The University of Michigan, an encyclopedic survey ... Wilfred B. Shaw, editor.
University of Michigan.

ALTHOUGH the Act of 1837 provided for a professorship of civil engineering and architecture, it was not until 1871 that the establishment of a College of Architecture at the University of Michigan was discussed. At that time DeVolson Wood, Professor of Civil Engineering, stated in his report to the Regents that "we should organize advanced courses in General Science, courses in Technical Chemistry, courses in Engineering and Architecture." Four years later a more definite step was taken with regard to architecture. The minutes of the October, 1875, meeting of the Board of Regents note:

The act as finally passed provides for the appointment of a Professor of Mining Engineering, a Professor of Metallurgy, and a Professor of Architecture and Design, and assistants to these Professors, and for the purchase of apparatus, models, drawings, etc., of the value of $5,000. The Professorship of Architecture and Design has not yet been filled, but we hope to find soon a suitable person for the place. There is great need of such a chair. We do not expect a large number of students at first in this School, but we think it will have a steady and healthy development.


(R.P., 1870-76, p. 467.)

1876-1906. — In March, 1876, Major William Le Baron Jenney (École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures '56) was appointed Professor of Architecture and Design "with such duties for the present as may be assigned him, and for such compensation for the services rendered as may be arranged by the Executive Committee." At the June meeting of that year one-third of the appropriation for the School of Mines was set aside for the Department of Architecture and Design. Professor Jenney's University activities were not to be confined wholly to instruction, however, for at the same meeting he was "requested to draft plans for a new library and museum building, and report the same to the Board with the estimated cost…"

In October, 1876, in his annual report President Angell stated:

The act, which establishes the School of Mines, provides for a chair of Architecture and Design. We were unable to fill the chair in time to begin instruction last year. But Mr. W. L. B. Jenney, of Chicago, having accepted the Professorship last spring, preparations were at once commenced for the work of the new academic year. Orders were given for books, models, casts, and other necessary materials for illustrations in teaching. Prof. Jenney also gave two introductory lectures on Architecture. We have not looked for a large number of students the first year, but there can be no doubt that there will be a considerable demand for instruction in this department. Certainly there can be no doubt that there is a great need of thoroughly trained architects, who can bring to their work refined and educated taste and scientific knowledge.

A class of seven are pursuing this course. In view of the brief notice which could be given of the details of the work, this must be regarded as a satisfactory number. Several other students regularly attend the lectures of the course.


(R.P., 1876-81, p. 62.)
Professor Jenney's salary is not stated, but it is interesting to note that at this time Charles S. Denison, later to become Professor of Stereotomy, Mechanism, and Drawing in the College of Engineering, was appointed Assistant in the School of Architecture and Design at the annual salary of $500.

In these early days instruction in architecture seems always to have been on a precarious footing. At the October, Page  12901877, meeting President Angell again reported:

The Act passed in 1873, establishing a School of Mines here (including also a School of Architecture) made provision for its support for only two years. The Regents organized the School so that it began the work in Mining Engineering in the autumn of 1875. The instruction in Architecture was delayed until the autumn of 1876. Nearly the whole of the sum of five thousand dollars appropriated for apparatus has been expended, two-thirds of the amount on the apparatus for the mining work, and one-third on the apparatus for the Architectural School. Competent professors have been secured, and students have been attracted in good numbers from various parts of the Union. We had every reason to expect a satisfactory career for the Schools. To our great regret the Legislature failed to continue the appropriations for their support. We could spare nothing from our general fund to carry them on. It was a grave question whether we should not drop them altogether, in spite of the great disappointment to the students, who had been drawn hither by the assurance that we could give them full courses of instruction in Mining and Architecture. But Prof. Langley having kindly offered to give for the present the instruction in Metallurgy in addition to his regular duties, and Prof. Pettee having also offered to teach Mining Engineering in addition to his duties as Professor of Geology (both of them without any compensation for the extra work), we are able to continue to care for the students in Mining. But I am sorry to say that the instruction in Architecture must be suspended until from some source we can receive more funds. The class in Architecture were pursuing their study with great enthusiasm and with excellent promise. Surely in the downfall of badly planned and ill-constructed buildings, causing not only destruction of property but also of life, we are receiving eloquent appeals for the thorough training of architects. We do not need to leave our own grounds to be reminded of the advantages which might accrue to us from the employment of architects of chaste and cultivated taste.


(R.P., 1876-81, pp. 153-54.)

On October 11, 1878, W. H. Pettee, Professor of Mining Engineering and Geology, spoke before the Board:

It is well known that the Legislature of 1875 appropriated the sum of $21,000 for the establishment of this School (including a department of Architecture), and for its maintenance for two years. Some of that part of the appropriation which was available for equipment purposes was lost to the University, because the Professor of Architecture and Design, wishing to keep well within the limits of the appropriation, and not being aware that the money would have to be expended, if at all, before the end of December, 1876, postponed the completion of his intended purchases until it was too late …

The Legislature of 1877 failed to make any appropriation for the further support of the School, and all that has been done in and for the School during the past year has had to be done without aid from the State; nay, more than that, without expense to the University. The instruction in architecture was suspended at the beginning of the year; and not a single dollar, so far as I am aware, has been drawn from the University treasury, either for the payment of salaries or for the purchase of any apparatus or supplies to be used in the Department of Mining or that of Metallurgy.


(R.P., 1876-81, pp. 311-12.)

That the Regents had been unsuccessful in an attempt to obtain a satisfactory plan for the contemplated University Museum is evident from the report submitted by Regent Maltz, chairman of the Committee on Buildings and Grounds, which was adopted on June 25, 1879:

Your Committee to whom was referred the matter of procuring a design for the proposed Museum building were of the opinion that the only proper mode of proceeding to this duty was to advertise for competitive designs from architects. In accordance with this view, they advertised in the Detroit Post and Tribune and the Detroit Free Press for designs to be placed in the hands of H. D. Bennett, Secretary, and to be received to 12 o'clock noon of the 23d of June at the office of the Secretary at the University. On the Page  1291day set five designs were offered, of which two approach the nearest to the requirements of your Committee; and of the two referred to that under the motto of "Norman Romanesque," was deemed the superior, and as embracing more of the requisites of a Museum building for your uses. But it was found that the architect's estimate of the cost of erection was $8,000 in excess of the amount given to the architects as a limit of cost, and after some examination and partial estimating by your Committee, they became convinced that the cost of executing this design would be considerably in excess of the architect's estimate. They are therefore, and with great reluctance, obliged to recommend the rejection of all of the designs submitted.


