Rufus Nims Architectural Drawings
Scope and Content
The collection consists primarily of architectural drawings created by Rufus Nims, as well as sketches, photos, newspaper clippings, articles, notes and other papers. The drawings include plans for residences and buildings in Florida, Louisiana, New York, Costa Rica, and several countries in the Caribbean, among other locations. South Florida cities such as Miami, Key Biscayne, and Coconut Grove are well represented. The collection also includes a small amount of material on the motel and hotel designs for Howard Johnson, Marriott, and other corporations.
The collection also contains AV materials, including a large number of audio cassettes for many of Nim's projects. The audio cassette tapes all appear to date from June 2005 and appear to be audio recordings, Rufus Nims recorded concerning his recollections about the projects he worked on. Also, included are a few VHS tapes of interviews conducted with Nims.
- Nims, Rufus, 1913-2005. (Person)
The collection is open for research.
Architect Rufus Nims was born in Pensacola, Florida, in 1913. He graduated from North Carolina State in 1934 with a degree in architectural engineering. He worked in twenty-five states and twelve foreign countries throughout his career. He is best known for his work with the Howard Johnson hotels and restaurants, and his residential work in South Florida and the Caribbean. Nims opened his firm in Miami in 1945 and was one of a handful of architects who defined the modern tropical house following World War II before the widespread use of central air-conditioning. Connection to the natural environment was of utmost importance for the architect, as he would even turn down potential clients who did not care whether they were living in Florida or New Jersey. Nims challenged the traditional Spanish and Mediterranean design principles found in South Florida at the time by experimenting with building materials, construction technologies, and house structures. His prolific body of work won him over eighteen national and international awards including: American Institute of Architects awards (1958, 1975), House and Home Award of Merit (1958), Progressive Architecture: Salaven Design Award (1956), and the Original Progressive Architecture Award (1958). Nims died at the age of 90 in 2005.
21 Linear feet (27 Boxes; 42 Flat Files)
Language of Materials
Architectural drawings created by South Florida architect Rufus Nims. These include plans for residences and buildings in Florida, Louisiana, New York, Costa Rica, and several countries in the Caribbean. The collection also includes motel and hotel designs for Howard Johnson, Marriott, and other corporations. Also, included is AV material concerning Nim's projects.
University of Florida Smathers Library Building
The collection was donated February 2004 by Rufus Nims, with the assistance of Martha Kohen, former director of the University of Florida School of Architecture. A second donation from the Nims family occurred in October 2010. A third donation occurred in 2021.
The collection acquired in 2004 originally consisted almost entirely of architectural drawings. These drawings can be found in boxes 1-18. Also included were a very small amount of news clippings, photos and other papers. Each of the projects represented in the 2004 materials was assigned a project number, and a Projects List was created in Microsoft Excel format at https://www.uflib.ufl.edu/findingaids/Supplements/msgroup177.xlsx. In addition, a detailed list of each item was created during the initial processing of the 2004 collection, and this early detailed inventory is available in Microsoft Word format at https://www.uflib.ufl.edu/findingaids/Supplements/msgroup177.pdf.
The materials acquired in 2010 included drawings and a large number of photos, sketches, news clippings, articles, and miscellaneous papers. Rolled drawings from this acquisition can be found in boxes 19-20, and flat drawings or oversize project photos and papers are stored in flat files (not in boxes). All other 2010 materials are stored in boxes 21-24. The small amount of news clippings, photos and other papers that had been acquired in 2004 have been interfiled with these 2010 materials. Please note that project numbers have not been assigned to the 2010 materials and the project list created in 2004 has not been revised.
The materials acquired in 2021 included drawings and a small number of photos, articles, awards, and miscellaneous papers. Rolled drawings from this acquisition can be found in boxes 25-26, and flat drawings or oversize project photos and papers are stored in flat files or at the end of box 23 and 24. Please note that project numbers have not been assigned to the 2021 materials and the project list created in 2004 has not been revised. Also included is the new AV series.
- A Guide to the Rufus Nims Architectural Drawings
- Finding aid prepared by John R. Nemmers
- November 2004 (Updated February 2022)
- Description rules
- Finding Aid Prepared Using Dacs
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is written in English.
Part of the Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida Repository
George A. Smathers Libraries
PO Box 117005
Gainesville Florida 32611-7005 United States of America