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Susana Torre Architectural Collection

 Collection
Identifier: Ms-1990-016

Scope and Contents

The Susana Torre Architectural Collection consist of twenty-four cubic feet of material including professional correspondence, project files, research notes, published articles, office files about and by Torre, and teaching notes amassed by Torre, as well as twenty folders of architectural drawings and sketches, and photographs of projects taken before, during and after construction, mostly during the period from 1968 to 1991. The collection also includes three framed drawings and a model of the Garvey residence at Amagansett, Long Island. The information focuses on Torre's professional career, with the bulk of the material covering architectural projects and publishing and teaching efforts.

The project files include contracts, bids and proposals, project notes, feasibility studies, correspondence with clients and builders, specifications, product information, and clippings of articles about the projects. There are also seventeen sets of project drawings. The most important and best-documented projects of this collection are the renovation of a law office for Harry Torcyzner, New York; the Clark's residence at South Hampton, New York; the Chamber's Street Restaurant, New York; the Embassy of the Ivory Coast; the Robert Panero Associates office renovation project; a feasibility study for "Suitables" (a chain of women's clothing stores); the renovation of Schemerhorn Hall at Columbia University, New York; the Fire Station Five at Columbus, Indiana; the Montauk Public Library, New York; a fire station in Jersey City, New Jersey; a feasibility study for the Ruppert Green Project (a multi-family residential complex in New Jersey); the Garvey residence; the Feinberg residence in Chillmark, Massachusetts; Columbia University's Law Library renovation; and the Jewett Arts Center at Wellesley College, MA.

Professional papers include information about associations and organizations in which Torre participated; organizational correspondence regarding meetings, objectives and proceedings, invitations, brochures and articles about speakers and organization events; publications by and about Torre and architecture; and Torre's notes about women in architecture that she used to prepare the 1977 exhibition and its companion book, Women in American Architecture. Organizations to which Torre belonged include the Architectural League of New York, the Heresies (a feminist publication on art and politics), Networks: Women in Architecture, the Journal of Architectural Education (JAE), the International Archive of Women in Architecture (IAWA), the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ASCA): Task Force on the Status of Women in Architecture Schools, and Architects Designers Planners for Social Responsibility (ADPSR). The publications span the dates 1967-1992 and include early Spanish-language and later English material written by Torre, as well as magazine and newspaper clippings, invitations to conferences and technical paper presentations, outlines of articles and comments on other author's publications, correspondence with publishers and organizations, and Torre's hand-written notes from meetings and conferences.

There are also accumulated research notes about women architects in America that Torre compiled to write the introduction and several segments of the book Women in American Architecture: a Historic and Contemporary Perspective that received support from the Architectural League of New York and was published by Whitney Library of Design. The exhibition opened at the Brooklyn Museum in 1977 and then toured around the United States. The research files include information about specific architects, general notes and photographs, and articles and papers published by American women architects.

Faculty papers include lecture notes, student projects, newspaper clippings and theses from lecture and teaching positions that Torre held at schools such as State University of New York (SUNY) at Old Westbury, the Pratt Institute, Syracuse University, Miami University in Ohio, Columbia University and its Graduate School of Architecture Planning and preservation program, University of Pennsylvania, Escula Technica Superior De Architectura in Spain, Barnard Architecture College, University of Sydney, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and New Jersey School of Architecture.

Office Files include correspondence documents, notes, brochures and invitations for lectures, conference and symposia attended and participated in by Torre spanning from 1967 to 1994. The collection also includes information about the various exhibitions, juries, and advisory boards in which Torre participated, helped organize, and presided over during her professional career. The Awards and Fellowships files include documentation and information regarding the various awards, honors, and fellowships that Torre received from 1979 to 1990.

Dates

  • 1830 - 2003
  • Majority of material found within 1967 - 2003

Creator

Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Permission to publish material from the Susana Torre Architectural Collection must be obtained from the Special Collections, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Torre retains all literary rights to her work, and permission to quote from it must come from her. Researchers may not reveal the names, addresses, or telephone numbers of Torre's clients until her death.

Biographical Note

Susana Torre was born in 1944 in Argentina and graduated from the University of Buenos Aires with a degree in architecture and additional course work in urban planning in 1967. In 1968 she moved to the United States to pursue post-graduate studies in urban planning at Columbia University. Her career following the completion of her studies was based in New York City. Susana Torre was a principal of the Architectural Studio in New York from 1978 to 1984. She also worked as a partner at Wank Adams Slavin Associates and Torre Beeler Associates before starting an independent practice, Susana Torre and Associates of New York, in 1989. She has been associated with the Museum of Modern Art's Department of Architecture and Design and served as the coordinator of a research study on six new towns for the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies. Torre also has held academic appointments at Columbia University, SUNY at Old Westbury, Barnard College Architecture Program, and New Jersey Institute of Technology as well as serving as a visiting critic and adjunct professor at other schools in the New York area.

Throughout her career, Torre has been concerned with the status of women in architecture, studying the history of the subject and advocating fuller participation of women in the field. Her work is strongly engaged in a dialogue of Modernist and Post-modernist forms. Susana Torre has received several awards, including recognition from the Edgar Kaufman Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Torre has served on national juries for the American Institute of Architects (AIA) as well as other educational institutions. She is well known for her renovation and remodeling projects such as the master plan for the restoration of Ellis Island in New York Harbor (1981); renovation of Clark House, a turn-of-the-century carriage house in South Hampton, New York (1982) which received an Award of Excellence of Design from Architectural Record; the renovation of Schermerhorn Hall at Columbia University (1985); and Fire Station Five in Columbus, Indiana (1987).

Torre has published many articles in journals, newspapers, and magazines and has exhibited works at the Museum of Modern Art, The Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, The Otis Art Institute, MIT's Hayden Gallery, and the Cooper Hewitt Museum. Ms. Torre was the editor, curator and designer of the exhibit "Women in Architecture: A Historic and Contemporary Perspective," that toured United States in 1977 and the complementary book of essays (1977) that accompanied it.

Extent

26.4 Cubic Feet (23 boxes, 28 oversize folders, 3 framed drawings, and 1 model)

Abstract

After earning her degree in architecture in Buenos Aires, Argentinean Susana Torre arrived in New York in 1968 to study and practice architecture. Women's place in architecture and renovation of buildings are topics of particular interest to her. The Susana Torre collection consists of professional correspondence, project files, architectural drawings and sketches of some of her works, research notes, published articles about and by Torre, and teaching notes.

Arrangement

The Susana Torre Collection is arranged in four series reflecting architectural projects, work with professional organizations, teaching, and office work.

Series I, Project Files, consists of project files and some sets of architectural drawings. The project information is arranged chronologically. Some projects have been assigned circa dates, reflecting the fact that although they do not have specific dates, they were filed in the order that Torre worked on them.

Series II, Professional Papers, contains three subseries of material: (A) Professional and Cultural Organizations, (B) Publications, and (C) Research Files. Subseries A and C are arranged chronologically, and subseries B is grouped by topic and arranged alphabetically.

Series III, Faculty Papers, contains material Torre used and collected while teaching at universities. The material is arranged by the name of the school with which it is associated, and chronologically within each school grouping.

Series IV, Office Files, contains five subseries: (A) Lectures, (B) Conferences and Symposia, (C) Juries and Advisory Boards, (D) Exhibitions, and (E) Awards and Fellowships. All are arranged chronologically.

Source of Acquisition

The Susana Torre Architectural Collection was donated to the International Archive of Women in Architecture in 1990 by their creator. Additional material was donated in 1998, 2000, 2003, and 2008.

Alternate Form Available

Selected images of work by Torre are available in the VT Imagebase.

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Susana Torre Architectural Collection by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (https://creativecommons.org/share-your-work/public-domain/cc0/).

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement and description of the donations took place from February 2004 to January of 2005. Updates were made in 2007, 2012, and 2013 to include new material.

Title
A Guide to the Susana Torre Architectural Collection, 1830-2003, bulk dates 1967-2003
Status
Completed
Author
Paul Pugliese
Date
2005 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English

Revision Statements

  • 2020-09-08: Finding aid notes updated to new department standards. juliags

Repository Details

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

Contact:
Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US
540-231-6308