(R.P., 1876-81, p. 387.)

After this discouraging outcome the commission seems to have been given outright to Professor Jenney, for on June 25, 1879, he was authorized to "draw plans for the proposed Museum Building, to be submitted at the next meeting of the Board." It was resolved "that the plan and specifications prepared by Professor Jenney for the construction of a Museum be and are hereby adopted, subject to such modifications as may be made by the Committee."

It appears that Professor Jenney was likewise retained for the design of a homeopathic and hospital amphitheater provided that in the event the committee was unable to make a good and sufficient contract within the appropriation granted by the Legislature, the plans submitted were to be so modified by the committee as to come within the appropriation.

During this period it seems probable that Professor Jenney's teaching activities were suspended since at the October 21, 1879, meeting the following preamble and resolution were acted on by the Regents:

Whereas, the Department of Architecture was discontinued temporarily for financial reasons, and those reasons being now removed by the great prosperity of the University; therefore be it

Resolved, That the President and Executive Committee of the Board are hereby authorized to reinaugurate said Department of Architecture at the earliest practicable moment.


(R.P., 1876-81, p. 434.)

Apparently, however, this prosperity was not too real, and resolutions alone could not finance the School. The following report was read by Regent Cutcheon and adopted in March, 1880:

The Executive Committee, to whom was referred the matter of reviving the School of Architecture, would respectfully report that in view of the very large expenditures likely to be required for the completion and equipment of the new Museum building, and the necessity for the immediate enlargement of the Chemical Laboratory, and other reasons which at present embarrass our action, the Committee has taken no steps toward the reinauguration of that School, and do not deem it expedient to take any such action at present.


(R.P., 1876-81, p. 461.)

Ironically, construction costs of the Museum designed by Jenney made it impossible for him to continue his work as a teacher and in fact meant the suspension of all instruction in architecture for a long period.

It is regrettable that there appears to be no evidence at the University of Jenney's attitude toward education in architecture. The Regents' Proceedings do not quote him nor refer to his qualifications other than as mentioned above. Because of his brief connection with the University and the early abandonment of the course one may gain the impression that he was an unimportant man professionally. Certainly, he accomplished little as an educator, but in the annals of American architecture his name ranks as one of the most outstanding of his time.

William Le Baron Jenney was a civil engineer and an architect; he had received his training in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Page  1292and in Paris, France. He was engaged as a civil engineer in railroad work when the Civil War broke out. As a major in the United States Army he built Forts Henry and Donaldson, as well as the defenses at Shiloh, Corinth, and Vicksburg. After the war Major Jenney opened his first office as an architect in Chicago in 1868. Chicago was then a booming city, and he had an active practice. Even while serving briefly at the University of Michigan he was carrying on extensive projects in that city.

Today the multistoried office building is generally recognized as one of the most notable contributions of the American architect to the development of modern urban architecture. Structures such as the Empire State Building, erected in 1929, were made possible by the device of the steel skeleton frame, which carries the floors and masonry walls story by story. The venerable tradition of walls and floors carried up continuously from masonry footings at the base limited the practicable height of buildings in the structural sense. The efficiency of masonry wall office buildings on valuable land reached the point of diminishing returns in the seventeen-story Monadnock Building built in Chicago in 1889, for the first-story walls were seven feet thick, taking too great a proportion of the rentable floor area. Jenney was the architect of the Home Insurance Building completed in Chicago in 1886. This was the first skeleton-frame office building in the world. Within a few years the principle enunciated by Jenney became standard practice for high buildings. He also made important advances in the field of fireproofing. He had experienced both the San Francisco fire of 1850 and the Chicago fire of 1871, and, naturally, fireproofing was a preoccupation with him. The first Professor of Architecture at the University of Michigan was a great architect of his time. Early in the century Jenney retired from active practice to live in California, where he died in Los Angeles in 1907 at the age of seventy-five.

For more than twenty years instruction in architecture seems not to have been officially discussed at Michigan. In 1901, however, a communication to the Regents from the Michigan Chapter of the American Institute of Architects stated:

The Michigan Chapter of the American Institute of Architects … desire to add their hearty indorsement to the letter under date of May 27, 1901, addressed to your Honorable Body by Dr. Harold Wilson, of Detroit, asking for the establishment of a Department of Architecture in the University of Michigan.

The reason for the request having been quite fully presented in Dr. Wilson's letter, we would only beg leave to add that we feel sure it will be granted; that an education in architecture is as important as an education in any of the varied fields now cultivated through our higher educational institutions; that the factor of art is as important as the factor of utility. In proof of this, consider the beautiful cities of the world, and the tribute in the way of commercial riches that is paid them…

Apart, then, from any higher motive, from the utilitarian standpoint alone, the value of a department of architecture will, we believe, commend itself to your Honorable Board.


(R.P., 1896-1901, pp. 662-63.)

Possibly, there may have been occasional unofficial representations urging the cause of education in architecture, but the next evidence occurs in 1903, when a request for the establishment of a chair of architecture at the University was referred to the Engineering Committee for consideration.

In October, 1905, Regent Fletcher moved that a chair of architecture be established in the Department of Engineering. This was approved, and at the November meeting of the same year Regent Page  1293Hill read the following communication:

The Michigan Chapter of the American Institute of Architects at a regular meeting held Tuesday, Nov. 7, 1905, have instructed me to assure your Board that the Michigan Chapter, A.I.A., after a discussion on the establishment of a School for Architecture in the University of Michigan, is most heartily in sympathy with the plan proposed by your Body …


(R.P., 1901-6, p. 645.)

Finally, in February, 1906, twenty-six years after the termination of Jenney's appointment, Emil Lorch was appointed Professor of Architecture with service to begin October 1. This marks the beginning of the revival of instruction in this field, the first step in a program destined to develop to the present time. A schedule of work for students in architecture and in architectural engineering was approved in June, 1906.

