Viburnum Press Publishes Rapp & Rapp History

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Viburnum Press has released RAPP & RAPP Architects, the life and times of the Americans who built legendary and breathtaking 1920s movie palaces, created the Santa Fe pueblo revival style and developed pioneering applications of mid-20th century Modernism.

“The book is intended for both the general reader and architecture buffs,” according to publisher Jennifer Peterson. “It’s a complete accounting of the lives of the Rapp and Rapp architects and their work,” she said.

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The book’s author is Charles Ward Rapp, son of Mason G. Rapp, the last of the family architects who closed the Chicago firm in 1965. The author also curated and cataloged the Rapp & Rapp Archive, now part of the Chicago History Museum’s permanent collection.

“The two separate firms of Rapp architects and their father before them practiced for more than a century, each at the forefront of their industry,” said the author, “an amazing run by any measure.”

Most widely known of the two firms because of their elegant theatre designs was C. W. & Geo. L. Rapp, Architects, opened in Chicago in 1907 at the dawn of a movie industry they helped to shape. Likewise their brothers’ firm, I. H. & W. M. Rapp, Architects and Superintendents of Public Buildings, Trinidad, Colorado, 1891, helped shape the post-frontier Southwest with buildings in Colorado, New Mexico, California, Oklahoma and Texas.

Though they did much else, the Colorado Rapps’ best-known legacy remains the picturesque pueblo revival Santa Fe Style, characteristic of the city for which it is named.

Mason G. Rapp ran the Chicago firm Rapp & Rapp, Architects for 25 years from the 1940s through its closing. Always generalist commercial architects, Rapp & Rapp never left the specialty that time and history had given it, and in 1961 built Detroit’s New Fisher Theatre— a soft and elegant work of its time that changed the notion of what theatres should be, even influencing the course of today’s theatre design.

The book is available for sale on

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Jennifer Peterson
+1 (312) 375-6896
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Charles Ward Rapp
Rapp and Rapp Architects
since: 07/2014
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