Special Collections and Archives is delighted to announce the opening of the exhibition Fast Forward: The Architecture of William F. Cody, on display at the A+D Architecture and Design Museum in Downtown Los Angeles. This celebration of Cody’s legacy is long overdue, and draws chiefly from the William F. Cody Papers that reside on the 4th floor of the library.
The opening reception on July 10 was bustling with mid-century modern architecture enthusiasts, educators, and friends and family of William F. Cody, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year. We raised a glass to his contributions, and to the vital partnerships that formed between exhibit curators, Cal Poly architecture faculty and students, and Special Collections— relationships with roots dating back to Cody’s long-time friendship with former Cal Poly Dean of Architecture, George Hasslein.
The exhibition traces Cody’s life and career, and features an array of watercolors, sketches, plans, photographs, and other documents that showcase how he enhanced the built environment in such desert towns as Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, and La Quinta. In addition to designing distinctive residences, churches, and commercial buildings, Cody made a mark designing elegant country clubs and hotels with commanding views of landscapes full of contrast: pools and lush fairways adjacent to cactus and arid mountains.
An element that makes the Fast Forward exhibit distinctive is the inclusion of work by Cal Poly architecture students. In the fall of 2015, students consulted original archival records in Special Collections to find inspiration for new work that ranged from hand-made furniture, light fixtures, collages, and even a digital font inspired by Cody’s early lettering. Special Collections’ own Katie Sheetz (BArch ’16) made an interactive, mobile-friendly digital map that serves as a handy introduction to some of Cody’s award-winning architecture in the Coachella Valley.
The exhibit runs through September 25, but the Cody collection is always available for research and class instruction sessions—just contact us!