Dr. Burak Erdim’s Architecture 590 course (Rebel Cities: Transatlantic Architectures of Activism, 1920 – Present) recently met with the Special Collections Research Center in order to view some original drawings created by the Polish modernist architect Matthew (Maciej) Nowicki as well as drawings by the architect William Henley Deitrick. The course traces the transatlantic exchanges in housing and planning ideas that emerged in response to the rise of the metropolis at the end of the nineteenth century. The students are studying east-west exchanges between cities; including, for example, Raleigh, North Carolina, and Chandigarh, India. Nowicki executed a number of drawings of the Dorton Arena and the surrounding fairgrounds in Raleigh in addition to collaborating with Albert Mayer in order to design (in India) the new capital city of Punjab, Chandigarh. Sadly, many of Nowicki’s architectural visions were never executed; he died tragically in a plane crash in 1950.
One architectural historian, Marta Urbanska, has referred to Nowicki as one of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, but she notes that he is not very well known. In an interview with the Krakow Post on September 6, 2010, she observed, “Nowicki received a commission which was at that time largely known and hyped in the international press as an architect’s dream. He was offered a fantastic opportunity to design an entirely new city – Chandigarh. Yet whilst the name of the city is very famous in the history of architecture, sadly it is now not directly associated with the name of Maciej Nowicki.”
To view the finding aid of Nowicki materials available at the Special Collections Research Center, go to: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/findingaids/mc00190
To learn more about Nowicki’s life and work, go to the North Carolina Architects and Builders online biographical dictionary: http://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/people/P000044
The North Carolina Architects and Builders website is an important resource for those studying North Carolina architecture, and is worth exploring: http://ncarchitects.lib.ncsu.edu/