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Guide to the American Institute of Architects Santa Clara Valley Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing History
  • Historical Note
  • Office Addresses
  • Executive Secretaries/Executive Directors
  • Past Presidents
  • Scope and Content Summary
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Materials at History San Jose Research Library
  • Related Collections at Other Repositories

  • Title: American Institute of Architects Santa Clara Valley Collection
    Date: 1946-2008
    Date (bulk): (1953-2004)
    Collection number: 2008-131
    Creator: American Institute of Architects Santa Clara Valley Chapter
    Extent: 20 linear feet
    Repository: History San Jose
    San Jose, CA 95112
    Abstract: The collection comprises the Santa Clara Valley Chapter, American Institute of Architects records, including board meeting minutes, newsletters, correspondence, event planning and documentation, scrapbooks, clippings, photographs, exhibit display boards, and design awards documentation. The collection covers the years 1946-2008 with the bulk of the material ranging from 1953-2004. Audio-visual materials in the collection include photographs, photographic negatives, 35mm slides, exhibit display boards, architectural sketches and renderings, and scrapbooks.
    Physical location: History San Jose Collection Center
    Languages: Collection materials are in English


    The Records are available to the public for research by appointment.

    Publication Rights

    Property rights reside with History San Jose. For permissions to reproduce or to publish, please contact History San Jose Research Library.

    Preferred Citation

    American Institute of Architects Santa Clara Valley Chapter Collection. History San Jose Research Library, San Jose, California.

    Acquisition Information

    Donated by the AIA SCVC Executive Board to History San Jose in November 2008.

    Processing History

    Processed by History San Jose staff, 2008-9. The collection arrived in storage boxes, which were then inventoried, organized into series, and re-housed. The documents in the collection were catalogued at folder level; most media, including photographs and exhibit boards, were catalogued individually, and records entered into the archive database.