President Angell in his report of October, 1906, said:

We are now to resume instruction in Architecture under Professor Emil Lorch. It was carried on from 1876 to 1880 * under Professor Jenney, and some men were graduated who have attained eminence in their professions. The work was provided for by a special appropriation of the Legislature at the urgent suggestion of Governor Bagley. But in 1877 the Legislature failed to renew the appropriation, and so the instruction was necessarily and much to our regret discontinued. We trust that we shall now be able to maintain it permanently.


(R.P., 1906-10, pp. 6-7.)

1906-1913. — The status of architecture as a subdepartment with a ranking chairman in the Department of Engineering was approved by the Regents in 1905. The four-year curriculum in architecture appears in the Announcement of the Department of Engineering for 1906-7. Accommodations were provided on the second and fourth floors of the West Engineering Building, and library space was made available in the Engineering Library. Almost immediately additional faculty members were appointed. Staff members of those years included Emil Lorch (A.M. Harvard '03), 1906-40; William Caldwell Titcomb (Harvard '04), 1907-13, 1925-32; Percy Ash (Pennsylvania '86), 1910-12; Raymond Everett (Harvard '09a), 1910-15; George McDonald McConkey ('14e [Arch.]), 1911-; Louis Holmes Boynton, 1912-24; Wells Ira Bennett (Syracuse '11a, D.F.A. hon. ibid. '19, M.S. Michigan '16), 1912-; and Beverly Robinson (Columbia '09a, M.S. Michigan '17), 1912-18. The enrollment which in 1906-7 had numbered twenty-two increased until by 1912-13 there were one hundred students.

Even in the early years of the unit it was the desire of the architectural profession and of Professor Lorch and his staff that architecture be made a separate department. At the Regents' meeting in May, 1907, "Regent Dean read a communication from the American Institute of Architects asking that Architecture in this University be made a separate Department. The communication was received and placed on file." It was to be expected that action toward separation would be delayed until student and faculty response should justify it.

In July, 1913, the following action was taken:

Resolved, That the Department of Engineering and the department of Architecture be hereafter known as the Departments of Engineering and Architecture with the present Dean and Secretary acting in a similar capacity for the new organization; and that the Department of Architecture shall hereafter administer the admission and discipline of its students, with full control of the curricula in Architecture.


(R.P., 1910-14, p. 778.)

The administration of the early program Page  1294was relatively informal and simple. For the first seven years, while architecture was a subdepartment of the Department of Engineering, Lorch was chairman. The small staff worked closely on mutual problems, almost as a family group.

The pattern of enrollment and staff growth through this period was as follows:

Enrollment Staff
1906-7 22 1906-7 1
1908-9 38 1908-9 2
1910-11 77 1910-11 4
1912-13 100 1912-13 8

1913-1931. — Considerable autonomy was granted to architecture in 1913, and two years later the title of the administrative unit was changed to that of the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture. Enrollment dropped during World War I, then rose rapidly to 370 in 1930.

At this time the staff again was increased by the appointment of new instructors and assistant professors. These included Sidney Fiske Kimball (Harvard '09, Ph.D. Michigan '15), architecture, 1913-19; Leon Alexander Makielski, drawing and painting, 1915-28; Ernest Harrison Barnes (Hillsdale '97, A.M. hon. ibid. '23), painting, 1915-43; Joseph Joachim Albert Rousseau (École des Beaux-arts [Paris] '14), architecture, 1915-31; Charles Dana Loomis (Harvard '06), architecture, 1920-23; Frederick Charles O'Dell (Pennsylvania '17a), architecture, 1920-; Herbert Atherton Fowler ('31a), design, 1921-39; James Blaine Newman ('14e [Arch.], A.M. '24), architecture, 1920-25; Carleton Watson Angell, drawing and modeling, 1923-26, 1930-33; Ernest Wilby (Wesley College [Harrogate, England] '85), architecture, 1922-43; Raymond Mathews (Pennsylvania '12a, M.S. Michigan '35), architecture, 1923-42; Eliel Saarinen (Arch.D. hon. '33), architecture, 1923-24; Myron Butman Chapin (Chicago '20), drawing and painting, 1924-; Frederic H. Aldrich, Jr., drawing and painting, 1925-43; Samuel Chamberlain, architecture, 1925-30; Walter Vancleve Marshall ('15e [Arch.]), architecture, 1925-; Francis Skillman Onderdonk (D.Tech.Sci. Vienna '19), architecture, 1925-33; Charles R. Barnum (Minnesota '24a), architecture, 1926-33; Jean Paul Slusser ('09, A.M. '11), drawing and painting, 1925-; Alexander Mastro Valerio, drawing and painting, 1927-53; Ross Bittinger ('28a, A.M. '37), design, 1926-40; Mary Olmsted Johnson, drawing and painting, 1926-27; Victor V. Slocum, clay modeling, 1926-30; Maria L. Crane, drawing and painting, 1926-31; Harry Robinson Gamble (Pennsylvania State '22), architecture, 1926-31; Austin A. Howe, architecture, 1926-34; Thomas Sheridan Tanner (Illinois '17, M.S. Michigan '41a), architecture, 1927-; Walter Winthrop J. Gores (Stanford '17, A.M. ibid. '27), design, 1929-; George Holmes Perkins (M.A. Harvard '29), architecture, 1929-30; T. Gerald Kronick (Minnesota '26, M.S. Harvard '27), architecture, 1929-33; and George Bickford Brigham, Jr., architecture, 1930-.

In the large classes of the 1920's some of the best students were employed as teaching assistants, and among these were men who have since made outstanding records in professional practice: Chandler Carroll Cohagen ('15a), Clair William Ditchy ('15a), Robert Benjamin Frantz ('17a, M.S. '20), Joseph Hudnut ('12a), and Gilbert Stanley Underwood (ex. '17).

The quarters in the East Engineering Building proved inadequate for student and faculty accommodations. In 1923 additional space was obtained when the second and third floors of the old Engineering Shops were remodeled and occupied by the College as drafting rooms and as additional office space for the staff. A connection at the second-floor Page  1295level was built to span the gap between the Engineering Shops and the West Engineering Building. This was termed by students the "Bridge of Sighs." As early as 1915 the need for separate accommodations for architecture had been stated to the Regents:

A communication was received from Dean Cooley setting forth the desirability of other quarters than the Engineering Building, for the College of Architecture. On motion of Regent Hubbard this communication was referred with power to the President and the Chairman of the Regents' Committee on the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture.


