and David Edrington (early partners with Harris and Finrow in Threshold) supervised architecture students in the design and construction process.   

   Also designed and built by students (in this it was reminiscent to the early days of the School under Lawrence), was the Fine Arts Bronze Casting Facility, which ultized a composite construction system of lightweight concrete as well as brick barrel vaulting.  The bus shelter was demolished in 1987.  To some it was considered an eye-sore; others saw it as emblem of the spirit of cooperation.

   Alexander's focus on the small construction elements was in many ways characteristic of the era.  A popular book among American Intellectuals, especially on the West Coast, was Small Is Beautiful, which essentially proposed an Eastern view of the world rejecting the Western "value" of bigness, which was Ego-oriented, alienated from nature, aesthetically indelicate and socially irresponsible.  The book idealized a generalized knowledge in humanity, and villified specialization, which, in essence, was the cause of the ignoble focus on largeness.

   Alexander's "Piecemeal Growth" principle stressed that construction would be weighted overwhelmingly toward small projects.  And that equal sums would be spent on large, medium, and small building projects, to guarantee the numerical predominance of very small building increments.

   In fact, "Small is beautiful" is a fundamental message of the book The Pattern Language:

 

   "PATTERN 1: 'Metropolitan regions will not come to balance

   until each one is small and autonomous enough to be an

   independent sphere of culture.'

      PATTERN 12.  'Individuals have no effective voice in any

   community of more than 5,000-10,000 persons.'

      PATTERN 14.  'Help people to define the neighborhoods they

   live in, not more than 300 yards across, with no more than 400

   or 500 inhabitants.  In existing cities, encourage local groups to

   organize themselves to form such neighborhoods.  Give the

   neighborhoods some degree of autonomy as far as taxes and

   land controls are concerned.  Keep major roads outside these

   neighborhoods.'

      PATTERN 21.  'There is abundant evidence to show that high

   buildings make people crazy... In any urban area, no matter how

   dense, keep the majority of buildings four stories high or less.  It

   is possible that certain buildings should exceed this limit, but

   they should never be buildings for human habitation.'

      PATTERN 41: 'Build or encourage the formation of work

   communities--each one a collection of smaller clusers of

   workplaces which have their own courtyards, gathered round a

   larger common square or common courtyard which contains

   shops and lunch counters.  The total work community should

   have no more than 10 or 20 workplaces in it.'

      PATTERN 75: 'Set up processes which encourage groups of

   8 to 12 people to come together and establish communal

   households.'"

 

The romantic, "Eastern" message that the West, modernism, and urbanism were sicknesses reflected the counter-cultural ideas of the era:

 

   "PATTERN 63: 'Why is it people don't dance in the street

   today?'

      PATTERN 5: 'The suburb is an obsolete and contradictory

    form of human settlement."

      PATTERN 9: 'The artificial separation of houses and work

   creates intolerable rifts in people's inner lives.'

      PATTERN 11:  'Cars give people wonderful freedom and

   increase their opportunities.  But they also destroy the environment,

   to an extent so drastic that they kill all social life.'

      PATTERN 138.  'Sleep to the East.'"

  

The basic political nature of the process is stated as a first principle, in the first pattern, under the Section "Towns" and under the sub-section "Independent Regions" instructs the reader "Do what you can to establish a world government, with a thousand independent regions, instead of countries."

 

         *                       *                        *

 

The first project to utilize the Pattern Language process with an architectural firm was the School of Music remodel and addition design.  The program called for a new classroom and office wing, and several large practice halls, as well as extensive remodeling.  The Pattern Language process involves architects and users meeting to discuss and decide upon clearly determined design principles ("patterns") which become policies that guide the design.  In the Music School project, the architects found the user-based process difficult to implement.

   Jerry Finrow has written: "The architects found the user-based process of design to be complex and confusing, with the result that much of the design decision-making was done with little user involvement.  A review of the design proposed in the Oregon Experiment for this project compared with what was actually built demonstrates a lack of conceptual vision in the final project."

   Dean Harris remembers: "We learned something from the Music School experience, and that (knowledge) was implemented in the College of Education."

 

The next project to incorporate the principles of the "Oregon Experiment" was, of course, the College of Education.  The firm of Martin, Soderstrom and Mattison of Portland, with the late Willard K. Martin as project designer, was selected by the user group to facilitate design of a major addition.

   Architecture Department faculty directly involved with the implementation of the "Oregon Experiment" had  different views of the success of the process in the College of Education addition.

   Finrow wrote: "The late Willard K. Martin...was interested in the pattern language design process and eagerly engaged users in a spirited design dialogue.  The resulting project was sympathetic to the existing college of education building complex in position, form, scale, materials, and detailing.  A new building element formed a major new courtyard, which has become the center of activity for the college.  The project represents the best built example of the potentials of the pattern language design process used at the University of Oregon."

   Dean Harris agreed.  "The architect for the College of Education got better advice on how to work with the patterns and the users."

   Bill Kleinsasser, on the other hand, felt the "experiment" was not successful, largely because architects were not sympathetic to the process.  "In some cases the architects were hostile to the process.  Willard Martin (on the Education project) only tolerated and gave lip-service to the process."

  

In his article for Architecture magazine, "The Built Results of Alexander's 'Oregon Experiment'," Jerry Finrow recognized three problems in its implementation:

      (1)                                                 Because capital construction expenditure is

            highly situational (and political), extensive and

            systematic planning on a campus level is

            difficult; and Alexander's "piecemeal growth"

            principle, concerning budgetary equality

            between large and small projects, has been

            unworkable. 

      (2)                                                 The "annual diagnosis" principle, involving

            continuous pattern-mapping analyses to

            identify incremental projects required to

            enhance the campus environment, has not

            been seriously pursued, this largely due to the

            small university planning staff which, because

            of this limitation, must focus on specific

            funded projects more than comprehensive

            planning oversight. 

      (3)                                                 Architecture firms have had difficulty

            working sympathetically with the process. 

 

Finrow writes: "To be successful in using this procedure for design, architects must be skilled in working within a policy-oriented design framework.  Many architecture firms are not used to sharing design decision-making or to operating in such a public process.  They find working in such a way to be frustrating and time-consuming, and feel that the designs are not as good as when architects do the work with less direct user input.  In past projects intense conflicts have resulted from the users' desire for participation and the architects' desire for control." 

     

If the implementation of the "Oregon Experiment" planning process had not been totally successful, a very immediate opportunity presented itself to the AAA School in 1978 to demonstrate the effectiveness of the Pattern Language design process. 

   For years the School of Architecture had been on the governor's list for capital improvement projects.  There had been a series of stops and starts, promises and retractions of promises.  To date, the promised building project had been mere grapes to Tantalus, ever receding as it grew near.

   In 1978 that all changed.  The School was advised to go ahead with the schematic phase of a complete renovation of Lawrence Hall and design of an addition. 

   Governor Vic Atiyeh had submitted a budget proposal to the State Legislature.  Funds for the AAA project were not included.  However, the AAA project was at the top of the list for additional considerations.  In the past, under similar circumstances, the schools of Music and Education, although not funded by the governor, both had been funded by the Legislature.  Conjecture was that history would repeat; that the Legislature would fund the much-needed AAA project.  Since the Legislature met every other year, there was no way of knowing about potential funding until May 1979.  However, to be considered  then, the School would have to present clearly need and intention; the Legislature would be more inclined to fund a carefully considered and developed proposal.

  

In fact, the main reason the AAA School was at the top of the governor's list was that, during the last construction phase in 1965, the original plan for renovation of Lawrence Hall and construction on a north site, across the Millrace, was severely limited due to a budgetary crisis.  About half the planned work was completed.  New spaces on the North Site were never finished, in accoustical treatment or furnishings. 

 

Subsequently, AAA needs had been addressed through deportation of students to "temporary" locations, much of it substandard: Emerald Hall, Columbia Street houses, Science Annex, Agate Street houses. 

   From 1965 to 1978 enrollment in the School of Architecture & Allied Arts had grown 60%, from 1000 to 1600.  Regularly assigned space for AAA needs totalled 83,064 square feet; "temporary" space totalled 28,086 square feet, nearly 1/3 of the permanent AAA space.

