Neil LaMonte Astle (1933-2000), Architect

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Omaha, Nebraska, 1965-1981; and Salt Lake City, Utah, 1981-1999


DBA: Neil Astle Associates; Neil Astle & Associates; Astle Ericson & Associates

Neil Astle was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 14, 1933 to Ann Stam and Lehi Sam Astle. [25] He received his Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Utah in 1955, a Bachelors of Architecture from Utah in 1958, and his Masters of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1959.[16][19][21]

Astle was associated with numerous Utah architectural firms prior to moving east to practice and to teach, and designed many well-known buildings in Utah during the final years of his career. These included works at his alma mater, the University of Utah, and the campuses of Weber State University, Salt Lake City College, and Snow College. Among notable Nebraska works are his own house, the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, the Benedictine Monastery, and the Mormon Trail Center.[1][17] His work was frequently cited in publications and news articles, many of which are noted below.

In the 60s, Astle came to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln where he spent many years in different professor and program directing positions. While in Nebraska, Astle started his own firm, Neil Astle & Associates, Architects, a firm that soon employed Nebraskan architect Ronald G. Ericson. In 1978, the firm changed its name to include Ericson, becoming Astle Ericson & Associates, Architects, the firm that Astle would continue to work under as he moved back to Utah and did country-wide projects until 1999.[21]

Astle’s work often received peer recognition. In 1999, the Utah Society of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) presented him with the Lifetime Achievement Award, "the highest award given to a retired architect, who during his years of practice and service to the community has contributed a body of high quality work that has left a lasting legacy and a positive impact upon those who use it." Astle was the first person to receive the award.[1][21] Among many other awards over the course of his career, Astle received the Harry F. Cunningham Gold Medal for Architectural Excellence in the State of Nebraska, the highest award of the Nebraska AIA, posthumously in 2008.[17]

Astle was also a professor of architecture at the Rhode Island School of Design, as well as the University of Nebraska. He was married to Claudia Pomeroy in 1954, and later divorced. He had four children and ten grandchildren at the time of his death on March 13, 2000 in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the age of 66.[1][21][25]

See the Utah Center for Architecture, Utah Architects Project page, for the definitive work on Astle.[21]

This page is a contribution to the publication, Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. See the format and contents page for more information on the compilation and page organization.

Compiled Nebraska Directory Listings

Sarpy County, 1963-1966; Omaha, Nebraska, 1961-1977; Omaha, Nebraska Area Telephone Books, 1962-1967

Educational & Professional Associations

ca. 1950: Granite High School, Salt Lake City, Utah. [24]

1955: Bachelor of Fine Arts, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. [16][19][23]

1956-1957: with Donald Panushka, Architect, Salt Lake City, Utah.[19]

1957: with Glen R. Swenson, Architect, Salt Lake City, Utah.[19]

1957: with Lowell E. Parrish, Architect, Salt Lake City, Utah.[19]

1957-1958: with Stephen L MacDonald, Architect, Salt Lake City, Utah.[19]

1958: Bachelor of Architecture, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah.[16][19][23]

1958-1959: Masters of Architecture, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.[16][19][23]

1958-1959: with D. R. McMullin, Architect, Cambridge, Massachusetts.[19]

1959-1960: with Lemoine & Nicolatus, Architects, Salt Lake City, Utah.[19]

1960: with H. K. Beecher & Associates, Architects, Salt Lake City, Utah.[19]

1961-1962: civil engineer with U. S. Air Force, Albany, Georgia.[19]

1962: Registered Professional Architect, Florida.[19][23]

1962-1963: architect, U. S. Air Force, Omaha, Nebraska.[19][24][27][a]

1963-1965: Assistant Professor of Architecture, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island.[16][19][24]

1963-1965: architect, Robinson, Greene & Beretta, Architects, Providence, Rhode Island.[19]

1964: Registered Professional Architect, NCARB.[19]

1965: Registered Professional Architect, Nebraska, A-690. November 19, 1965.[19][23][18]][d]

1965-1968: architect, Steele, Weinstein & Associates, Omaha, Nebraska.[19][23][27][c]

1965-1973: associate professor of architecture, visiting lecturer and critic, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.[16][17][19][21][23][24][27]

1968-1973: Neil Astle, Architect, Omaha, Nebraska. [18][d]

1972: faculty, Community Design Studio, Omaha, Nebraska.[27][g]

1973-1976: Director of Urban Programs (Omaha), University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.[17][21]

1973-1977: Neil Astle & Associates, Omaha, Nebraska.[b]

1977-1981: president, Astle Ericson & Associates, Omaha, Nebraska.[f]

1979: professor of graduate design, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, Nebraska.[21]

1981-1999: president, Astle Ericson & Associates, Salt Lake City, Utah and Omaha, Nebraska.[e]

1983: named Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.[17]

Nebraska & Vicinity Principal Works

DM201304 424 11w.jpg
Neil L. Astle house (1968-1969)
DM201304 220 11w.jpg
First National Bank (n.d.)
DM201305 200 11w.jpg
Dr. and Mrs. R. L. Tollefson house (1971)

From 1965-1968 Astle was an architect with Steele, Weinstein & Associates, in Omaha, a firm he was also associated with in 1962-1963. He is known to have been the principal designer for some of the firm's projects while he was employed there. Since he was working as an architect with the Air Force from 1962-1963, he must have been moonlighting for Steele's firm during that early period.

Behlen Laboratory of Physics (1962-1965), University of Nebraska City Campus, Lincoln, Nebraska.[27][a][i]

Karen Western Elementary School (b. 1964), Ralston, Nebraska. [26][j]

Mockingbird Elementary School (b. 1965), Ralston, Nebraska.[26]|[i]

Epworth Methodist Church (n.d.), Council Bluffs, Iowa.[26][j]

All Saints Episcopal Church (n.d.), Omaha, Nebraska.[26][k]

Broadway Methodist Church Remodeling (n.d.), Council Bluffs, Iowa.[26][j]

Learning Center for Hastings High School (n.d.), Hastings, Nebraska.[26][h]

Astle formed his own practice in 1968, working alone until 1973.

Neil L. Astle house (1968-1969), 10906 Bel Air Drive, Omaha, Nebraska.[5][9][13][14][16][18][20][22][30:155]

Flansburg house (1969), 2205 S 11th, Omaha, Nebraska.[14][18][20][22][30:157][31:110-111]

Dr. and Mrs. R. L. Tollefson house (1971), Wausa, Nebraska.[4][12][14][17][20][21][22][26]

In 1973 Astle took on associates, practicing until 1977 as Neil Astle & Associates, Architects.

Milltown Village (1974), 108th & Seward, Omaha, Nebraska.[14][17][20][22][26]

Echo Park (n.d.), Missouri River bluffs, Council Bluffs, Iowa.[26]

Myott Park Housing (1974-1975), 6636 N 51st Plaza, Omaha, Nebraska.[10][14][20][21][22][26][30:177]

Dale and Sylvia Ball house (1975), 2525 S 95th St, Omaha, Nebraska.[6][8][14][20][21][22][30:161]

Dr. and Mrs. U. John Collignon house (1975), Council Bluffs, Iowa [11][20][22][26]

Midlands Mall [Omni Center] (1975), 300 West Broadway #1, Council Bluffs, Iowa [7][19][20][21][22][26][28]

Morehead house (1977), Falls City, Nebraska.[14][20][21][22]

In 1977 Astle formed a partnership with Ronald G. Ericson, practicing as Astle Ericson & Associates, Architects, in Omaha. In 1981 he relocated to Salt Lake City, opening a branch office of the firm there.

Christ the King Priory, St. Benedict Center (1979), 1123 Road I, Schuyler, Nebraska.[17][21]

DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center (1980-1981), 1434 316th Lane, Missouri Valley, Iowa.[17][21]

Benedictine Mission House (1991) 1123 Road I, Schuyler, Nebraska.[21][29]

The Museum of Danish America (1991), 2212 Washington Street, Elk Horn, Iowa.[21]

Mormon Trail Center (1996-1997), 3215 State St, Omaha, Nebraska.[1]

Undated Projects

First National Bank (n.d.), West Broadway Facility, Council Bluffs, Iowa.[26]

Earring Shop (n.d.).[20]

Crayne Candy Shop (n.d.).[20]

Stafford Residence (n.d.).[20]

Sallye's Town & Country Women's Shop (n.d.).[20]

Honors & Awards

Dated

1963: First Prize, Region 6, National School Fallout Shelter Design Competition.

