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College of Design

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)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

George Myron Swan Jr.


Better Homes & Gardens, "The way we built our house"

Cerny Brochure

George Myron Swan Jr.
B.Arch 1943

This memory was shared by George Swan III, in memory of my late father, George M. Swan Jr. (B.Arch '43). He and my mother, Anne Swan (Elizabeth Anne Cleveland Swan (BA '44 Architecture) were cohort with Cecil Tammen (who worked at Thorshov and Cerny at the same time my father worked there in the 1950's) and both my parents were friends with Richard Hammel (B.Arch '46) and his first wife Libby during the 1950s. I also remember being about 5 years old and going with my parents to a Christmas Lake party, at a lake-side cabin on the west side of Christmas Lake which was hosted by Walter Vivrett (and his two Great Danes--see posting by Susan J. Blumentals, B.Arch '59, about "Andy!"). For some reason I think I remember my parents mentioning that Carl Graffunder (B.Arch '42) and others were there. My lasting impression from those years was that there was a socially vibrant arts and architecture community, post WWII, in the Twin Cities.

In addition, Bob and Ann Bliss lived up the Ridge Road (east side of Christmas Lake) from where we lived. (My mother remembers they graduated from Yale and were at the U of MN perhaps doing post-graduate work or teaching before moving on to University of Utah(?).)

I recently was reviewing "old history" with Mom when she let loose with the story about having dinner with Bucky Fuller at the Bliss's who had come to speak at the department earlier that day. "Wow," I exclaimed, "that must have been interesting!" "It was," she replied. "He was willing to reminisce a lot about his life and his work!"

I came across a promotional picture taken for Cerny Associates to introduce their "new design team" (Cerny brochure, page 2). There in the rear row--typical of his reserved personality is the image of a young, enthusiastic and perhaps still idealistic George Swan, my father. Also pictured are Vivrett, Tammon and others.

I've attached the Better Homes and Gardens article of the first house Dad designed for us and built on Christmas Lake. There were five residences total he did for our family (the 2nd is in La Crosse WI, 3rd and 4th at Verona WI outside Madison, 5th just outside Patagonia AZ town limits--1 hour south of Tucson at 4000 feet) before getting a Clayton Manufactured Home set up for Mom in Patagonia town proper--right across from the library--just before he died. After retiring in 1984, he spent most of his time reading, practicing amateur astronomy and doing watercolors as well as teaching a few watercolor workshops. Only recently have I noticed the golden rectangle of composition lurking behind the spontaneous surface of many of his watercolors.

The photo of the two men is a picture from later in my father's career when working at Hackner and Schroeder in La Crosse WI. Dad is on the right pictured with Roger Rosslansky, the designer on the H&S team who paid my father a compliment by buying our La Crosse family residence when we moved from La Crosse to Madison. You can Google a street view of it at: 1205 Cliffwood Lane, La Crosse WI. Fifteen years earlier (1950) Dad had designed original sliding-glass doors for a "contemporary", lake-side house with a unique-looking exterior. This time (1966), with several years experience in prefabrication design, he focused on cost-efficiency. I asked him once why he hadn't designed more "flashy" houses like the first, and he responded, "Well... after a while, you realize all you need are four walls with a roof on top." This second house and the three following it, were of that simple design concept; the innovation and interest arise from where you put the windows and doors and how you lay out the interior.

A comment a few weeks ago from the Realtor who sold the last residence he and mom built in Patagonia: "We showed your parents' house to a lot of people. Fifty percent of the people didn't get it; all they saw was the exterior box. The others saw the interior, its connection to the exterior, and the innovative and efficient use of space it is--as well as the magnificent view of Red Mountain from kitchen, living room and dining room."


flower painting-gswanjr-WEB.jpg

Joel H. Goodman

WEB-Ralph Rapson and Joel H. Goodman 1975 EA Classroom with wind turbines student project review.jpg

WEB-EA I assemble student project 1975.jpg

These photos were taken in 1975 at an Earth Awareness Portable Classroom review in Rapson Hall. I was a faculty member at the time, teaching a studio design course. As extra work, I initiated the Earth Awareness Portable Classroom project with students from Dennis Holloway's environmental design course. I offered the project to Holloway's many many students, and a team took on the project.

