Yale University Library’s Manuscripts and Archives has acquired an archive of the career of architect Kevin Roche. Roche’s family has donated correspondence, project documentation, interviews, drawings, and photographs from the architectural firm of Kevin Roche John Dinkeloo and Associates (KRJDA) to cement the architect’s legacy. In addition to the archive at Yale, a legacy website for KRJDA has also launched.
Work on the archival project started in 2007. Robert A.M. Stern, then dean of the Yale School of Architecture, supported the project from the beginning. “The Kevin Roche archive is one of the most important resources for the study and appreciation of post-war architecture,” he noted in a press release “International in scope and brilliantly occupying the crossroads of corporate post-modernism, it documents the work of a major talent.”
Roche, who was born in Ireland, launched his architectural career working in the Michigan office of Eero Saarinen after Saarinen passed away in 1961. Roche moved east, then founded and led his own firm alongside John Dinkeloo, and completed many of Saarinen’s designs, among this the St. Louis Gateway Arch and the TWA Terminal at JFK Airport. Roche went on to win the Pritzker Prize in 1982. In 2021, following Roche’s death in 2019, the firm rebranded as Roche Modern and continues to operate from an office in Connecticut under the direction of Jerry Boryca and Eamon Roche, Kevin’s oldest son.
The archive includes 789 boxes of Roche’s personal and professional correspondence along with 954 drawing tubes, 64,000 4×5 transparencies, and over 88,000 35mm slides. Archivist Linda Scinto has been responsible for sifting through the materials and objects, cataloging, packaging, and transferring them. Scinto began working at KRJDA in 1997 as an interior designer and worked as Roche’s executive assistant from 2011 to 2019.
“It was an honor to be chosen by Kevin Roche to be the lead archivist on such a monumental project and I am delighted that people will be able to study the collection today and in the future,” Scinto said in a statement.
Among the items in the collection are drawings and plans for several corporate headquarters designed by KRJDA, including the Ford Foundation, Cummins, and ConocoPhillips, as well as a number of museum renovation projects, theaters, and university buildings.
Items in the archive are listed online by project name. They are physically stored at Yale University’s archive locations.)
In addition to the archive at Yale, the Roche family has also produced an archival website that highlights the history of the firm, the people who shaped it, and information on putting together the archive. It also showcases KRJDA’s portfolio with project imagery and building models.
“Speaking on behalf of my siblings we are delighted to have been able to fulfill our father’s commitment to form this comprehensive archive of KRJDA’s mid to late 20th Century architecture. We are so grateful for Bob Stern’s instigation of the effort in the first place, to Yale for their partnership and of course for the fifteen years of documentation and cataloging put forward by the team at KRJDA,” Eamon Roche said.
The completed archive and the new website follow an announcement last year that the architect’s family would reallocate the money received from Roche’s Pritzker Prize award to launch a scholarship program in the name of Roche and his wife Jane, who he met while working for Saarinen.