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Finding Aid for the Walter S. White papers, circa 1935-2002 0000193
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Collection Details
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  • Access
  • Custodial History note
  • Preferred Citation note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Scope and Content note

  • Title: Walter S. White papers
    Identifier/Call Number: 0000193
    Contributing Institution: Architecture and Design Collection, Art, Design & Architecture Museum
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 86.0 Linear feet (60 half record storage boxes, 5 oversize flat boxes, 21 flat file drawers, and 2 models)
    Date (inclusive): 1926-1997
    Location note: Boxes 1-60, ADC - regular Boxes 61-65, 66-68/ADC - oversize* Oversize presentation boards /ADC - oversize** board shelf 21 flat file drawers/ADC - flat files
    creator: Elliot, David J.
    creator: EnvironMasters, Inc..
    creator: Fisher, Leopold
    creator: Floyd and James.
    creator: Hunt, L. A.
    creator: White & McCollough.
    creator: White, Walter S., 1917-2002
    creator: Wilson, Grant A.


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Custodial History note

    Gift of Pamela Haines, 1998.
    Map of White's Palm Springs area projects, gift of David Wasco.

    Preferred Citation note

    Walter S. White papers, Architecture and Design Collection; Art, Design & Architecture Museum; University of California, Santa Barbara.

    Biographical/Historical note

    Walter S. White was born in 1917. Between 1933 and 1936 he attended San Bernardino High School. White worked for six months in 1937 for Harwell H. Harris followed by an eight month term in Rudolf Schindler’s Los Angeles office during 1937-1938. After working with Schindler White worked for Allen Rouff for six months between 1938 and 1939. Between 1939 and 1942, White worked for Win E. Wilson for two years and six months, helping to plan and design prefabricated war housing with a skin-stressed plywood panel system. In his papers White recounts that over 8,000 of these units were constructed in the United States.
    For the remainder of the war, White was employed by the Douglass Aircraft Co. in El Segundo, California, working on machine tool design for four years and six months, 1942 to 1946. In 1947 White moved from Los Angeles to Palm Springs where he worked for Clark & Frey Architects between 1947 and 1948, one year and six months. Starting in 1948, White began to work on his own as a self-employed designer and contractor in Colorado Springs, Colorado where he continued to practice as a contractor until 1965. White obtained his architecture license in Colorado Springs in 1967. He returned to California and worked there during the 1970s and 1980s. Reflecting on his career, White described the variety of buildings he designed: “300 residences, 40 recreation homes, ski lodges, commercial buildings, churches, luxurious club houses and guest rooms, and condominiums. Of the 300 residences designed I have built approximately 15% of them myself.”
    In addition to designing houses, White devoted much of his career to the research and development of the Solar Heat Exchanger Window Wall and the "Hyperboloic Paraboloid Roof Structure and Method of Constructing Thereof" –- both of which he patented, in 1975 and 1996 respectively. White is perhaps best known as a California modernist practicing industrial design and architecture in Southern California during the 1950s, Colorado during the 1960s, and back in California through the 1980s. Walter S. White died in 2002, at the age of 85.

    Scope and Content note

    The Walter S. White papers span 86 linear feet, date from 1926 through 1997 (bulk 1939-1996), and include White’s personal and office papers, his research, and drawings and photographs relating to his architectural designs and patents. Personal papers contain clippings, letters, legal and financial documents, and photographs. The office records include correspondence, contracts and legal documents, and video interviews with White. Large research files document his interest in alternative energy and sustainable methods of construction, and his extensive work on solar heat exchange windows and walls and on hyperbolic paraboloid roof structures. His architectural commissions and projects, which number more than 600, are documented by drawings and photographs. The White papers were donated to the Museum in 1998.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    White, Walter S., 1917-2002
    Architects -- California
    Architectural drawings
    Architecture -- California -- 20th century
    Architecture -- California -- Los Angeles -- 20th Century
    Architecture -- California -- Palm Springs
    Architecture--California--20th century--Designs and plans
    Color slides
    Conceptual drawings
    Detail drawings
    Documentary films
    Floor plans
    Modern movement (Architecture) -- California
    Photographic prints
    Plot Plans
    Prefabricated houses -- United States
    Presentation drawings (proposals)
    Printed ephemera
    Reprographic copies
    Sound recordings
    Super 8
    VHS (TM)