John Gaw Meem

Artist, Museum contractor
1894 – 1983
Functions, Occupations, and Activities
John Gaw Meem IV (November 17, 1894 – August 4, 1983) was an American architect based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is best known for his instrumental role in the development and popularization of the Pueblo Revival Style and as a proponent of architectural Regionalism in the face of international modernism. Meem is regarded as one of the most important and influential architects to have worked in New Mexico...Meem was born in 1894 in Pelotas, Brazil, the eldest child of parents who were missionaries of the Episcopal Church. In 1910 he traveled to the United States to attend Virginia Military Institute, where he obtained a degree in civil engineering...he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Like many other tuberculosis patients of his time, Meem decided to seek the cure in the dry desert climate of New Mexico. He arrived at the Sun Mount Sanatorium in Santa Fe in the spring of 1920. While at Sunmount, Meem gradually developed an interest in architecture...In 1922, having recovered sufficiently to spend time away from the sanatorium, he spent fifteen months working for the firm of Fisher & Fisher in Denver. In the evenings he attended the Atelier Denver, a studio affiliated with the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in New York. This constituted Meem's only formal training in architecture...Upon Meem's return to Sunmount in 1924, he and fellow patient Cassius McCormick opened their own architecture practice, using one of the sanatorium's spare buildings as a studio. Meem handled the design work, while McCormick managed the business side of the enterprise. Their first commission was the renovation and expansion of a house belonging to Hubert Galt, yet another fellow patient. Another of his earliest commissions was the home of Tex Austin at the Forked Lightning Ranch. The home is now part of the Pecos National Historic Park. More significant were his houses for Cyrus McCormick, Jr.and Amelia Hollenbeck. Both incorporated traditional adobe construction techniques and domestic typologies, later becoming models for dozens of "Santa Fe style" residences in the area...Meem achieved international recognition for the monumental Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, which is generally regarded as his masterpiece. It was while working on this project that he met his wife Faith, whom he married in 1933...Hugo Zehner, who had been with Meem since 1930, was promoted to partner in 1940. Another partner, Edward O. Holien, joined in 1944, making the firm Meem, Zehner, Holien and Associates...Meem's influence on the city of Santa Fe was manifold. Not only did he design a large number of the city's most memorable buildings, he also headed the committee which authored the 1957 Historical Zoning Ordinance. This influential law ensured that all future buildings in central Santa Fe would adhere to the vernacular idioms and materials of the old quarter. [Retrieved on 12/20/2017 from :]
Related person/organization
Florence Dibell Bartlett (worked with)