1963: First place for Elementary School Design, Department of Defense.[18][22][26]

1964: Second place for Shopping Center Design, Department of Defense, Region 1.[18][22]

1968: Nebraska Chapter AIA Honor Award for Astle Residence, Omaha, Nebraska.[18][20]

1969: Nebraska Chapter AIA Merit Award for Flansberg Residence.[18][20]

1983: Fellow, American Institute of Architects.[17]

2008: Posthumous recipient, AIA Nebraska, Cunningham Gold Medal.[17]


Undated

First place in A.P.A. National Competition for Design of Therapeutic Community.[18]

First Honor Award, American Institute of Architects, Ball Residence.[20]

Honors Award, American Institute of Architects, Morehead Residence.[20]

Honors Award, American Institute of Architects, Milltown Village.[20]

Regional Award, American Institute of Architects, Collignon Residence.[20]

Design Award, American Institute of Architects, Earring Shop.[20]

Honors Award, American Institute of Architects, Tollefson Residence.[20]

Regional First Honor Awards, American Institute of Architects, Midlands Mall.[20]

Design Award, American Institute of Architects, Crayne Candy Shop.[20]

Regional Awards, American Institute of Architects, Stafford Residence.[20]

Design Award, American Institute of Architects, Sallye's Women's Shop.[20]

Notes

a. Astle's Nebraska license application, as published by the Board in 2004, and his Fellowship application state that he was with Steele, Weinstein & Associates, Architects these same years.[19][24] The Omaha directory and phone book confirm the U.S. Air Force association during this period. We acknowledge the possibility he moonlighted the civilian job while with the Air Force, particularly as he is believed to have been the principal designer for the Behlen Laboratory of Physics at the University of Nebraska, which project dates are 1962-1965.[27] Also see the Steele, Weinstein & Associates page.

b. Omaha directories list the firm as Neil Astle Associates from 1973-1975.

c. The dates here, derived from Astle's AIA membership application, are also supported by the Omaha City and Telephone Directories for 1966-1968.[23]

d. The 1970 AIA Directory states that Astle established his own practice in Omaha in 1968.[18] His Nebraska license application, on the other hand, gave the date 1964.[19]

e. Astle transferred his AIA membership from Omaha to Salt Lake City in 1981, opening a branch office of Astle Ericson & Associates, Architects there at the same time. [24]

f. The 1977 date of the Schluntz publication suggests that Astle Ericson & Associates was in existence by 1977.[22] The first Omaha directory listing was 1978.

g. The Community Design Studio was a venture that was "jointly sponsored by the Omaha AIA group and the College of Architecture, intended to provide pro bono design services to people, primarily small businesses in north Omaha; the Center was in rented space on North 24th Street." Architecture students would travel by van to Omaha for their studio class sessions each week.[27]

h. Steele, Weinstein & Associates were the architects; Charles H. Morton was the principal designer on these projects.[26]

i. Steele, Weinstein & Associates were the architects; Astle is thought to have been the principal designer.[27]

j. Steele, Weinstein & Associates were the architects; Astle and Charles H. Morton were principal designers while employed with the firm.[26]

k. Steele, Weinstein & Associates were the architects; Charles H. Morton was the principal designer and Astle "was also involved in the design development" while the two were employed with the firm.[26]

References

1. Vicki Speek, “Neil L. Astle,” News about Mormons, Mormonism, and the LDS Church (Mormon-News, March 21, 2000) [Summary of articles from the Salt Lake Tribune (March 15, 2002), 2, and the Lincoln Journal-Star (March 15, 2000): 2.] Accessed February 7, 2003, <http://www.mormonstoday.com/000319/P2Astle01.shtml>

2. "Prominent LDS Architect Neil Astle Dies," Lincoln Journal Star (March 15, 2000), 2.

3. Frank Israel, "Architecture: Neil Astle," Architectural Digest 35:6 (July- August 1978), 66-73.

4. Editors of Architectural Record, The Architectural Record Book of Vacation Houses (New York: American Heritage Press, 1970).

5. H. W Janson, 19th and 20th Century Art (1970), Plate 414.

6. “Vaulted Skylights Create Corridors of Sun,” House Beautiful’s Building Manual (Spring-Summer 1978).

