Each of Beverly Willis’s architectural, industrial design, and art projects in the E-Archive and the Archive of Materials is assigned a project number. Architectural and consulting projects from her San Francisco office period on, since 1958, are designated by four-digit project numbers starting with 0100. Industrial design projects from Willis’s early career in Honolulu, Hawaii, between 1954 and 1960, are designated by four-digit project numbers starting with 0001. Art projects are designated by three-digit project numbers starting with 000. Projects that were executed in phases have more than one project number. There is a two-year overlap between the opening of the San Francisco office and the closing of the Honolulu office, between the years 1958 and 1960 when Willis was commuting between offices and completing projects from both offices.
How to Search the Archive of Materials
The Archive of Materials are located in three places: The Library of Congress, Special Collections at the Virginia Tech Library, and Willis’s personal collection at her residence. The following are guides to searching these three collections.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division
101 Independence Avenue, SE LM 337
Washington, DC 20540
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20540-4730
attn: Reference Section
To locate the Beverly A. Willis, FAIA, architect collection at the Library of Congress, go to the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Online Catalog. Enter the Willis name in the search box; that will take you to the inventory of the Library of Congress Willis Collection.
In addition to the film and slides at the Library of Congress, the location of Beverly Willis Archive Materials is shared between Virginia Tech Special Collections Beverly Willis Architectural Papers, Collection Number Ms92-019; and Beverly Willis’s personal collection at her residence.
Virginia Tech Library, Beverly Willis Collection
The Beverly Willis Architectural Papers, 1954-1998
Collection Number Ms92-019
A Collection in Special Collections, Virginia Tech
Please see “Archive at Virginia Tech, A Complete Guide to the Beverly Willis Architectural Papers, 1954-1998, Collection Number Ms92-019 Inventory, A Collection in Special Collections” for a complete guide to the Virginia Tech collection.
The Beverly Willis Architectural Papers span the years 1954 to 1998 and are comprised primarily of Willis and Associates project files documenting Willis’s work as an architect in San Francisco between 1960 and 1990. The collection documents the application of computers to architectural design and land analysis, the development of CARLA (Computerized Approach to Residential Land Analysis) in the 1970s, the history of twentieth-century urban planning, particularly in San Francisco; and the contribution of women to twentieth-century American architecture.
Project files are comprised of presentation drawings, slope analysis drawings, site plans, maps, cut-and-fill analysis plans, sketches, conceptual design drawings, and construction drawings, as well as correspondence, research files, contracts, environmental impact statements and studies, financial records, and feasibility studies. There are records for more than 150 projects. Drawings are large folio, pen-and-ink or watercolor on paper, linen, or mylar. Some are heightened with color.
Contents of the Virginia Tech Archive “Complete Guide to the Beverly Willis Architectural Papers” do not include quantities of specific material (i.e. photographs, presentation drawings, project descriptions, etc.) for a number of projects and boxes. Contents are ordered by project number and six other sections: Publications; Brochures and Clippings; CARLA Records; Miscellaneous Project Papers; Presentation Documents; Ephemera; and Beverly Willis Media (two videos produced in 1985). This Virginia Tech list does not include all BW projects. It includes only projects for which Virginia Tech has material in its collection. There are listings for project materials that are not in the Beverly Willis Personal Archive as of 2011. With some exceptions, there are no project descriptions. Images cannot be accessed from the “Virginia Tech Complete Guide to the Beverly Willis Architectural Papers”. However, over 600 digital images of Beverly Willis projects and Beverly Willis are available on the Virginia Tech Library’s Image Base website.
Beverly Willis Connecticut Collection—Personal Archive
Please see the Beverly Willis Archive Guide and Box Inventory for Beverly Willis’s full personal archive description and listing.
The Beverly Willis Personal Archive located at her residence contains images, information, correspondence, press (print, TV videos, and project videos), and originals or architectural drawings, art, and writing works of Beverly Ann Willis (b. 1928), as well as materials that inspired her and material of personal importance. Files in the boxes include those from her early professional years in Hawaii to her time as founder and principal at Beverly Willis and Associates Architects in San Francisco, as well as recent activity such as the publication of her book Invisible Images, and her work with the National Building Museum, the Architecture Research Institute, and R.Dot: Rebuild Downtown Our Town, an initiative for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center Site after 9/11. There are files for roughly 190 architectural and industrial design projects and 117 art projects. Personal photographs and information from Willis’s childhood and adult life are also included. Dates of material range from her birth through 2017.
The archive contains 24 boxes. Each box is numbered from 1 to 24 and is designated by a category or categories of content. The Beverly Willis Archive Guide and Box Inventory lists all contents under project name and number, including the number of folders per project. Dates and locations of projects are also included where known or applicable. Box contents are coded by type (i.e. correspondence, photos, press, etc.) in Roman numerals in the Archive Guide and Inventory and on the file folders [see the Beverly Willis Archive Guide and Box Inventory for coding key]. Project descriptions are not included in the Archive Guide and Inventory document, but are filed in the Archive Boxes themselves.
How to Search This Website
BeverlyWillis.com serves as an e-archive for convenient access to images and information regarding the work and life of Beverly Willis. As Willis’s designs are very diverse, take a few minutes to explore the different headings on the navigation bar. If any of the images on the home page are interesting to you, click on one of them for more images and a description of the work.
For a quick overview of the types of buildings designed by Willis, click on Significant Buildings on the Architecture page, and then click the name of each building to reach its detail page.
The Architecture page also provides access to a list of all of Willis’s architecture projects, a list of projects for which photographs and other images are available, and an advanced search feature.
The Art page features a full list of all of Willis’s art and industrial design projects. Art project listings and photographs are grouped by medium.
Media/Honors lists awards, honors and press about Willis’s design projects and career, as well as a selection of scanned press articles and information about Willis’s book Invisible Images: The Silent Language of Architecture.
The dedicated page for CARLA (Computerized Approach to Residential Land Analysis) on the navigation bar gives a detailed history of the development and use of CARLA. An overview can also be found under Architecture Project #0816.
The Biography section of the website provides a timeline of Willis’s professional activities, family history and photographs, and a brief biography (also see her professional history on the About page).
Links to External Sources
- Abstraction and Beyond
- ARTstor: Beverly Willis
- Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation Dynamic National Archive: Beverly Willis
- National Building Museum: Beverly Willis Library
- Regional Oral History Office at the Bancroft Library UC Berkeley: Beverly Willis Oral History
- Special Collections at Virginia Tech Libraries: Beverly Willis Architectural Papers
- Virginia Tech Library Image Base: Beverly Willis
- Wikipedia: Beverly Willis