    Historical Note

    Overview and Origins
    The American Institute of Architects Santa Clara Valley Chapter (AIA SCVC) is a non-profit professional association serving over 600 member architects, associates and other industry professionals from over 145 firms. The Chapter, founded in 1950, is an action oriented, responsible organization, and one of the larger and more active chapters in the country, providing professional, social and legislative programs for its membership, many of which are open to the public.
    The AIA SCVC website gives the following description of its activities:
    "The American Institute of Architects, founded over 150 years ago, is the largest and most influential professional association for architects, interns and those directly involved with the practice of architecture in the world. Based in Washington D.C, the AIA has over 300 state and local chapters representing over 80,000 members."
    Among its founders was the eminent Palo Alto architect, Birge Clark. Clark opened his office in Palo Alto in 1922, at which time his was the only architectural office in Palo Alto. (Six architectural offices were in San Jose: Ralph Wycoff, Binder & Curtis, Ed Kress, Higby & Hill, Wolf & Higgins and Charles MacKenzie -- and one in San Mateo.)
    The Northern California Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) was the only chapter in the area at this time. The chapter met monthly at the Clift Hotel in San Francisco, attended by 18 to 20 members at most meetings. During the 1930s, Clark spent much of his time as chairman of the Membership Committee calling on architects in San Jose as well as San Francisco to convince them to join the Institute. During the Depression, however, many Peninsula and San Jose architects felt that San Francisco was too far away to attend meetings and that the dues were unreasonably high.
    Residential architecture was the backbone of architecture before World War II. By 1942, the bulk of the work became war-related: industrial plants, hospitals and war housing. When the war ended in 1945, building restrictions were lifted, and there was a boom in residential and commercial building.
    Clark later wrote that post-war California architects were excitedly working to form a more viable political organization and to make for better circulation of information and discussion of problems in larger groups than was possible with separate Chapters. The California Council of Architects (CCA), with Northern and Southern California chapters, was formed in 1945, with membership open not only to AIA members but to all registered architects certified to practice.
    Debate immediately ensued about whether the CCA could be part of the AIA or a parallel non-affiliated organization. The talks quickly spread to the national AIA Convention floor, where New York delegates argued that it would be wrong to allow members of such an organization to be part of the AIA if not all of its members had established AIA credentials. A compromise of sorts was worked out, with the California Council granted three corporate memberships in the AIA, while the AIA in turn recognized that any reputable practicing architect who had been certified should be admitted to CCA membership.
    The Central Coast Association of Architects, affiliated with the Northern California Chapter, was created in 1946 when a group of local architects, Gentry, Kensit, Hemple, Nichols, Stedman, Stromquist, Curtis, Jeakle, Jones, Kress, Root, Wycoff, Clark, and Richards, was asked to establish an association for Santa Clara, San Benito, Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. They held their first meeting at Rickey's in Palo Alto on September 25, 1946. In 1956, the Coast Valleys Chapter was incorporated as a non-profit organization.
    In 1967, after Santa Cruz County members departed to the Monterey Bay Chapter, the Chapter changed its name to the Santa Clara Valley Chapter. A 1995 proposal to change the name to "Silicon Valley Chapter" was unsuccessful.
    By 1985, when Lola Huber retired from her 21-year post as Executive Secretary, membership had grown from 40 in 1950 to 353 members. The Chapter's activities had grown from a simple communication and political tool for architects to a community-based organization that sponsored exhibits, design awards, lecture series and scholarships in an effort to promote public awareness of architecture throughout the rapidly growing Santa Clara Valley.
    The Chapter's first woman President, Elsbeth Newfield, served in 1990.
    The Women's Architectural League was formed in 1950 and enjoyed a successful partnership with the Chapter during the 1950s and 1960s, responsible for hosting yearly home tours and design shows. In addition to showcasing "good" architectural and interior design against a backdrop of residential tract building, the home tours also raised money for architectural scholarships at Stanford.
    One can track the intersection of architectural design, political and social climates through the activities and focus of the Chapter. During the 1950s and early 1960s the Chapter included a National Defense Committee and advertised continuing education seminars and certifications in designing structures to withstand nuclear detonations, including fallout shelters. In the 1970s, during the oil crisis, the focus was on energy efficiency and sustainability, and the Chapter sponsored an "ecology awareness" event at Herbert Hoover Middle School in San Jose. In 1975, the Bulletin featured a five-page debate on nuclear energy. In the 1980s the focus returned to aesthetics and offices for high-technology firms. Later in the 1990s the impact on the environment and designing more sustainable architecture came back to the fore.
    Birge Clark wrote that in 1946 political representation was one of the main incentives to joining forces. Over the years, the Chapter has worked hard to reach out to local and State government to represent the interests of its members. Some of the issues and legislation targeted in the first years were the architectural licensing act, architectural liability for faulty construction, social security for architects, re-organizing the State Division of Architecture, the San Jose City Hall architectural selection process, and supporting Proposition 10 (which would have allowed the State to hire private architects and engineers; it was defeated, notes Kent Mather, by State employees).
    In the 1960s and 70s the lobbying activities included naming an architect to the County planning commission, supporting a design review board in San Jose and supporting the hiring of private consultants by the State. These types of issues continued to be of concern to the Chapter - government practices for hiring and issuing contracts, licensing and accreditation practices, building codes, permit processes, and especially Proposition 224, "Taxpayers for Competitive Bidding - A Committee for Proposition 224, Sponsored By Professional Engineers in California Government," defeated in 1998 due in part to the Chapter's "No to 224" campaign.
    Another of the Chapter's aims was to increase awareness in the local community and to build ties with governments and residents. The Women's Architectural League started this almost immediately with a traveling exhibit as well as design events. The Chapter got involved with civics and redevelopment projects such as a park building design for the City of San Jose in 1960, discussions with the merchants association over downtown First Street rehabilitation in San Jose; offering advice to Los Gatos and the city of Santa Clara in 1963, and supporting the San Jose Theatre bond in 1964. In 1970 they began holding monthly meetings with the San Jose City Planning Director.
    Architecture Week events, which appear to have started in 1980, brought many of the Chapter's public relations activities front and center for a week, sometimes a month, to celebrate and promote architectural design. In addition, with the Design Awards, started in 1967, the Chapter began to recognize the work done by its own members and also to engage the local community in a dialogue about the benefits of good design. The Design Awards were small events up until 1980, when the "Orchids & Onions" awards were held in conjunction with Architecture Week. In the 1990s the Awards were followed by a traveling exhibit of winning projects, and winners published in San Jose Magazine, a level of publicity previously not seen. In 1993, the Chapter sponsored a film festival, "Sex, Lies and Architecture," in downtown San Jose. In 1998 when the AIA national convention was held in San Francisco, the Chapter hosted a tour of Stanford with publicity for the occasion. Every anniversary celebration was also an opportunity to engage the public, with architecture student displays, art exhibits, and lecture series.
    As part of its responsibility to architectural education, the Chapter reached out to students and local architectural programs. A scholarship program began in 1950 for architectural students and Chapter representatives began meeting with student chapters at Stanford and California Polytechnic Universities. In the 1960s they began visiting high schools for career days, and in 1969 and 1970 offered advice on the curriculum for the new architecture school at Southern California University and the Engineering School at Stanford. They also held receptions for newly licensed architects. In 1998 the Chapter launched its website, aiascv.org, which amongst other purposes, offers a centralized space for sharing job postings, resumes, and career advice for future and practicing architects.
    The Chapter has faced its share of membership issues. With each economic downturn came renewed membership efforts, as members did not renew or could not see the benefits of joining. The Chapter has been forced on several occasions to re-think its dues structure and obligation to its members. In 1983 the Chapter issued its first decrease of supplemental dues and voted in 1989 to eliminate supplemental dues by 1994 by starting a non-dues revenue program. A design and construction industry slump produced by the 1991 recession began to impact membership as well as business. In 1994 the non-dues revenue program was established through sponsors and fund-raising activities such as golf tournaments. By 1995, as the recession was breaking towards an economic upturn, the supplemental dues had been eliminated completely.

