Library of Congress Prints and Photographs: An Illustrated Guide
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Portfolio 5: Architecture, Design, and Engineering

The Library's Architecture, Design, and Engineering holdings document the full spectrum of American architectural achievement, from the grand tradition of academic classicism, in federal projects like the U.S. Capitol, to the vernacular spirit informing Spanish missions as well as roadside architecture. Through a variety of types of works on paper, among them developmental sketches, measured record drawings, and photographs, the collections document the design process and its products.

Notable among these holdings are the archives of "form- givers," individuals such as Charles Bulfinch, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Raymond Loewy. They and others like them have redefined some aspect of American architecture, design, and engineering and given it new form. Another collection focus is on the introduction and uses in the United States of new building types and technologies, from cast-iron storefronts to steel suspension bridges.

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Laura Gilpin's "Mission Church at Rancho de Taos, New Mexico, circa 1772 (Platinum

print photograph)" Laura Gilpin. Mission Church at Rancho de Taos, New Mexico, circa 1772. Platinum print photograph.
Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-3921 (color transparency)

Built in 1772 by Spanish missionaries and native Americans, the Mission Church is an amalgam of European and indigenous building traditions. Made of adobe, a brick composed of straw and mud, the walls slope outward to buttress the structure and to fend off the effects of torrential rains. The Mission Church was recorded in photographs and drawings by the Historic American Buildings Survey in the 1930s and has enjoyed great popularity with artists such as photographer Laura Gilpin and painter Georgia O'Keefe, who both lived nearby. (Gift of the photographer)

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Charles Bulfinch's "Front of Boston Library, Franklin place (Tontine Crescent, Central

Pavilion) (Graphite and ink on paper, 1793-94)" Charles Bulfinch. Front of Boston Library, Franklin place (Tontine Crescent, Central Pavilion). Graphite and ink on paper, 1793-94.
Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-311 (color transparency); LC-USZ62-32386 (b&w film copy neg.)

The "crescent" of sixteen three-story brick houses with a pavilion at the center, known as the Tontine Crescent, was the first American native-born professional architect's initial attempt at town planning. Built in the South End, Boston, the crescent was conceived as one half of a planned ellipse, in the center of which was to be a small park. Although roundly praised by Bulfinch's contemporaries, the scheme ruined the architect financially, and was never completed.

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Frank Lloyd Wright's "Perspective Drawing for the Dr. John

Storer House, Hollywood, California (Graphite and colored pencil on paper)" Frank Lloyd Wright. Perspective Drawing for the Dr. John Storer House, Hollywood, California. Graphite and colored pencil on paper. 1923.
Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-1867 (color transparency); LC-USZ62-102817 (b&w film copy neg.)

Perhaps the greatest genius of American architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright experimented widely during the 1920s with new design vocabularies and building systems. One of his few built works of the period, the Storer House was also one of the first to employ a system of precast "textile" blocks, whose three-dimensional surfaces enliven its exterior. (Gift of Donald Walker)

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Detroit Publishing Company's "The Woolworth Building at Night (Gelatin silver print,

1913)" Detroit Publishing Company. The Woolworth Building at Night. Gelatin silver print, 1913.
Reproduction #: LC-D4-73062 (b&w glass neg.)

This commercially produced photograph records the opening festivities of what was for seventeen years the world's tallest building, and which remains a symbol of American technological and commercial achievement. The Library also holds architect Cass Gilbert's original 1910 sketch for this building. The photograph is from among over 25,000 images of American cities, towns, and landscapes created by the Detroit Publishing Company between the 1890s and the 1920s. (Gift of the Colorado Historical Society)

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"Kewpee Hotels Hamburgs (Gelatin silver photoprint, 193-)" Photographer unknown. Kewpee Hotels Hamburgs. Gelatin silver photoprint, 193-.
Reproduction #: LC-USZ62-110966 (b&w film copy neg.)

Roadside architecture is a longstanding genre in the American vernacular tradition. In the 1930s, buildings such as this hamburger stand were state of the art, using the latest in high technology porcelain enamel siding which imparted to such public eating places an efficient and sanitary appearance. Frequently destroyed with the changing times, roadside curiosities such as this often survive only in photographs and drawings. (Gift of Mrs. Louise Ray)

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Daniel Badger's "Illustrations of Iron Architecture (Lithograph

printed in colors)" Daniel Badger. Frontispiece, Illustrations of Iron Architecture (New York: Baker & Godwin, 1865). Lithograph printed in colors.
Reproduction #: LC-USZC2-4895 (color slide); LC-USZC4-948 (color transparency); LC-USZ62-80408 (b&w film copy neg.)

The Library's collections richly document the development, introduction, and manifold uses of new technologies in the design and building industries of the United States. From the 1850s until after the turn of the century, cast iron was widely and innovatively employed throughout the United States as both a structural and decorative building material. This rare and beautifully illustrated example from the Library's extensive collection of manufacturers' trade catalogs preserves for us the work of New York City's Architectural Iron Works, one of the finest suppliers of cast-iron facades and other architectural elements.

Charles and Ray Eames, for Evans Furniture. LCW (Lounge Chair--Wood). Recent gelatin silver print from original film negative, 1945. [Not currently available due to copyright restrictions.]

Charles and Ray Eames first experimented with molded plywood during World War II, designing aircraft parts and splints for the U.S. Navy. Adapting their ideas for the postwar market, the Eameses designed for commercial firms such as Evans Furniture an array of products--tables, radios, and their first signature chair, the "LCW" (Lounge Chair--Wood) --in this versatile material. Intended for mass production, the lounge chair was emblematic of the clean lines and good design associated with the "simple living" so strongly desired in the American postwar market. The photograph of the prototype of the chair is from among the estimated 750,000 photographs, drawings, and related materials in the archive of the Office of Charles and Ray Eames. (The Work of Charles and Ray Eames, Bequest of Ray Eames)

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Raymond Loewy's "Design sketch for the Avanti Automobile (Fluid marker on paper,

1961)" Raymond Loewy. Design sketch for the Avanti Automobile. Fluid marker on paper, 1961. Reproduction #: LC-USZC4-3923 (color transparency)

One of the inventors of modern industrial design, Raymond Loewy redefined the look of everything from logos to locomotives. For many years the principal designer for the Studebaker Corporation, Loewy used this drawing in designing the Avanti sedan in February 1961.

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