- 1980-2009 (Creation)
Level of description
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3.03 m of records [textual, graphic, architectural drawings, publications]
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Professor Richards was lured to the University of Toronto in 1980 by the new Dean, Blanche van Ginkel, who had earlier recruited several new young faculty members, including Alberto Perez Gomez and Daniel Libeskind. Both had left by the time Richards arrived and he soon found out why. He “walked into a rat’s nest of warring factions. The inflexible ideologues, led by Prof. Peter Pragnell, were totally closed to student and younger faculty’s interests in post-modernism.” Richards soon became disillusioned and found reward only through the new ‘Introduction to Architecture’ course he developed and taught at University College. He also co-ordinated the 1980-1981 fourth-year core programme and (with Michael Kirkland) the fall 1981 studio in Venice . After a year he left Toronto for the position of associate professor in the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo.
Although Professor Richards maintained contact with the University of Toronto (he withdrew his candidacy for the deanship in 1985) and actually moved from Waterloo to Toronto in 1990, it was not until January 1997 that he returned to the Faculty, this time as dean, an appointment that was to last 7 ½ years. “He led a division of 22 core and 48 part-time faculty, 20 staff, and 275 graduate students, which offers three degree programs: a professional Master of Architecture, a professional Master of Landscape Architecture, and a post-professional Master of Urban Design…He gained approvals for and implemented two long-range academic plans, the 2000 PLAN and the 2004 PLAN, leading to the reinvigoration of the creative life of the school. His accomplishments included facilitating the incremental renovation of the building at 230 College Street by leading Toronto architects and establishing the Faculty’s first endowed chair, The Frank Gehry International Visiting Chair in Architectural Design, launched in 2003. He established the Faculty’s first Advancement Office and raised more than $8-million in new funding through the division’s “Design the Future” campaign. [He also]…played a key role in assisting the University with architect selection processes for major projects on its three campuses.”  On the St. George campus three significant buildings by international architects were erected: the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Bimolecular Research (Alliance + Behnisch Architekten), the Leslie L. Dan Pharmacy Building (Norman Foster) and Graduate House (Morphosis, Thom Mayne).
The earliest records in the series consist of correspondence, memoranda, reports and associated material documenting Professor Richards’ stint as assistant professor in 1980-1981; the files cover the activities mentioned above. There are also files on the 1985 search for a dean and the attempt to close the School, followed by several on Richards’ appointment as dean. Files are then arranged in descending order of hierarchy, beginning with the Governing Council, its Physical Planning and Design Advisory Committee’s campus planning initiatives (concerning, especially, Graduate House), and meetings of principals, deans, academic directors and chairs. Except for the above committees, those mentioned in Professor Richards’ curriculum vitae are largely absent from this series.
The records of the School/Faculty from 1997-2007 include correspondence; Richards’ activities and his reports; budgets, the 2000 and 2004 long-range plans, and fundraising initiatives. There are files on the restructuring of courses and the renaming and repositioning of the School (using, in part, the expertise of designer Bruce Mau) and the renovations to 230 College Street (the Shore Moffatt Library and the Eric Arthur Gallery). Richards kept extensive files on trips to Japan, Hong Kong and China relating to the Faculty’s ‘Designs for Living’ cultural exchange project. The series concludes with files on the creation of the Gehry Chair; courses taught; lecture series; exhibitions; and publicity. The files on the courses taught contain course outlines, assignments, tests, examination questions, and some lectures.
 Personal communication from Larry Richards, 23 July 2009
 Drawn from Professor Richard’s curriculum vitae (June 2004), p. 3.