|Birth: ||Nov. 17, 1894|
Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
|Death: ||Aug. 4, 1983|
Santa Fe County
New Mexico, USA
Pueblo style revival architect-he died of cancer
Obituary - August 7, 1983 - Santa Fe - JOHN GAW MEEM, ARCHITECT WHO LED IN 'SANTA FE' STYLE
John Gaw Meem, a leading exponent of the ''Santa Fe style'' of architecture, died Thursday at St. Vincent Hospital in Santa Fe, N. M., one of the many buildings he designed throughout the American Southwest. He was 88 years old and lived in Santa Fe.
From 1924, when he set up shop in Santa Fe, to his retirement about 20 years ago, Mr. Meem became known regionally and nationally as an architect who used traditional Spanish Pueblo lines and building styles, carrying them out in both adobe and up-to- date materials.
He was also instrumental in 1958 in giving Santa Fe one of the country's first comprehensive zoning ordinances to preserve the distinctive look of the New Mexico state capital. As early as the 1920's he worked to restore the Spanish missions that dotted his part of the country, though many of them seemed about to fall apart then.
Mr. Meem was born in Pelotas in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, the son of an American Episcopalian missionary, John Gaw Meem 3d. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute in 1914 and served as a infantry captain in World War I.
He came to national attention when he won a 1930 competition with his designs for buildings at a museum and laboratory in Santa Fe to study American Indian life in the heart of the cliff- dweller region. The Laboratory of Anthropology got its start with funds donated by the Rockefellers.
Three years later the American Institute of Architecture named him to a national commission to plan and direct a civil works program. The program was set up by the Roosevelt Administration to provide employment for American architects.
Mr. Meem served as the architect of the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque from 1933 until his retirement, providing prize-winning designs for its Zimmerman Library and other major buildings in the New Mexico regional fashion. He also designed the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe.
Among his other contributions were the county court and Municipal Building in Santa Fe and the city's La Fonda Hotel and First Presbyterian Church.
Mr. Meem was consultant architect for the Santa Fe campus of St. John's College, which opened in 1964. In 1950, he oversaw a master plan from which the city zoning ordinance developed years later over the objections of real estate developers.
Mr. Meem is survived by his wife, the former Faith Bemis; a daughter, Nancy Meem Wirth of Atherton, Calif.; a brother, James, of Santa Fe; a sister, Lucy Vidal, of Rio de Janeiro;
and three grandsons.
Faith Bemis Meem (1902 - 1989)*
Specifically: The Episcopal Church of the Holy Faith, Santa Fe, NM wall east of the altar
Created by: Allegro con Brio
Record added: Jun 11, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 91749221
Added: Aug. 7, 2013
Added: Jun. 11, 2012