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Lois Davidson Gottlieb Architectural Collection, 1945-2003 (Ms1997-003)

 Digital Record
Identifier: Ms1997-003


  • 1945 - 2003


Access Restrictions

Collection is open to research.

Use Restrictions

Permission to publish material from the Lois Davidson Gottlieb Architectural Collection must be obtained from Ms. Gottlieb.

Biographical Information

Lois Davidson Gottlieb is a residential designer currently (2010) based in San Francisco, California. She was born on November 13,1926 in San Francisco and attended Stanford University from 1944 to 1947, where she studied art and engineering and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. She served as an apprentice to famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright from 1948 to 1949 as part of the Taliesin Fellowship in Spring Green, Wisconsin and Scottsdale, Arizona. And she did her graduate work at Harvard University's School of Design from 1949 to 1950.

Gottlieb began her career working as a designer for Warren Callister in San Francisco. Her first solo project was the design of the Val Goeschen house, a one-room unit with 576 square feet, in Inverness, CA. She went on to design other residences in Marin County as part of the design team Duncombe-Davidson based in Sausalito, CA. This partnership spanned the years 1951 to 1956. From 1956 to 2002, Gottlieb worked as a freelance residential designer on over 100 projects in the Bay Area and in Riverside, CA, as well as in Washington, Idaho, and Virginia.

Gottlieb served as a lecturer at the College of the Holy Names in Oakland, CA from 1960 to 1964, at Alameda State College in Hayward, CA from 1962 to 1964, and at the University of California Extension in Riverside, CA from 1966 to 1972. She also gave guest lectures at various universities around the world, including one at Virginia Tech in 1996.

Gottlieb's work has been written about in many newspapers and periodicals, including House Beautiful and the Marin County Independent Journal. She has also published several works of her own, including Environment and Design in Housing (a book which was based on her lectures for a course of the same name and was published in 1966) and A Way of Life: An Apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright (which was based on the traveling exhibit of her photographs of Taliesin). Gottlieb's work has also been exhibited in institutions across the country, including a one-woman architectural exhibit at Virginia Tech in 1998 and the exhibit of photographs of Taliesin in2000-2001.

From 1995 to 1996, Gottlieb designed and supervised the construction of an 11,000 sq. ft. home and office complex for her son, Mark Gottlieb, and his family in Fairfax Station, Virginia. She also produced a video, "Building a Dream: A Family Affair," which documents her work on the project.

Language of Materials


Acquisition Information

The Lois Davidson Gottlieb Architectural Collection was donated to the International Archive of Women in Architecture by the creator in April 1997. Additional materials were donated in February and March 2003.

Alternative Form Available

The VT Imagebase contains digital images of the exhibit of Gottlieb's work at Virginia Tech in 1998 and images of the Mark Gottlieb residence.

Physical Characteristics

Some of the materials in the collection were matted for inclusion in "Glass Ceilings: Highlights from the IAWA Center" an exhibit held at the Virginia Center for Architecture, Richmond, VA, 2010.


Papers of Lois Davidson Gottlieb, architectural designer, author, and lecturer. Includes photographs, writings, storyboards, and printed material relating to her various professional activities as an author and lecturer, as well as some drawings from her work as an undergraduate and graduate student. Also includes files and drawings relating to her work on various residential design projects dating from 1951 to 2002.


The collection consists of files and drawings that relate to Gottlieb's work as an architectural designer of residences in California, Washington, Idaho, and Virginia spanning the time period from 1951 to 2002. The collection also consists of writings, photographs, correspondence, and printed material that relate to Gottlieb's work as an author and lecturer, as well as material relating to her various publications and exhibits and to the documentary video made about her work on 'The Gottlieb House' in Fairfax Station, Virginia. The collection also consists of some work from her days as an undergraduate student at Stanford University and as a graduate student in architecture at Harvard University.

Processing Information

The processing of the original donation took place from May to August 1997. The processing of additional materials and the arrangement and description of the entire collection took place from February to March 2004. The final processing of additional materials took place in October 2010.

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US