    Office Addresses

    1953 82 South Third Street, San Jose 13
    1954 321 Channing Avenue, Palo Alto
    1954 - ? 207 Westridge Drive, Menlo Park
    ? - 1967 Swenson Building, 777 North First Street, San Jose
    1967-1972 363 South Taaffe Avenue, Sunnyvale
    1972 - 1989 Marina Playa Office Center, Suite 219, 1333 Lawrence Expressway, Santa Clara
    1989 - 2000 Knox-Goodrich Building, 34 First Street, San Jose
    2000 - present 325 South First Street, Suite 100, San Jose

    Executive Secretaries/Executive Directors

    1957-1959 Kay Jankes (?)
    1959-1960 Edis Graham
    1960-1964 Marian Winberry
    1964-1986 Lola Millard Huber
    1986-1997 Kathy Davis
    1997-2007 Kent Mather
    2008- Gail Price

    Past Presidents

    1950s Frank Wycoff, Birge Clark, Chester Root, Hemper, Lawrence Gentry, Kurt Gross, Walter Stromquist, Frank Treseder, Fred Richards, William Higgins, Ted Chamberlain
    1960s William Daseking, Allan Walter, David Potter, Peter Wuss, William Blessing, John Worsley, Rodney Heft, William Busse, Gerald Erickson, Goodwin Steinberg, Edis Graham
    1970s Carroll Rankin, John Law, Bill Hawley, David Thimgan, Peter Sabin, Rex Morton, William Tagg, Jack Rominger, Warren Jacobsen, Jim Morelan
    1980s Virgil Carter, Marvin Bamburg, Bob Hawley, William Gratiot, Robert Ronconi, Robert Moberg, Orlando Maione, William Kinst, Kenneth Rodrigues, Michael Roanhaus
    1990s Elsbeth Newfield, Jerome King, Larry Lagier, Samuel Sinnott, Kent Mather, Edward Janke, James Brenner, Viole McMahon, Rene Cardinaux, Dan Kirby

    Scope and Content Summary

    The AIA SCVC records document the activities of the Chapter from just after its inception in 1950, to the early 2000s. The records are housed in 17 manuscript boxes (1-17), five flat boxes (18-20, 22, 23), one oversize box (21), and one oversize folder. Not including oversize display boards and posters, the collection comprises approximately 20 linear feet.
    The collection is organized into eleven series:
    • Series 1. Board Meeting Minutes, 1969-1997. 6 boxes.
    • Series 2. Annual Reports and Membership Records, 1951-1984 (non-inclusive). 1 box.
    • Series 3. Newsletters, 1953-1998 (non-inclusive). 4 boxes.
    • Series 4. Anniversary Celebrations, 1975, 1985, 2000. 1 box.
    • Series 5. Knox-Goodrich Building Commemoration and Office Move, 1989. .25 box.
    • Series 6. Architecture Week, 1980, 1992. .5 box.
    • Series 7. Design Awards, 1967-2004. 5 boxes.
    • Series 8. News clippings and Scrapbooks, 1950-1994 (non-inclusive). 2.5 boxes.
    • Series 9. Other Activities/Miscellaneous. 1.5 boxes.
    • Series 10. Oversize items, 1851-1933.
    • Series 11. Photographs, c1930-c2000. 1 box.

    Indexing Terms

    The following is a selection of terms that have been used to index the collection in the archives' database. Many photographs have also been indexed by the name of the represented building.


    Hawley, William R.
    Huber, Lola Millard.
    Maione, Orlando T.
    Mather, R. Kent.
    Rodrigues, Kenneth A.
    Root, Chester.
    Apple Computer.
    Hewlett-Packard Company.
    Hewlett Foundation.
    HDR Architecture, Inc.
    HED Architects.
    Higgins and Root.
    Silicon Graphics Computer Systems, Inc.
    Architectural design
    Architectural offices
    Architecture - California - Santa Clara County - [City]
    Architecture - Conservation and restoration - [City]
    Architecture, Domestic - California - [Region/City]
    Architects - California - Santa Clara County
    Architects - California - Santa Cruz County
    California - Social life and customs - 20th century
    Church buildings
    College buildings
    Interior design
    Office buildings
    Post offices
    Warehouses, etc.

