Rupp, Sigrid Lorenzen, 1943-2004
Sigrid Lorenzen Rupp was born January 3, 1943, in Bremerhaven, Germany. Her family relocated to California when Rupp was ten years old (1953). Rupp had been fascinated with the built environment since her early childhood growing up in post-war reconstruction Germany. However, when she entered University of California-Berkeley, in 1960, she had won many small scholarships to study physics. Her physics career lasted two semesters after which she was able to convince everyone that she should study her first love, architecture (Boulgarides).
While at Berkeley Rupp was mentored by three renowned architects and professors, Joseph Esherick, AIA, Harold Stump, and Donald Reay. Upon graduation in 1966 with a Bachelor of Architecture, Rupp worked for Van Bourg/Nakamura Associates of San Francisco, D'Amico Associates of Mill Valley, Hawley & Peterson of Mountain Valley and Spencer Associates of Palo Alto. During this time she received her architecture license in the State of California (1971).
In 1976, Rupp stating that architecture was in the "doldrums" and recognizing that there was no future for her in the 'major firm' where she was currently employed decided to open her own firm exclaiming, "I could do nothing on my own as well as for someone else"(Boulgarides). She served as president and principle architect for SLR/Architects from 1976 until 1998 when she closed the office.
SLR/Architects specialized in technical facilities, industrial work, and residential structures. The company provided architectural services for many of the pre-eminent Silicon Valley firms: Apple Computer, Sun Microsystems, Tandem, Amdahl, Claris, Raychem, and IBM. Other prominent clients included: AT&T, Pac Bell, United Airlines, Pan Am, Stanford University and Hospital and San Jose State University. Some of her significant projects were the Press Building and Storey House at Stanford University, an RF Testing Facility for Apple Computer (winner of an AIA Honor Award), and a six-year factory retrofit and rehab for the Raychem Corporation. At its height SLR/Architects employed eight professional and paraprofessional staff (1987) and established an international branch SLR/International in Tel Aviv, Israel (1983).
Rupp was active in many professional and local civic organizations. She was a former board member and chairperson of the City of Palo Alto Architectural Review Board, former director of the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the American Institute of Architects and former president of California Women in Environmental Design (CWED). She also served on the boards of the New Performance Gallery in San Francisco, Theater Artaud of San Francisco, Family Planning Alternatives of Sunnyvale, Diablo Ballet of Walnut Creek and the Lawrence Pech Dance Company of San Francisco. She was an active member of the Organization of Women Architects (OWA), the American Institute of Architects (AIA), the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and the Union Internationale des Femmes Architectes (UIFA).
An ardent champion for women’s rights, Rupp stated that she became involved in women’s issues “…simply because I did not want there to be any [women's issues]. It seemed that the time for gender differences should be long over." She was a mentor to many women and minorities in the course of her practice encouraging and facilitating their entry into architecture.
In retirement, Rupp turned her attention to painting and traveling. Her watercolors primarily focused on California bay area landscapes and were featured in several local juried shows. She also traveled extensively documenting her experiences in beautifully illustrated and annotated travel diaries (present in the collection).
Sigrid Lorenzen Rupp passed away May 27, 2004. Her legacy in her own words, "I'd like to be remembered for dissenting when everyone else thought it easier to go with the grain even when the grain was wrong. I'd like to be remembered for being a competent architect who did competent work, a competent painter who did competent painting and someone who told good stories” (OWA).