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Wilson, Melvin J., Collection, 1960-1993

Melvin J. Wilson Collection,

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Open Finding Aid

Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries
The Art Institute of Chicago

Finding Aid Published: 2018

Melvin J. Wilson Collection, 1960-1993

Accession Number: 2018.4

COLLECTION SUMMARY:
TITLE:Melvin J. Wilson Collection, 1960-1993
EXTENT:5 linear feet (7 boxes), 1 portfolio and flatfile materials.
REPOSITORY: Ryerson and Burnham Archives, Ryerson and Burnham Libraries,
The Art Institute of Chicago
111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603-6110
(312) 443-7292 phone
rbarchives@artic.edu
http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/rbarchives/rbarchives.html
ABSTRACT:Collection of photographs, slides, architectural drawings, and project papers spanning the career highlights of architect Mel Wilson. Wilson worked and as a Peace Corps architect in Tunisia in the 1960s and for the firms of Mies van der Rohe; Fujika, Johnson and Associates, Inc.; and Fujikawa Conterato Lohan and Associates.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION:Color slides, black and white photographs, color photographs, architectural drawings, printed papers, correspondence photocopies and VHS videocassettes.
ORIGINATION: Wilson, Melvin J., 1942-2017.
ACQUISITION INFORMATION:Gift of the Wilson and Linsk families in memory of Melvin James Wilson, 2018.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH:
Melvin ("Mel") J. Wilson was born in Wichita, Kansas on July 9, 1942. After moving with his family to California in 1950, Wilson attended the Illinois Institute of Technology, graduating with a BA in architecture. He had a brief internship with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1961 before starting his architectural career with the Office of Mies van der Rohe in 1965.

After just one year at the firm, Wilson joined the Peace Corps and was assigned to the Department of Public Works in Nabeul, Tunisia, developing urban plans for agricultural villages and designing and supervising construction of public buildings and housing throughout the region of Cap Bon, including a major renovation and expansion of the Grand Mosque of Nabeul. Wilson returned to Mies van der Rohe’s firm in the late 1960s and stayed until 1974, when the agency rebranded. He stayed on as an Associate Principal at Fujikawa Conterato Lohan and Associates (FCL), and Vice President of FCL International. During this time he moved with his then-wife, Esther Parada, and their son Adam to Oak Park.

In the mid-1980s, Wilson taught architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago before leaving the architectural field to pursue a career in journalism - working at the Windy City Times - and pursuing activism. Wilson met Nathan Linsk at the Chicago Gay and Married Men’s Association meeting in 1983; they became long-term domestic partners and were married in 2010. Together they were principal co-founders of the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association. Wilson was a board member for Community Response, a local HIV/AIDS service organization; served on the Oak Park Design Commission; and chaired the Parent Human Relations Committee at Oak Park and River Forest High School, where his son was a student. His last position, served from 2000-2010, was with the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust. Wilson passed away on April 20, 2017 at the age of 74. Additional information on Mr. Wilson can be found at https://melwilson.net/.

SCOPE AND CONTENT NOTE:
This collection spans Wilson’s 20-year career as an architect for some of Chicago’s biggest firms through images, drawings, and printed papers. Materials in this collection focus mainly on projects where Wilson was the primary architect, most notably the TRW World Headquarters in Lyndhurst, Ohio, as well as from his time as an architect with the Peace Corps in Tunisia in the 1960s. The majority of projects Wilson worked on were in the Midwest, with some international exceptions in Abu Dhabi, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia. Personal and professional materials in the collection are limited in scope and mostly include slides from Wilson’s travels to various architectural sites and some materials related to his time spent teaching.

ORGANIZATION AND ARRANGEMENT:
SERIES I: PHOTOGRAPHS AND SLIDES: This series has been divided into two subseries. A. PROJECTS. Arranged alphabetically by project name. B. PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL.

SERIES II: ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS: This sereies has been divided into two subseries. A. TUNISIA. Arranged alphabetically by project name. B. OTHER. Arranged alphabetically by project name.

SERIES III: PRINTED MATERIALS: This series has been divided into two subseries. A. PROJECTS. Arranged alphabetically by project name. B. PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL.

