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Burdette Keeland Architectural Papers

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Finding Aid/Inventory

Personal Papers

Professional Papers

University of Houston

Business Cards

Audio Recordings

Video Recordings

Correspondence Files

Clippings

Exhibitions, Conferences

Architectural Projects

Architectural Projects: Photographs

Photographs: Architecture and Professional

Photographs: Family and Friends

Harry Walker Photographs

Planning Commission

Travels

Cemeteries

Memorabilia

Reference Materials

Oversized photographs and artwork

Cemeteries: Oversized Materials

Art Cards

Miscellaneous Oversized Materials

Oversized Architectural Renderings

Keeland Exhibition

Architectural Projects: Drawings

Art Posters

Oversized Rolled Materials

Oversized framed artwork

Oversized sign



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Burdette Keeland Architectural Papers, 1926-2000 | University of Houston Libraries

By Stephen James

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Collection Overview

Title: Burdette Keeland Architectural Papers, 1926-2000View associated digital content.

Predominant Dates:1950-2000

ID: 01/2002-005

Primary Creator: Keeland, Burdette

Extent: 25.0 Linear Feet

Subjects: Architecture, Domestic, Architecture - Texas - Houston, Houston (Tex.), Keeland, Burdette, University of Houston - Alumni and alumnae, University of Houston - Faculty, University of Houston. Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture

Forms of Material: Correspondence, Greeting cards, Personal papers, Photographs

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Burdette Keeland Papers cover the period 1926 to 2000 and are comprised of his architectural drawings; business and personal files; memorabilia; photographic prints and negatives; as well as materials from his teaching career.  The collection occupies 25 linear feet of shelves and 15 drawers of flat files.  It is stored in 40 boxes, 112 oversize folders, and 5 tubes for rolled material.  It also includes one oversized construction sign and one piece of framed artwork.

The largest category of documents concerns Keeland's architectural practice. This category is comprised of his architectural drawings, project files, photographs, and magazines in which his work was published.  The majority of the original drawings are (a) studies and preliminary drawings and (b) working drawings.  Keeland was a talented artist and created presentation drawings in pen and ink for many projects.  These are of special interest and are noted in the finding aid for those projects.

Other important categories include Keeland's correspondence files, clippings files, travel photographs, papers from the City of Houston Planning Commission, and files related to his teaching career with the University of Houston.

Related Materials:

Burdette Keeland Architectural Drawings & Photographs digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2002_005)

Harry Walker Photographs digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/p15195coll17)

Also, Keeland amassed an extensive collection of photographic slides of the architecture he encountered on his travels.  These slides were separated from the Burdette Keeland Papers and transferred to the Visual Resources Center at the University’s Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.  At present they have not been processed or catalogued.

Biographical Note

Burdette Watts Keeland, Jr. was an influential Houston architect.  He was well known for his design work, his service as an educator, his long tenure on the City of  Houston Planning Commission, and his community involvement with the Park People and other groups.

Keeland was born in Mart, Texas on February 2, 1926, but moved with his family to Houston six months later.  He attended Lamar High School, graduating in 1943.  He enrolled at Texas A&M University briefly before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1944.  He served with U.S. occupation forces in Japan and was discharged in mid 1946.  After another short stay at Texas A&M, he enrolled at the University of Houston in the architecture program.  In 1947 he married Margaret Scott ("Margie").  From 1950 to 1957 they had four children: Margaret, Burdette III, Ruth, and Bonnie.

Keeland received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Houston in 1950.  He began teaching design there in 1954 and was an influential member of the faculty until his death in 2000.  He was briefly on the faculty at Rice University and served as lecturer and guest design critic at other noted architecture schools in the United States and Mexico City.  Professional organizations recognized Keeland's distinguished teaching career on several occasions.  He received the outstanding educator awards from the American Institute of Architects, Houston Chapter, in 1987, and the Texas Society of Architects in 1993.  In 1992 he was honored at the University of Houston Architecture Alumni Association's Burdette Keeland Roast.  In 2000 he was the subject of a retrospective exhibition of his work at the University of Houston's College of Architecture.

