AIA/SF Records, 1907-1989

Processed by Carrie L. McDade.
Environmental Design Archives
College of Environmental Design
230 Wurster Hall #1820
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
Phone: (510) 642-5124
Fax: (510) 642-2824
Email: archives@socrates.berkeley.edu
http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/
© 2003
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

AIA/SF Records, 1907-1989

Collection number: 2001-7

Environmental Design Archives



University of California, Berkeley

Berkeley, California

Contact Information:

  • Environmental Design Archives
  • College of Environmental Design
  • 230 Wurster Hall #1820
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Berkeley, California, 94720-1820
  • Phone: (510) 642-5124
  • Fax: (510) 642-2824
  • Email: archives@socrates.berkeley.edu
  • URL: http://www.ced.berkeley.edu/cedarchives/
Processed by:
Carrie L. McDade
Date Completed:
September 2001
Encoded by:
Environmental Design Archives staff
Funding:
Arrangement and description of this collection was funded by the College of Environmental Design and a grant from the LEF Foundation.
© 2003 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

Descriptive Summary

Title: AIA/SF records,
Date (inclusive): 1907-1989
Collection number: 2001-7
Creator: AIA/SF
Extent: 5 cartons, 20 manuscript boxes
Repository: Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design.
University of California, Berkeley.
Berkeley, California
Abstract: The records include Board and Executive Committee minutes for the years 1907 through 1989, membership files, photographs, and artifacts. Photographs document various chapter events and individuals. The Pacific Society of Architects was founded in May 1881 and submitted the AIA charter petition. The founders were convinced that a unified group of professionals supported by the larger, national organization of the AIA would further protect the practice. In the spring 1882, the AIA granted the organized architects of San Francisco their charter and thereby expanded its membership westward beyond Chicago. In February 1927 the San Francisco Chapter was renamed the Northern California Chapter, which was incorporated on August 4, 1955. In 1980 the chapter became The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter. The most recent name variation, AIA San Francisco, a Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was adopted by members in 1992.
Physical location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the library's online catalog.
Language: English.

Administrative Information

Access

Collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish, reproduce, or quote from materials in the collection should be discussed with the Curator.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], AIA/SF Records, (2001-7), Environmental Design Archives. College of Environmental Design. University of California, Berkeley. Berkeley, California.

Acquisition Information

This collection was acquired in 2001.

Funding

Arrangement and description of this collection was funded by the College of Environmental Design and a grant from the LEF Foundation.

Access Points

Architects -- California.
Architects -- California -- San Francisco Bay Area.
American Institute of Architects
Online Archive of California

Historical Note

AIA/SF Records (est. May 1881)
The San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects was organized to protect the integrity of the profession and to standardize the conduct and practice of its members. Demand for the services of builders and designers significantly increased as the city's population grew during the later part of the nineteenth century. Professionally trained architects of the time were continually challenged by the unethical practices of untrained "architects," who took advantage of patrons and threatened the work of reputable and qualified architects.
Prior to the AIA charter, trained architects in California formed a short-lived professional society in 1869. A second and larger association of well-known and respected San Francisco architects, the Pacific Society of Architects, was founded in May 1881. Augustus Laver, an important founding leader of this group, submitted the AIA charter petition which was signed by John Wright, George Sanders, William Curlett, Seth Babson, T.J. Welsh, and J.E. Wolf. These men were convinced that a unified group of professionals supported by the larger, national organization of the AIA would further protect the practice. In the spring 1882, the AIA granted the organized architects of San Francisco their charter and thereby expanded its membership westward beyond Chicago. In February 1927 the San Francisco Chapter was renamed the Northern California Chapter, which was incorporated on August 4, 1955. In 1980 the chapter became The American Institute of Architects, San Francisco Chapter. The most recent name variation, AIA San Francisco, a Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, was adopted by members in 1992.
John Wright served as the chapter's first president. In his inaugural address, Wright expressed three concerns he found to be "the greatest need of the present day."
First, true taste and accurate knowledge of art in the designer, united with a thorough knowledge of materials and their proper adaptation to truthful construction; second, a public whose educated tastes will be satisfied only by the real; and third, a system of professional instruction for our students or young designers who shall educate teachers as well as be taught, and which, in effect, shall be practical, efficient and sure, and shall embrace not only the highest, but the lowest level of the art.
--quoted in "History of the Chapter," by Elisabeth K. Thompson, in American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter Centennial Directory, 1982, 22.
A number of significant Bay Area architects represented in the EDA served as chapter president, including John Galen Howard [1912], John Bakewell, Jr. [1918], George A. Applegarth [1921-1922], Frederick Meyer [1930], Henry Gutterson [1931-1932], and George Rockrise [1961]. Many AIA/SF Fellows are also represented in the EDA, including Gardner Dailey, Joseph Esherick, Donlyn Lyndon, Francis J. McCarthy, William Turnbull Jr., and William W. Wurster. The EDA holds the records of three AIA Gold Medal Winners : Bernard Maybeck, Wurster, and Esherick.
Some of the more important activities and issues taken up by the AIA/SF include the 1910 AIA Convention; the 1912 competition for a new city hall in San Francisco; the Panama-Pacific International Exposition of 1915; the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1938-1939; WWII and the defense industry in California; the post-war population; large public and invitational competitions; and controversial proposals such as the rebuilding of the Palace of Fine Arts, the Transamerica Building, redevelopment projects, the height of downtown and waterfront buildings, landmark preservation, freeways, and open spaces.
Today, the AIA/ SF is the fourth largest chapter of the AIA, serving local communities and more than 2,000 members in San Francisco and Marin county plus all insular possessions in the Pacific except Hawaii and Guam. AIA/SF works locally to advance the profession and improve the quality of life in the Bay Area and participates in many community outreach projects.

Note

Sources:

  • AIA/SF 2000-2001 Firm Profile, 13-14.
  • Parman, John. "That Brilliant Year, 1882." American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter Centennial Directory , 1982, 20.
  • Thompson, Elisabeth K. "History of the Chapter." American Institute of Architects San Francisco Chapter Centennial Directory , 1982, 21-23.
  • http://www.aiasf.org  [December 2001]

Scope and Contents Note

The AIA/SF Records consist of three series: Board of Director's Records, Office Records, and Art & Artifacts. The records include Board and Executive Committee minutes for the years 1907 through 1989, membership files, photographs, and artifacts. The minutes are inter-filed by date. The membership files are organized alphabetically by last name and mainly document past members from the 1950s and 1960s. Photographs document various chapter events and individuals.
Minutes prior to 1907 were lost when the offices of the chapter secretary were destroyed in the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. The first decade of recorded minutes, therefore, are very important primary documents. They cover the activities of members and committees as well the many problems that arose during San Francisco's recovery from the disastrous earthquake and fire. The membership files include biographical, professional, and membership information for many professional architects who worked in the city and the Bay Area.

Related Collections

  • Inventory of the Centennial Collection of the San Francisco Chapter of the American Institute of Architects , ca. 1930-1976 (BANC MSS 83/1 c) The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

Series Description

 

I. BOARD OF DIRECTORS RECORDS, 1907-1989

Physical Description: 6 Cartons; 1 Box

Scope and Content Note

Arrangement

Arranged by date; Executive Committee minutes and Board minutes inter-filed.
Minutes
 

II. OFFICE RECORDS, ca. 1950-1970

Physical Description: 13.5 Boxes
 

A. Past Member Files

Scope and Content Note

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by last name of architect.
Includes resumes, chapter transfers, resignation letters, and similar records for AIA/SF members mainly from the 1950s and 1960s.
 

B. Photographs

Scope and Content Note

Photographs document chapter events and individuals.
 

III. ART AND ARTIFACTS, n.d.

Physical Description: 1 Box

Scope and Content Note

Drafting tools