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College of Architecture records

Identifier: UA371

  • Staff Only


This collection is made up of four series that document the day-to-day operations of the College of Architecture as well as the professional work of the Bush-Brown, Gailey, and Heffernan architectural firm, particularly the Tech buildings designed by the firm.


  • ca. 1925-ca. 1995 (bulk dates ca. 1940-ca. 1990)
  • Majority of material found within 1940 - 1990


General Physical Description note

(98 record center cartons)

Restrictions: Access

Materials in some of the boxes, particularly those in Series 4, are restricted due to privacy and confidentiality concerns, or because of the FERPA Act. The floppy diskettes in Boxes 38, 39, 42, and 95 are currently inaccessible.

Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


98 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

Series 1 consists of administrative files. Included in this series are the files of those who held various administrative positions in Architecture, particularly Harold Bush-Brown, who was the head of Architecture from 1925 to 1956; P. M. Heffernan, Director of the School of Architecture from 1956 to 1976; and William L. Fash, the first Dean of the College of Architecture. The files of other administrators also form part of this series, including Alan H. Balfour (files are from the 1978-1988 period, during which he served as a Director); Joseph N. Smith, who held the position of Assistant Dean for Instruction until his retirement in 1981; John Templer, the first Director of the doctoral programs in architecture; John A. Kelly, who served as Associate Dean from 1983 to 1993; and John H. Myers, Assistant Dean for Research Administration during the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The second series contains the architectural records of faculty administrators who maintained architectural practices while at Georgia Tech. Particularly significant are the records of Bush-Brown, Gailey, and Heffernan, the architectural firm responsible for the design and construction of many Tech buildings from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. These records provide documentation for the design and construction of these and other buildings completed by the firm. The planning files of P. M. Heffernan are also included in this series.

Series 3 contains materials from the 1980s on the Center for Architectural Conservation, a center operated under the College of Architecture. The contents of the boxes appear to be alphabetical subject files maintained by the Center, on policies and procedures, background, and curriculum, among other subjects.

The last series, Series 4, is made up of general subject files on admissions; curriculum; study abroad programs, particularly the Cortona and Paris programs; faculty searches; awards and certificates; information packet mailings (mailings in response to inquiries about the architecture programs at Tech); files related to accreditation; and a variety of other topics. Also included in this series are departmental files containing general administrative files, annual reports, information on the study abroad programs, curriculum, and general subject files.

Administrative History of the College of Architecture

The College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology celebrated 100 years of architectural study and teaching at Tech in 2008. Founded as the Department of Architecture in 1908, it became known as the School of Architecture after World War II. In 1975, the School of Architecture became its own college and was renamed the College of Architecture.

The impetus for the creation of the Department of Architecture at Tech came from a Civil Engineering student, Ernest Daniel ("Ed") Ivey (1887-1966), who in 1907 asked for a meeting with President Matheson to discuss the possibility of forming an architecture program. The first courses in Architecture were offered the next year, with Ivey among the first group of students. In 1911, Ivey left Tech to start his architectural career before completing the degree requirements. However, that same year seven students were the first to receive Bachelor of Science degrees in Architecture, and four more graduated in the following year. In 1912, the Department of Architecture included forty-two full-time students and three faculty members. James Herbert Gailey (1887-1966), who came to be known as “Doc” Gailey, began a forty-two year career on the faculty in that year.

Classes were taught on the third floor of the Electrical Building during the first years of the Department of Architecture. The Department remained at that location until 1920, when it was moved to the third floor of the Mechanical Engineering Building. Two years later, the Department moved again, this time to the Physics Building, where it would remain until 1952. In that year, a new building dedicated to the study and teaching of architecture was finally completed.

During the early years of architecture at Tech, courses were taught in the Beaux-Arts tradition, in which students participated in a series of competitive juried projects awarded by institutions such as the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design (BAID) and the Southern Intercollegiate Competition. In the latter competition, Tech students placed first and second during the five-year period between 1922 and 1926; in the same period Tech students received several Mentions from the BAID. The program was structured into two educational tracks during the 1920s: The first course of study was a regular four-year program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree; the second, a two-year program, led to a Certificate of Proficiency. In 1925, Tech became the first school in the South to be elected to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture. The school was accredited by the American Institute of Architects in the same year. By 1927 Tech had become the largest architectural school in the South, with over 100 students and seven faculty members.

Under the new leadership of Harold Bush-Brown (1888-1983), who took over the chairmanship of the Department of Architecture in 1925, the Department began to forge a new direction away from the traditional architectural design of the Beaux-Arts toward a more modern approach influenced by the Bauhaus movement. This slow revolution, as Bush-Brown referred to it, began during the early to mid 1930s. During this decade, major figures in the Bauhaus movement such as Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe came to the United States to teach. Paul M. Heffernan (1909-1987), who had trained at Iowa State, Harvard, and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, arrived at Tech in 1938. Tech came under pressure by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture to abandon some of the traditions of the Beaux-Arts training methods during this period. Following the example of other prominent schools in the nation, Tech began a five-year curriculum leading to a Bachelor of Architecture degree in 1934. The four-year Bachelor of Science degree remained in place for those not wishing to become architects.

The student and faculty population fell during the Depression and the years of World War II. In 1937 only nine students graduated in architecture, and in 1940 there were only nineteen graduates. During the war enrollment reached its lowest point of twenty-two students and four faculty. For a brief period during World War II the degree of Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering was offered; after the war the program reverted to the four-year and five-year degrees that were instituted in the 1930s.

