After two decades at the helm of UC Berkeley’s Environmental Design Archives, during which she more than tripled its holdings by acquiring the collections of a hundred-plus designers, Waverly Lowell is gearing up for retirement.
As the archives’ curator since 1998, Lowell arranged several exhibitions in Wurster Hall and placed important pieces from the collection in major museum exhibitions.
The displays included the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s Pacific Standard Time exhibit, California Design: 1930-1965, Living in a Modern Way (2011); The Getty Center exhibition Overdrive: L.A. Constructs the Future, 1940-1990 (2013); and Toyo Ito, SANAA, and Beyond at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (2016).
“The best part of what I do is meeting the people,” Lowell said. “That’s what I love. I was trained as a social historian, so what interests me is not just the beautiful drawings, but who are these people? Who are the designers, who are architects? What is their story about?”
There is more about the archives in the spring issue of the College of Environmental Design’s alumni magazine, Framework.