Archive News and Events

Virtual Presentation: John Carl Warnecke: His Fascinating Life and Architectural Career 

Presented by Paul V. Turner, Wattis Professor of Art, Emeritus & live Q&A with Margo and Alice

Hosted by the Stanford Historical Society  

Archive News and Events

A Striking Installation Reveals How Ableist Design Can Be
May 19, 2020

"For many of you reading this, the world was built for your body. You don’t have to think when you climb the stairs; the counter comes up to just the right height. These taken-for-granted conveniences are thanks to the increasing tendency of designers, architects, and planners toward “standardization” over the course of the 20th century. But for many millions, life isn’t so simple. One of these individuals is artist and activist Emily Barker, whose exhibition Built to Scale recently opened at Murmurs in downtown Los Angeles.


Barker explains how “creating a standard means someone like me deviates from and is oppressed by it.” The exhibition’s pièce de résistance, “Untitled (Kitchen),” forces viewers to experience what this feels like. Made in collaboration with Tomasz Jan Groza, these scaled-up cabinets tower above the viewer. Despite their literal transparency, they’re frustratingly inaccessible. The feeling is that of being a child. It’s also the view from a wheelchair."

-Brandon Sward, Hyperallergic


"Christo, the Bulgarian artist renowned for his large-scale, fantastical environmental installations, which often included wrapping landmarks and landscapes in fabric, has passed away due to natural causes at the age of 84. 


Spanning a career lasting over six decades, Christo collaborated with his wife and artistic partner, Jeanne-Claude, planning and executing projects across the world. Taking years and sometimes decades to complete, their work was monumental, wondrous, and at times illegal."


-Nathaniel Bahadursingh, Architizer

Historic Bank of Guerneville Building designed by Carl I. Warnecke is the winner of a 2020 Preservation Design Award
October 22, 2020

37th Annual California Preservation Awards

The Historic Bank of Guerneville Building is the winner of a 2020 Preservation Design Award for Rehabilitation. Award recipients are selected by a jury of top professionals in the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, and history, as well as renowned architecture critics and journalists. The Award will be presented on Wednesday, October 22, 2020 at an online awards ceremony. Tickets and sponsorship options are available at

Located on a prominent corner of Downtown Guerneville, California, the Historic Bank of Guerneville Building sat abandoned for nearly 30 years. Lack of retail spaces on Main Street in Downtown Guerneville influenced the final use of the building as a collective of local small businesses and include a small exhibit space for the local historical society. Many original elements were discovered and revealed during its rehabilitation including an original mosaic tile floor, hidden since the 1940s. 

[Bridget Maley Lecture] John Carl Warnecke: In the Shadow of the Eternal Flame
September 22, 2020

John Carl Warnecke (1919 -­ 2010) designed one the most visited American Presidential monuments, John F. Kennedy’s Eternal Flame in Arlington National Cemetery. Given our cultural fascination with the Kennedy clan, how is it that the architect selected to honor Kennedy’s memory is himself not more prevalent in our architectural memory? Why has there not yet been a monograph dedicated to Warnecke’s life and work?

Join us for this fascinating presentation by Bridget Maley, architectural historian and writer, founder of architecture + history, llc, who will examine how Warnecke’s work reveals a deeply contextual approach which began early and continued throughout his career.


Thirty years on, the A.D.A. has reshaped American architecture and the way designers and the public have come to think about civil rights and the built world. We take for granted the ubiquity of entry ramps, Braille signage, push buttons at front doors, lever handles in lieu of doorknobs, widened public toilets, and warning tiles on street corners and subway platforms. New courthouses, schools and museums no longer default to a flight of stairs out front to express their elevated ideals. The A.D.A. has baked a more egalitarian aesthetic of forms and spaces into the civic DNA.

But there’s still a long way to go.

Professor Kelema Lee Moses at Warnecke Archives to research for latest project
September 17, 2020

Kelema Lee Moses joins us at the Warnecke Archives to research for her current project. Kelema Lee Moses is an Assistant Professor of Art History at Occidental College whose work focuses on critical contemporary issues in the architectural and urban landscape of Pacific island cities. Her current book project, Island Modernism/Island Urbanism: Encountering Statehood in Honolulu, Hawai’i, suggests that island cities offer a place-based perspective to urban studies that must also account for spatial limitations; where architects and planners must develop inventive approaches to balance economic interests, environmental issues, and Indigenous imperatives. She is currently an ACLS/Getty Postdoctoral Fellow in the History of Art at the Getty Research Center.  

LATimes: Architect Paul Williams’ archive, thought lost to fire, is safe. The Getty and USC will acquire it
August 19, 2020

Paul R. Williams — the prominent and prolific Los Angeles architect designed private homes for numerous celebrities (among them, Frank Sinatra, Barbara Stanwyck, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz), as well as churches, hotels, commercial buildings and even the font for the famous Beverly Hills Hotel logo. Paul Williams was one of the country’s most notable Black architects with a rack of “firsts” to his name: the first licensed architect in California, the first African American to become a fellow of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the first to receive the AIA Gold Medal. The Paul R. Williams archive contains approximately 35,000 architectural plans, 10,000 original drawings, in addition to blueprints, hand-colored renderings, vintage photographs and correspondence. The Getty Research Institute (GRI) and USC’s School of Architecture are expected to announce a joint acquisition of Williams’ work.