SERIES IV: AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS: Arranged chronologically.

SERIES V: CORRESPONDENCE.

CONTROLLED ACCESS POINTS:
This collection and other related materials may be found under the following headings in online catalogs:
Wilson, Melvin J., 1942-2017.
Wilson, Melvin J., 1942-2017---Archives.
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, 1886-1969.
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
Fujikawa, Johnson and Associates.
Fujikawa, Conterato, Lohan and Associates.
Islamic Architecture.

ABBREVIATIONS:
AbbreviationDefinition
BOX.FFBox #, Folder #
Flatf.flatfile
Portf.Portfolio
c.circa
n.d.not dated
FCLFujikawa, Conterato, Lohan and Associates

RELATED MATERIALS IN THE INSTITUTIONAL ARCHIVES, THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO:
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) Collection, 1907-2004, 1984.2
Architects' and designers' papers, 1767-2018, 00.5

PHYSICAL LOCATION:
The collection is housed in the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries' on-site stacks.

ACCESS RESTRICTIONS:
This collection may be used by qualified readers in the Reading Room of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries at The Art Institute of Chicago. Collections maintained on-site are available for patron use without prior arrangement or appointment. Collections maintained on-site are available for patron use without prior arrangement or appointment. Collections maintained in off-site storage will be retrieved with advance notification; please consult the Archivist for the current retrieval schedule. For further information, consult http://www.artic.edu/aic/libraries/rbarchives/rbarchaccess.html

USER RESTRICTIONS:
The Art Institute of Chicago is providing access to the materials in the Libraries' collections solely for noncommercial educational and research purposes. The unauthorized use, including, but not limited to, publication of the materials without the prior written permission of the Art Institute is strictly prohibited. All inquiries regarding permission to publish should be submitted in writing to the Archivist, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago. In addition to permission from the Art Institute, permission of the copyright owner (if not the Art Institute) and/or any holder of other rights (such as publicity and/or privacy rights) may also be required for reproduction, publication, distribution, and other uses. Responsibility for making an independent legal assessment of any item and securing any necessary permissions rests with the persons desiring to publish the item. The Art Institute makes no warranties as to the accuracy of the materials or their fitness for a particular purpose.

PREFERRED CITATION:
Melvin J. Wilson Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.

PROCESSING INFORMATION:
The collection was processed by Jorie Braunold in 2018.

ITEM INVENTORY:
LOCATIONCONTENTSDATESITEMS

SERIES I: PHOTOGRAPHS AND SLIDES



PROJECTS:
Box.FF 1.1
GoForth Car Care Center, Chicago, IL.
Black and white photograph. Image shows Wilson and others looking at a model. Project likely never built. Office of Mies van der Rohe, architect.
c.1974
Box.FF 1.2
Grand Mosquee of Nabeul, Tunisia.
Black and white photographs and photocopies. Interior, exterior and construction views. Designed by Wilson during his Peace Corps tenure.
c.1966
Box.FF 1.3
IBM Plaza, Chicago, IL.
Color slides. Exterior views and skyline views. Office of Mies van der Rohe, architect.
c.1972
Box.FF 1.4
"IIT project".
Color slides. Exterior views of models.
n.d.
Box.FF 1.5
Illinois Center, Chicago, IL.
Color slides. Probably views of One Illinois Center. Interior and exterior views. Office of Mies van der Rohe and Fujikawa, Johnson & Associates, architect.
c.1970s
Box.FF 1.6
Loop College, Chicago, IL.
Color slides. Diagrams and architectural drawings for a proposal presentation for Loop College.
c.1980
Box.FF 1.7
Naperville Municipal Center, Naperville, IL.
Color photographs. Exterior views of model. Fujikawa, Johnson and Associates, architect; Melvin Wilson, designer.
c.1988
Box.FF 1.8
National Mechanical Engineering Institute, Algeria.
Color slides and printed papers. Overhead views of model campus. FCL, architect; Melvin Wilson, primary designer. Buildings are now part of the University of Boumerdès.
c.1971
Box.FF 1.9
Orland Center Subdivision, Orland Park [?], IL.
Black and white photograph. Site plan for subdivison "unit 2". Office of Mies van der Rohe, architect.
01/07/1975
Box.FF 1.10
Roberto Clemente High School, Chicago, IL.
Color slides. Exterior views during construction. FCL, architect.
c.1974
Box.FF 1.11
Schaumburg Corporate Center, Schaumburg, IL.
Color photographs and black and white photographs. Overhead views of model, interior views, and site plans. FCL, architect; Melvin Wilson, designer.
c.1980
Box.FF 1.12
Terrace Townhouses, Chicago, IL.
Black and white photographs and printed papers. Project never built, exhibited in “100 Years of Chicago Architecture” at Museum of Contemporary Art in 1974 by FCL. FCL, architect; Melvin Wilson, primary designer. All images are of designs and models.
c.1974
Portf. 1
Terrace Townhouses, Chicago, IL.
Black and white photographs and printed papers. Presentation portfolios.
c.1974
Box.FF 1.13
"Troglodyte" housing, Tunisia.
Black and white slides. Site plans.
c.1965
Box.FF 1.14-2.7
TRW World Headquarters, Lyndhurst, OH.
Black and white photographs, color photographs and color slides. Exterior, interior, construction and model views. Also includes images of the site, which formerly housed the Bolton Estate; the original TRW building in Lyndhurst; testing in an airline hangar; and site model rejects.
c.1983

PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL:
Box.FF 3.2
Cleveland, OH.
Color slides. Photos from trip to Cleveland. Includes images of the Cleveland Arcade building.
n.d.
Box.FF 3.3
Ecuador.
Color slides. Photos from trip to Ecuador.
n.d.
Box.FF 3.1
Historical architecture, miscellaneous.
Color slides. Copies of photos from books, etc. Used as part of a 1960 lecture.
1960
Box.FF 3.4
John Deere World Headquarters, Moline, IL.
Color slides. Exterior and interior views. Includes images from tour taken with TRW executives in preparation for the design of their new headquarters, on which Wilson served as the primary architect. Eero Saarinen, architect.
n.d.
Box.FF 3.5
Personal photographs.
Color slide and black and white photograph. Images of Wilson.
n.d.
Box.FF 3.6
S.O.M. (Skidmore Owings and Merrill) projects, various.
Color slides. Includes images of Crown Zellerbach building (now One Bush Plaza); Chase Manhattan Bank Plaza; University of Illinois (model); San Francisco Bank; United Airlines Terminal, San Francisco and Grinnell College Library.
n.d., 1960
Box.FF 3.7
U.S. architecture, miscellaneous.
Color slides. Photos either from travels or used as part of lectures.
n.d.
Box.FF 3.8
Weyerhaeuser Corporate Headquarters, Federal Way, Washington.
Color slides. Exterior and interior views. Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, architect (1971).
n.d.
Box.FF 3.9
Wright, Frank Lloyd, architecture.
Color slides. Images of various Wright-designed buildings, likely from his time at the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.
n.d.
Box.FF 3.10
Various, unidentified.
Color slides, color photographs and black and white photographs.
n.d.






LOCATIONCONTENTSDATESITEMS

SERIES II: ARCHITECTURAL DRAWINGS



TUNISIA:
Flatf. 4.10
Abri pour un camp en plein air (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.8
Aménagement de l'avenue (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.11
Bureau et bibliothèque (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.11
Bureau pour un cheikh (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.11
Café chantant (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.11
Café Maure (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.13
Cellule Destourienne (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.8
Centre artisanal (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.13
Centre culturel (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.10
Cinéma (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.9
École type collectivités locales (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.7
Gargouille (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 1.8-1.9
Grand Mosquée (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.12
Gymnase (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.10
Internat (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.11
Kiosque vente des eaux de fleurs (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.7
Le palais situé au jardin du Bardo (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.13
Local de femmes (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.6
Logements et logemenets économique (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.8
Lotissement (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.9
Maison (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.10
Maison ouvrière en maçonnerie moellon (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.6
Maps, including topographical maps (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 1.11
Marché (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.4
Mosquées (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.12
Municipalité de Soliman. (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.12
Municipalité et cellule Destourienne (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.13
Pavillon de agriculture, mines, et R.T.T. (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.13
Pavillon des expositions (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.8
Plan d'un quartier (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 1.10
Salles des fêtes (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.7
"Self-service" (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.12
Terrain reserve a la municipalité (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.8
Townhouses (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Box.FF 1.1
Tunisia, various.
Architectural drawings. Rough sketches and notes of various projects.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.7
Tunisia, various.
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.10
Village agricole (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967
Flatf. 4.9
Villas (Tunisia).
Architectural drawings.
c.1965-1967

