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Finding Aid of the Carl Maston papers 4002
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Collection Details
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  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Biographical Note
  • Scope and Content
  • Arrangement
  • Acquisition Note

  • Title: Carl Maston papers
    Collection number: 4002
    Contributing Institution: USC Libraries Helen Topping Architecture & Fine Arts Library
    Language of Material: English
    Container: White Box 1
    Physical Description: 24.0 Cubic feet (8 document boxes of photographs, project files, research and miscellaneous; 15 rolls of architectural drawings; 25 presentation boards; and 1 record box of of miscellaneous loose leaf materials).
    Date (inclusive): 1946-1989
    Abstract: USC alumnus Carl Maston was an influential Los Angeles mid-century modern architect. Upon graduation, Maston worked for the offices of Floyd Rible, A. Quincy Jones, Fred Emmons, Phil Daniel, and Allied Architects before opening his own office. His homes, shopping centers, military housing units, and university buildings can be found throughout Southern California. Known for his stark, no-frills modern buildings such as the Maston (or Marmont) Residence and Hillside House, his career spanned over 40 years in public and private sectors. The bulk of the collection consists of architectural project files as well as architectural photographs by longtime-collaborator Julius Shulman.
    creator: Maston, Carl, 1915-1992

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Carl Maston papers, Collection no. 4002, Helen Topping Architecture and Fine Arts Library, USC Libraries, University of Southern California.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The portions of the collection that have been processed are open for research use. Advance notice required for access.

    Conditions Governing Use

    The collection contains published materials; researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and parts of books. It is the responsibility of the researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials. The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

    Biographical Note

    Carl Maston (1915-1992) was an influential mid-century modern architect based in Los Angeles. Known for his stark modern style and inventive use of concrete structural solutions, his 100+ works can be seen throughout Southern California. Born Carl Mastopietro in Jacksonville, Illinois, he first studied music before settling on architecture while at USC. Upon graduating in 1937, he went to work for several local architectural offices before setting off on his own in 1946.
    For the next 40 years, Maston and his office completed projects such as commercial buildings, shopping centers, institutional buildings, private homes, residential buildings, and military housing units locally and nationally. His first of several design awards was for Maston (or Marmont) House in West Hollywood, a late Craftsman-style home. In 1946, he was commissioned to build the Pandora Apartments -- the first of his experiments with the garden aparment design. Along with Ray Kappe, Maston went on to contribute to the quintessential California apartment complex, particularly with the National Boulevard Apartments. Other notable completed projects include Hillside House, the Cal Poly Pomona College of Environmental Design, the Chiat House in South Pasadena, Valley Ice Skating Center in Tarzana, and the Creative Arts Building at Cal State San Bernardino. In addition, he helped create the Los Angeles Community Design Center and served on the Los Angeles Planning Commission for five years.
    Maston was the 1989 recipient of the USC Distinguished Alumni Award for excellence in design and innovative leadership in public service. Semi-retired but still teaching courses at USC and accepting architectural commissions, Carl Maston was 77 when he died of colon cancer in Los Angeles.

    Scope and Content

    The archive documents the professional career of southern California architect Carl Maston. It is unclear how much the collection covers of Maston's career as the archive was a gift from Los Angeles realtor Crosby Doe, whose professional interest in mid-century modern architecture prompted his acquisition of the collection several years prior. Nonetheless, the collection covers a variety of public and private commissions including commercial buildings, university buildings, and residential structures. The majority of the archive consists of project notes as well as the black-and-white architectural photography by Julius Shulman. The collection also includes slides and negatives, architectural drawings, correspondence, and published articles about Maston's projects.
    Series 1. Project files and photographs form the bulk of the collection. This includes notes, brochures, correspondence, as well as 8x10" photographs and proofs. Files are loosely organized alphabetically by project name and housed in 8 document boxes.
    Series 2. Rolls of large architectural drawings include finished and unfinished projects. Many different projects are housed in a single roll. The rolls are organized thematically according to type of structure described.
    Series 3. Presentation boards include finished and unfinished project renderings mounted to a firm support. Many drawings remain unidentified.
    Series 4. Miscellaneous includes prints, negatives, and loose leaf materials that have yet to be identified. These materials are housed in 1 white record storage carton.


    The collection is organized in four series: Series 1. Project Files; Series 2. Rolls; Series 3. Presentation Boards; Series 4. Miscellaneous.

    Acquisition Note

    The collection was donated to USC Helen Topping Architecture and Fine Arts Library in 1998 by Los Angeles realtor Crosby Doe.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Maston, Carl, 1915-1992 -- Archives
    Shulman, Julius -- Archives
    Architectural drawings (visual works)
    Architecture, Modern--20th century--Archival resources
    Architecture--California--Los Angeles--History--20th century--Archival resources
    Slides (photographs)