Long before he died in 2008, the architect Ralph Rapson began working with the then-Curator of the Northwest Architectural Archives (NAA), Professor Al Lathrop, to ensure the establishment of the Ralph Rapson Papers here at the University.
Mr. Rapson's work can be seen every day for people working on the West Bank Campus of the University - Rarig Center is his design (the theater building), and his Cedar Square West high-rise apartments just received historic designation and a facelift. His Guthrie Theater building was recently demolished but still lives in memory as the place where many of us attended the first fabulous productions of the new theater company in the early 1960s.
Ralph Rapson, born in Michigan in 1914, began his architectural studies at the University of Michigan College of Architecture in 1938, moving to Cranbrook Academy of Art to study under Eliel Saarinen. He then joined Saarinen's architectural practice and added furniture design to his portfolio. His work combined all the arts in an interdisciplinary approach to architecture and design. When he became Dean of the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota (now the College of Design, or CDes) in 1954 he brought this approach to his teaching and mentoring.