7. Judy Sutcliffe, “The Miracle of Midlands Mall,” The Iowan (Summer 1977).

8. “Ball Residence, Omaha, Nebraska, Neil Astle, Architect,” Architectural Record 157 (May 1977).

9. Alan C. Borg, “Building a House Can Be Like Child’s Play,” American Home 71 (April 1968).

10. David Morton, “Astle’s Castle,” Progressive Architecture 56 (October 1975), 70-73.

11. [Jim Murphy], “Collignon Residence: New Priorities,” Progressive Architecture 53 (May 1972).

12. “Record Houses of 1972,” Architectural Record 152 (1972).

13. “Nailed Scantling Technique,” Progressive Architecture 49 (May 1968).

14. Homer L. Puderbaugh, H. Keith Sawyers, Steve Eveans, and James Pearce, New Architecture in Nebraska (Omaha: Nebraska Society of Architects, 1977).

15. “Case History Report, Shopping Malls: Reinforced Concrete Creates Versatile Shopping Mall,” (Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, 1978).

16. Neil Astle, “It seems contradictory…,” Prelim (student publication of the School of Architecture, University of Nebraska), 3:1 (Spring 1969). [detailed narrative concerning the design and construction of his own house in Omaha].

17. “Astle to Receive Gold Medal,” The Nebraska Architect CXXVII (August 22, 2008). Accessed September 26, 2008. http://www.aiane.org/newsletter/20080822.htm#content852

18. The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects, s.v. “Astle, Neil Lamonte,” (ahd1001408) Accessed March 8, 2017. http://public.aia.org/sites/hdoaa/wiki

19. “From the Files: Neil LaMonte Astle,” The Nebraska Professional (October 2004), 5.

20. Astle Ericson Design Awards [bound booklet, undated].

21. "Neil Lamonte Astle," Utah Center for Architecture (2012-2016). Accessed March 7, 2017. http://utahcfa.org/architect/neil-lamonte-astle

22. "Astle Ericson Publications" Architecture Nebraska (Lincoln: Schluntz Publication, 1977). Spiral bound book in NSHS file.

23. Astle, Neil L., Corporate Membership Files, The American Institute of Architects Archives, The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects, s.v. “Astle, Neil L.,” (ahd1001408) Accessed March 14, 2017. http://public.aia.org/sites/hdoaa/wiki

24. Astle, Neil L., Fellowship Nomination Files, The American Institute of Architects Archives, The AIA Historical Directory of American Architects, s.v. “Astle, Neil L.,” (ahd1001408) Accessed March 14, 2017. http://public.aia.org/sites/hdoaa/wiki

25. “Obituary: Neil L. Astle, FAIA,” Deseret News (March 14, 2000) Accessed March 9, 2017. http://www.deseretnews.com/article/749091/Obituary-Neil-L-Astle-FAIA.html?pg=all

26. Neil Astle & Associates, Suite 414, Univac Building, Omaha, Nebraska, 68106, Architecture & Planning, 7100 West Center Road, Telephone 402 393 9788. (Omaha: Neil Astle & Associates, [ca. 1977]). [Individual project booklets and pages in folding box set]

27. Gordon Scholz, University of Nebraska, "Neil Astle at the college," email communications with D. Murphy, Nebraska State Historical Society, March 22-March 26, 2017. Scholz was one of Astle's students at Nebraska, and later worked for him at his Omaha office.

28. Jim Murphy, "Midlands Transplant: Midlands Mall, Council Bluffs, Ia," Progressive Architecture (December 1978): 60-63.

29. Jim Murphy, "Of the Fields: Benedictine Mission House, Schuyler, Ne," Progressive Architecture (March 1981): 104-108.

30. Steve Eveans, et al., New Architecture in Nebraska (American Society of Architects, Omaha, Nebraska: 1977).

31. Jeff Barnes, 150@150: Nebraska's Landmark Buildings at the State's Sesquicentennial (Architectural Foundation of Nebraska, 2017).

Page Citation

D. Murphy, “Neil LaMonte Astle (1933-2000), Architect,” in David Murphy, Edward F. Zimmer, and Lynn Meyer, comps. Place Makers of Nebraska: The Architects. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, March 28, 2017. http://www.e-nebraskahistory.org/index.php?title=Place_Makers_of_Nebraska:_The_Architects Accessed, November 29, 2020.


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