Did you know that only one ASU building after 1945 is listed on the National Register of Historic Places?
It’s true. Gammage Auditorium is the lone National Register-listed building from the postwar era. Given that so many ASU buildings were constructed in the years after World War II, years fueled by an influx of “GI Bill” students and marked by the campaign to make a State College into a state university, this is shocking.
ASU isn’t lacking architectural treasures, either. Fans of postwar modernism can surely appreciate the ASU collection of buildings from 1950 to 1970, a set of civic buildings unrivaled in the state. Some of the finest modernist architects built for ASU. Ralph Haver, a vaunted king of ranch homes and minimalist structures, graced the campus with three buildings: Engineering Center, built between 1957 and 1965; the Social Sciences Building, constructed in 1960 at the height of his creativity; and the Schwada Building, an element of his later years, erected in 1978.
In 1950, Edward Varney designed the Agriculture and Business Administration Building and the Administration Building; we know them as Interdisciplinary A and B. Varney would also go on to design the Farmer Education Building in 1960. The Goodwin family of Kemper and Michael, Tempe’s most prominent architects, built many well-used structures for ASU, such as the Memorial Union, Life Sciences A Wing and Durham Language and Literature.
Cartmell and Rossman singlehandedly shaped the landscape of University Drive in the 1960s, constructing Palo Verde West and East and the striking Manzanita Hall. And, in 1963, Horlbeck, Hickman and Associates added what is surely the grooviest structure on any ASU campus — Psychology North, which looks like a cross between early ’60s concrete and the arches of a mosque.
The next time you find yourself in a building clad in that characteristic sandy orange brick, stop, look, and think about the architects who helped make ASU’s transformation into a vibrant university possible. You might find a National Register candidate all around you.
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