The post-war period saw a resurgence in enrollment, with an average of more than 400 students in architectural programs during the late 1940s and early 1950s. With the reorganization and change of name to the Georgia Institute of Technology under President Van Leer came the creation of the School of Architecture in 1948, which placed Architecture as an equal to other schools within the College of Engineering. The addition of three faculty members, Jim Edwards, Thomas Godfrey, and Samuel T. Hurst, who had been students of Walter Gropius at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, increased the school’s movement toward the more modern Bauhaus approach. In 1944, the architecture firm of Bush-Brown and Gailey along with associates R. L. Aeck and Paul Heffernan participated in the creation of a campus master plan. Included were proposals for several buildings, among them a building for the School of Architecture. The firm of Bush-Brown, Gailey, and Heffernan designed and built numerous buildings on the Tech campus prior to the war and during the post-war building boom, including not only the Architecture Building but also the Old West Stands of Grant Field, the School of Textile Engineering, the Price Gilbert Library, and several dormitories.

The new Architecture Building, which was designed by Heffernan and built in 1952, was constructed as a functionalist building with intellectual zones and public spaces that corresponded to the expanding curricular needs of the architecture program. The growth of the industrial design program led to the addition to the faculty of the Bauhaus-trained Hin Bredendieck in the same year that the new building was completed. Master’s degrees in Architecture and City Planning were also granted for the first time during the early 1950s, and later in the decade the first Bachelor’s degrees in Industrial Design and Building Construction were awarded. Women were admitted to degree programs in Architecture beginning in 1953. The first woman to graduate, Thera H. Richter, completed a Master of City Planning degree in 1959. Two undergraduate women, Esther Behar and Barbara Field, were the first to graduate with five-year Bachelor of Architecture degrees in 1966.

In 1956, after thirty-one years of leadership, Harold Bush-Brown retired as Director of the School of Architecture. J. H. Gailey retired in the same year. After Bush-Brown’s retirement, Paul Heffernan took over as Director, a position he would hold for twenty years. During Heffernan’s tenure, the first African-American students in architecture graduated, among them Bill Stanley (in 1972) and his future wife Ivenue Love-Stanley (in 1977). In 1972 the first Paris Program began with study abroad programs in Italy. By 1975 the program had moved to Paris and expanded to a full year.

By the late 1960s, the architectural programs at Tech were coming under criticism from the National Architectural Accrediting Board for their lack of innovation and dynamism. In 1971 the Board encouraged Tech to convert from the traditional five-year degree to a four-year undergraduate and two-year graduate degree. Accordingly, Tech instituted four-year Bachelor of Science and two-year Master of Architecture degrees in 1973. In 1975, the last year of Heffernan’s tenure as Director, the School of Architecture became its own college and was renamed the College of Architecture. William L. Fash (1931-2002) became the College’s first Dean.

In 1980, during Fash’s tenure, the graduate wing of the College of Architecture was added to the 1952 building. Designed by Jerome Cooper of the architectural firm of Cooper-Carry, the new structure was a corduroy building compared to the bowtie and tweed jacket next door, according to George Barnett Johnston, an Associate Professor of Architecture at Georgia Tech. Like the 1952 building, with its spaces devoted to design labs the addition represents a response to the changing needs of architectural education, the movement away from drafting toward a growing emphasis on design. Students became involved in projects such as the John Hedjuk cubes and the Mad Housers shelter constructions for the homeless during the 1980s. Computer-assisted design also began to be incorporated into the curriculum in 1984.

Thomas D. Galloway (1939-2007) succeeded Fash as Dean when ill health forced Fash to step down in 1992. Two more European study programs were established during the early part of Galloway’s administration. Galloway also oversaw the 1999 switch from the quarter to the semester system, and he initiated the Common First Year program for architecture students, in which all students follow a curriculum introducing a range of design issues and problems.

After Galloway’s untimely death in 2007, Douglas C. Allen took over as Interim Dean for one year. Allen was instrumental in obtaining financial resources for the Solar Decathlon project, a collaborative venture involving students in several branches of the architecture program that won the BP Innovation Award. He also oversaw the transfer of the Heffernan Design Archives to the Georgia Tech Archives.

In July 2008, Alan Balfour was appointed the third Dean of the College of Architecture. He oversees five academic units, seven research centers, more than 700 undergraduates, and more than 500 graduate students in the building and design programs at Tech.

Source: Elizabeth Meredith Dowling and Lisa M. Thomason (eds.), One Hundred Years of Architectural Education: 1908-2008 Georgia Tech (Atlanta, Ga.: Georgia Tech College of Architecture, 2009).


Arranged into four series:

Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1. Administrative files
  2. SERIES 2. Architectural files
  3. SERIES 3. Center for Architectural Conservation
  4. SERIES 4. Subject files

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.


Most boxes were transferred to the Archives in 1992 and 1993. Accession number 2006.030.


Additional materials will probably be added to this collection in the future.

Related Materials

The Facilities Department Records, Drawings, and Photographs and Slides (UA316, VAUA316) also contain materials on the Bush-Brown, Gailey, and Heffernan buildings. Collections from the Georgia Tech Design Archives also document the drawings of these and other campus buildings, the history of architecture at Georgia Tech, and the professional lives of faculty and alumni. As of this writing (September 2009), these materials will be processed during the next few years.

Separated Material

The visual materials in this collection, which include photographs and architectural drawings, will be removed and processed separately as VAUA371.

Twenty-three linear feet in the original donation were transferred to Records Management in September 2009. A concordance of old and new box numbers is available in the Archives reading room.

General Physical Description note

(98 record center cartons)

General note

In an effort to make this collection accessible, a box-level inventory is given below. In the future, we hope to provide a fuller description of parts of the collection.

Processing Information

Christine de Catanzaro and Mallory Velten processed these records in September 2009.

Inventory of the College of Architecture (Georgia Institute of Technology) Records, ca. 1925-ca. 1995 (bulk dates ca. 1940-ca. 1990)
Christine de Catanzaro
Copyright August 2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA