The Executive Board of the Marion Dean Ross Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians is pleased to announce four recipients for the first annual Elisabeth Walton Potter Research Award (EWPRA). With several excellent proposals for review, the board elected to award the full funding requested by two applicants, with an additional two awards of merit, entailing partial funding.
Full funding was granted to Holly Taylor of Washington and Hussein Keshani of British Columbia. Ms. Taylor’s project, Grange Halls in Washington State: Field Survey and Archival Research deals with the buildings of the 310 active granges in Washington State. The Order of the Patrons of Husbandry, known informally as the Grange, is a national farm-based fraternal organization founded in 1867. A variety of publications describe the founding and history of the Grange as a national organization, however little attention has been paid to the grange halls themselves. This study will contribute to the understanding of architecture in the Pacific Northwest through documentation of building plan sources, development of a typology, and analysis of changes over time of these historic resources which continue to play an active role in many communities.
Hussein Keshani’s proposal is titled Doctrine and Design in Islamic Centers of the Pacific Northwest. Religious architecture is a substantive part of urban landscapes. While there is considerable scholarship available on the architectural history of Christianity in North America, fewer studies focus on the architectural expressions of religious minorities such as Muslims, especially the role played by differing Islamic religious doctrines such as Sunni, Shia, and Sufi. This project examines the role of distinct Islamic doctrines in the design and use of six contemporary, purpose-built Islamic centers in the greater Vancouver and Seattle area. In addition to expanding the discourse on Pacific Northwest architectural history, the study hopes to address contemporary misunderstandings, and in some cases fear, of Muslims thorough a better understanding of the built environments Muslim communities create.
Tyler Sprague of Washington and Kathryn Sears of Oregon were the recipients of awards of merit. Tyler Sprague’s research proposal, A Preservation Survey of Hyperbolic Paraboloids in the Pacific Northwest, expands on the work he presented at the MDR/SAH Annual Meeting in Boise. Hyperbolic paraboloids are emblematic of the spirit and aspirations of the Pacific Northwest during a significant period of growth following World War II. Most of these structures are now close to fifty years old and many are threatened by demolition due to development and changing societal needs. This proposal seeks to better understand the architecture and engineering of the post-war era, document significant works and the personalities that were responsible for creating them, and raise a preservation-minded awareness of these distinct structures.
Katheryn Sears’ proposal is titled The Northwest School: Northwest Regional Style and the University of Oregon. From the 1940s through the 1960s, academic architecture programs in the Pacific Northwest fostered a consistent brand of regional modernism practiced by a relatively cohesive group of architects. Previously published materials primarily focused on education at the University of Washington and the Vancouver School of British Columbia, while relatively few have addressed the University of Oregon’s contributions to the movement. In an effort to address this imbalance in the understanding and appreciation of the Northwest Regional Style, Ms. Sears project will combine archival research with field-based observations and interviews with educators, architects, and builders.
The MDR/SAH Board of Directors thanks all of the applicants for the first annual Elisabeth Walton Potter Research Award for their submissions and congratulates the award recipients. We look forward to more excellent submissions in 2013 and hope to continue this program for many years to come.