North Carolina State University, Office of Finance and Administration, Office of the University Architect Records 1888-2013

Creator
North Carolina State University. Office of the University Architect.
Size
369.9 linear feet (670 flat folders, 5 document cases, 9 tubeboxes, 76 tubes, 1 oversize, 2 oversized flat boxes)
Call number
UA 003.026

This collection contains blueprints, drawings, notes, sketches, memoranda, surveys, photographic slides, and master plans relating to projects and initiatives undertaken by the Office of the University Architect. The majority of materials correspond to Edwin F. Harris’s tenure as Campus Planning Consultant, beginning in 1966, and later as director of Facilities Planning Division, a title which eventually became University Architect. However, the collection includes materials that pre-date Harris, as well as more recent additions to the collection.

The mission of the University Architect is to plan the university's built environment, meaning not only campus buildings but also, especially under Edwin F. Abie Harris, the spaces between them. During Harris's tenure, some of the office's major projects included the initial planning of North Carolina State University's Centennial Campus, the development of a new physical masterplan, as well as the construction or renovation of several Main Campus buildings.

Biographical/historical note

Few if any of North Carolina State University's founders foresaw the growth that the University has experienced. Early design efforts focused on a much smaller campus than today's 2,000 acres and more than eight million square feet of built space, accommodating a community of over 30,000 people.

From the University's pastoral beginning along Pullen Road, enrollment and facilities grew slowly but steadily until the end of the First World War, after which they accelerated. Plans of the 1920s called for grouping buildings that housed linked activities, such as the agriculture and engineering groupings on the North Campus, classrooms around the Court of North Carolina, the executive group near Holladay Hall, athletics around Riddick Stadium, and student residence south of the railroad. These plans were effective for their purposes, but they were not intended to provide a framework for a campus that would accommodate 30,000 as of 2005. Much of the University's present design has evolved organically from earlier development, nurtured by numerous staff and faculty members with an interest in the University's physical environment. Many of the courtyards, open spaces, and walkways in the older sections of the campus appear to have been part of an original intention but in fact were nurtured and developed by people who came later.

During the Great Depression, the University lost several graduate programs, and its progress was in jeopardy. Planning for expansive growth was not a priority. After the Second World War, however, enrollment surged, many graduate programs were restored or initiated, and the University embarked on an optimistic course of growth that continues to the present. Some temporary buildings constructed after the war to support the resurgent student population remained in use until the 1980s.

North Carolina State's first postwar physical masterplan was created in 1958, the same year the University's first modern long-range strategic plan was written. The physical master plan brought some coherence to a burgeoning campus. While it was meant to help the University achieve other long-range strategic goals, it was never a part of the strategic planning process. Adherence to the masterplan was desirable but not mandatory.

The 1958 plan divided academic from student activity into the North and the South Campuses, respectively. It established a central pedestrian area (University Plaza or the Brickyard), suggested moving vehicular traffic to the campus's periphery and dispersed new construction into all areas of a 600-acre campus.

In 1960 the University established the Campus Planning Office, which updated the 1958 plan. It envisioned a compact, high rise, pedestrian-scaled campus based on a ten-minute walking radius--all essential services were to be within a ten-minute walk from a central location. The plan for the University's urban center was thus established.

When the Facilities Planning Division was established in 1963, it re-emphasized several points of the 1958 plan, including zoning of the academic campus around D.H. Hill Library and focusing student activities on a new South Campus student center and gymnasium.

Campus Enrollment and Planning System, a 1968 in-house report, endorsed the compact campus center but also suggested some decentralization through dispersal of activities. This marked the emergence of the idea that the campus could be a group of neighborhoods. The University was growing into an academic town in parallel with Raleigh's growth into a mid-size city.

Not coincidentally, it was during this period that Edwin F. Harris took a lead role in campus planning. Harris's career at NCSU began in the 1950s as an undergraduate. Graduating in 1957, he worked for several years as a drafting instructor before being promoted to Campus Planning Consultant in 1966. Four years later, he ascended to the position of director of the Facilities Planning Division, a title that eventually evolved into University Architect. During Harris's time as NCSU's chief of design, the University constructed more than 60 buildings at a total cost of $333 million.

Harris's influence on NCSU's physical environment is palpable. Central to his design philosophy was the idea that spaces between buildings are important. In accordance with this view, he tried to organize the main campus into series of "academic neighborhoods," focused around open spaces and courtyards. The hope was that these commons areas would foster communication and community. Harris's communal vision is most evident, though, on NCSU's Centennial Campus. There, various clusters--academic neighborhoods by another name--combine to form what he and others termed an academical village.

Scope/content

This collection contains blueprints, drawings, notes, sketches, memoranda, surveys, photographic slides, and master plans relating to projects and initiatives undertaken by the Office of the University Architect. The majority of materials correspond to Edwin F. Harris’s tenure as Campus Planning Consultant, beginning in 1966, and later as director of Facilities Planning Division, a title which eventually became University Architect. However, the collection includes materials that pre-date Harris, as well as more recent additions to the collection.

Physical description

669 flat folders, 5 document cases, 9 tubeboxes, 76 tubes, 1 oversize, 2 oversized flat boxes

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically.

Use of these materials

The nature of the NCSU Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NCSU Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], North Carolina State University, Office of Finance and Administration, Office of the University Architect Records, UA 003.026, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Related material

Source of acquisition

Transferred from the North Carolina State University Office of Finance and Business, Office of the University Architect.

Sponsor

Portions of this collection were processed with support from the Council on Library and Information Resources Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives program.

Additional materials, including those not available online, may be available for viewing in the Special Collections reading room in D.H. Hill Library. Certain formats may require the creation of an access copy and will require additional advanced notice.

The collection is organized into one principal series:

Access to the collection

This collection is open for research; access requires at least 48 hours advance notice. Because of the nature of certain archival formats, including digital and audio-visual materials, access to digital files may require additional advanced notice.

For more information contact us via mail, phone, or our web form.

Mailing address:
Special Collections Research Center
Box 7111
Raleigh, NC, 27695-7111

Phone: (919) 515-2273

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], North Carolina State University, Office of Finance and Administration, Office of the University Architect Records, UA 003.026, Special Collections Research Center, North Carolina State University Libraries, Raleigh, NC

Use of these materials

The nature of the NCSU Libraries' Special Collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine despite reasonable efforts. The NCSU Libraries claims only physical ownership of most Special Collections materials.

The materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source.

This collection may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations. Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which North Carolina State University assumes no responsibility.