  

A Building Committee was formed of department heads from the six  departments in the AAA  School, with a Student Advisory Group.  This committee formed a program, based on seven basic policies or "patterns" of project planning:

      1.   Consolidation on Two Sites.

      2.   Co-Ordinated Remodeling and Additions.

      3.   The School as an Entity and as a Part

      4.   Departments as Program Centers, Not as Bounded Territories.

      5.   School Centers as Small Town Squares.

      6.   Work and Study "Homes" at Every Scale.

      7.   Orientation and Order: Galleries and Arcades.

 

The program called for a two-phase construction process, involving, in Phase One, new construction of 8 studios, faculty offices, 3 review rooms, Library expansion, classrooms, laboratories, gallery/meeting room; also, all remodeling would occur in Phase One.  Phase Two, to be funded in the succeeding biennium, would inolve construction of 10 more studios, faculty and graduate student offices, storage, and more laboratories.

   The general schematic design for Phase One was presented to the Legislature in Spring 1979, and funding was approved for that phase of the building project.

  

Bob Harris was the driving force of this work.  The opportunity to help create a school environment through the making of a building was a rare chance indeed.

   Harris was an intense man, who, at times, seemed almost shy.  He was a contrast of characteristics: friendly but cold; personally committed to an open environment, but, to many faculty, unapproachable.  He was a man of political ideas, and a man who understood the politics of power.   

   Otto Poticha, Eugene architect and long-time faculty member, and neighbor of Bob Harris recalls:

 

   "Bob was a very interesting man.  At first I din't think he'd be a

   very good dean because he seemed too nice.  He loved 'consensus'.

   We would be at a faculty meeting.  He would bring up an issue,

   say, which is better, red or blue?  We would talk about it.  Bob

   would insist that everyone state his or her opinion.  Most people

   didn't care one way or the other.  We would talk about it for hours,

   until everyone was worn out, wanting just to get it over with. 

   Then Bob would conclude the discussion by saying: 'It is my

   understanding that the consensus is...'  There was never a vote. 

   Everyone was so tired from the discussion that they didn't care

   about a vote.  Bob usually got what he wanted; but everyone had

   the impression that it was democratic because they had their

   chance to speak.  It was government by benevolent dictatorship. 

   Still, Harris was very good for the Department.  The program

   changed for the better under his tutelage."

 

The Building Committee selected the firm of Herbert & Keller, Architects.  Both were adjunct faculty in the Department.  A major consideration in the selection process was to find a firm which was confortable working with the Pattern Language design process and committed to user-participation.  The lessons of earlier experiments had been learned.

   The Building Committee essentially  became the User Group, as the main receptacle of concerns and comments from the School at large.  A series of forums were presented by the committee to encourage wide user involvement. Attendance was sparse.  Open houses were held to encourage discussion.  Again, the turnout was disappointing.

   Harris was disturbed by the lack of interest.  In an interview published in AVENU, December 1979, Harris remarked:

 

   "I'm a little confused that there were so few people (at the forum),

   but I don't feel that people are being left out... You can tell how

   much I care about it; it is enormously distressing to me... I feel so

   strongly about the degree to which people ought to be participating

   in this thing, and I am so confused about why they're not.  I don't

   have a lot of patience with it...   We (the committee) have to say to

   people, 'If you're just going to bitch about it, to hell with you.'  I

   don't have a minute's time for people who want to stand around

   and bitch about how things are right now.  Because the program

   is about changing them."

 

He talked about the Pattern Language process:

 

   "What we're trying to do...is to organize the next questions that

   really need to be answered, the next design decisions that need to

   be made.  As we identify those, then we'll look through the

   Patterns which already exist and those we've written, see whether

   there are others we need.  Then we'll order those Patterns in

   relation to the issues we have already identified.

      Questions then follow from what we've already done.  It

   involves using the space we already have remodelled and adding

   additional space on that side.  Before going further, we need to

   confirm the validity of that by answering a few additional design

   questions.  We'll find some patterns which we already have which

   will simply help us order our conversation in a first things first

   way.  With Dan (Herbert) serving as a facilitator to help get that

   together, (along with the efforts of) the Coordinating Committee...

      Someone reads the pattern (ours or Alexanders'); then,

   immmediately, conversation begins over it: people gesturing in

   relation to the models, making diagrammatic drawings.  Then

   others argue that.  So people are actually designing together.  It's

   not as if we we're giving architects information and they go off to

   do the designing.  The designing is really being done together."

 

He talked about the role of the architect in the process:

 

   "One of the questions has been what it's like for an architect

   to work within this situation.  The implication is that it ought not

   to be very good, because they ought to control everything

   themselves.  But Dan and the rest have been enjoying it.  No one,

   I think, feels as though they're being run roughshod.

      Now maybe other people in the School do.  Not enough people

   have come to the Forums, and so they have a way of feeling as

   though they have not been able to influence it very much.  But

   that will change..."

 

And about critics of the Pattern Language, some of whom believed it a mere design "cookbook," others an ideology to which architects and others might become enslaved:

 

   One of the ways in which I hear criticism of the Pattern

   Language is that people will be enslaved by it.  Well, I don't

   know a lot of people who enjoy being enslaved or who are

   subject to that...The way in which the patterns get used is when

   a group of people, caring substantially and deeply about the

   place, get together and read a pattern, the pattern descirbes a

   particular problem and suggests a resoltuion.  What happens

   immediately is that you begin then to define the problem in

   your own terms.  And then they'll look at the solution proposed

   in the pattern and realize it's not quite right and immeditely

   adjust it in their terms.  What the pattern does is help us proceed

   in a really disciplined way, to help us, first of all, be clear about

   just what the hell the problem is we're trying to address.  And,

   second, when we come to the solution, it isn't a trivial one; it

   really addresses that problem.  There's a kind of intensity and

   rigor important to a large group.  You need the assistance of a

   rather rigorous way of working...

      I am not willing to suggest that the pattern language is the

   only way, that would be crazy.  And people ought to experience

   them too.  I'm only aggressive in the degree to which it doesn't

   make sense for those who haven't tried it to imagine that this is a

   way of working that is dangerous and that others aren't... There's

   a lot of skepticism, cynicism, and hesitation these days that

   allows people to say, 'Oh, I bet that's not going to work out.'  I'm

   especially unhappy to see that in a school of art and design, because

   I think, in a way, it's the end of opportunity to do really wonderful

   things.  If you start with the expectation that it's not going to work,

   I mean, what the hell good can occur."

 

It was disappointing that there seemed to be so little interest since a premise of the Pattern Language was that people had both the desire and the ability to design their own "homes".  The lack of user-involvement raised another question about the viability of the process, which, through the earlier schools of Music, mainly, and Education, less so, had centered around the willingness of architects to employ the method.

   Some faculty felt the decisions had already been made.  Indeed, the Pattern Language was, at that time, something of a political position in the Department.  Since the Dean was one of the most avid proponents of the process, and since the project was actively using the process, some of the so-called "formlists" in the School did not feel especially welcome. 

   One faculty member recalled a meeting late in the process in which the work was displayed and concepts were discussed.  An important principle of the design was building on two sites, the "urban" site (Lawrence Hall) and the "surburban" site (North Site).  Some faculty were uneasy about the division of the Department in two sites, feeling a unified Department would be a more healthy organization. 

   The Dean stressed the importance of "choice": the faculty would choose either an urban or suburban site for their office or class.  One faculty member wondered what would happen if no one chose the suburban site.  He was assured they would.  What if they didn't?  They moved to other issues.  He brought them back to that issue, stressing that the issue wasn't so much choice as it was the wisdom of dividing the Department over two sites.  There was silence.  Later, when the meeting took a rest break, the Dean confronted the dissenter and accused him of being a negative influence.  The Dean was very upset.

   "There was an aura of democracy," the faculty member recalled.  "There was room for discussion.  But, in the end, things had to be done the Dean's way.  If you refused to give in  to his views, he would try to isolate you; then he would try to silence you through intimidation."

  

Jay Raskin, a graduate student in the program, wrote an editorial in the AVENU, criticising the process:

 

    "The largest input of user interests has been the Building

   Committee itself.  So much so that the distinction

   between the architects and the Building Committee has become

   almost non-existent.  The gap between the Building Committee

   and the rest of the School, on the other hand, has increased. 

   This has been in part due to the Committee's point of view that

   they reflect School opinion.  Also, since they feel that they have

   the best interests of the School at heart, (they feel) people

   should trust them.  These points of view are naive.  It allows the

   Building Committee to be rather arbitrary in their decisions

   since they don't have to justify them.  It also makes it difficult

   for the Committee to accept criticism because it is perceived as

   a personal attack.  Criticism that doesn't accept their basic

   assumptions is either ignored or deemed unconstructive."

 

As with every building project in the Architecture School, excepting the first design by Lawrence, this one also produced factionalism.  There were serious attempts made by the Building Committee to encourage involvement.  But the factionalism of the day, between "behavioralists" and "formalists," if the reader will tolerate these labels, made cooperation very limited.  This polarization existed both among faculty and among students.

 

The economic recession of the late 1970's hit Oregon especially hard.  The wood-products industry, in its obvious alliance with the building trade, was among the first to feel the effects of a contracting economy.  Since so much of Oregon's economy was timber-based, the state tax-base was severely gored.  Higher Education experienced massive budget cuts; and funding for the AAA building project was discontinued.

   On May 5, 1981, Dean Harris wrote a letter informing President Paul Olum and Acting Vice-President Richard Hill of his intention to accept the position as Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Southern California.  His resignation from the Oregon School of Architecture would be effective August 1, 1981.

 

      *                        *                         *         

 

Any analysis of Bob Harris's impact on the School of Architecture & Allied Arts must begin with the understanding that Harris was a complex man, whose presence dominated the Department for nearly 13 years.  He was an activist, a man with an agenda, much of which was motivated by  an overriding desire to improve the School. 

   He made many friends, some adversaries; but the adversaries tended to agree that,  despite personal disagreements, his impact on the School had been positive.

   Many people, in describing Harris, settle almost immediately on the word "politician".  While the connotation of the word is rarely positive, to some it was a word which described a strength in Harris.

   Gary Moye also remembered the Harris Years as a generally "benevolent dictatorship." But he added: "He was very positive influence for the School.  We had always had a good reputation as a School nationally.  What Bob Harris did was to help gain recognition for the School within the University community.  The School had not had many strong alliances within the University before Harris.   He established lines of communication within the University administration that brought to their attention how strong our School was and why we needed their support."

   Others agreed.  Pat Piccioni, who had his share of disagreements with Harris, also felt he had helped heighten the visibility of the School at the national level.  In the later 1980's Piccioni would say: "We haven't had any real strong leadership in the Department since Harris left.  No matter what you think about him, he was a forceful leader.  He knew where he wanted you to go."

  

Harris was active at every level of professional organization: President of the ACSA; Director of the National Architectural Accrediting Board; Panel Member of the National Endowment for the Arts; Member of the Oregon Capitol Planning Commission, the Citizen Participation Advisory Committee, the Oregon Land Conservation and Development Commission.

   He published reularly on issues related to architectural education.

   He was offered the position of Dean at Rice University, at MIT; the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee wished him to initiate and direct  a Ph.D. program in Architecture; he was recruited as head of Architecture at Harvard; he was nominated to succeed William Boyd as President of the University of Oregon. 

   In 1979 he was offered the position of Dean of Architecture at Southern California, which he declined. Two years later he would accept the same position.

  

Harris was effective in establishing good relations between the different Departments in the School of Architecture & Allied Arts.  The open warfare of the Walter Creese days had passed.  There was not the same feeling that Architecture was automatically favored by the Dean.  His "democratic" impulse was appreciated by the other departments.

   In fact, in the Harris years, national rrecognition came to many departments in the School.  The Architecture program would be ranked in the top 5 public schools of architecture by the National Architectural Accrediting Board, and in the top 10 schools of architecture, public and private, by the Gourman Report, an independent academic ranking service.  The Interior Architecture program was considered one of the three top programs in the country.  Landscape Architecture was ranked high nationally.  The Art Education program was ranked in the top two programs nationally.

  

Harris, as a practitioner, was actively involved in the American Institute of Architects, the local profession, Portland's architectural community. 

   The School's reputation among Portland architects was at low tide however.  In fact, in 1981, Portland professionals conceived an architecture school, set in Portland, to address architectural issues which they believed were not being met by the program at Eugene.  The Oregon School of Design was born.  Competition was set up between the two schools.  The school was mainly geared to part-time working students, to be instructed by Portland professionals, with emphasis on urban design and urban planning.

   Because OSD was not an accredited school, its students did not qualify for federal  financial aid.  Program costs and tuition were high.  The school fell into financial trouble, even suggesting at one point that Oregon "merge" with OSD.  A plan was discussed at Oregon to incorporate OSD into the program as an "urban" fourth year of the B.Arch program; but when OSD demanded an independent curriculum all talks of the merger were ended.  OSD then approached Portland State University to seek funding which might keep her doors open.  

 

Dean Harris's strong political instincts helped him establish strong professional and personal connections with William Boyd, University President; Paul Olum, Provost and later University President; Richard Hill, Provost under Olum; Curt Simic, Vice President for Publc Services.

      This political "instinct" was not always appreciated in the Department of Architecture however.  One faculty member recalls being at a coctail party, early in Harris's term as Department Head.  During the evening Harris approached the faculty member, talked generally about his goals, and ended by saying: "I hope I'll be able to consider you one of my boys." 

   The faculty member was shocked. He did not know what to make of it.  Thus began, between them, a long tenure of suspicion and disalliance.

     

         *                     *                         *         

 

Harris had been frustrated from the very beginning by Oregon's treatment of Higher Education.  There was always budgetary crises.  Oregon had a reputation for being politically and environmentally progressive; still, it's method of funding education was archaic; indeed, education, as a priority, was always secondary.

   Oregon is a paradoxical state, in a political sense.  It is the home of  the hybrid genus, the liberal republican--that is, liberal on issues of personal freedom, environmental issues, foreign policy; but, as are all Western states, primarily individualistic.  As such, on economic issues, its natural tendency is toward the laissez-faire, which applauds less government interference in business, home, and school.

   In March 1970, with Harris as Department Head, he wrote a letter to Dean Cuthbert protesting budgetary limitations:

 

   "I have received a number of inquiries from other schools

   as to any interest I might have in being considered for

   Department Head or Dean positions.  I do not seem to have

   any interest in a new position, but I wanted to let you know

   about the activity.  Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has

   seemed especially interested in my potential candidacy... The

   University of Illinois, Chicago Circle Campus, has made

   inquiries...  Finally, I received a call from Joe Esherick from

   Berkeley expressing a substantial interest in considering me

   for Head of the Department of Architecture at Berkeley.  I

   agreed to send a vita, but I do not think I am interested.

      Perhaps in relation to the inquiries from other schools, it

   would not be wrong for me to inquire about the possibilities

   here.  For example, is it not possible for me to have an

   administrative secretary, in addition to the departmental

   secretary?  While I am not anxious to leave Oregon, I am also

   not keen about remaining an administrator without some

   additional administrative assistance.  A second question is the

   development of a realistic M&E budget for the Department. 

   Our $1050 has not sufficed for years, and will not this year.  It

   allows little more than $1.50 per department major, and only

   $10 per term per instructor, or less than $5 per term per course. 

   And out of that small sum we are also supposed to operate our

   modest graduate program. .. Perhaps some indication of what

   we might expect could be obtained very soon.  I suppose a

   negative response might adjust the degree of my disinterest in

   other schools.  I would much prefer to ignore those inquiries."

    

Dean Cuthbert sent a copy of the letter with his own memorandum to Charles Duncan, Dean of Faculties: "I believe that it is the measure of this man that he is asking for nothing for himself but is genuinely and deeply concerned for the welfare of his department and its faculty."

 

In September 1976, in relation to a proposed AAA building project, Harris wrote an open letter to the School:

 

   "During the academic year 1975-76 the University prepared a

   program for campus development including remodeling and

   additions for many departments and schools.  By the beginning

   of the spring term I had reason to be "98% certain" that a first

   modest phase of rehabilitation and addition would be available

   to our School during the coming biennium.  I am equally

   confident now that we will not receive the critical assistance...

      I am not able to report that the University has been persistent

   and alert in urging support for its rather special, modest, and

   responsible proposals... We simply did not receive the

   administrative service and attention that might have created

   better understanding and support by the Chancellor."

