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Nancy Florence Architectural Collection

Identifier: Ms-2016-007

Scope and Contents

This collection documents the activities of Nancy Florence (1935-2015). It contains personal materials, including student work and biographical information. This collection also contains materials documenting Florence’s career as an architect and founder of The Design Collaborative by representing business records, architectural drawings, design sketches, correspondences, clippings, photographs, and material catalogs related to several residential projects. Her major projects include Edgewater Residence in Blaine County, ID, Cummings Remodel in Portola Valley, CA and Shapiro Residence in Sun Valley, ID. In addition, class lecture notes, competition information, promotional materials, a wooden trusses model, and assignments from coursework at UC Berkeley and the Women’s School of Planning and Architecture (WSPA) are included. In addition, the collection includes office records such as financial and administrative documents.


  • February 2016

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from Nancy Florence Architectural Collection must be obtained from Special Collections, Virginia Tech.

Biographical / Historical

Born in Los Angeles, Nancy Florence (1935-2015) was an architectural designer based in northern California. Although Florence studied botany as an undergraduate at the University of California - Los Angeles, she became interested in architecture while abroad. She taught in Japan and used her air travel privileges - a result of her husband, Jon’s, career as a pilot - to visit India and Africa. She incorporated her interest in botany into her architectural career by using landscape settings to complement buildings. After relocating to Portola Valley, CA, her first project became remodeling the family house. Florence enlisted Morgan Stedman, a prominent Palo Alto architect, as her advisor before he retired.

She was among the earliest members of the Organization of Women Architects (founded in 1973) and joined the 1975 cohort of the Women’s School of Planning and Architecture at St. Joseph’s College in Biddeford, Maine. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1982 with a professional degree in architecture. he was involved with the California Women in Environmental Design, an umbrella organization of the Organization of Women Architects and Design Professionals. She also served on the California Architects Board for three years after being appointed by Governor Jerry Brown in 1976, advocating for gender equity in architectural licensing. She was one of the first public members to serve on the commission. She interned at the San Luis Obispo Solar Group before opening an independent practice named “The Design Collaborative” in the 1980s. Her work included residential designs and studios throughout California and the Northwest.


9 Cubic Feet (9 archival boxes, 1 shoebox, 38 rolls, and 15 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



Nancy Florence was an architect based in northern California. She designed residences and studios throughout California and the Northwest. This collection documents her personal and professional activities between 1954-2014, including her architectural studies, organizational activities, travel, projects, and career with her practice, The Design Collaboration.


Arrangement of these materials reflects the Standard Series for Architecture and Landscape Design Records (Shepherd and Lowell). The intellectual structure reflects the series and subseries below.

Personal Papers

  1. Biographical Information
  2. Diaries
  3. Correspondence
  4. Student Work
  5. Travel
  6. Sketches
  7. Photos

Professional Papers

  1. Correspondence
  2. Associations
  3. Awards
  4. Reference Files
  5. Clippings
  6. Sketches
  7. Product Information
  8. Other

Course Materials

  1. Research Files
  2. Student Work

Office Records

  1. Administrative
  2. Correspondence
  3. Financial Records

Project Records

  1. Shapiro Residence
  2. Baker Residence
  3. Martin Remodel
  4. Baldwin Residence
  5. Cummings Residence
  6. Milshap House
  7. Oliver House
  8. Shirley Gate
  9. Jenkins Garage
  10. Open Hand Kitchen
  11. Ken Haggard
  12. Aratesh Records
  13. Alcove Additions
  14. Buck Residence
  15. Neff Residence
  16. Wurster House
  17. Wiggins/Woodard Studio
  18. Henry Street
  19. George

Major Projects - Edgewater House

  1. Reference Files
  2. Photos
  3. Sketches
  4. Specifications


Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Nancy Florence Architectural Collection was donated to Special Collections in 2016.

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Nancy Florence Architectural Collection commenced in February 2016 and completed in December 2017.

Nancy Florence Architectural Collection, 1954-2014
Nala Chehade
©2017 By Virginia Tech. All rights reserved.
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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