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Cal Poly Acquires Mark Mills Architectural Archive

Mark Mills Collection, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. © 2010 Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Mark Mills Collection, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. © 2010 Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Cal Poly’s Robert E. Kennedy Library recently acquired the architectural archive of architect Mark Mills — a California mid-century modernist.

The archive will be housed in the library’s Special Collections Department. It includes more than 900 hand-drawn architectural tracings, including collaboration pieces with Italian architect Paolo Soleri, the Fan Shell House in Pebble Beach and a submarine concept design for the Liturgical Arts Society. Also included in the collection are Morley Baer photographs, correspondence from Ansel Adams and scrapbooks of Mill’s designs.

The gift was acquired in collaboration with Cal Poly’s Architecture Department.

According to his family, Mills had no formal connection to Cal Poly other than his admiration for the university’s architecture department and the talent of Cal Poly students. It was from this high regard for the program that he provided the collection to the university.

Special Collections will conduct a preservation assessment and processing plan for the collection with the goal of making it publicly accessible.

Architecture Professor Don Choi said faculty will be able to take advantage of the Mills collection to introduce case studies to students. “The collection provides students and faculty an opportunity to learn how one architect developed a style that addressed California’s culture and environment,” Choi said.

The Mills Collection joins Cal Poly’s Architectural Archives, which already includes the Julia Morgan and William F. Cody collections. The Morgan and Cody collections have been widely researched for many different media and scholarship, all of which help advance public and scholarly understanding of the California built environment.

Information on Mills is sparse. For a brief review of his life and work, visit Janey Bennett’s web page Mark Mills — Beyond Frank Lloyd Wright.

For more information about Cal Poly’s architectural archives, contact Catherine Trujillo at 805-756-2305 or ude.yloplacnull@llijurtc.

Mark Mills Collection, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. © 2010 Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.

Mark Mills Collection, Special Collections, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. © 2010 Trustees of the California State University. All rights reserved.