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VRC e-newsletter April 2016

The Visual Resources Collection's (VRC) e-newsletter highlights donors and their recent image contributions. Images of featured projects can be accessed by UT faculty, students, and staff via the VRC's online image collection
Izabella Dennis is pursuing a Master of Science in Historic Preservation at The University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. She traveled to Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in the South of France in October 2015 to study E.1027, a 1929 building designed by Eileen Gray. During her time there, Izabella documented the building and its materials, and she took samples to investigate the original paint colors. Her documentation and paint analysis project was part of a seminar led by Professor Wilfried Wang entitled “E.1027 Layered Atmospheres: Color, Materials, Fitted and Loose Furniture” and funded by the O’Neil Ford Centennial Chair in Architecture. Her photographs are available to university faculty, students and staff through the UTSOA VRC’s online image collection.

Donor Highlight

Izabella Dennis

MS Historic Preservation, 2016
What motivates you to document/photograph the architecture/sites you visit?
As a preservationist, I am in the habit of documenting architecture and sites with photographs and field notes as I encounter them. Not only do the images serve as a record of the built or natural environment at the point when I am visiting, but they also add to a catalog of images that I keep to reference materials, material conditions, construction technologies and architectural styles. With the historic built environment, I often find interesting, unique and surprising ornamental or construction details that are exciting to discover and photograph.

 
Any special interests in photography or equipment? Do you find the buildings/landscapes more exciting or the photography?
I enjoy the process of documentation and observation, in particular of historic sites. I make an effort to carry at least a small point-and-shoot camera with me when I am exploring new places and try to take photographs of both context and detail while on site, just in case I am unable to visit again. Photographs of historic buildings can be difficult to find, especially of particular detailing, and I like to keep a record on hand for academic or professional reference. Although I find the buildings most exciting, photography allows for active discovery and moving around a space to photograph all sides, and new elements are always discovered.

How do you use the images you shoot? Do they influence your design thinking? How does photographing architecture inform your thinking?
Mainly, I use my images for reference and I keep them cataloged by project and by material on my personal computer. Active and organized images of the built environment are precious to me, particularly in Texas where many historic buildings are demolished to make way for new construction. I have an interest in regional and lesser-known architects whose works are largely undocumented.

 
Where's your next destination? Are you searching out locations with a particular theme, or region?
I have traveled to West Texas several times this year to conduct research and I find the regional architecture in the area fascinating. I am hoping to head back in the next few months to explore the architecture of Mabel Welch, the first female architect in El Paso. She earned her architecture license at age 49 and went on to design over 1,500 buildings. I am constantly searching for architects with a large concentration of buildings in one city to explore and experience on a single visit. There is often a unique signature, even if the buildings are very different, in the detailing, construction, materials or color.

 
To browse all images donated by Izabella, visit the VRC's online image collection. Log in using your EID and select the "Advanced Search" option.  Search for "Izabella Dennis" in the Source Name field. 

Research Project Focus

E.1027

Photographs by Izabella Dennis

What prompted your visit to the E.1027? Did you travel there to document this project, or was it an incidental discovery?
I visited E.1027 as part of a seminar led by Professor Wilfried Wang about E.1027 and Eileen Gray. Originally, I had planned to explore and document the house, and to take paint samples from the bedroom to analyze and, ideally, identify the original 1929 paint color. Upon arriving, I was excited to see how the entire house functioned as a cohesive work of architecture and took samples from the entire interior in order to investigate the overall original color palette.
 
What was your overall impression of the place?
E.1027 caught me by surprise. The interior is compact and clever, and the architecture interacts seamlessly with its surroundings. The landscape and views of the Mediterranean were a spectacular backdrop for the study of the house. Gray's thoughtfulness, personal touch and attention to detail are evident throughout the building. I spent almost a week documenting and studying the house; actively experiencing the architecture gave me a deeper understanding of the original intentions and Gray as a designer.

What about this building did you find interesting? Did it exceed your expectations? Fall short?
I found the fixed furniture at E.1027 to be the most interesting. Every space in the house feels custom and efficiently used. It was also shocking to see how isolated the site was and to try to imagine how construction materials were transported and assembled.
To browse all images donated by Izabella, visit the VRC's online image collection. Log in using your EID and select the "Advanced Search" option.  Search for "Izabella Dennis" in the Source Name field. 
Izabella Dennis
E.1027
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France

Accession # 2016-0869
E.1027
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Accession # 2016-0872
E.1027
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Accession # 2016-0884
E.1027
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Accession # 2016-0877
E.1027
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Accession # 2016-0891
E.1027
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France

Accession # 2016-0880
E.1027
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Accession # 2016-0886
E.1027
Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France
Accession # 2016-0881
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Copyright © 2016 UTSOA Visual Resources Collection, All rights reserved.
v. 7, no. 4 (April 2016)

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