(R.P., 1914-17, p. 237.)
The pressure of College and University growth ever demanding more space was recorded again in the Regents' Proceedings of June, 1919:

Communications were received from the Faculties of the departments of Chemical Engineering and Architecture urging the need of new buildings for housing these departments. On motion of Regent Hubbard, these communications were placed upon the table.

Owing to the enlarged enrollment and staff both engineers and architects by 1920 occupied very congested quarters. With the backing of the Regents and President Burton a campaign was launched for an architecture building. In 1924 the legislature was asked to appropriate $400,000 for the building and equipment. This was finally provided in the legislative appropriation of May 26, 1925.

Emil Lorch and Associates, Harold A. Beam ('22), and George M. McConkey were named as architects. The appropriation proved inadequate to carry through the project as contemplated. In this situation the building industries of the state were very helpful, contributing substantially to construction materials. Alumni and friends of the College made generous gifts for the acquisition of art objects and of historical fragments of American architecture. Among the donors may be mentioned George G. Booth, George D. Mason, William Starrett, Emory Clark, and Fred L. Smith. The new building was completed and occupied in the fall of 1927.

In 1920 at a special March meeting of the Board of Regents the separation of the College of Architecture from the College of Engineering was proposed. A communication from Dean Cooley transmitting a study by Professor Alfred H. White, chairman of the Department of Chemical Engineering, of the probable development of the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture, was referred to the Engineering Committee for consideration and report.

In January, 1922, Dean Cooley communicated to the Board the following resolutions adopted by the faculty of the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture in June, 1920, and requested action by the Regents in accordance therewith:

Whereas, the Faculty of the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture has for several years been considering a fundamental revision of its course of study with the purpose of broadening the program during the four undergraduate years and postponing part of the specialization to a fifth year of professional graduate study, and believes that the projected enlargement of its buildings will give it sufficient physical facilities to inaugurate such a program in the fall of 1923,

Resolved, That the faculty request the Board of Regents to approve the principle involved in this revision and to authorize the Faculty to submit a definite program embodying this principle.


(R.P., 1920-23, p. 366.)
Thus, upon the adoption of these resolutions, the five-year program in architecture was approved in principle.

Although the Architecture Building was completed and the five-year undergraduate program accepted, the matter Page  1296of autonomy remained undecided. Finally, in September, 1931, the College of Architecture was established as a separate entity of the University.

Since its beginning in 1906 the fundamental objective of the College had been education in architecture. From the first there was also necessarily instruction in freehand drawing and water-color painting, for proficiency in these fields was required of the student in architecture. Alice L. Hunt of the Engineering Drawing staff taught these courses in 1906-7. Titcomb and Everett followed her in this field at first and, later, Aldrich, Barnes, Makielski, and Slusser, all professional painters, carried on the supplementary courses. Presently, both architecture and nonarchitecture students began to elect drawing and painting as fields of interest in their own right. These elections considerably augmented the enrollment, and in 1921 Herbert A. Fowler was appointed to the staff as Instructor to teach decorative design. Like drawing and painting, decorative design soon attracted student interest, and as a result of these two developments the four-year curriculum in decorative design was listed in the Announcement of the Colleges of Engineering and Architecture for 1925-26. The program leading to the degree of bachelor of science in design soon became a substantial part of the instruction offered by the College.

Although the status of joint equality with engineering under one administration was established in 1913, when the title of the unit was changed to Departments of Engineering and Architecture, the administration of the work in architecture was little changed. Staff meetings in architecture remained occasional and informal. Once established in the Architecture Building with the autonomy of the College in prospect, the first unofficial faculty meeting on record was held October 22, 1929. Assistant Professor Walter V. Marshall served as secretary. Present were Professors Lorch, McConkey, Rousseau, Wilby; Associate Professor Bennett; Assistant Professors Marshall, Slusser, Fowler, O'Dell, Chapin, Barnes; Instructors Onderdonk, Gores, Bittinger, and Perkins.

The following figures represent the pattern of enrollment and staff growth.

Enrollment Staff
1913-14 124 1913-14 9
1918-19 97 1918-19 8
1923-24 246 1923-24 13
1928-29 362 1928-29 29
1930-31 370 1930-31 27

1931-1936. — During the development of the College from 1931 to 1936, enrollment remained fairly constant following the slow recovery from the depression. Working accommodations were spacious and comfortable in the new building. Roger Bailey (Cornell '20a) was appointed Lecturer in Architecture in 1931 and was Professor from 1934 to 1948. In 1931, also, Jean Hébrard (A.D.G.F. École des Beaux-arts '03) succeeded Rousseau as Professor of Architecture, Beaver Edwards was appointed Instructor, resigning in 1938, and Ralph Warner Hammett (Minnesota '19, M.Arch. Harvard '23) became Associate Professor of Architecture.

As previously mentioned, in 1931 the School was set up "as a separate entity of the University under the direction of its own faculty and administrative officers, directly responsible to the President and Regents as provided in the By-Laws." At this time the title of Professor Lorch was changed to Professor of Architecture and Director of the College of Architecture. In September, 1931, faculty records became official.

When Professor Lorch resigned as Director of the College in the spring of 1936, President Ruthven appointed an Page  1297Executive Committee, which consisted of Professors Bennett, Gores, and Hébrard, with Professor Bennett as chairman. This organization remained in effect until the administration of the College was more formally reorganized. At the January, 1937, meeting of the faculty the report of the Regents was read:

Resolved, That the executive functions of the College of Architecture shall be under the control of a director assisted by an executive committee. The Executive Committee shall be charged with the duties of investigating and formulating educational and instructional policies for consideration by the Faculty and shall act for the College in matters of budget, promotions, and appointments; and

Resolved, further, That the Executive Committee of the College of Architecture shall consist of the Director and three additional members from the Faculty appointed by the President from a panel of names nominated by the Faculty. The panel shall contain twice as many names as there are positions to be filled. The Director shall be chairman of the Committee; and

Resolved, further, That the appointive members of the Executive Committee shall hold office for three years and shall not be eligible for reappointment until after the lapse of one year. The terms of office of the appointive members of the first Executive Committee shall be for one, two, or three years, as determined by lot, beginning July 1, 1937. Members receiving appointments at any time for one year shall be eligible for immediate reappointment; and

Resolved, That Wells Ira Bennett, M.S., be and hereby is appointed Director of the College of Architecture, effective February 15, 1937, with the understanding that he retain his present title of Professor of Architecture; and

Resolved, further, That the present Executive Committee of the College of Architecture be continued through June 30, 1937, and that the appointive members thereof be eligible for appointment in the first Executive Committee under the new administrative plan.


(R.P., 1936-39, p. 149.)

1936-1952. — Enrollment in the College reached a new high of 399 in 1940-41, but decreased noticeably during World War II. Before the war ended, the return of the veterans to college began, and the tremendous growth, common to all universities and colleges, continued until 1950. The teaching load for 1946-47 doubled that of the preceding year, and subsequent years have seen the trend continue. Among those appointed to the staff and serving as indicated were: Donald Burnette Gooch ('35ed, M.Des. '39), design, 1936-; Mary Chase Stratton (A.M. hon. '30), design, 1937-; Emil Weddige (Michigan State Normal '34, M.Des. Michigan '38), design, 1937-; Bertha Van Zwaluwenburg Frayer (Stanford '12), design, 1938-50; Catherine Bortic Heller ('23a), design, 1938-; Ernest Karl Mundt (Dipl. Ing. Berlin '30), architecture, 1940-44; Grover Dee Cole (Southern California '40), design, 1940-50; Aarre Kotivalo Lahti (Chicago Art Institute '47), design, 1940-; Richard Adolph Lippold (Chicago Art Institute '37), design, 1941-43; Thomas Samuel Haile (Royal College of London '34), design, 1942-44; John Worthington Hyde (Massachusetts State '25a, M.C.P. Harvard '36), city planning, 1945-; F. Carlos Lopez, drawing and painting, 1945-53; James Donald Prendergast (Chicago Art Institute '38), drawing and painting, 1944-; Karl Albert Kasten (California '38, M.A. ibid. '39), drawing and painting, 1946-47; Roger Benton Hollenbeck (Southern California '38), design, 1946-48; Gerome Kamrowski, drawing and painting, 1946-; Paul Henry Coy (Texas '41, M.Arch. Michigan '48), architecture, 1947-; Carl Erling Guldberg ('40a), drawing and painting, 1946-50; Charles Leo Moody (Maine '17), landscape architecture, 1946-; David Henry Reider, design, 1947-; Frank Cassara, drawing and painting, 1947-; Herbert Wilson Johe (Carnegie Institute of Technology Page  1298'36, M.Arch. ibid. '40), architecture, 1947-; Paul Haller Jones (Illinois '38, M.F.A. Cranbrook '48), drawing, 1947-; Glenn Gunnette Mastin ('34a), architecture, 1947-; Richard Wilt (Carnegie Institute of Technology '38), drawing and painting, 1947-; Chet LaMore (Wisconsin, '32, M.A. ibid. '32), drawing and painting, 1947-; Walter B. Sanders (Illinois '29, M.Arch. Pennsylvania '30), architecture, 1948-; Carl Theodore Larson (Harvard '25, M. Arch. ibid. '29), architecture, 1948-; Willard August Oberdick ('47a), architecture, 1948-; Edward Victor Olencki (Illinois Institute of Technology '44, M.S. ibid. '49), architecture, 1948-; Philip Charles Davis, design, 1948-; Charles William Pearman ('47a), architecture, 1949-; Thomas Fulton McClure (Nebraska '41, M.F.A. Cranbrook '47), design, 1949-; Arnold Benjamin Handler (M.S. London '35), city planning, 1950-; William Muschenheim (M. Arch. Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna '29), architecture, 1950-.

Visiting lecturers included Frank Lloyd Wright, Eric Mendelsohn, Joseph Hudnut, Buckminster Fuller, Claude Bragdon, Richard Neutra, Irving K. Pond, Albert Davis Taylor, Lilburn Lamley Woodworth, Knut Lönberg-Holm, Francesco della Sala.

Paralleling the growth of the College the programs in design have been revised and expanded to cover certain specialties such as information design, interior and product design, painting, printmaking, sculpture, and ceramics. The long-discussed five-year undergraduate program in architecture became the only curriculum in that field in September, 1939. A strong interest in city planning developed, and a senior major in city planning appeared in the Announcement for 1946-47. A graduate program leading to the degree of master of city planning was established in that year.

Landscape Design, which had been instituted as a program in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts in 1909, was transferred to the College of Architecture in 1939 and became the Department of Landscape Architecture with Professor Whittemore as chairman. Assistant Professor George Gould Ross ('30, M.L.D. '32) was also transferred to the College of Architecture on a part-time appointment with the rank of Associate Professor. In consideration of the importance of the curriculum in design, and because of the transfer to this College of the Department of Landscape Architecture, the title was changed from College of Architecture to College of Architecture and Design in June, 1939.

Members of the Executive Committee, which was announced in July, 1937, were Professors Gores, Lorch, and Hébrard with Professor Bennett, Director, as chairman. This pattern of administration has continued, and in February, 1938, the Board of Regents appointed Bennett Dean of the College. In 1947 Professor Walter Marshall was appointed Assistant Dean.

The retirement of Professor Hébrard in 1948 left a vacancy on the senior staff. This event together with the large enrollment in the College created serious problems of leadership in teaching architecture. Following a survey by an advisory committee consisting of Harold D. Hauf, chairman of the Department of Architecture of Yale University; Joseph Hudnut, Dean of the School of Design at Harvard; Professor Joseph D. Murphy, of the School of Architecture of Washington University in St. Louis; John Root, distinguished architect of Chicago; and William W. Wurster, Dean of the School of Architecture of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, new appointments were made to the staff, including Larson, Sanders, Muschenheim, and Handler.

