July 11, 2002
Vol. 21 No. 18

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    Facilities will develop preservation guidelines

    By Peter Schuler
    News Office

    The J. Paul Getty Trust has awarded University Facilities Services a $121,000 Getty Grant to develop preservation guidelines for the University’s contemporary architecture.

    “This grant supports a relatively new field in historic preservation and one that architects and preservationists are just beginning to acknowledge,” said Richard Bumstead, University Planner, who will lead the project along with Curt Heuring, University Architect.

    Wiss, Janney Elstner Associates, architectural consultants who specialize in preservation work, will assist Bumstead and Heuring in evaluating the key campus buildings erected after World War II and in developing guidelines for their preservation.

    When completed, the team will share its findings with the architectural community through lectures at locations such as the Illinois Institute of Technology and the School of the Art Institute as well as national conferences.

    In 1948, the Administration Building, designed by the storied Chicago architectural firm of Holabird, Root & Burgee, represented the first significant departure from the neo-Gothic structures that dominated the campus. “The University’s Trustees made the rather radical decision to embrace contemporary architecture and look forward rather than stay with the neo-Gothic,” Bumstead explained. “The era of the ’50s was a time of great reflection and decision for the University.”

    Noted architect Eero Saarinen developed a campus master plan from 1955 to 1959 that called for numerous new buildings that would bring the campus facilities to parity with its peer institutions. The University sought out leading contemporary architects who tested completely new building technologies, materials and systems.

    These highly distinctive structures included the Laird Bell Law Quadrangle (1960) designed by Saarinen; the Pierce Residence Hall (1960) by Harry Weese; the University High School (1961) by the firm of Perkins and Will; the Kellogg School of Continuing Education (1963) by Edward Durrell Stone (now converted to graduate housing); the School of Social Service Administration (1964) by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe; the Joseph Regenstein Library (1971) by Walter Netsch; and the Smart Museum-Cochrane Woods Art Center (1974) by Edward Larrabee Barnes; among others.

    “This is a very exciting and valuable project,” said Bumstead. “The generous grant from the Getty Trust will enable the University to better manage the outstanding architectural heritage passed down to us by those forward-looking Trustees in the 1950s,” Bumstead said.