His long career at the university was also significant because of his association with Howard Barnstone.  An important Houston architect, Barnstone was Keeland's close friend and colleague until Barnstone's death in 1987.  In the early 1950s he introduced Keeland to Houston art collectors and philanthropists John and Dominique de Menil and to New York architect Philip Johnson.  These relationships had a profound effect on Keeland for the rest of his life.  In 1959 Barnstone was also instrumental in Keeland's admission to the graduate architecture program at Barnstone's alma mater, Yale University.  Of his many accomplishments, Keeland was perhaps most proud of his role in 1981 to secure for Philip Johnson the commission to design the new  building for the College of Architecture.  (Among the oversized memorabilia in the collection is the large construction sign for the building, given to Keeland when it was completed.)

In 1964 Mayor Louie Welch appointed Keeland to the Houston Planning Commission.  Keeland became chairman in 1981 and served in that capacity until 1991.  On January 31 of that year the city honored him by proclaiming the day "Burdette Keeland Day."  He was a tireless advocate of the benefits of urban planning, including land-use zoning, a position that was not always popular in the city.

Keeland was a prolific designer and had a successful practice, particularly from 1950 to 1980.  Although he never obtained state licensing as an architect, he was well respected by his peers.  Over several decades his projects were published consistently in national and international magazines and won a number of design awards.

His career as a designer can be broken into several periods.  In the 1950s, influenced by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, Keeland's work followed the Miesian aesthetic of flat-roof pavilions defined by an exposed steel frame.  While several examples of this period survive, the best is the Meyerland Parade of Homes House (1955) on Jackwood Street, designed for homebuilder W. K. "Buck" King.

His year at Yale from 1959-60 exposed him to the ideas of other nationally-known architects, such as Paul Rudolph and Louis Kahn.  As a result, in the 1960s his work was less predictable, as he explored a number of other approaches to modern architecture.  An important example of his work of this decade was his Essex-Houck office building (1961; demolished 1990s), an homage to Louis Kahn.

During the 1970s Keeland moved from architectural design into real estate development, as he adopted the model of a design-build practice.  He developed several townhouse complexes in his Kirby Drive-area neighborhood of Houston.  They are remarkable for their sensitive scale and relationship to the street.  However, his most significant building of this period was the large 4101 Greenbriar office building (1975), which he designed and developed in partnership with other investors.

He also designed the proposed 4141 Greenbriar Building (1983) to be built next door, but Houston's economic depression of the 1980s halted the project.  There was little private or commercial construction in the city during this time and Keeland's professional practice suffered.   A highlight of the period, however, was his remodeling of his family's residence at 2907 Ferndale (1986) with its three-story tower and fanciful supporting column.

In 1986, Keeland suffered a heart attack, the first of a series of health problems to slow him in the last decade of his life.  During the 1990s he undertook  several residential projects and helped host a number of fund-raisers for the College of Architecture.  At two of those, in 1994 and 1998, he welcomed his friend Philip Johnson as guest of honor. 

After architecture, Keeland's greatest passion was cemeteries, an interest he developed on a trip to Milan in the late 1960s.  There he was inspired by a graveyard filled with  interesting and varied funerary monuments.  For the rest of his life he studied and documented cemeteries around the world and collected material for a book on the subject, which was never published.  He advocated an enlightened approach to these places, suggesting that the living treat them as park space.  Keeland invested some of his creative energy in designing headstones and monuments, a number of which were executed for clients.  He created a line of designer tombs for  a Texas monument company.  His largest project was an addition to the Cedarvale Cemetery in Bay City, Texas in the early 1990s.  In 1994 his unusual interest earned him feature stories in a number of regional newspapers and a profile in Texas Monthly magazine the following year.

Burdette Keeland, Jr. died on May 26, 2000.

Subject/Index Terms

Architecture, Domestic
Architecture - Texas - Houston
Houston (Tex.)
Keeland, Burdette
University of Houston - Alumni and alumnae
University of Houston - Faculty
University of Houston. Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Houston Libraries

Access Restrictions: Open for research.

Use Restrictions: Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Acquisition Method: The Burdette Keeland Papers were donated to the University of Houston Libraries by Margaret Scott Keeland in 2002.

Related Materials:

Burdette Keeland Architectural Drawings & Photographs digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/2002_005)

Harry Walker Photographs digital collection (http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/p15195coll17)


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers, 1926-2000],
[Series 2: Professional Papers, 1952-1999],
[Series 3: University of Houston, 1940s-2000],
[Series 4: Business Cards],
[Series 5: Audio Recordings, 1953-1968],
[Series 6: Video Recordings, 1989-2000],
[Series 7: Correspondence Files, 1931-1996],
[Series 8: Clippings, 1950s-1990s],
[Series 9: Exhibitions, Conferences, 1983-1995],
[Series 10: Architectural Projects, 1950-1998],
[Series 11: Architectural Projects: Photographs, 1950-1999],
[Series 12: Photographs: Architecture and Professional, 1931-1990s],
[Series 13: Photographs: Family and Friends, 1920s-2000],
[Series 14: Harry Walker Photographs, 1900-1940s],
[Series 15: Planning Commission, 1913-1993],
[Series 16: Travels, 1962-1995],
[Series 17: Cemeteries, 1940s-1990s],
[Series 18: Memorabilia, 1944-1950],
[Series 19: Reference Materials, 1905-2000],
[Series 20: Oversized photographs and artwork, 1935-1990s],
[Series 21: Cemeteries: Oversized Materials, 1990s],
[Series 22: Art Cards],
[Series 23: Miscellaneous Oversized Materials, 1947-2004],
[Series 24: Oversized Architectural Renderings, 1953-1983],
[Series 25: Keeland Exhibition, February 10 - March 3, 2000],
[Series 26: Architectural Projects: Drawings],
[Series 27: Art Posters, 1944-1995],
[Series 28: Oversized Rolled Materials, 1966-1996],
[Series 29: Oversized framed artwork, 1980],
[Series 30: Oversized sign, 1984-1986],
[All]

Series 27: Art Posters, 1944-1995
Keeland had a large collection of art posters, most acquired from the 1960s to 1980s during his travels.
Drawer 13
OVS_Folder 102
Item 1: Art Posters mounted on board, undated
Drawer 14
OVS_Folder 103: Art Prints, originals (Total of 3)
Item 1: “1972 Puzzle” by Michael Herd, 1971
Item 2: “#3” by Francisca Duran R., 1968
Item 3: Loving Spoonful Album art by Philip Hays, c. 1969
OVS_Folder 104
Item 1: Ernest Trova, Recent Sculpture, Pace Gallery, New York (mounted on board), 1967
OVS_Folder 105
Item 1: Freud Has a Better Idea, undated
Item 2: Marisol, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1968
Item 3: Kline, Sidney Janis Gallery, New York, 1958
Item 4: Picasso, Les Pigeons, Netherlands, undated
Item 5: Cobra, Louisiana (Danish museum), 1966
Item 6: Yves Klein, Louisiana (Danish museum), 1968
Item 7: Edward Ruscha/Kenneth Price/Joe Goode, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 1972
Item 8: Salvador Dali, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam, n.d.
Item 9: Bonjour Mourlot, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1973
Item 10: The Great Decade of American Abstraction: Modernist Art, 1960–1970, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Inaugural exhibition of the Brown Pavilion), 1974
OVS_Folder 106
Item 1: Pierre-Humbert, Galerie Roque, Paris, 1972
Item 2: Scott Burton, Tate Gallery, London, 1985
Item 3: Paul McCartney poster, 1974
Item 4: Marc Chagall a Palazzo Pitti, Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1978
Item 5: Nay, Nationalgalerie Berlin, 1969
Item 6: Frank Sinatra poster, undated
Item 7: 1972, calendar poster, Michael Herd, 1971
Item 8: 1974, calendar poster, Michael Herd, undated
Item 9: 1975, calendar poster, Michael Herd, undated
Item 10: 1976, calendar poster, Michael Herd (mounted on board), undated
Item 11: SKMP2 di Luca Patella, l’attico, Rome, 1968
OVS_Folder 107
Item 1: Reproduction print by Ruffino Tamayo, 1944
Item 2: Texas Zephyr, Christmas Card, Dave Schumacher, undated
Item 3: American Art at Mid Century, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1978
Item 4: La Rime et la Raison, (Menil Collection Exhibition), Grand Palais, Paris, 1984
Item 5: Illustrated Map of Scotland, 1979
Item 6: Large laminated collage (possibly by Keeland), undated
Item 7: Laumeier Sculpture Park: First Decade, St. Louis, 1986
Item 8: Spirits Break Free with Mental Growth, Houston International Hospital, 1988
Item 9: Louise Nevelson, Allen Center, Houston, 1983
Item 10: Warhol, Tate Gallery, London, 1971
OVS_Folder 108
Item 1: Picasso, Palais des Papes, Paris, 1973
Item 2: Foultitude, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, 1969
Item 3: David Smith, Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1969
Item 4: Henry Moore, MOMA, New York, 1983
Item 5: Generations, Kelsey Seybold Clinic, Houston, 1989
Item 6: Charles Giulioli, Schlumberger Gallery, Santa Rosa, CA, 1987
Item 7: Ed Baynard, Meredith Gallery, Baltimore, 1982
Drawer 15
OVS_Folder 109
Item 1: Henry Moore, Orangerie des Tuleries, Paris (mounted on board), 1977
Item 2: Michael Moon/John Latham, Tate Gallery, London (mounted on board), 1976
Item 3: Magritte poster (mounted on board), undated
Item 4: Picasso poster (mounted on board), undated
OVS_Folder 110
Item 1: Lenin poster, undated
Item 2: Soviet workers poster, 1974
Item 3: Soviet students poster, 1974
Item 4: Moscow travel poster, 1995
Item 5: Toledo, Corpus Christi, Spain, 1977
Item 6: American Women on the Move, National Women’s Conference, Houston, TX, 1977
Item 7: From the Lady Poets of Texas, National Women’s Conference, Houston, TX, 1977
OVS_Folder 111
Item 1: Love (multiple languages) on fabric, undated
Item 2: Ninon de Beauval, Art Noveau poster reproduction, Vienna, undated
Item 3: Fromme, Nallendar, Art Noveau poster reproduction, Vienna, undated
Item 4: Bande Dessinee et Figuration Narrative, Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, 1967
Item 5: Vincent van Gogh, Orangerie des Tuleries, Paris, 1972
Item 6: Jurgen Klein, Ambivalente Flachen, Nurnberg, 1969
Item 7: On the Leading Edge, Tony Robbin, Rice University, 1982
Item 8: Naïve Paintings from Yugoslavia, Kunsthalle Nurnberg, 1968
Item 9: Victor Vasarely, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 1966
Item 10: Tate Makes Friends, Tate Gallery, London, undated
OVS_Folder 112
Item 1: Competition Entry, Sesquicentennial Park, Wortham Center, 1987
OVS_Folder 113
Item 1: Abstract watercolor painting by Gertrude Barnstone, 1964

