Scope and Contents
Correspondence, photographs, architectural drawings, notes, syllabi and ephemera created or collected by Anderson Todd, FAIA, during the course of his academic career at Rice University and his architectural practice in Houston, Texas.
Conditions Governing Access
This material is open for research except for the Dean Search materials in box 5, folder 13, closed for 35 years from date of creation (until 2013). Stored off-site at the Library Service Center. Please request this material via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713-348-2586.
Conditions Governing Use
Permission to publish from this material must be facilitated through the Woodson Research Center, Fondren Library, Rice University.
Biographical / Historical
Anderson Todd was born October 22, 1921. A formative experience in his youth was that at the age of 13, he spent four months sailing and learning navigation on the battleship USS Idaho, which was commanded by his father, Rear Admiral Forde Anderson Todd. From 1939 to 1943 he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture at Princeton University. He then served in World War II, commanding convoys in the South Atlantic. After the war he returned to Princeton, where he remained until 1949, earning a Master of Fine Arts degree in Architecture and serving as a Fellow.
In 1949 Todd was recruited by William Ward Watkin, the first professor of architecture at Rice University (then the Rice Institute) to assume a teaching position at Rice. He devoted his entire teaching career to this institution, advancing from instructor to assistant professor in 1952, to associate professor in 1956, and to full professor in 1966. In 1969 he took over the duties of Architecture School Director from William W. Caudill, who had headed the school since 1961. In 1978 he was appointed to the endowed chair the Gus Sessions Wortham Professorship in Architecture. Todd’s effectiveness as a teacher was recognized by his being among winners of the university-wide George R. Brown Award for Excellence in Teaching (1968).
Among Todd’s accomplishments as an administrator of the school was development of the preceptorship program to be a student’s year away from campus working in an established, selective architectural firm. He also started Rice’s Qualifying Graduate Workshop, a program that enables students with no undergraduate training in architecture to learn the essential skills quickly and then enter the graduate program, eventually receiving a Master of Architecture degree.
Todd’s personal accomplishments as an architect include serving as architectural design consultant for the Ford Foundation’s Chilean Communities Facilities Program (1963-64); being a planning consultant for Duke University and Southern Colorado State College (1963-65); working as a partner in Todd Tackett Lacy, Architects and Planning Consultants (1964-69);having his own firm, Anderson Todd, FAIA (1969-72); and being a partner in the office of Anderson Todd, FAIA, and William T. Cannady, AIA. He was elected to Fellowship in the American Institute of Architecture in 1972. His award-winning projects include, in 1966, for the design of his personal residence, an Honor Award from the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects; two Honor Awards from the Houston Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1968, one for the design of Houston Fire Station 59, and the other for the Geophysical Laboratory of Superior Oil Company; from the Texas Society of Architects in 1975, the Honor Award for design of the Brochstein House (with Raymond Brochstein and William T. Cannady); and in 1976 from the Texas Society of Architects the Award of Merit for design of the Children’s Mental Health Services of Houston (with William T. Cannady). The Superior Oil Company Geophysical Laboratory was also selected as one of fifteen nationwide winners of the “Architectural Award of Excellence for 1968” by the American Institute of Steel Construction.
A significant contribution made by Todd to the civic life of Houston came about when he was a member of the Board of Trustees of the Museum of Fine Arts. He had long admired the style and design principles of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), and he was instrumental in bringing Mies to Houston to design the 1958 addition to the museum. Todd said, “He was like any other good architect when I recommended him. The museum collection at that time was of high quality but low quantity. We had to rely on visiting exhibitions, so we needed a very flexible space within the rigid structure of the museum. Mies had a free way of handling space, and I found it sympatico.”
On October 22, 2011, Todd turned 90. The evening before, a grand dinner was held at Rice University in celebration and honor of his life and work. He died peacefully at home on December 21, 2018.