 

The disappointment over the discontinued building project was great.  Years of work seemed in vain, especially to members of the Building Committee.  Not only was the building project cut, basic program budgets were also cut.  Fighting for marginal funding had been draining even in the best of times.

   Harris, in resigning, wrote: "While the budget difficulties of the University cannot be ignored, they have played a relatively minor role in my deliberations." 

   However, in accepting the position of Dean at Southern California he was moving to a private school with, comparably, almost unlimited resources.

 

The "Small Is Beautiful" movement, as a part of the counter-cultural idea that the "group" was inherently more real and wise than the individual, that too much affluence was a cause of the alienated individual, that the inflated Ego was the tragic result of a competitive capitalistic society, with the "city" being the equally tragic effect of an alienated social structure, had as a necessary means to achievement economic depression.  Specialization and "personal" ambition were symptoms of an illness.  "Community" (something idealized, almost historical) was not supported by modern existence.  To reach the promised land of communal living the modern world of industrialized, technological living would need to de-evolve.  Economic depression (the death of the world as we knew it) would bring about this more humane, more natural, more truly-scaled environment.  Affluence was the cause of problems; and people would ultimately choose to solve their problems by choosing an enlightened self-sufficiency, turning their backs on the notion of personal gain, personal desires, complexity, modernism, specialization.

   President Carter became a spokesman for this idea in his famous "we are at the end of an era of unlimited resources" speech.  It was the end of Carter as a political leader, because inherent in the view was a sort of spiritual surrender, an acceptance of the idea that the individual will had no inherent powers to create a world (an essential element of American Mythology).  It was a denial of myth; hence, a denial of the Future.  For Myth and Hope and the Future are intertwined.  In denying the future, one reaps depression, economic and psychological.  Denial of the future is itself, essentially, self-destruction. 

 

In the recession of the 1970's Bob Harris and the AAA School came to understand quite clearly, at least in terms of economic supply,  the limits of the philosophy of "less is more".  The Department had experimented with a curricular model which, too, seemed to embody the principles that less (structure) would produce more (quality).  The experiment proved, at best, only a limited success.

  

The Harris Years were rich with experiment and personal freedoms.  They were rich in terms of strong faculty having been recruited to the program.  They were rich in terms of a dialogue concerning issues central to the discipline.

   Not all Architecture faculty members were sorry to see him leave however.  His personal control of the program had become so strong, and his personal views so energetic: many believed that it was time for a change.

 

 

PART FOUR: 

RECONFIGURATION-:  THE OPPORTUNITY TO

RECREATE

 

I.  "HARMONY IN DIVERSITY"

 

To portray the struggle between ideas in the Department, between proponents of" form" and "environmental behaviorism", of product and process, as a personal struggle between faculty members is not entirely correct.   The struggle was a genuine intellectual dialogue between individual faculty members wishing to best direct their academic program.  To speak of it as two "schools of thought" is also not entirely accurate.  It helps achieve some clarity of discussion; but the "formalists" were individuals who did not agree on all things architectural.  Likewise, the "behaviorists" were not a rigid school of thought, of one voice and one method.  To write history at all one must comprehend the general picture, and amplify the individual traits.  For there is no truth without this dual understanding.

 

Lawrence's well chosen phrase, "Harmony In Diversity," which he used both as a description of his actual program and also a vision of a philosophical foundation, is not so far from describing the program at Oregon, even in the late 1970's. 

   The "harmony" in the diversity was represented by the degree to which the faculty, despite their differences concerning the real purpose and nature of architecture, remained committed to its first goal, that of educating their students.  Personal differences did not gain ascendancy over this commitment.  In fact, faculty members hired in the 1970's and early 1980's regularly commented on how civil the faculty were to one another at Oregon.  There is, in architectural schools, a tendency (almost a tradition) for personal and sectarian alienations.

   There were significant differences between the faculty.  But the main "schools of thought" were never really schools of thought: and that was the "diversity," which acted both as the engine and as preserver of that ideal "harmony", which did not mean agreement as much as it did shared intention.  There were temporary alliances, over specifical issues.  But faculty were, in the Western tradition, individuals, more than they were political parties.

   Again, the struggles in the Department were a microcosmic order of the struggle within American society.  The family did not always agree; still, they remained a family.

 

When Chuck Rusch was removed as Department Head, faculty lined up as possible replacements.  Bill Kleinsasser was interested.  He had taken the criticism of the old curriculum by the Visitation Team as his key to "re-create" a better curricular guideline.  If the word most accurately describing the 1970's experiment had been "freedom," then the word to describe the new curricular view might be "equality".  Treating each student equally; requiring a common foundation of architectural understanding.

   Another candidate was Thom Hacker.  He proposed a "team" approach to administration.  He would provide the vision and the personal leadership; Richard Garfield, having returned from his work in Portland, would be the "office manager" as the Assistant Department Head.  Faculty worried about Thom's nature, which was vision-oriented, in a similar way as Chuck Rusch's had been, and the daily-grind requirements of administration.  (Hacker and Garfield would soon leave the Department to establish a firm in Portland.  Not long after they  won a national competition for the Arizona State Historical Society building; the design received wide attention in architectural publications.)

   Another candidate was Jerry Finrow.  He had been Acting Head before Chuck Rusch.  He had been fair, effective, straight-forward administrator. 

   Had the Department really been a polarized camp of opposite "parties" this fight for succession could have easily been a struggle for control of the Department.  It was not.  There was no "formalist" vote for Thom Hacker.  Nor did the so-called "behaviorist" vote split between Finrow and Kleinsasser.

   Finrow was elected.  Mike Utsey continued as Assistant Department Head.  A new order began, one that was much more systematic and consistent than had been the case for some time.

   Utsey began immediately to re-structure the admissions process; and became the primary program advisor in the Department.  He was instrumental (with Chuck Rusch) in establishing a computerized admissions procedure, and, eventually, a student record-keeping system.  His meticulous nature seemed very well-suited to administration.  He also helped to provide a sense of administrative authority which would last until his resignation as Assistant Head in Spring 1986.

   Utsey also initiated the Department's Summer Architecture Academy in the early 1980's, as a summer program in which students aged 16 to 60 could explore the study of architecture in a 6-week design-studio centered program.  The academy has become a highly successfful program.

   In 1988, Utsey was named Associate Dean,  to replace the venerable Mac Hodge who retired in Summer 1989.

 

The tenure of Jerry Finrow as Department Head was marked by a reconfiguration of Department policy and curriculum.  The Visiting Board's criticism of the open-ended curriculum and the high-rate of failing of Oregon graduates in the licensing exam had sent a wave of pragmatic fervor through the Department.  Faculty cared deeply about their program.  A re-structuring was begun.

 

Bill Kleinsasser was most responsible for the actual work on the forging of a new curriculum.  The entire faculty was involved; but, as head of the Curriculum Committee, Kleinsasser made it his special mission.  An immense amount of work was involved.  Revisions of the current curriculum began at first.  It happended by bits and pieces.  Then a more conceptual change evolved.  When it would be approved by the faculty, and then implemented in 1982, the curriculum would change dramatically.

   The new curriculum would divide Subject Area courses into 11 main groups:

 

         General Architecture,

         Design Process and Methods;

         Media For Design;

         Human Activity Support;

         Spatial Ordering;

         Place Response;

         Structure;

         Construction;

         Environmental Control Systems;

         Professional Context;

         Architectural History.

 

In addition to the new groupings, each student would be required to completed a minimum of two courses from each area of the curriculum.  One course (a required course) would be a "fundamental" course in issues relating to that area of study; in addition to this required course, another course in the same area designated a "breadth" course, so designated for its addressing a broad range of issues relevant to that architectural concern, would also be required.  Several "breadth" courses would be offered in each area, so there still remain some choice for the student in fulfilling this "core" requirement.  In all, the "core" Subject Area (fundamental and breadth) required completion of approximately 50 credits, of the total 75 credits required in the Subject Area.  So, approximately 8 additional courses still would be taken as Subject Area electives.  This would give students ample room in the curriculum to still help build their individual programs by choice of electives.

   Another key word of the 1980's, perhaps even more so than "equality," was "balance".  A period of extremes had passed.  The goal of synthesis was that, "balance".  This curriculum reflected the notion of balance, as the earlier curriculum had reflected the notion of freedom.

