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TABLE OF CONTENTS


Collection Summary

Biographical Sketch of Natalie de Blois

Scope and Content of the collection

Restrictions

Administrative Information

Description of Series

Series A: Professional Practice Working Drawings

Series B: Student Projects

University of Texas, Alexander Architectural Archive

Natalie de Blois:

An Inventory of Working Drawings and Students' Studio Work, 1965, 1979-1990



Collection Summary

Creator de Blois, Natalie, 1921-2013
Title: Natalie de Blois Working drawings and students' studio work
Dates: 1965, 1979-1990
Abstract Natalie de Blois (1921-2013) was active in the field of architecture from 1944 through the 90s. Her professorship at the University of Texas at Austin spanned from 1980-1993. This collection includes working drawings of projects for which de Blois was designer; and the work of students who participated in her studios at the University of Texas School of Architecture (1985-1987, 1989-1993).
Identification: deB Accession number(s): 1991007
Quantity: documents representing 12 projects
Language English.
Repository: Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.

Biographical Sketch of Natalie de Blois

Natalie de Blois was born in Paterson, New Jersey on April 2, 1921, the daughter of a civil engineer who encouraged her to study architecture. As a child, her father demanded that she be allowed to take mechanical drawing at her junior high school. When the Depression derailed her plans to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, she instead enrolled as one of five female students at the Columbia School of Architecture, where she graduated in 1944. When she graduated in January 1944 she worked for Ketchum Gina and Sharp of 9 months. In 1945 she joined the fledgling New York architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM). She was awarded a Fulbright fellowship to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1951.

At Skidmore, Owings & Merrill she rose from draftsperson to participating associate. Over her thirty-year tenure at SOM, she worked alongside the star architects of the firm, primarily Louis Skidmore, and Gordon Bunshaft.

As a senior designer at SOM, she was responsible for all phases of the job - programming, design, presentation, and interior layout. She worked directly with Gordon Bunshaft on Lever Brothers Company headquarter in New York, was basic design coordinator for the Terrace Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati, a senior designer on the Consular-Amerikahaus program, which consisted of several building consulates in several German cities under Gordon Bunshaft's supervision. She worked on the Connecticut General Life Insurance Company Building in Bloomfield, Connecticut in 1957, the Pepsi-Cola Building on Park Avenue in New York in 1959, the Union Carbide Building, and the Emhart Manufacturing Company Building in 1962. After 30 years with SOM, she left to join the Houston firm of Neuhaus & Taylor as Senior Project Designer.

In 1980, she arrived at the University of Texas to teach a design studio. She remained an adjunct professor at the University until 1993, teaching Advanced Architectural Design, Visual Communication, and Technical Communication. Her advanced design studio had a reputation for being "pragmatic and intense."

In an article that appeared in On Campus: A Publication for Faculty and Staff at the University of Texas at Austin, de Blois admitted "Being a woman architect is not the important thing to me. I've always been singled out because I'm the one who did large buildings, but architecture is a building profession." As the single working mother of four sons, de Blois was an anomaly in the working world of the 1960s. However, by the 1970's, de Blois became active in addressing the hardships and limitations faced by women in architecture. She became an active member of the American Institute of Architects Task Force on Women, visiting architecture schools and talking to female students. Scholars who have studied de Blois's work have been aghast that after thirty years of service at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, she was never made partner. De Blois stated "that never bothered me…I don't think my training in the office (because I was a woman) put me in the position of being a partner."

Natalie De Blois died Monday, July 22, 2013, in Chicago.

References: Paine, Judith. Natalie de Blois: Women in American Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective. New York: Whitney Library of Design, 1977.

On Campus: A Publication for Faculty and Staff at the University of Texas at Austin. Vol. 8, No. 14, January 12-18, 1981.

Prospectus. University of Texas School of Architecture, 1989.

SOM Journal 4. Interview with Natalie de Blois by Detlef Mertins, June 17, 2004.

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Scope and Content of the collection

This collection is made up of two groups: working drawings of projects for which Natalie de Blois was project designer; and the work of students who participated in de Blois' studios at the University of Texas School of Architecture (1985-1987, 1989-1990).

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Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Access is by appointment only to any serious scholar. Rolled materials must be flattened before viewing. A three day advance notice is required to flatten rolled materials. Portions of this collection are not processed and may not be accessible.