An undergrad student mechanical engineering project was coordinated with the Earth Awareness Portable Classroom project being designed and fabricated by architecture students spring quarter of 1975. Renewable energy systems were designed for a transportable educational resource, an inflatable classroom that could be entered for media presentations. Prof. Frohrib's ME 5-254 and 5-255 engineering students presented two basic energy systems; power for the systems of the earth balloon (lighting, projection, fan) and power for transporting the portable facility in a truck (small wind generators, batteries, and a multi fuel truck motor). Small tilt up and down wind generators were mounted on the top of the truck.

Students on the project are pictured in front of Ralph Rapson and me (Joel Goodman). Dan Feidt is pictured with the video camera in the lower photo.

After attending the U of MN, Joel went on to earn an Master of Architecture degree from MIT. He currently resides in Dodgeville, Wisconsin.

View a gallery of some of his work


Hazel Thorson Stoick Stoeckeler

BS '40 Art Education, M.A. '45 Architecture



Bugle article-HStoeckeler.pdf

At a time when the United States was experiencing a period of extensive mural painting in public buildings, and Mexican artists were at their peak productivity of mural art, Hazel Stoeckeler chose to do a mural painting as a thesis project for an advanced degree.

Perhaps the only architecture graduate to complete a mural as her thesis project (certainly the first!) and the only master of arts degrees in the major, Hazel's 45 foot long mural, "The Epic of Minnesota's Great Forests" still graces the lower level walls of Green Hall on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. She also has a series of watercolors on display in a conference room of Skok Hall next door.

A productive artist and teacher, Hazel's work will also be part of a series of curated exhibitions celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Regis Center for Art on the University campus, October 22-November 9, 2013 - conveniently timed to happen during the School of Architecture Centennial!

Dennis L. Johnson

Minneapolis Skywalks - A Bridge to Revival

Nearing age 81, architect Dennis L. Johnson, looks back on a rich and rewarding career designing many buildings large and small, mostly in the Philadelphia area. He claims that the genesis of the Minneapolis Skyway system took place in that presentation by design students at the University of Minnesota on a June day in 1957. The attached letter shares his memories of that time and the years that followed.

Doris (Schwanz) Bjorklund

B.Arch '46

DorisBjorklund-7th from left1942.jpg

Family members think Doris Bjorklund is pictured here in 1942, 7th from the left, on the steps of Northrop Auditorium. She and her daughter Jan attended the School's gathering of alumni in Boston in February 2013 (second photo). Following the event, Jan shared some stories from her mother's early career.

When Doris was a junior and Hubert H. Humphrey was governor, one of her professors was also doing some planning for the City of Minneapolis. Her professor asked her to help design "homes for relief." She did three designs (one, two and three bedroom homes) for the project and was proud to be a part of that Humphrey initiative. To complete the project, she needed to live in Minneapolis and found home for a time, at a sorority in Minneapolis.

Around that time she was also working for architecture firm in Minneapolis. While there, Doris was part of a project team for one of their clients. When the project was completed, the happy client hosted a celebratory party and invited all the men in the firm to attend. Unfortunately, the women were not included. In protest, the women came to work the following week dressed in suit coats and ties like their male counterparts. To prepare, Doris needed to borrow a tie. To help out, one of her sorority housemates introduced Doris to her step brother, U of M business student Truman Bjorklund (BSB '48). Truman gladly provided Doris with a tie. Though there was no word on the reaction from Doris's male counterparts at the office regarding her change of attire, it was the start of something good... Doris and Truman were married in 1949.


Arline Alrick Castleberry

I am sorry that I can't attend the alumni celebration. I send a special greeting to any who may be in attendance from the graduating class of 1941.

I appreciate the University of Minnesota and the preparation it gave me in a field that was challenging and rewarding. In recent years I have been a registered architect in California with my own business specializing in residential new construction, remodeling and additions.