The pattern of enrollment and of staff Page  1299growth from 1931 to 1951 was as follows:

Enrollment Staff
1931-32 348 1931-32 27
1936-37 358 1936-37 24
1941-42 385 1941-42 30
1946-47 715 1946-47 35
1951-52 643 1951-52 46

The programs. — Since the re-establishment of instruction in architecture in 1906, there have been more than four decades of development in the College. If it is assumed that architecture rests on the great works of the past with adaptations to modern use, then a traditional grounding for education in architecture is sound. In these terms architecture is an expression of an orderly progress within a static framework; it is a combination of age-long experience in building and a demonstration of the academic principles of beauty. A school of architecture in a fine arts environment may have an architect as dean or chairman, but frequently the administrative officer is a historian or a musician, a fact which indicates only that the environment is that of the aesthetic elements in our culture.

The spirit of education in architecture in the earlier decades of the century was essentially that of the École des Beauxarts, suitably diluted for American consumption. Some reflection of the highly integrated and refined performance of the French school appeared in a few American institutions, but in the main only a faint shadow of the French design system, perhaps with some added deference to the French theory of architecture as stated by Gaudet, could be seen in the American environment. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology both design and construction were well taught. In some schools the emphasis was on academic design, with a popular design critic in charge; in weaker schools the curriculum consisted mainly of engineering subjects only slightly tinctured by a design series and taught by devoted but not wholly competent instructors.

Some schools had their beginnings as groups of courses in departments of engineering. At Michigan Dean Cooley, of the College of Engineering, while this work was under his administration, presented to the Regents the problems of instruction in architecture and endorsed requests for staff, working quarters, and equipment. Most schools of architecture thus founded attained an independent status, although some are still departments of engineering. It has been fortunate for the College of Architecture and Design that the attitude of the College of Engineering throughout was constructive and friendly.

The young College at the University of Michigan was from the beginning relatively independent. Lorch early established the attitude that the main emphasis in architecture should be placed on design, taught objectively by capable men; and that construction courses for architects should be taught by architects, since the problems of building are only in a restricted sense common to those of the engineering field. The College has remained firm in this attitude. Albert Rousseau was much affected by the conditions presented by the modern environment, and he exemplified them both in teaching and in practice. Eliel Saarinen gave impetus to our continuing emphasis on city planning as essentially a phase of architecture. He was the complete architect. Jean Hébrard, thoroughly disciplined in the beaux-arts system, was convinced that architecture has always been dynamic and must continue to move forward. Like Saarinen he included city planning in his concept of architecture. He set a high example for his students by questioning their attitudes in attacking problems of design, which he presented in such a way as to bring out needs in modern architecture.

Page  1300Through the lively interest of Lorch the work of such American pioneers as Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright became known to the students. These men and their achievements were analyzed objectively at a time when they were little accredited, particularly in the eastern United States. Those who were teaching architecture at the University knew and appreciated the work of Otto Wagner in Austria, H. H. P. Berlage in Holland, and A. Perret in France. After World War I, as the modern movement abroad became more favorably known in the United States, the accomplishments of Walter Gropius, LeCorbusier, W. M. Dudok, Mies Van Der Rohe, and others were understandingly discussed by the students and their instructors. By the time of World War II American students and many teachers of architecture considered the attitudes of the academic French system obsolete. The young architect interested in new developments may sometimes have desired change for change's sake. It was probably inevitable that the followers of LeCorbusier, Wright, and the German Bauhaus tended to become as doctrinaire as the system they supplanted.

By the mid 1940's only a few schools considered research to be a necessary supplement to education in architecture. Building research had been undertaken in a few universities, but was wholly divorced from the work in architecture. The fact that instruction and research have now begun to merge in professional education suggests a growing awareness of professional responsibility.

In 1947, following a self-survey initiated by the report of the advisory committee earlier noted, the College of Architecture and Design began a marked reorientation. This has proceeded along lines which may be stated as follows: The prime objective in the curriculum in architecture is to integrate site planning, construction and materials, building planning, equipment, and research. Integration of program mainly should be vertical rather than horizontal, beginning with the basic courses and finding continued and sequential expression through the work of the second, third, fourth, and fifth years. No single professional course such as sophomore design should exist in a vacuum isolated from the design courses that precede and follow it.

Such horizontal stratification as remains extends as a tie across the fields of specialization: building planning, city planning, construction, and building economics are integrated in the case study of problems. Members of the staff work as a team with the student through the successive stages of analysis, synthesis, and final presentation in finished drawings. In junior and senior design the student has the advice and help of designers, specialists in construction, a research specialist, and an economist. In the judgments at the end of each semester the student personally presents his drawings and makes his argument to the jury. The junior and senior staff jury is supplemented by visiting practitioners.

Another objective, the development of architectural research, is being carried on by the College, some of the projects in co-operation with the Engineering Research Institute. It is the stated policy of the College that design, like construction, should be integrated with research. As numerous staff members devote part of their time to research, some knowledge of its importance and of its useful results in practice are brought to the student body. To a limited extent students are also employed on research projects.

In 1952 more than two hundred students in the College enrolled in the curriculum in visual arts. These students, like those in architecture, have an interest in graphic and three-dimensional presentation and a concern with qualities Page  1301of form. The curriculum, however, has its own objectives. The majors in visual arts are painting, printmaking, ceramics, sculpture, interior design, information design, and product design. A considerable range of professional quality, as well as subject matter, exists. The painter, like the poet, finds his complete justification in art as a way of life. The graduate of interior, information, or product design enters a fluid and unorganized but very live and realistic field. His may be an exciting and well-paid career; he may work free-lance or be employed by a corporation. The main objective in the training of the design student is the establishment of standards applicable to all visual design. The College endeavors to exemplify the spirit of the design fields in contemporary culture. The program in the visual arts is significant for the student, even though he or she may not use it as the basis of a career. A background of general academic subjects is required in the visual arts curriculum, and the program as a whole is valid as general education.

In the approach of the College, whether in architecture or in design, there is recognition of the American industrial civilization. Projects are realistic and imply the current economic and social situations. The instructor in design, with his students, endeavors to make a direct approach to a given problem in its economic setting and cultural pattern. The procedure is that of sufficient research to develop the factors involved, followed by their thorough analysis in a given setting. Finally, the synthesis in design, which is the student's solution, rests on an objective approach to organic function, rather than on a vague sense of form. This emphasis on realism in no sense excludes the element of imagination. The College is admittedly experimenting with this approach. Other schools have expressed great interest in the programs. The refinement of teaching techniques for teamwork among students and among staff groups is as yet in process. Results from the initial period are promising.

