The 1950s: A time of growth
The 1950s was a decade famously known for its post-war growth. The decade invited many out from of the shadows into the light of the of its “booming” economy. Luckily, DCP has a few alumni from that decade to better explain what it was like to be a student during that time.
C. Frasuer knight
Building/studio location: In the beginning, it was housed in Building U, a WWII temporary building, located in the shadow of the main library. About half of us went on to “upper” division with the rest deciding to go into building construction, interior design or other fields. Upper division was in Building E, another wartime “temporary” building immediately west of the university administration building (which was under construction) and north of Grove Hall, which was a girls’ dorm at the time.
Most memorable project: Projects began with abstract finger painting and matchstick sculpture to loosen us up. We progressed into basic building design and research with schematics and site planning. All presentations were in watercolor and ink. Most of the class and faculty were WWII veterans. I was part of a handful of students straight from high school who would benefit greatly from the determination of the veterans.
Our curriculum from then until graduation was a “project system”. It was similar to real practice, with architecture, structural, mechanical and electrical-related to a program that usually lasted four to eight weeks. When a project was finished, it was graded and we moved on to a new one. There were no final exams; only a comprehensive one covering the five-year program at the end. History, interior design and related civil ran concurrently.
Favorite faculty of staff: Our most inspiring teacher was Ted Fearney, who was forward thinking and took us on field trips to buildings similar to our projects. It was he who assisted in the formation of the first student AIA chapter in the country. This organization sponsored a visiting architect program that included some of the greatest ones of that time including: Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, William Lescaze, George Nelson and Paul Rudolph. They provided much needed inspiration. A number of outstanding architects from around the state also came and provided us with grassroots knowledge. Except for Wright, they all visited our studios, critiqued our work and lectured. For Wright, Fearney rented the gymnasium for a ticked lecture available to everyone. It was a packed house and the excess proceeds went to the chapter for future activities.
Steven G. Fogel
Project: One semester was devoted to a project -all classes. Design a house, make arch. drawings. Design the roof and floor truss systems. Design the plumbing, electrical, and heating. Write the specs. Turn in our bid at a specific bid date and time. Any deficiency resulted in a grade demotion for all classes. Little to no sleep the last week or 2.
Favorite place: I shared a house adjacent to Paine’s prairie. Many acres to play on. Hunt snakes with blowguns made from pipettes. Dinners and parties with 3-4 roommates. My favorite place on campus was the old gym above the stadium. YT’s bar b que in town was hard to beat – Not to mention the old pool hall.
Favorite memory: My old ‘50 Pontiac convertible had no top. I used visqueen held down with c-clamps and bricks. It only had three fenders and had been painted with floor paint. Driving in from Paine’s prairie one morning at 19 degrees was memorable. The car was on the cover of the school newspaper one morning.
Studio: Second floor of Grove Hall
Favorite faculty or staff: Bernie Voychisonk, Turpin C. Bannister, Bert Kensey, Tom Larrick, Dan Branch, Doc Graham
Project: My thesis for the final year was a design for a new law school complex on campus.
Favorite memory: It was the College of Architecture and Fine Arts then. I believe we were the last group in Grove Hall before it was demolished. We all practically lived at Grove Hall what with classes, working and studying in our studio, weekend charettes and having projects critiqued by the professors. As a break in the day, we would make darts from push pins and drafting tape and launch them through a length of 1/2-inch electrical conduit. They were amazingly accurate and could put a dart in the Newell post at the top of the stairs from the other end of the hallway.
- 1957: The college was renamed College of Architecture and Fine Arts with Turpin Chambers as Dean from 1957-65
- 1957: Building Construction became a department under Professor Herman Block
- William T. Arnett (1947-56)
- Turpin Chambers Bannister (1957-65)
- 1959: 307
- 1950: 2,433 women enroll at UF
- 1953: Century Tower is built to commemorate the centennial celebration and honor the men killed in WWI and WWII
- 1955: First African American student enrolls at UF, named George H. Starke, Jr.
- 1958: First UF vs FSU Football game; Gators win 27-7 in Gainesville
- J. Hillis Miller (1948-53)
- John Allen (Interim President 1953-55)
- J. Wayne Reitz (1955-67)
- 1950: 10,077
- 1951: 9,001
- 1952: 9,224
- 1953: 9,626
- 1954: 9,863
- 1955: 10,868
- 1956: 10,997
- 1957: 11,207
- 1958: 12,306
- 1959: 12,710
- 1950: Korean War begins
- 1951: Color television is introduced
- 1954: Segregation is ruled illegal in the U.S.
- 1958: NASA is founded