    Genres and Forms of Materials

    Administrative records.
    Clippings (information artifacts).
    Architectural drawings (visual works).
    Portfolios (groups of work).
    Color photographs.
    Black-and-white photographs.
    Negatives (photographic).
    Color slides.
    Bumper stickers.
    Postage stamps.
    Traveling exhibitions.
    Exhibit scripts.

    Related Materials at History San Jose Research Library


    • 1979-1050: Blueprints of Rancadore & Alameda Chapel
    • 1979-1051: Plans for new wings for the Santa Clara County Hospital by Binder & Curtis
    • 1979-2552: Schools Collection (includes illustrations of Santa Clara County Schools designed by W.H. Weeks.)
    • 1983-11: YWCA blue prints from Julia Morgan Architectural Drawings
    • 1989-187: Donation from Dorothy Wuss contains architectural drawings and specifications of San Jose residential and commercial projects, as well as some AIA Journals.
    • 1997-350 (4a-4e): Copies of the 1889-1989 Knox-Goodrich Centennial poster
    • 1997-374: Oversize blueprints and architectural drawings, including Higgins & Root drawings
    • 1997-375: Plans (ink on linen) for the Hotel Sainte Claire, designed by Weeks and Day in 1925-6.
    • 1997-382: Wolfe & Higgins blueprints found in the collection.
    • 2004-35: Archival Institutional Records of History San Jose
    • 2005-127: HABS drawings; Hanchett Residence Park, Peter Col House, Laguna Seca Rancho, etc.


    • 1982-17-1: Triangular carved wood pediment piece from the Century House, which once stood on the Alameda. Carved face with horns in center, surrounded by foliage curlicues. This item found at Stockton Warehouse 2008.
    • 1984-32-2: Leaded stained glass windowpane from the Century House, which once stood on The Alameda. Corresponding windowpane 1984-32-1. This item found at Stockton Warehouse March 2008.
    • 1984-32-3: Wooden archway from front door of the Century House. This item found at Stockton Warehouse March 2008.
    • 1989-308-1: Clear plastic wall hanging sign with hole at top. Painted on front with images of the first two San Jose City Halls, 1889 and 1958. Also advertises Fortune Realty Co.

    Photographic collections:

    • 2000-73: Lasette Flowers' photo album, c. 1920-1930s. Scenes of Stanford University, etc. (#200, 91, 89)
    • 2004-17: Gift of Leonard McKay, includes photographic collection of San Jose buildings and land developments
    • 1989-270: Gift of Anne Louise Heigho, includes some photographs of residences and buildings

    Related Collections at Other Repositories

    University of California Berkeley, Environmental Design Archives
    The Environmental Design Archives holds nearly 100 collections documenting the built and landscaped environment. These records span a century, 1890-1990, and contain primary source materials such as correspondence, reports, specifications, drawings, photographs, and artifacts. Though the archives' primary focus is the San Francisco Bay Area, designers and projects from throughout California, the United States, and the world are found in the collections.
    Stanford University, Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Birge Malcolm Clark Papers, 1914-1985 (M0627)
    San Jose State University Library Special Collections
    Thomas M. King papers, 1971-1995. San Jose, CA. This collection documents King's personal and professional commitment to historic preservation in San Jose from 1971 to 1995. The bulk of the collection relates to the San Jose Survey of Historic & Archaeological Sites (SJSHAS), a city-sponsored project undertaken by King from 1972-1974. Other records include details of King's various activities with other historic preservation organizations throughout the San Jose area.
    California Polytechnic State University
    Horner Architectural Photography Collection, c.1920s. San Luis Obispo, CA (Available online). Contains 307 vintage, black and white mounted photographs taken by Benjamin Bean Horner, including some of Santa Clara County.
    Syracuse University - American Institute of Architects Records
    Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library. 1922-1988 CNY chapter records, committee material on professional practice, conduct, and disciplinary material, printed material.
    AIA Archives
    The AIA Archives is the official repository of material produced by the Institute's national component in its day-to-day activities. It documents AIA policies, programs, organization, administration, positions, and publications. Among the most-requested materials in the archives are member records and honors and awards records. Best examples of recent FAIA submissions are available online. Photographs and artifacts also form part of the archival collection. Selected out-of-print AIA publications are available digitally online through the Architect's Knowledge Resource. In addition to AIA records, the archives also hold materials from the American Institution of Architects, 1836-1838, and the extant records of the Western Association of Architects, 1884-1889.
    The Octagon Museum, American Architectural Foundation
    The oldest museum in the United States dedicated to architecture and design, dedicated to increasing public awareness of the power of architecture. The Prints and Drawings Collection contains over 100,000 original architectural drawings, 30,000 historic photographs, scrapbooks, sketchbooks, manuscript material, and models. In addition, the museum houses decorative arts, archaeological objects and architectural fragments.