The history of the College illustrates the fact that education in architecture and design follows ever-changing patterns, preserving only the fixed purpose of presenting insofar as possible in a four-or five-year period a constructive preparation for professional practice. The student must also complete an apprentice period, or internship, after graduation, before he takes state board examinations. In architecture the complexity of the designing and building process has increased enormously since 1906. In the visual arts the perspective is equally challenging. The curriculum must change to keep pace with advances in architecture and the other arts.

Staff. — In the years between 1906 and 1952 the College has had many excellent teachers, with a range of service of one to thirty-nine years. By precept and practice they have set the patterns and attitudes of the College and have contributed markedly to its reputation. In any school personal leadership by the staff is the vital element in the record of development.

Emil Lorch, Professor of Architecture and later Director of the College of Architecture, had a sound background of architectural training at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and at Harvard University. In addition, his lively interest in the architecture of the Midwest gave his attitudes vitality and some degree of independence. Lacking the official national status of the École des Beaux-arts, the several modest American schools of architecture could only echo the approach of the French school by stating and issuing academic problems to be solved by the student with the aid of his critic, the professor of Page  1302design. It was inevitable that in order to give this process some resemblance to the French prototype, Frenchmen should be eagerly sought as chief critics. In 1907 this pattern was becoming well established. Behind it lay all the authority not only of the French school but of those successful architects in New York and Chicago who had been fortunate enough to have spent some time at the École des Beaux-arts.

The College managed to maintain its independence in spite of pressure from other schools and from those who could not understand a departure from the tenets of the French system. Professor Lorch was much influenced by the work and writing of Louis H. Sullivan, of Chicago, and by the early work of Frank Lloyd Wright, then a young but exciting and successful contemporary, and the theories of Denman Ross, of Harvard, and Arthur W. Dow, of Pratt Institute.

Professor Lorch's career at Michigan as head of the work in architecture extended from 1906 to 1936, when he resigned as Director of the College. During this period he served the interests of the school and of education in architecture with unswerving devotion. Always objective in thought and vigorous in action, his was throughout the period the outstanding personality; he was the leader. He was a charter member of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture and the first president of the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. This last honor was most appropriate since he was a prime force in the establishment of legislation regulating the practice of architecture in the state of Michigan.

In addition to his concern with education and legal regulation of practice, Lorch was from time to time active in private practice, mainly in Ann Arbor. He was architect and a member of the consulting board of the Belle Isle Bridge in Detroit. He designed the Architecture Building. He was the architect of several buildings for the Detroit Edison Company and of numerous residential projects. He early had a particular interest in research having to do with the history of American buildings and since his retirement has carried on this work even more actively, continuing to concern himself with the Classic Revival period of the middle nineteenth century. Lorch was an inspiring teacher and after his resignation as Director he taught until he reached retirement age in 1940. He was made a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1939.

From 1917 until his untimely death in 1931, J. J. Albert Rousseau held the position of Professor of Architecture. He was a well-known figure on the campus, admired and respected by faculty and students. He knew intimately the personality and work of every senior student in the College. Born in Quebec, Canada, he studied architecture there and later at the École des Beaux-arts in Paris. It is indicative of his mental alertness and professional ability that he gradually adapted the tenets of his academic training to the necessities and opportunities of modern American architecture. His approach to architecture may be characterized as that of the conservative modernist. This progressive attitude appeared both in his teaching and in the various buildings he designed. Among his commissions, that of the Masonic Temple in Ann Arbor, carried out in collaboration with Professor McConkey, is considered to be the outstanding example.

Outside Ann Arbor Rousseau was prominent in the profession. He kept in friendly touch with the alumni, and they often came to Ann Arbor for help with their varied problems. To architects here and abroad he was well and favorably known. In the Chicago Tribune competition Page  1303of 1922, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre competition of 1928, and the Chicago War Memorial competition of 1930, he won honorable mention, against world-wide competition. He was a member of the Detroit Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, the Michigan Society of Architects, and the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. Only a few days before his death he received official notice from Paris that he had been awarded the diplôme of the beaux-arts in recognition of his distinguished achievements in architecture, and he had just won the competition for the memorial chapel to Jacques Cartier to be erected on the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec. His brother, Georges Rousseau, an architect of Quebec, was assigned the actual execution of the work for this church.

In 1922 the Chicago Tribune held a world-wide competition for the design of its office building in Chicago. From the proposals submitted by the many brilliant competitors, that of Eliel Saarinen, of Finland, was awarded second prize. In the judgment of many architects and critics of architecture he should have received the first prize and would have won it from an impartial jury. Saarinen, then fifty-one years old, was already an internationally known architect. He had designed many important buildings in Finland and Estonia. He had won first prize in a number of competitions abroad and had carried out large town-planning projects at Munksnas-Haga and Greater Helsingfors in Finland. In the spring of 1923, Saarinen came to the United States and was persuaded by Lorch to come to the College of Architecture in the fall of 1923, to teach into the spring of 1924.

By special arrangement Saarinen taught a select group of seniors and graduates, emphasizing particularly the integration of architecture and city planning. His stay marked a high point in the history of the College, and a number of his students have contributed outstanding work in the practice of architecture and planning. His brilliant record abroad was surpassed by his accomplishment in the United States. After he taught at the University he began work on Cranbrook School, and this was followed by the extensive Cranbrook group building program. With the sympathetic backing of George G. Booth, the Cranbrook Academy of Art was established with Saarinen as director. This school for advanced studies made a marked impression on American architectural education. A number of graduates of the College of Architecture and Design have held Cranbrook scholarships permitting them to join its student body for graduate work.

Saarinen won the Smithsonian Institute competition in 1939 and designed a number of other important buildings including Kleinhans Music Hall, Buffalo, New York, 1938; the Tabernacle Church of Christ, Columbus, Indiana, 1940; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa, 1944-48; and Christ Lutheran Church at Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1949. He died in 1950, at the age of seventy-six, still actively carrying on his practice and his teaching. Several buildings planned in collaboration with his son, Eero, were under way at the time of his death.