   There was a balance between the different Subject Areas; also there was a balance between "choice" and "requirements," between faculty directive and student initiative.  It was a mid-way ground between the lock-step curriculums which predominated prior to the 1960's and the open-air curriculum which provided total choice to the student, assuming both user or student wisdom and strong faculty guidance through advising.

 

There is a subtle distinction between the concepts of "synthesis" and "balance".  Synthesis indicates the absorption of opposites, thesis and anti-thesis, in a unity which obviates, through containment, these polarities.  Oppositions are essentially annihilated in an all-containing unity, which includes, within itself, each opposition, but in which neither any longer has a separate existence. 

   Balance, on the other hand, indicates a continued state of oppositions, maintained in a rough equilibrium,  a somewhat controlled state of dynamism; each opposition, however, maintains a separate existence. 

   "Synthesis" describes the end of life; "balance" describes life itself.

 

      *                        *                         *         

 

The revision of the Design curriculum had begun in the mid-1970's.  The requirement of one Arch 180 introductory studio and nine Arch 380 studios did not completely satisfy the need for demonstrable levels of student growth and achievement.  The vertical studio model needed reform.

   Somewhere between the current generic model and the former "thesis" requirement, which involved immense faculty time commitment in individual projects, and which had not been qualitatively satisfying, there must lie some middle-ground.  Arch 480 studio came to be understood as that middle ground.  First, it was offered an an optional studio, a two-term sequence, to be completed with the same faculty member, developing a project as completely as possible.  It was essentially a thesis offered in the current studio structure.

   Soon it became required, a final two-term studio with the same student and instructor in a traditional studio setting.  The project was selected by the faculty member; students preferenced for their 480 studio much as they had for their 380 studios.

   Guntis Plesums remembers his arriving in the mid-1970's: "The design work was terrible.  There was no real consistency of skill.  The quality improved significantly with the 480 requirement."

   Gary Moye agreed, but added: "It wasn't just the 480 requirement.  It was also the new structure in the curriculum.  One of the reasons the design work had been so weak in the 1970's was that students weren't taking the Subject Courses they needed to be prepared to do signficant studio work."

   In fact, the initial 480 studio years proved to be somewhat of a disaster, for faculty and students.  A disaster only in the sense that they pointed up explicitly the weakness of the old curricular structure (which some maintained was not a weakness of the curriculum but a weakness in faculty advising). 

   Some students, who had avoided significant parts of the curriculum, could not pass their 480 studios.  There was a cry that it was not fair to wait until the fifth year of a student's education to tell he or she that an aptitude for architecture was lacking.  Faculty agreed.

   The new Subject Area structure was one way to solve this problem: by requiring each student address all the major issues of architecture.  A second faculty response was to further structure the design program into "horizontal" sequences.  There would be a first-year studio sequence of two studios, Arch 181-182; a second-year sequence, Arch 281-2; the third and fourth years would be "vertical" in nature, with advanced undergraduate and graduate students taking from four to six studios at the 380 level; the fifth-year sequence, was, of course 481-2.

   The poor preparation of some students for the 480 sequence also led to reforms in the preferencing process.  The first reform had been to allow faculty to choose a "core" of students from those who preferenced their section.  These students, it was argued, would, through their familiarity with an instructor's method and ideas, allow for faster progress in the studio, as well as studio leadership, which was essential to beneficial "chemistry" in such a course.

   Gary Moye also pointed out: "One of the benefits of the mentor system, and even the modified mentor-system, was in what it did for the faculty.  We were always talking about equality and fairness to the students, which was important, but there was also a certain excitement for the faculty member in teaching students really excited about their ideas.  And that was lost in the subsequent reforms of the preferencing system."

   Initial reforms, directed by a new faculty member, Don Corner, also from Berkeley, who had been hired for the position for which Gary Moore had also applied, was to allow the faculty member to choose 5 students, to allow any student who had recently attended a Special Advising Meeting (for questionable design progress)  to receive first preference, with up to 2 such SAM students per section, with 5 others to be chosen by lottery.  Other places in a section would be determined by the Department Head.

   The goal had become an egalitarian commitment to a quality education throughout the design program.  The old system had achieved spectacular results in some instances, but less quality work throughout the program as a whole.

   This egalitarian impulse would eventually result in a preferencing process which allowed no involvement of faculty in selecting their design students (except at the 480 level), and a new regulation that students could not repeat a design instructor.   The goal of this was to allow every student the opportunity  to study with specific design instructors.

 

There were also instituted points of evaluation in the program for students showing limited ability in architecture.  Students exhibiting "marginal" progress in design would be evaluated at the end of the second year to determine if a change in major should be recommended.  Also, students exhibiting "marginal" progress in the intermediate 380 studio level would be evaluated to determine readiness to enroll in the final studio sequence, Arch 481-2.  Additonal 380 studios could be required of students unprepared for their final sequence.

 

      *                        *                         *

 

Another subtle modification in emphasis had occurred in the late-1970's with the restructuring of the graduate programs.  From the earliest years of the School, a masters degree in architecture was awarded to students who had completed an earlier professional degree in architecture and wished to pursue advanced study in architecture or interior architecture.

   Any student with a non-professional or non-related degree applied as a student seeking a second Bachelor's degree.  Essentially, they applied to enter the five-year Bachelor's program.

   As architecture schools around the country began to recognize the relevance of non-architecture backgrounds, the bringing of a broad knowledge and liberal arts training to the profession, the second baccalaureate programs began to be replaced by first-professional Masters degree programs.  To keep current, and to successfully compete for the best graduate students, most professional programs began converting their second-bachelors degree programs to first-professional masters degree.

   The School of Architecture made its conversion in the mid-1970's.  The graduate program was differentiated, initially, into 3 options: Option I was the traditional M.Arch degree thesis program for students holding professional architecture degrees.  Option II was open to students holding any other non-professional degree.  This was very similar, in requirements, to the B.Arch degree.  A further differentiation of this degree was made to distinguish between students with an architectural background (IIA) and those with no architectural education (IIB).  A third option was offered in rare cases for a student holding no degree but having years of experiencin the profession.

   In time the IIA program became the two-year Option II program for students holding 4-year non-professional architecture or environmental design degrees.  The IIB program became the Option III 10-term (3 1/2-4 year) program for students holding any non-architecture degree.

   The old III program, for non-degree candidates, was so rare as to be still-born, or at least nameless, an option to be considered upon individual request.

 

 The influx of Option III students, whose background tended to include a broad focus on liberal arts, brought to the program a new student maturity, with a vision much larger than traditional B.Arch students.   What they generally did not bring with them was a visual knowledge as keenly trained as was their verbal knowledge.

   Faculty were divided on the benefits of such a strong "graduate" contingent (eventually the graduate programs would total about 150 students), among whom almost two-thirds entered the program with little or no architectural education.  Some felt theself-direction of these older students would lead to amore intense education, justifying a shorter program than the B.Arch program; and that broader minds, bringing insights from another discipline to the Department, would help to educate younger students as to issues germain to architecture, but not architectural, per se.  That is, life issues.  The maturity of experience.  And that their diverse educational backgrounds, at which most excelled, would help stimulate faculty research, or, at least, would provide more wizened assistance in the faculty's pursuit of specific research topics. 

   Other faculty worried about design skills in such a short masters degree program.  Architecture was a complex, comprehensive discipline; architectural design involved a complex series of visual, spatial, and technological understandings, a system of organizations in which practical and aesthetic judgments must be tempered by historical and philosophical implications.  Could a three-year program successfully provide the skills and understandings not only required by the discipline, but also expected of Oregon graduates?

   Some felt the critics of the Option III program were frustrated by the intellectual independence of Option III students.  The wide-eyed B.Arch students had not developed a system of values at their early age; they were like clay, to be molded in desired shapes and directions by their mentors.

   However, Pat Piccioni echoed a common concern among faculty with regard to older students entering the masters program: "It's one thing to have a world-view.  And it's another thing to refuse to learn.  You have to embrace the quest for understanding of a place.  If you approach it with a set answer, then you cannot learn.  And it's hard for older students to accept the fact that they're novices, that they don't know.  One defense against not knowing is to defend what you already know."

   Still, without question, the Option III program added intellectual strength to the program.  Students from all academic disciplines, from all parts of the country and the globe, were brought together in a melting pot setting, stirred together, producing a very rich concoction.

