Eduardo Catalano Papers now available

The Catalano (or "Raleigh") House designed Eduardo Catalano

The NCSU Libraries Special Collections Research Center (SCRC) is pleased to announce that the Eduardo Catalano Papers are now available to researchers. Eduardo Fernando Catalano was a well-known modernist architect and Professor of Architecture at the School of Design at NC State from 1951-1956.

The Catalano Papers includes photographs and design drawings, as well as metal printing plates of Catalano's designs used in various publications covering his work. The collection also contains articles, news clippings, magazines, and books on Catalano's architectural projects and professional accomplishments, and other writings authored by Catalano.

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1917, Catalano received an Architect's Diploma with honors at the Universidad de Buenos Aires in 1940 and attended the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard University in the early 1940s. At Harvard, Catalano studied under two masters of modernist architecture, Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. Catalano passed away in 2010.

Catalano is perhaps best known for his work with warped surfaces and hyperbolic paraboloids. In 1954 Catalano built his personal residence, originally located at 1467 Caminos Drive in Raleigh (now Catalano Drive). The three-bedroom “Catalano House” featured a 4,000 square foot hyperbolic paraboloid roof built of wood only 2.5" thick. The roof was warped into two structural curves similar to the shape of a shoehorn. Known alternately as the Raleigh House, the Ezra Meir House, the Potato Chip House, and the Batwing House, the famed residence was destroyed in 2001 after falling into disrepair.

A significant amount of the Catalano Papers at the SCRC covers Catalano's groundbreaking work with warped surfaces and hyperbolic paraboloids. His Raleigh residence is well represented in the collection, for instance, as well as his subsequent residence in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Other projects include Catalano's famous Argentinian flower structure, the Floralis Genérica, and various other projects in North Carolina, Massachusetts, and Argentina. Of note in the collection are photographs of Walter Gropius and two publications by R. Buckminster Fuller, one of which Fuller inscribed with a message addressed to Catalano.

“I am delighted that the Special Collections Research Center has secured the Catalano Papers,” says David Hill, Head of the School of Architecture at NC State, “And that students, architects, and researchers will have access to artifacts from one of the leading educators and designers in the late 20th century’s Modern movement.”

The SCRC will also hold a show and tell of materials from the Catalano Papers at the Eduardo Catalano Symposium on Thursday, Nov. 2 at 5:00 p.m. next to the Allred Gallery. Organized by the NC State College of Design and the American Institute of Architects Triangle Section, the symposium happens from 3-8pm and features speakers, roundtables, and discussions of Catalano’s work and legacy, concluding with a gathering on the Aloft Hotel Terrace.

Access to the Catalano Papers requires at least 48 hours advance notice. For more information on how to access the Eduardo Catalano Papers, please contact the Special Collections Research Center at: