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Monday, November 4, 2013

Bill Blanski - post celebration note


We had a very nice gathering at The Republic Bar in Minneapolis on Friday night (after the celebration in Rapson Hall).

These are the folks who joined in:

Chris Zagarias, Sue Britt, Ann Schley, Bill Wittrock, Art Bartels, Jim Wilson, Roald Gunderson, Hani Ayad (MArch, and Spouse Mary), Norman Barrientos (and spouse Lisa), Bill Blanski, Mark Brennan ('86), Mina Adsit ('86) and Steve Prater (MArch).

One main conclusion - we need to do this more often!

Be well -


Sathirut Nui Tandanand

I wish to congratulate the University of Minnesota School of Architecture on the Centennial Anniversary. During my time studying under Dean Ralph Rapson, I have had fond memories of the school and still cherish the friendship with my classmates.

Unfortunately, I am unable to attend the celebration due to prior commitments. It is very disappointing not to see my Professors and friends that I truly miss again.

I wish you all the success with the Centennial Celebration and the fabulous events and activities. Once again, Congratulations to the University of Minnesota School of Architecture.

Respectfully yours

Sathirut Nui Tandanand, Class 79
President Elect, Architects Regional Council of Asia (ARCASIA)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Post-Centennial Note to the Class of 1984

Hello Class of '84,

It was great to see some of you at the Centennial reception and gala events last week and I hope to see more of you in the future.

For those of you who attended and for those who didn't, I am providing you with a link to some photos I took. I have also posted a few photos from way back in 1981 from studio days.

In Facebook I have set up a shared Album for anyone, even if you are not on Facebook, to browse through. Please feel free to tag Names onto the photos and if you want, add some photos.

Also, I am providing you with my Dropbox folder for higher quality resolutions of the same pictures. In this link I also included a few pics of the historical student drawing collection which was exhibited at the Reception. Very inspiring as they make you want to get out the old Pilot Fineliner.

I look forward to seeing everyone at future School events.

Norman Barrientos

office 414-271-1812 ext 1

Post-Centennial Note to the Class of 1966

Class of 1966,


For those of you who could not make it, you were greatly missed!

The Centennial Celebration of the School of Architecture School was a very big event with over 800+ architects from east and west coasts and 5 foreign countries. Bill Pederson and number of other illustrious alumni where there along with illustrious alumni from the class of 1965, 1966 & 1967. One always seems to remember one class above and one class below yours.

For the class of 1966 members who were there, I am including pictures of our Saturday morning brunch & at "spoonriver' restaurant (see attached pictures). We had a lively discussion of times past and present. Brief one line summary of where the 6 attendee's live and what they are up to:

James Pettinari lives in Eugene, Oregon and just retired from teaching but still consults with the University of MN on planning issues.

Gerry Allen still practices and teaches at the College of Art and Design in Minneapolis and lives in Afton, MN

Jim Morss lives on Bainbridge Island 20 minute ferry ride from Seattle and still practices specializing in medical clinic planning & design.

Jim Wengler lives & works on a boat in Trinidad but still keeps his residence in St. Anthony Park in St. Paul 2 blocks from my house.

Peter Hall lives in Maiden Rock, Wisconsin and is working on transforming an older building into a brewery.

I am still working at Parker Design International (PDI Design Group)after retiring for the 2nd time and live in St. Paul.

Keep the class of 1966 conversation going and let us know what you are up to. We heard back from a few who could not attend the Centennial; Bill Burch, Gary Crowell, Tom Clark, Jack Smuckler, John Scott, Mark Merrill . How about Carl Safe, Harvey Niskala, and others. Does anyone know the whereabouts' of Nick Palaia, Lowell Baumgardt, Pier Dahlstrom or any others I am missing from our class. If you do let us all know. Thanks

Francis Bulbulian, FAIA

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Robert Traynham Coles, FAIA

I have many reminiscences, not only of my years at Minnesota but also M.I.T., and then going on to the profession I love. They include:

1. Working with Buckminster Fuller on two projects and the complications that developed.

2. Meeting Ralph Rapson, who became Dean at the School of Architecture, while I attended graduate school at M.I.T.

3. Meeting fellow student Randy Vosbeck, who is now the Senior President of the AIA, and who also received the CALA Alumni Achievement award.

4. Meeting fellow student Louis Angelikus and interning with his father's firm to design the Richfield State Bank while Louis and I were still students at Minnesota; and working with James Stageberg on his first house while he attended graduate school at Harvard.

5. Meeting Kay Lockhart, who later worked with me at Techbuilt Homes in Cambridge. Returning to Minneapolis after graduating, I attended parties hosted by Kay and his wife, Lynn, to honor Dean Rapson. I also enjoyed dining at their New French Café.

6. Attending other parties in later years honoring Rapson, including a "Breakfast with Rapson." I cherish a photograph taken of us at one of these parties; Tom (Fisher), you were there.

7. Winning the Rotch Travelling Scholarship in 1954, allowing me to spend a year travelling and studying in Europe. Jim Stageberg followed me, winning the Rotch a year later.

8. Receiving the Whitney Young Jr. Citation from the AIA in 1981.

9. Serving as the AIA's first Deputy Vice President for Minority Affairs from 1982 to 1984.

10. Being elevated to the Chancellor of the AIA's College of Fellows in 1994, and in 1997 receiving the CALA Alumni Achievement Award.

Very truly yours,
Robert Traynham Coles, FAIA, President

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tom Clark

Hello Class of '66!

Regrets. Kit and I won't be able to be in the Midwest in October. Sounds like fun! Sorry to miss it. Would love to see everybody again and catch up a bit on the last half century.


I still have this recurring dream in which I'm back in the design studio. Everybody is working hard on their quarter-long project and the jury is going to start in a few minutes. Only one of the projects is going to pass and the rest are all going to have to be re-designed next quarter. I'm not worried though because somehow in the dream I seem to realize I've got about 50 years of experience as a lead designer, so I am confident I can do this school project.

In the dream, all the models are on display in a big glass enclosure built in the middle of the architecture court. The students are outside the enclosure waiting to receive the news as to which of us will have to re-design and which one of us will pass and graduate. Rapson comes out of the glass door to the enclosure carrying an envelope. He opens it and reads the name of the architect whose project wins the award and graduates. "The winner is..."

...Francis Bulbulian!" The crowd cheers and gathers around Fran to congratulate him. Even after 50 years, and in my OWN dreams, Francis always does an outstanding job! Next time I have this dream, I'm going to try to install my own brother on the Jury. Hopefully that will give me more favorable result!


I had a chance to read some of the other memories posted at this site. It's fun to see what people remember about Minnesota. In a word, the experience was INTENSE. Here's a bit more information just to add some context to that recurring dream I described above:

Fran and I went through the architectural curriculum at the same time. We were two of less than a dozen students in our class that did it in the catalog-prescribed time frame. Both of us roomed in an old house about two blocks from the Architecture building. John Scott, John Sheehy, Mark Merrill, Scott Berry, and a couple other architecture students shared those beat-up facilities.

I remember the common bathroom in that old house had a shower with a shower curtain. Behind that curtain, lived some sort of moldy living "organism" that we all assumed covered the entire interior of the shower stall and might very well have been the same species as the carnivorous plant in the play, "Little Shop of Horrors." I use the term, "assumed" because nobody ever actually dared to fully open that shower curtain, let alone risk taking a shower in there.

Not surprisingly, my wife Kit, who knew us all, says what she remembers most about the architecture lab was the pervasive "aroma" of unwashed architecture students that apparently permeated the concrete and masonry so that it never quite dissipated.

Kit and I knew Fran's wife Barb from before she and Fran started dating. We've all tried to stay in touch over the years. Francis was in my wedding and I considered him my closest friend in architecture school. My earliest recollection of a specific conversation with Fran was in Jim Stageberg's design studio. It was very late one night, right before our project was due. Fran was walking past my desk, I stopped him to ask his frank opinion of my project, which I was just finishing. I said something like, "...Well, what do you think of it?"

His response was, as always, honest and fairly typical of the way we all often talked to each other. He paused; looked over the drawing taped to my drawing board, thought about it for a few seconds and then replied, "I don't think I could EVER do anything that BAD!!"

That phrase often comes to mind, when anybody asks, "Well, what do you think of it? (a design idea)?" it still makes me laugh, even after more than 50 years.

My general impression of the architectural curriculum is mixed. Generally, I loved the experience enough to spend the rest of my life in this business. But, at first, it was something of a cold bath, after a rather warm and fuzzy but undemanding high school education. It's where I first was required to actually systematically THINK critically.

And, of course, like many students, I quickly found that the highest standard for graphic excellence that I had previously encountered wasn't even at the bottom of the scale when one was comparing one's drawings to those of Rapson, Gebhart, Vitolis, Larson, and so many other talents.

The major career impact of my experiences at Minnesota was to set my personal standard for design excellence continually beyond my reach. The result has been a career that has never been boring, always exciting, and always challenging.

Best regards to all,

Tom Clark


Tom Clark, CSI, Principal


5820 York Rd; Baltimore, MD 21212

410 539 6830

Gary Crowell

Dear "Class of '66" -

A possible last minute flight (?). I'm scheduled to be in Denver on 28th for "closing details" on property--have held property in CO since teaching at U of C (1978-90). Although I most likely won't make it, I have a couple of vivid memories to share:

  • 1965--Catching 2 hours sleep in the "refrigerator crate" in studio before final presentation.

  • 1966--Sitting in my VW, in a parking lot (during mid May/June rain storm), several blocks from Northrop Auditorium--listening to commencement on the radio.

  • 1978--Francis, our "last lunch" in Fall '78--recalling 15+ years of work (1962-78--U of M and MIT studios, Dewey Thorbeck and InterDesign, Ellerbe, etc.). We were leaving Ellerbe--I was going to Colorado (teaching--U of C) and you were going back to Leonard--as I recall.)

Best to all,


Gary J. Crowell, AIA, NCARB
Dean and Professor Emeritus
College of Architecture & the Built Environment
Philadelphia University
215.843.7288 (H)
267.438.9856 (C)