UT Libraries acquire archives from architecture professor Anthony Alofsin

Stephanie Adeline

Architecture professor Anthony Alofsin has donated his archives to the UT Architecture and Planning Library to preserve architectural knowledge in an age of digitalization.

Alofsin’s collection includes his research notes and papers, manuscripts, architectural drawings and a documentation of the courses he developed at UT.

Alofsin is an award-winning author and architect who was recently elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Alofsin donated his archives because he was concerned about the challenges in documenting research in a digital era.

“I am concerned that we risk losing knowledge in the forthcoming digitalization of all of our lives,” Alofsin said. “I think this is a very special collection which has a very wide scope, and I think it’s important because it bridges this divide, this transition from the old world of paper … to the new digital age.”

Historic preservation graduate student Hannah Simonson said research on architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who was the focus of Alofsin’s doctoral dissertation, stood out to her in the archive.

“As a student in Dr. Alofsin’s ‘Frank Lloyd Wright: Design/Theory/Method’ class I really appreciated the way that he connected Wright’s work to larger trends in architecture,” Simonson said in an email. “I think that the archive will be an invaluable resource for the UT Austin community as it will provide insight into Dr. Alofsin’s groundbreaking research on Frank Lloyd Wright.”

Travis Willmann, communications officer of UT Libraries, said the archives are important in bringing in new students and faculty members to the University.

“As you build special collections on campus, distinctive collections (that) aren’t available elsewhere, you tend to attract a certain caliber of students or faculty members to the University because they have access to resources that maybe they wouldn’t have in another university,” Willmann said.

Kathryn Pierce Meyer, liaison librarian for the Architecture and Planning Library, was a student in the architectural history program developed by Alofsin. Pierce Meyer said she was excited to have courses in the program documented.

“We’re very pleased and honored to have his collections,” Pierce Meyer said. “(Alofsin) has been both an active faculty member here at UT for many, many years but also very active nationally and internationally.”

The library started acquiring his archives last fall and is now in the process of organizing the collection.