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Personal Papers, 1926-2000],
[Series 2: Professional Papers, 1952-1999],
[Series 3: University of Houston, 1940s-2000],
[Series 4: Business Cards],
[Series 5: Audio Recordings, 1953-1968],
[Series 6: Video Recordings, 1989-2000],
[Series 7: Correspondence Files, 1931-1996],
[Series 8: Clippings, 1950s-1990s],
[Series 9: Exhibitions, Conferences, 1983-1995],
[Series 10: Architectural Projects, 1950-1998],
[Series 11: Architectural Projects: Photographs, 1950-1999],
[Series 12: Photographs: Architecture and Professional, 1931-1990s],
[Series 13: Photographs: Family and Friends, 1920s-2000],
[Series 14: Harry Walker Photographs, 1900-1940s],
[Series 15: Planning Commission, 1913-1993],
[Series 16: Travels, 1962-1995],
[Series 17: Cemeteries, 1940s-1990s],
[Series 18: Memorabilia, 1944-1950],
[Series 19: Reference Materials, 1905-2000],
[Series 20: Oversized photographs and artwork, 1935-1990s],
[Series 21: Cemeteries: Oversized Materials, 1990s],
[Series 22: Art Cards],
[Series 23: Miscellaneous Oversized Materials, 1947-2004],
[Series 24: Oversized Architectural Renderings, 1953-1983],
[Series 25: Keeland Exhibition, February 10 - March 3, 2000],
[Series 26: Architectural Projects: Drawings],
[Series 27: Art Posters, 1944-1995],
[Series 28: Oversized Rolled Materials, 1966-1996],
[Series 29: Oversized framed artwork, 1980],
[Series 30: Oversized sign, 1984-1986],
[All]

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