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Flatow, Moore, Bryan & Fairburn job files

 Collection
Identifier: MSS-801-BC

Scope and Content

This collection provides a representation of projects completed by the architectural firm of Flatow, Moore, Bryan and Fairburn. Bound volumes, files of paper ephemera, photographs, and slides document designs for residential and commercial buildings in New Mexico, Colorado and Arizona. All were created between 1957 and 1984. Buildings represented from Albuquerque, N.M. include: the Biology Building Addition, University of New Mexico and a proposal for the University of New Mexico football stadium expansion project, the Rio Grande Swimming Pool, Rio Grande Park, Four Hundred and Ninety (490) unit housing on Kirtland Air Force Base, an addition to Central Methodist Church, an office building for Mr. Charles Fox, the Five Points Branch Bank of New Mexico, the Village Inn Pancake House, and the Christian Education Building for the First Presbyterian Church. The collection also includes: the Computer Building TA - 3, and the First Methodist Church sanctuary of Los Alamos, N.M. The First National Bank of Belen, Belen, N.M. The Rosenweig Center, Phoenix, Az. and the Towne Plaza Shopping Center, Durango, CO. The collection was donated on May 26, 1987 by Max Flatow's son Tobias, also an architect

Dates

  • 1957-1984
  • Majority of material found within 1959-1961

Creator

Language of Materials

English

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publications or distribution.

Biography / History

Max Flatow was the driving force behind this architectural firm. He obtained a degree in architectural engineering from the University of Texas in 1941. As a first lieutenant in the army, he initially worked for the Army Corp of Engineers, building air bases and other military facilities. In 1945, he moved to New Mexico as a member of a covert operation, now known as the Manhattan Project. Flatow designed buildings for research of the atom bomb, meeting with project leader Robert Oppenheimer during his involvement.

Flatow’s earliest partner in this architectural firm was Jason Moore. Like Flatow, Moore was licensed to practice architecture in 1940. Moore grew up in Denton, Texas, and in 1935, the two were roommates at the University of Texas in Austin. Flatow was best man at Moore’s wedding and Moore sang at Flatow’s. While they worked together as young men, World War II took them in separate directions. In 1947, Flatow opened an office in Albuquerque. Moore, who had served in the Navy, was teaching architecture at Texas A&M University by then, but he joined Flatow the following year as a partner.

Flatow’s architectural career spanned fifty years. Known for designing many prominent public buildings in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Flatow and Moore also drew plans for an extensive number of hospitals and technical facilities in the western portion of the United States. According to architect George Pearl, "Flatow and Moore did more than any other firm to break the tradition of dull, oversimplified Territorial architecture that had prevailed in Albuquerque through the late 1940s." Moore described the firm’s philosophy in 1990. "I’ve never thought that we had a signature. Each new building is a new creative process." Both men prided themselves on serving the needs of their clients. Late in his career, Moore took an interest in environmental issues, and was awarded the NMSA award for his design of an office building. Moore died in August of 2000.

Garlan Bryan, the firm’s chief executive officer and financial manager, said "the firm has been successful for so long because the players have very different talents and limitations." Byran joined the firm in 1947 as a draftsman and became a partner several years later. In the early days of the firm, the outgoing Flatow functioned as the public relations man; Moore, the designer; and Bryan, the manager. In 1985, Bryan was named "Architect of the Year" by the New Mexico Society of Architects. He was also recognized for his contributions to the construction industry with the "SIR Award" (an acronym for skill, integrity and responsibility), by the New Mexico Building Branch, Associated General Contractors (AGC).

Inspired by Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe, Flatow was a champion of the International School of Modernism. While some of his buildings were controversial, he gained respect for his exciting designs and staunch belief in architectural innovation. As a result, the Flatow firm’s modern approach promoted creative freedom, drawing many young designers, such as Bart Prince. They preferred Flatow’s design style, with its emphasis on clean lines and strong horizontals to the highly nostalgic work of John Gaw Meem.

Developing one of the largest firms in the state after the 1940’s, Flatow and Moore were instrumental in diversifying architectural styles in New Mexico. Flatow’s favorite architectural accomplishment was the College of Education Building on the University of New Mexico campus in Albuquerque. A bold contrast to the regions’ traditional Spanish-Pueblo Revival Style, Flatow created a stark, massive "curtain of glass" design, including a wall of contemporary colored glass.

A strong supporter of the arts, Max Flatow pushed for modern art sculptures, regional murals and parks for the downtown Albuquerque area. As an artist, Flatow found inspiration through his love of travel. Flatow retired in 1990 and his ink drawings, watercolor sketches and architectural abstracts reflected his many trips abroad. Flatow’s creative vitality continued to his death on July 15, 2003, at the age of 87. George Pearl asserted that Flatow "was the predominant champion of [the] international school of modernism in New Mexico. He primarily introduced the doctrines of modernism and for decades he and his associates practiced with something like religious zeal." Flatow’s belief in teamwork contributed to the overall success of his firm, located at 1840 Lomas Boulevard NE in Albuquerque. Along with several other partners, Tobias Flatow and John Moore bought the firm in 1984 from their fathers. The firm closed its doors in October of 2002.

Extent

3 boxes (3 cu. ft.)

Abstract

The Flatow, Moore, Bryan & Fairburn Job Files consist of job files and papers for residential and commercial architectural projects in New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.

Related Archival Material

Flatow, Moore and Associates Architectural Drawings and Plans. Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico. George S. Wright Architectural Drawings and Plans, Center for Southwest Research, University of New Mexico.

Processing Information

Processed December 2007
Title
Finding Aid of the Flatow, Moore, Bryan & Fairburn job files, 1957-1984
Status
Edited Full Draft
Author
Jane Sinclair
Date
© 2008
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

Contact:
University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131
505-277-6451