 

Option II students tended to come from "soft" environmental design programs, or "hard" technology programs.  The M.Arch program at Oregon was flexible enough in its requirements to gear coursework to an individual's needs, requiring work in areas not addressed in the earlier 4-year degree. 

   Design was the centerpiece of this program also.  Often Option II students had come from programs wherein fixed responses to design problems were common.  Again, the challenge to the Option II student was to approach design with a willingness to modify established conceptions about architecture.

 

The Option I program was really a continuation of the old model of the M.Arch program.  Strong Option I students studied in the program during the 1970's and early 80's.  Allison and Alistair Blamire, a wife and husband team  from Scotland, taught introductory design studios with much success; Charleton Jones, a protoge of Earl Moursund, helped translate Moursund's "spatial language" to students and even faculty.  He also taught design studios in the program.  Personal matters called Jones back to his native Mississippi  before his thesis was completed.  Financial considerations came to demand his attention, as he sought to preserve his family estate.  Years passed.  The Graduate School had a seven year limit for completion of a masters degree.  Beyond seven years, each term of non-study resulted in a loss of credit already accrued for the degree.  When Moursund realized that the 7-year limit was approaching for Jones, he offered to send his a plane ticket to return to Oregon.  Jones returned for about a month.  The two men worked together frantically, piecing together a thesis held in suspended animation for half a decade.  Jones was called home again.  Moursund oversaw the printing of the thesis.  On the afternoon the thesis was due, Moursund appeared in the Department office announcing he had less than an hour to collate the major document for receipt by the Graduate School.  Moursund and a staff-member worked furiously to separate and collate the three copies required by the Graduate School.  At 4:15, Moursund left the building, three copies of the thesis tucked under his arm.  He arrived at the Graduate School five minutes before closing.  Jones finally received his M.Arch degree.

   Another example of the powerful influence of the "formalists" in the program in the early 1980's centers on the choice of thesis topics by one Option I student, Artemio Paz.  When he first came to study he presented a preliminary thesis proposal to study the architectural significance of ancestral burial grounds of the Anasazi Indians.  When exposed to the currents of thought swirling through the program, however, he soon modified his intent to focus on the poetry of form in the work of Louis Kahn.  

 

There were problems with the Option I program: there was not enough faculty support; there was no real sense among students of an Option I entity; the Option I resource often went untapped as a source of faculty support in teaching or research; often Option I students were not strong enough to merit teaching responsibilities. 

   There needed to be more curricular structure; there also needed to be more incentive for faculty to sponsor thesis students.  Thesis students were "unrecognized" workloads for faculty--that is, there was no administrative recognition of time spent with Option I students.  As such, these students represented "extra" work.  To be admitted, an Option I applicants had to be "sponsored" by a faculty advisor.  An already-overloaded faculty tended not to sponsor Option I students.  The few exceptions who did often sponsored more than one, further increasing the imbalance in Option I teaching responsibility.

   The Graduate Studies Committee began conceiving a major re-ordering of the Option I program in 1984; but few tangible changes have been forthcoming.  The Option I program still exists as an independent program, only as strong as each individual student it attracts.  

  

      *                        *                         *

 

Jerry Finrow proved to be a strong leader and his energy for organization was infectious.  His great strength was in decision-making, organization, and productivity.  He was skilled in delegating tasks among the faculty; the faculty committees were probably the most productive they had ever been, initiating sweeping reforms of policy and program structure.  Jerry Finrow was largely responsible for organizing and marshalling this new energy.

   The Department had, with Bob Harris as Dean, always been somehow a shadow of the Dean.  There had not been a strong direction that was independent of Harris's influence.

   Wilmot Gilland became Dean after Bob Harris; and his relationship to the individual departments was less provocatively authoratative.  The Architecture Department had an existence which was separate from the Dean's.  There was a sense of administrative freedom which gave the Department Head more room generate change. 

 

The Finrow-Utsey years were in many ways difficult years, with the economic recession deepening and annual budgetary cuts mounting to crisis levels.  The depression seemed to have a sobering effect on the Department, with a "preservationist" instinct returning where a revolutionary ideal had preceded it.  The Department had been through a crisis.  A new and pragmatic energy must be directed in an effort to preserve the program, and to elevate its standards. 

  

The national mood was similar.  A period of reckoning of blessings ensued.  And a sense of the need to preserve what was good.

   The guilt and the self-judgment which had come out of the trauma of the 1960's and 1970's--the civil rights movement, the assassination of a president, the Vietnam War, race riots, the assassination of King and Kennedy, the sexual revolution, drug addiction, the impeachment of a president, the insanity of Iran--that period of self-rebellion was passing.  A return to history was a return to one's personal roots.  There was an ever-growing concern with fundamentals as a means to re-establish one's sense of direction.  America had come home; it was no longer at war with itself.

   

 

II.  INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE

 

If one profession seemed to profitably endure the severe economic repression of the late 1970's, it was interior architecture.  When interest rates skyrocketed, in an effort by banks and the Federal Reserve to fight double-digit inflation, people stopped borrowing.  The economy ground to a halt.  Of course, the first industry to feel the effects of tight monetary policy is the building trade, and, as a consequence, architects.  When interest rates are high, people don't borrow to build.

   A new consciousness of the need to preserve old buildings was a by-product of this national "spirit of preservation," of history; and, in the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, this even led to the creation of a masters degree program in Historic Preservation.

   A solution to the high interest rate environment, for those needing  expanded or improved space, but with an unwillingness to shoulder the burden of the high costs of new construction, was to rehabilitate existing buildings. 

   Interior architecture was a discipline of the future.  In fact, hiring Interior Architecture faculty has always been a difficult task, because (1) there were relatively so few; and (2) the profession payed so well that it was difficult for the Department to compete in terms of salary. 

   Interior architects were busy when many architects were looking for work in the early 1980's.

 

The Interior Architecture program began as an architectural concern at Oregon at the inception of the program.  The 1913 catalog contains a preliminary announcement of the forthcoming school, stating: "Lectures will be given by active practitioners on City Planning, Landscape Architecture, Interior Decoration and other pertinent subjects."  Lawrence even offered a junior-level course, "Domestic Architecture," which focussed on details, interior decoration and furniture, a one-credit course, during the second semester.

   In 1921, in the school curriculum called "Normal Art," two course sequences related to interior design were offered: "House Furnishings" and "Home Decoration."

   In 1922,  the "domestic architecture" courses, by then a sequence of three one-credit courses, were called Architectural Design V: "A study of the principles and requirements incident to domestic architecture is applied to the execution of plans and elevations of residenctial buildings."

   That same year the program in architecture was expanded to five years, the "design option," while a four-year option also remained, the "structural option."

   In 1925, Architecture History V was introduced as a study of the history of furniture, textiles and other accessories contributing to interior design.  That same year a sequence of five credit hours per term was begun called "Technique and Practice," courses dealing with business, estimating methods and ethics for interior decorators.

   The following year, a five-year Interior Design program was initiated.  It was included under the Architecture curricula as a third option; its philosophical basis was stated in the University Catalog: "Interior design is considered in its essential relations with the point of view of Architecture."

   The first two years of this program were almost identical with the design option of the architecture curriculum; the following three years were devoted to work specializing in interior design.

   After 1927, the degree of Bachelor of Architecture in Interior Design was offered.  The following year, the curriculum was expanded to include both introductory and advanced courses.

   In 1930, the University Catalog first contained a separate listing for the discipline of interior design as an entity independent of the offerings in the architecture curriculum.  Two years later, there was a reversion of listings, the interior "program" again listed as a part of the architecture coursework. 

   In 1948, the interior design program again assumed greater independence when its courses were brought together under the heading of Interior Architecture in the University Catalog.  Lower division, upper-division, and four graduate level courses were offered.  The degree Bachelor of Interior Architecture was to be conferred upon completion of the five-year program.

 

The first "director" of Interior curriculum was N.B.Zane, who had been hired as a Fine Arts Professor in 1925.  His interest was more in Oriental panels than in interior spaces generally, but he did offer courses in interior decoration and design.

   In 1931, the great matriarch of the program, Brownell Frasier, came to teach in the School.  She would soon thereafter assume the position of program director, a position she would hold until 1966. 

