Case Studies

Belgian Building, Virginia Union University, Richmond, Virginia, 1941

At the end of the world’s fair held in New York in the summers of 1939 and 1940, the Belgian Pavilion was disassembled and slowly re-erected on the campus of Virginia Union University, a historically Black institution in Richmond, Virginia.  Designed by Henry van de Velde with the assistance of Victor Bourgeois and Léon Stynen, this was an early example of the transfer of interwar European modernism to a university setting in the United States.  The tower was converted into a memorial to Robert L. Vann, one of the university’s most distinguished alumni.  As editor of the Pittsburgh Courier Vann had become one of the country’s most influential African American journalists.

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Five Women: Five Lives Advancing Modern Architecture and Design

Journalism, entrepreneurship, and philanthropy provided educated middle-class and elite women with the means to support themselves and shape the world around them.  Kathleen James-Chakraborty’s monograph will examine Ethel Power, an editor of House Beautiful; Estrid Ericson, the founder of Svenskt Tenn; Ethel Madison Bailey Furman, who designed around 200 houses and churches for fellow African Americans in and around Richmond, Virginia; Chloethiel Woodard Smith, who between 1963 and 1983 ran the largest women-led architectural practice in the United States; and Gira Sarabhai, who after studying with Frank Lloyd Wright was a co-founder of the Calico Museum and the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, India.

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