Restrictions on Use

Permission for publication is given on behalf of the University of Texas as the owner of the collection and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder which must be obtained by the researcher. For more information please see the Alexander Architectural Archive's Use Policy

Students retain copyright for their studio work

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Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Natalie de Blois Working Drawings and students' studio work, Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin

Gift of Natalie de Blois

August 1, 1991

Processing information

Processing is not completed. Please contact Archive's staff for more information.

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Detailed Description of the Collection

The following section contains a listing of the materials as processed. Processing is not complete.

 

Series A: Professional Practice Working Drawings

Series Abstract
The Professional Practice Working Drawings series contains prints of working drawings from projects in Seattle, New Jersey and Minneapolis (1965, 1979-1986).
Project number: Project 74210.
Project name: Seafirst Fifth Avenue Plaza (42 story office tower). Working Drawings: architectural, structural, electrical, plumbing, shop.
Date on drawings: 1980 (completed).
Primary archt/firm: 3D/International, Inc., Houston, Natalie de Blois, designer.
Collaborators: Richard L. Kreutz (project manager).
Collaborators: Skilling, Helie, Christiansen, Robertson, Structural Engineers.
Client Seattle First National Bank and Gerald D. Hines Interests (developer)
City: Seattle
State/Province: Wash.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Horizon House (28 story apartment building), Horizon Road. Working drawings: architectural.
Date on drawings: 1965 (completed).
Primary archt/firm: Skidmore, Owings Merrill (Chicago office), Natalie de Blois, designer, with Bruce Graham, Design Partner.
City: Fort Lee
State/Province: NJ
Country: U.S.
This project was built along the Hudson River overlooking New York City south of the George Washington Bridge.
Project name: Columbia House (5 story office with restaurant). Working drawings: architectural.
Date on drawings: 1979-1980.
Primary archt/firm: Fred Basseti & Co., architects
Street address: 403 Columbia St.
City: Seattle
State/Province: Wash.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Minneapolis City Center. Working drawings: architectural, selected structural sets.
Date on drawings: 1981.
Primary archt/firm: Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (Denver office)
City: Minneapolis
State/Province: Minnesota
Country: U.S.
Project name: Century Square. Working drawings: architectural.
Date on drawings: 1984, completed 1986.
Primary archt/firm: 3D/International with Richard L. Kreutz
City: Seattle
State/Province: Wash.
Country: U.S.

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Series B: Student Projects

Series Abstract
The Student Projects series includes models and drawings made by students from 1985-1990.
Project name: New York City Coliseum, Columbus Circle - Mixed Use Development (retail, office, hotel, condos). Program from Michael Graves (2,600,000 sq. ft). Model.
Date on drawings: Fall 1986.
Author: Mihaly Turbucz, 4th year design (563/696 Advanced Design, undergraduate.) Natalie de Blois studio.
City: New York City
State/Province: N.Y.
Country: U.S.
Project name: City Corp Los Angeles Project - Mixed Use Development (office, retail, parking; 3,000,000 sq ft.) scale: 1-30. Model.
Date on drawings: Fall 1987.
Author: Debra Bailey and Andrew Ksellberg (ARC 560, undergraduate). Natalie de Blois studio.
City: Los Angeles
State/Province: Calif.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Seattle, Washington Mixed Use Project. Model.
Date on drawings: Spring 1985.
Author: Thomas Van Den Bout (ARC 563/696, undergraduate). Natalie de Blois studio.
City: Seattle
State/Province: Wash.
Country: U.S.
For site of building, see working drawings for Century Square.
Project name: Broadway State Office Building, Times Square - Mixed Use Office Building with adjacent Lyceum Theatre Air Rights. Model.
Date on drawings: Fall 1989.
Author: Bill Greineder (560R/696, graduate advanced design). Natalie de Blois studio.
City: New York City
State/Province: N.Y.
Country: U.S.
Project name: Competition entry for “Designing in the Historical Context” sponsored by AIA and Otis Elevators, London. Working drawings: studio.
Date on drawings: Spring 1989.
Author: Robert Dobrot and Curtis Roberts. Natalie de Blois studio.
Project name: Grand Palace Tower for LA Southern California Gas Building. Presentation design drawings.
Date on drawings: Spring 1990.
Author: Natalie de Blois studio.
City: Los Angeles
State/Province: Calif.
Country: U.S.

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