   Brownell Frasier was born in Eugene in 1896.  Her father was involved in real estate; and so the family traveled up and down the West Coast.  They had many friends among the wealthy "old families" of Portland.  Brownell had a sister who would later work as a model for Lucky Strike cigarette advertisements.  Brownell, herself, was stunning.  Even as a young girl she displayed a character trait which would both elevate and complicate her life: an extraordinary will.

   She studied English and Music at the University of Oregon.  Art was her great love: painting and sculpture.  Her mother was a very strong woman who felt it inappropriate for her daughter to commit herself to a "Bohemian" lifestyle.

   Brownell won an Architecture School competition in 1921: her sculpture design would be placed over one side entrance to the new art building.  Artistic friends of the Frasier family appealed to Mrs. Frasier to allow her talented daughter to pursue her love of art.  Her mother, with considerable worry, eventually acceded tothe these appeals.

   Brownell received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oregon in 1921.   She did gradute work at Berkeley in 1924.  And then studied at the Boston Art School.  She taught art in Oakland, California for a time, and studied at night with Archipenko, the modern sculptor, and Binder, the Viennese designer.

   When in Boston, she worked for Mrs. Guy Murchie, of a wealthy "Old Bostonian" family.  Her interior work was published in House Beautiful.

   In 1931,  she came to work at the University of Oregon.  She quickly became best friends with Miss Victoria Avakian, a tiny black-haired beauty, who had been born in Harproot, Asia Minor, Turkey, and who had come to America, to live in the Southwest when three-years old.  She had sparkling brown eyes; seemed such a happy, talented creature to Brownell, that they became friends almost immediately.

   It was the time when the School was a family.  The studio space was a common space for all students in the School.  The faculty members circulated freely among the students, offering advice, criticizing work. 

   Miss Frasier was a notorious chain-smoker.  She would move from desk to desk, the ash on her cigarette getting longer and longer, each student fearing that the ash would mar his or her work.  It did not, of course.  She was a disciplined woman.  Even in such a vice as smoking, she understood certain proprieties--and dropping a cigarette ash on a student's work was an unacceptable disingenuity she had no intention to allow herself.

   Brownell was quite striking physically: sometimes she seemed petitie, almost frail, and hard, thin with impatient judgment, nervous, intense; at other times her features were soft and rounded, her face glowing; she could appear quite vulnerable.

   She was called "Garbo" by the faculty at the School, because of her beauty and her bearing.  She was proud, and independent.  Even in her later years, when she had become reclusive, and when accidents and illness rendered her an invalid, she still maintained her own home, her family home, as independent as circumstances would allow.

 

Cherrie Hamaker, a former student and friend, recalled that, while on a visit to China, Brownell, seeking to buy a certain historical work of art, a black-market product, traveled the back-roads of China to meet with a gang of bandits.  A friend accompanying Brownell assumed they would be robbed and killed.  They were not.  They made their purchase and the bandits let them go.

   She remembered Brownell as being adventurous, and, of course, tremendously strong-willed. 

 

The early years at the School were very good for Brownell.  Soon, she was teaching nearly all the courses in Interiors:" Elements of Interior Design"; "Upper Division Interior Design"; "Architectural History IV"; "Technique and Practice"; "InteriorDesign I" and "Interior Design II".

   She became, with time, the embodiment of the Interiors program.  There was no budget to hire other faculty.  She was program advisor for all the Interiors students as well.

   Brownell learned from Lawrence and Willcox,  and from the other faculty in the early years of the School, that the goal was to make the program a family situation.  She always ran her program that way,  even as the other disciplines were becoming larger and more complex in organization, and as the School began drifting away from its original intermarriage of disciplines.  She had begun as a sort of debutante; and, with time, had become the matriarch of the program.

  

She was a very demanding instructor. 

   John Briscoe remembered: "The students either loved or hated Brownell."  John was fond of her.  "She was very opinionated.  And that put some people off.  But I liked her.  She was very friendly, easy to approach.  But when she made up her mind it was nearly impossible to change it."

   Cherry Hamaker recalled: "It was the students who didn't want to work hard who resented her.  Because she demanded a great deal of commitment from her students.  She cared for her students too.  And many students regularly wrote to her after they left school, really up to the time of her death."

 

Not everyone liked Brownell Frasier.  Her stormy relationships with the AAA Deans after Lawrence would become a regular part of her record.  She was also become, especially after Lawrence, more than once the subject of complaints by students, carried in some cases to the AAA Dean, and in others, to University administrators.

   Financial problems would also be a part of her life, in a sense justifying the fears that her mother had so often expressed, that teaching art was no real way for a woman to make a living.  In a letter to Dean Lawrence, written in 1945, Brownell pointed out that "the records show that I took over the position of Miss (Cornelia) Ingram at the same salary which was receiving $3000 and that I received $250 for May, June and July of the year 1931.

   Year 1932 $1400 salary

            1933 $1320

            1935 $1338

            1937 $2250

            1940 $2350

            1944 $2620.

   The catalog of 1931-32 shows Miss Ingram and Mr. Zane together as adviseers of Interior Design; the catalog of 1932-33 shows Miss Frasier (alone) as adviser in Interiors."  She was doing  twice the work and receiving half as much pay.

   As her mother's health declined, with her sister having married and moved to Florida, Brownell became the lone financial support of herself and her mother.

 

The years with Dean Little were strained.  It was a time when the relations in the School were tense anyway.  There was a core of the "old guard" who had been geared to the operation of the School under Lawrence.  She and Lawrence had understood one another.  They didn't always agree; but theirs was an almost a father-daughter relationship; beneath any disagreement, there was respect and sincere consideration.

   Brownell had become firmly established as the leader of Interiors program during her 16 years under Lawrence.  Some would say "entrenched" was an even more accurate description.

  

In September 1949, a complaint was lodged against Brownell Frasier's course on the history of interior design, in the form of a letter submitted by students to the Dean.

   The letter read:

 

   "We, the students of this school are submitting to you this letter

   as a complaint from us and as information to you.  Before

   discussing the matter with you, we wish to definitely establish

   the fact that the following information has not arisen from any

   petty grievance of any one individual nor from any one

   individual's personal motives...

      The matter that we bring to you is that of the History

   Four course, taught by Miss Frasier, Head of the Interior

   Design department of this school.  Having discussed this

   course with various members of the class we have found that

   there are Interior Majors, Art Education Majors, and probably

   Architecture Majors.  Therefore, with a variety of majors, there

   should be a range of presentation by Miss Frasier to include these

   different fields.

      First, Miss Frasier insists on convincing us that we all had

   the histories of Ancient Greece, Rome, Egyptian and Etruscan,

   etc., while attending high school.  There has not been a complete

   canvas of the class members, however, of those contacted none

   had had such courses in high school.  Miss Frasier, on this

   presumption, questions the students on the above mentioned

   courses and expects answers that we cannot possibly give....

      Secondly, Miss Frasier asked a question involving that of

   Rome or Greece and informed the class that they should know

   that from Architecture History I.  History I course is a Junior

   subject and at the present time the History I class is studying

   Egypt and has not come in contact with Ancient Rome or

   Greece.  The Art Education majors are not taking History I, so

   how can they know of the material that the History I class has

   not yet undertaken.

      Third, Miss Frasier does not actually lecture in this class.  At

   the beginning we may have a ten minute quiz.  Then she will have

   us take down an assignment to be completed by the use of the

   library and the class time will have expired.  We are not

   complaining about assignments, but we are complaining about

   the too-varied subject matters involved in them and when

   completed the assignment is not discussed by her.  Our latest

   assignment involved approximately twenty plates showing

   interiors of the French Empire Period.  We were told to view

   these plates, and then answer such questions as " What period

   of the past influenced this chair, or that bed?  The periods of the

   past involved Ancient Rome, Greece, etc., which we have not had..."

 

Dean Little responded by requiring that Miss Frasier submit to him for approval copies of the syllabus for each course to be offered prior to the term's beginning.

 

In November 1951, Dean Little responded to another complaint by students, writing to Brownell:

 

   "For several years has come to my desk each term a series of

   student or parent or academic complaints against the operation

   and procedure of the Interior Design curriculum.  At each

   event of this kind I find continuing and increasing evidence of

   ineffectiveness in the handling of a major curriculum.  While

   these repeated criticisms have been discussed with you, the

   fact remains that a professional area of the school has long

   been operating with lack of confidence from students, parents

   and staff...