NYTimes: At the Hirshhorn, a Battle Over Plans for Its Sculpture Garden
December 31, 2019

The museum is going ahead with meetings on a design by the artist Hiroshi Sugimoto that preservationists say would undo key features of postwar landscape design by Lester Collins. Advocates for the preservation of modernist landscapes in Washington have taken on another fight. After beating back the National Geographic Society’s plan to demolish “Marabar,” the 1984 sculptural installation by Elyn Zimmerman on its campus, they are now battling the Hirshhorn Museum’s proposal to redo its sunken sculpture garden by the architect Gordon Bunshaft and the landscape architect Lester Collins. The Hirshhorn, which is part of the Smithsonian Institution, has been advancing a design by the artist and architect Hiroshi Sugimoto that would substantially alter its look and feel. The standoff comes at a critical time for postwar landscapes, which are reaching an age when refurbishment will increasingly be needed.

Steven Holl Explores CLT Subtraction to Create a Playful Sculpture in Ghent, NY
July 21, 2020
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Steven Holl Architects designed and created their project Obolin, a sculpture made locally from a single panel of cross-laminated timber, or CLT. It was made for and is now exhibited in the Art Omi Sculpture and Architecture Park, an art center that seeks to explore the intersection of architecture and art through the production of pavilions, installations, landscape interventions, and built environments designed by architects.

Renovation of Federal Reserve Board Headquarters Portends a Battle Over Civic Architecture
June 16, 2020

Paul Philippe Cret’s 1937 building for the Federal Reserve Board (FRB)—the Marriner S. Eccles Building—stands as a prime example of neoclassical civic architecture along Washington D.C.’s Constitution Avenue. But the white marble building may have prompted new proposed guidelines around federal architecture, if conversations swirling in meetings of the Commission of Fine Arts are any indication.

Virtual Presentation: John Carl Warnecke: His Fascinating Life and Architectural Career

May 19, 2020


John Carl Warnecke: His Fascinating Life and Architectural Career 
Paul V. Turner, Wattis Professor of Art, Emeritus


John Carl Warnecke, class of 1941, was a Stanford football tackle who went on to become one of the most successful architects in America from the 1960s to the 1980s. This talk will explain the importance of Warnecke’s work, especially his pioneering role in the development of “Contextualism” in architecture––as seen, for example, in his work in Washington, D.C., for John F. Kennedy. Warnecke was the president’s favorite architect, and his friendship with JFK will be examined––as well as his remarkable relationship with Jacqueline Kennedy following the president’s death. Another focus of the talk will be on the important, but little-known, role that Warnecke played in the development of Stanford’s architecture after World War II.

Remembering the late Michael Sorkin

March 26, 2020

Michael Sorkin, inimitable scribe of the built environment and leading design mind, passed away in New York at age 71 last Thursday after contracting COVID-19. Survived by his wife Joan Copjec, Sorkin leaves behind an invaluable body of work.

NY Times: Michael Sorkin, 71, Dies; Saw Architecture as a Vehicle for Change

The Architects Newspaper: Moss, Mayne, Holl, and more remember the late Michael Sorkin

Chalk Hill Gallery Show: Trailer for H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, 1951

March 14, 2020

A special exhibition from the Warnecke Archives showcases a design for a trailer for H.R.H. the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, 1951. The exhibition includes original project designs, autobiographical excerpts, design descriptions, photos, floor plans, and job records.


Project Description


Show opens Saturday, March 14, 2020 from 1 - 4 pm

@ Chalk Hill Artist Residency

The Insanity of a State Sanctioned Style for Architecture

February 18, 2020


Earlier this week Architectural Record published a new memo calling for a redraft of the federal order “Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture,” first issued in 1962. According to Record, the new order would ensure that “the classical architectural style shall be the preferred and default style” for new and upgraded federal buildings. There would be a new “President’s Committee for the Re-Beautification of Federal Architecture.”

[Postponed.] Lecture: John Carl Warnecke, In the Shadow of the Eternal Flame

February 12, 2020

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John Carl Warnecke (1919 -­ 2010) designed one the most visited American Presidential monuments, John F. Kennedy’s Eternal Flame in Arlington National Cemetery. Given our cultural fascination with the Kennedy clan, how is it that the architect selected to honor Kennedy’s memory is himself not more prevalent in our architectural memory? Was his contextualism overshadowed by contemporary interest in the singular, isolated structures of the Modern Movement? Were his designs, in retrospect, not as contextual as they were touted to be? Or did Warnecke, like his projects, blend in, rather than stand out among his peers?

Tuesday, March 24 | 6 - 8 PM​ 

SF Center for Architecture & Design