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Walter Koellein Vivrett papers

Identifier: ua-00479

Scope and Content

The papers of Walter Vivrett are dedicated almost entirely to his work, research, and publications regarding housing for the elderly and the Minnesota Experimental City (MXC) project. As a known leader in the area of housing for the elderly, Vivrett's papers include article and abstracts authored by others regarding this issue (1949-1969), his own publications (1956-1963), and research on the aged (1950s). Twelve folders of papers (1967-1978) regarding the project document his involvement in MXC.

These papers seem incomplete. Vivrett's personal correspondence folders (1950s-1970s) only cover letters C-W, with no mention of where the other folders may be.


  • 1949-1978
  • (bulk 1952-1968)


Language of Materials


Use of Materials

Items in this collection do not circulate and may be used in-house only.


Researchers may quote from the collection under the fair use provision of the copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code). Requests to publish should be arranged with the University of Minnesota Archives.

Biographical Sketch of Walter K. Vivrett (1915-1979)

Walter Koellein Vivrett was a member of the faculty of the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota for 30 years, and at the time of his death, he was director of Graduate Studies. During World War II, he served with the Army Corp of Engineers. Upon his return, he received a B.S. in Architecture from the University of Illinois in 1947, and went on to Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his Masters degree. He taught for one year at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, before coming to Minnesota in 1949.

Vivrett was a well-known authority on housing of the aged and served on a number of committees studying this problem. He was director of a three-year research project on housing and care facilities for the aging financed by the Hill Foundation. He served as an advisor on housing for the elderly to the FHA. He was a member of the advisory committee on housing for the elderly for the Housing and Home Finance Agency. He served as Technical Director for the White House Conference on Aging, and was a member of the Senior Services Housing and Living Arrangements Committee, Community Health and Welfare Council, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Vivrett was one of the founding members of Minnesota Experimental City (MXC), and served as its director during its early years (1965-1970). He continued to do research on MXC until his death. MXC was a new town project that was to be located in central Minnesota, south of Grand Rapids. MXC was to be a self-contained entity, serving as a living laboratory for the most advanced ideas in urban planning. For various reasons this project never became a reality, and was finally abandoned in the mid-1970s.

In 1978, Professor Vivrett was awarded a special citation for his contributions to architectural education by the Minnesota Society AIA. He served on many committees including: the American Institute of Architects, the National Architectural Accrediting Board, the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture, the American Institute of Planners, and the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards.

After a nine-year battle with Parkinson's disease, Vivrett died in Nashville Tennessee in 1979 at the age of 63.


3.75 Cubic Feet (3 boxes)


This collections contains personal and professional papers Walter Vivrett, professor of architecture at the University of Minnesota. .


The collection was not well organized when received and gaps are evident. Arranged alphabetically, the collection spans in date from 1949 to 1978, with the bulk of the material falling between 1952 to 1968.

Source of acquisition

The collection was deposited in University Archives on July 26, 1988.

Inventory of the Walter Koellein Vivrett papers, 1950-1978
Archives Staff; updated by Karen Spilman
Updated April 2004
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Collecting Area Details

Contact The University Archives Collecting Area