      I am well aware of some of the problems you face both

   personally and academically.  We have discussed these at length

   on several occasions.  The need for regularity, impartiality and

   strict attention to the incidental problems of operation is of great

   importance in an area such as yours where a single decision is the

   final one for a student.

      I would hesitate to take the obvious drastic step that this

   continuing situation certainly indicates at this time.  I can say,         however, that I am convinced such a step will be necessary if I

   have any other indication of unsatisfactory operation.  I trust you

   are prepared to put your considerable skill to work in an

   immediate effort to strengthen your offering to a point where its

   operation will be above the criticisms that are being made."

 

A copy of the above letter was sent to H.K. Newburn, University President.  The threat of firing was implicit in the letter.  President Newburn responded: "I have the copy of your letter directed to Miss Frasier and dated November 7.  I am pleased to have this for my files, and am inclined, in terms of such information as I have, to believe it is a most desirable step to take at this time."

 

Brownell never did submit a course syllabus to Dean Little.  In March 1952, he wrote to Brownell:

 

   "I have repeatedly requested and you have repeatedly

   promised to get to my hands the material dealing with your

   design courses and the syllabus for each of your other three

   courses.  Since our last conference this has been promised

   week by week but it is still outstanding.  This entire set of

   syllabus outlines is to be on my desk before Monday, March

   31st... If by any remote chance you fail to respect this fifth

   formal request since Sept. 1949, I will have no alternative but

   (to) make the decision previously suggested."

 

In July 1955, Dean Little wrote Miss Frasier that, henceforth, all student records would be kept in the Dean's office: "Now that we have an adequate storage area designed for school records, I feel that no 'branch' record files should be maintained in offices.  This ought to be accomplished before the beginning of the next academic year."

   Miss Frasier's singular dominion over Interior Architecture was being challenged.

 

With her teaching and administrative workload, for a program of some 70 students, Miss Frasier had little time for professional activity.  She did, however, work as an unpaid consultant for the University, on the Infirmary, the Architecture building, Johnson Hall, and the Music School.  In the mid-1940's she spent two months redecorating the University President's house.

    She also did the interior design work on the Main Library Browsing Room, buying furniture, importing rugs from China, one of which came in the wrong size.  When the workman was preparing the cut the rug down to fit the room, Brownell threatened to wring the man's neck if he dared to cut the rug.  When the decision was made to move the Browsing Room from the library to the Erb Memorial Union, Brownell insisted that the room be moved intact--that is, the room's proportions be identical with the original, the furniture's placement be measured and reproduced exactly.  Brownell later had written to Dean Lawrence: "The Browsing Room cost me, in traveling expenses, etc., $398--I was not paid for my services."

   Brownell helped raise money to fund travel and study in Chin for Interiors students.  Her program was very much her domain.  The students were her children.  There were claims among her students that she favored some of her children over others.  Dean Little had feared that there was an arbitrary dictate in the Interiors program which might benefit from a diffusion of authority.

 

in June 1958, Bill Denman, Assistant Dean of Men, wrote the following memorandum to the Dean of Students:

 

   "I have received a very insistent complaint from a student

   regarding the grading practices of Brownell Frasier in

   Interior Design.  The student claims that Frasier failed

   him in a course in the history of interior design because

   she knew he was failing (Marion) Ross's course in the history

   of architecture.  He claims her pattern is to ask students what

   they are getting in Ross's course and then give(s) identical

   grades.

      The student, Boyd Chapman, insists that he was doing

   "C" work in the class and requested Miss Frasier review the

   test paper with him.  Although he asked her politely four times,

   each a week apart, she could not or would not produce the

   paper, claiming it was misplaced or she had forgotten it.  After

   the fourth wrangle Boyd came to this office.  I have heard

   other students complain about Miss Frasier's eccentricities but I

   have not heard a complaint concerning injustice...

      I have found (Boyd) to be a well-adjusted and straight

   forward person who does not seem to have any ulterior motive

   in making this complaint."     

  

In 1960, Brownell Frasier was 64 years old.  Retirement was becoming an issue.  Attempts by Dean Little to change the Interior Curriculum had been met with resistance.  She had dug in her heels and outlasted Sid Little.

   In late 1960 and early 1961, the School had begun discussion of "departmentalizing" the School.  The initial plan had been to grant each discipline a "department" status; however the question of Interior Architecture was raised: was it truly a separate discipline, or an adjunct of architecture?

   Dean Walter Gordon, who had succeeded Sid Little, proposed six departments, with Interior Architecture remaining as an administrative program within the Architecture Department.  This seemed to Brownell a personal affront.  She felt Interior Architecture deserved an independent status in the School, at least as much as did Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning.

   In June 1961, Miss Frasier wrote the following memorandum to Dean Gordon:

 

   "As an outcome of the last joint meeting of the Advisory

   Committee and the Curriculum Committee to consider

   changes in administrative matters in the School, I was under

   the impression that only the so-called 'studio course divisions'

   were to be grouped together with one chairman for this area,

   and that the other professional divisions would remain as is,

   and also that this change would be only on a try-out basis.

      If you will remember at the conclusion of the meeting we

   were asked individually our opinion concerning this matter,

   and Tom Ballinger (Curricula Committee) made a proposal

   which I asked to be clarified as to whether we were voting on

   the Dean's original recommendation -- six divisions within the

   School -- or a new recommendation concerning administrative

   changes for the coming year.  Mr. Cuthbert (Curricula

   Committee) spoke to this question,  and it was made clear to me

   that the 'vote' was not on accepting the six divisions but only

   on the consideration of one chairman for the Applied Design-

   Sculpture-Painting areas, or studio courses.

      Somehow, after Marion Ross reported today at the faculty

   meeting, I had the impression that the Advisory Committee

   was not meeting to consider this matter as we had all agreed

   upon at the last Curricula and Course and Advisory Committee

   meeting.

      In order to make myself perfectly clear at this time as to

   my feeling in this matter, I wish to state that I am opposed to

   putting Interior Architecture under the administrative

   chairman of Architecture, and I feel that it should remain as a

   department in the school, and in the same position as

   Architecture and Landscape Architecture each occupy at this

   time."

 

Interior Architecture would not be an independent department.  Miss Frasier felt isolated and unappreciated.  Her resistance to Dean Gordon's planned reorganization became explicit.  However, she seemed to be the sole dissenting voice.  Her tendency was to not give an inch.  She stubbornly resisted, hoping again to outlast the Dean, who had already announced his resignation.

   In March 1962, Dean Gordon wrote the following letter to Arthur Flemming, University President:

 

   "At Dr. Clark's (Dean of Faculty) request, I am recording my

   recommendation that Brownell Frasier, associate professor of

   interior design and a faculty member in the School since 1931,

   be retired at the end of this academic year.

      In view of my own departure from the University within a

   few months, it would, of course, be less painful for me not to

   make this recommendation; the decision could be delayed until

   the new dean arrives on the scene.  But to do this would trouble

   my own sense of responsibility.  The ultimate decision will, in

   any case, be yours, and I feel that I should present my opinion

   freely for what it may be worth.

      Two aspects of the problem of Miss Frasier seem clear to me:

   one curricular, concerning the position of interior design in a

   desirable over-all professional school program; and, the other, the

   present personal and professional qualifications of the teacher.

      'Interior Architecture' as a curriculum has existed in the School

   for many years, offering both an undergraduate bachelor's degree

   (BS), and a five-year professional degree.  The entire upper-

   division program, until recently, has been conducted by Miss

   Frasier.  This year, two part-time assistants have been provided

   for certain courses.  Forty-three students are presently enrolled

   in the second year course in design (AA 288), nine in the third

   year (AA 388), five in the fourth year (AA 488), two in the fifth

   year (AA 588).  Last year, four students completed their work

   with undergraduate degrees in interior design, no students

   received professional degrees.

      It has long been my opinion, now shared by others on the

   School faculty, that interior design should be integrated into

   the architectural design program, and a separate degree should

   not be offered for interior design.  This, I feel convinced,

   would strengthen both the interior and architectural design

   programs.  Miss Frasier has resisted proposed changes of this

   kind.

      It is my firm conviction that not only would retirement for

   Miss Frasier be good for the educational program of the School,