From 1922 to 1943 Ernest Wilby, long the gifted chief designer for Albert Kahn, Detroit architect, taught junior students of design, with special emphasis on materials and form. He was an outstanding faculty figure, influencing both students and staff. Wilby possessed a happy blend of the questioning mind and a very human interest in the individual student and his problem. Since his retirement he has lived in Windsor, Ontario.

Upon the death of Professor J. J. Page  1304Rousseau in 1931, Jean Hébrard was appointed Professor of Architecture. He was born in Paris in 1878 and was trained at the École des Beaux-arts. He first came to the United States in 1907 to teach architecture at Cornell University, but returned to France to serve as an officer in the French army during World War I. Between 1919 and 1923 he practiced in Paris doing valuable work in housing. He was architect for the important housing development in Paris Marcadet and in the garden city of Gennevilliers, a suburb of Paris. He was also the architect, during the reconstruction activities in the devastated regions following World War I, for the completely destroyed city of Albigny in the Ardennes. In 1926 Professor Hébrard returned to the United States. He was professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania until he came to Ann Arbor. He taught in the College of Architecture and Design until his retirement in 1948.

In addition to high competence, Hébrard brought to the College an unusual personality. Quiet in his teaching methods, he was a man of great charm who made a lasting impression on the character of this institution. Though he was well grounded in the French system, he was in no sense limited by it. His interest in city planning was great, and it was his insistence that merged the interests of city planning and the design of buildings, which provides an important continuing principle in the policy of the College. He was keenly alive to the changing situation in the practice of architecture and was among the first to see that the old aloofness of the architect as an artist was no longer valid. His professional work in France in the field of housing is evidence of his wide social interests. He was equally conscious of other changes brought about by the industrial revolution. It is interesting to know that since Professor Hébrard's retirement from the University he has continued to be active in the profession, both in France and in the United States. He has carried out a commission from the French Minister of Reconstruction and Urbanism in the form of research study as to conditions on urbanism in the United States (Tendances actuelles de l'urbanisme aux États-Unis).

William Caldwell Titcomb became a member of the staff in 1907. He remained until 1913, when he resigned to accept an appointment at the University of Illinois. He returned in 1925 as Professor of Architecture. Professor Titcomb was a competent designer, a gifted draftsman, and a spirited teacher; his was a sensitive, artistic temperament. Warmly responsive to the individual student, he gave to his work a verve and brilliance long remembered by the alumni. His contacts with the students extended beyond the classroom to many informal and constructive discussions. Following his resignation in 1932, he returned to his family home in Maine, where he still resides.

George McDonald McConkey was one of the first students in the course in architecture under Professor Lorch. After experience in construction work he became a member of the staff in 1911. He has been Professor of Architecture since 1928, heading the courses in construction. His work has been marked by a particular concern not only with the principles of construction in wood, steel, and reinforced concrete, but with the successive technological developments in his field. His students have always felt themselves to be in the forefront of events in the study of structures as an integral part of architecture.

Louis Holmes Boynton came to the department in 1912. He had made a high record at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and had spent five years in practice. He taught architectural design Page  1305with ability and devotion. In plan, form, and detail his hand was sure, and his work always in good taste. Boynton practiced extensively in Ann Arbor, and many fraternity houses and other buildings stand as a memorial to him. He died suddenly in Chicago in 1924.

More than one hundred men have served on the staff of the College of Architecture and have contributed much to its development and to the education of its thirteen hundred alumni as well as to the still larger number of students who took one or more courses. In addition to the staff members already named in this section, the following should be mentioned.

In architecture Bailey, Marshall, Brigham, Hammett, and O'Dell were well known to former students.

Roger Bailey, who resigned in 1948 and who is now head of the School of Architecture at the University of Utah, had particular individuality in his approach to design and a marked brilliance in presentation. He won the national competition for the Paris Prize in 1922 and studied at the École des Beaux-arts. With Eric Gugler of New York he won the first prize ($20,000) in the national competition for the Chicago War Memorial.

Marshall, who became a member of the staff in 1925, has been an able instructor in his special field, architectural mechanics and strength of materials. He has also effectively taught construction courses. As secretary of the faculty and, more recently, as Assistant Dean of the College, he has been diligent and competent. The many details of admission, programing, and recording are under his charge. Brigham has approached architecture with a happy blend of interest in construction and design. Hammett has taught history, design, and principles of office practice and has thus been well known to almost every student. O'Dell has had his own approach to design, with a warm feeling for materials and great skill in delineation.

For the development of drawing and painting much is due Professors Chapin, Slusser, and Valerio. Chapin is oldest in point of service. A devoted and able teacher, he is mentioned with affection by returning alumni. Slusser, in addition to teaching, has had from the first a sense of the values of instruction in drawing and painting. His wide observation of his field and his background of travel in the United States and abroad have made him a valuable leader. It was in recognition of these abilities that in 1947 he was appointed Director of the University Museum of Art. Since this date he has given only part of his time to the College. Valerio was one of the best of teachers, while pursuing his specialty of etching and printmaking with great success. In the early part of 1951 he was elected an associate member of the National Academy of Design in New York.

Whittemore has served in landscape architecture with enthusiastic devotion. Long an expert in plant material, he has likewise been active in city planning. In the latter field he has been highly successful in placing his graduates in planning offices.

Professors Fowler, Gooch, Gores, Heller, and Weddige have each played a leading part in the building of what is now the visual arts program. Fowler gave his best abilities and interest to decorative design and did the pioneer work in that program. Gores brought to the College the specialty of advertising design, and in this work he has been ably assisted by Gooch. Gores also prepared and has given a group of courses concerned with the historical aspects of the arts of design.

Catherine B. Heller, a specialist in interior design, came to the College with an excellent background of experience. She has been a competent and sympathetic Page  1306teacher, and her graduates have been successful in practice. Professor Weddige has taken a leading part in formulating our present fundamental courses in color and design. He has effectively taught lithography and other forms of printmaking.

Of the forty-six members of the staff in 1952, several recent appointees in addition to those named are contributing notably to the programs and reputation of the College of Architecture and Design. In later accountings of its history their names will have an honorable and a proper place.