OTHER:
Flatf. 4.5
324-326 N. Austin Boulevard, Oak Park, IL.
Architectural drawings. Building evaluation.
1993
Flatf. 4.5
Meredith Memorial Hall, Drake University, Des Moines, IA.
Architectural drawings. Office of Mies van der Rohe, architect.
1963, 1964






LOCATIONCONTENTSDATESITEMS

SERIES III: PRINTED MATERIALS



PROJECTS:
Box.FF 4.1
Abu Dhabi Career Development Center.
Printed papers. Architectural master plan and program of building areas, prepared by FCL.
1979
Box.FF 4.2
GoForth Car Care Center, Chicago, IL.
Printed papers. Project description and outline specification, prepared by the office of Mies van der Rohe.
01/1974
Box.FF 4.3
Moraine Valley Post Office, Bridgeview, IL.
Printed papers. Pamphlets by the American Institute of Architects Chicago Chapter. Post office won a "Distinguished Building Award". FCL, architect; Wilson, designer.
c.1978
Box.FF 4.4
Naperville Municipal Center, Naperville, IL.
Printed papers. Includes newspaper articles written about building, documents related to project, and an assignment Wilson created for his students based on the project during his tenure at IIT.
1988
Box.FF 4.5-4.6
National Mechanical Engineering Institute, Algeria.
Printed papers. Documents labeled: executive summary, housing, architectural master plan, academic facilities, program of building areas, and architectural program. FCL, architect; Wilson, primary designer. Buildings are now part of the University of Boumerdès.
1988
Box.FF 4.6a
One Illinois Center, Chicago, IL.
Printed papers. Proposal documents.
c.1966
Box.FF 5.1-5.3
TRW World Headquarters, Lyndhurst, OH.
Printed papers. Documents related to TRW and the building of its headquarters. Includes master plan reports, newpsaper and magazine articles, TRW newsletters, correspondence, horticultural survey, and schematic design drawings.
c.1983
Box.FF 5.4
Tunisia projects, various.
Printed papers. Documents related to Wilson's work in the Peace Corps.
c.1965-1967

PERSONAL/PROFESSIONAL:
Box.FF 5.5
Various.
Printed papers. Includes Wilson's resumes, certificate of election as corporate member of American Institute of Architects, newspaper and magazine articles, school papers, FCL and Mies van der Rohe booklets, and a program for the GE Superabrasives/AIAS Spring 1989 International Student Design Competition.
1960, 1964, 1965, 1977, 1981, 1986, 1989, n.d.






LOCATIONCONTENTSDATESITEMS

SERIES IV: AUDIOVISUAL MATERIALS


Box.FF 6
TRW NHP Report, Winter 1984.
VHS videocassette.
1984
Box.FF 7
TRW NHP Report, Spring 1984.
VHS videocassette.
1984
Box.FF 7
TRW NHP Report, Winter 1985.
VHS videocassette.
1985
Box.FF 6
TRW NHP Steadicam tour of building.
VHS videocassette.
02/11/1985






LOCATIONCONTENTSDATESITEMS

SERIES V: CORRESPONDENCE


Box.FF 8.1
Peace Corps correspondence.
ALS and TLS. Mostly letters from Wilson to his family during his time in Tunisia. Also includes Peace Corps acceptance letter and an introductory note from Nathan Linsk, his husband.
c.1963-1968
Box.FF 8.2
Copies of Peace Corps correspondence.
Photocopies.
c.1963-1968







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