Donald Siegfried Nelson (1907-1992)


Nelson, Donald Siegfried

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    AIA notified of decease 1/6/1992
Occupation:    American architect
Location (state):    TX; LA

This record has not been verified for accuracy.

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1941-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1954

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Address listed in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1970 American Architects Directory
Biographical information:
Contributed by the Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas:
Donald S. Nelson was born in Chicago and received a bachelor of architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1927. In addition, he studied at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts at Fountainebleu in 1925 and received the Paris Prize from the Society of Beaux Arts Architects in 1927 that enabled him to study for three years in Paris. In 1929, he joined the Chicago firm of Bennett, Parsons, and Frost where he participated in the design of the 1933 Chicago Century of Progress Exposition. Nelson designed the United States Government Building as well as many of the corporation buildings at the Chicago fair.
In 1935, he was hired by George L. Dahl, chief architect of the Texas Centennial Fair. After the completion of Fair Park in 1937, Nelson remained in Dallas and established a private practice from 1937 to 1940. He was selected by the Federal Fine Arts Commission to be the architect for the federal memorials for the Texas Centennial. He was also associate architect with W.W. Ahlschlager on the Mercantile National Bank of Dallas (1940-1942). During World War II, he served as Chief of Planning and Design for the United States Army Air Force in Washington, D.C. from 1942 to 1946.
In 1946, the firm of Broad and Nelson was established. Nelson successfully made the transition from the Beaux-Arts style to Modernism after World War II. Among his larger commissions for commercial and public buildings are: the Dallas Mercantile Bank Complex (1940-47); the Texas Memorial Grand Lodge Temple in Waco (1950); the Dallas County Government Center (1969); the Scottish Rite Library and Museum in Waco (1969); and the Experimental Science Building at The University of Texas (1951). Nelson was noted for his ability to integrate the other fine arts into the design of his buildings.
Nelson received numerous design awards at both the state and national level. He served as president of the Dallas Chapter of the American Institute of Architects in 1956 and as secretary-treasurer of the Texas Architecture Foundation from 1950 to 1954. Nelson was made a Fellow in the American Institute of Architects in 1954.

Related Records

Broad and Nelson (firm)

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file may contain membership application, Fellowship nomination, related correspondence. Contact the AIA Archives at archives@aia.org for further information.
Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas
Donald S. Nelson (1907-1992) Architectural records, drawings, photographs, Dallas, Texas, 1910-1975
The Donald S. Nelson records consist of personal papers, office files, professional association material, job files, specifications, printed material, books, visual material, artifacts, and drawings from the firm of Broad and Nelson. The material documents the activities of the firm of Broad and Nelson (1946-??), its predecessors Flint and Broad (1923-38) and Thomas D. Broad (1938-1946), and related affiliates of Bently-Broad and Nelson (1950-52) and Broad and Nelson and Jack Corgan (1950's). Also contained in the files are the surviving records and drawings of the Dallas firm of Thomas Jameson and Merrill. The bulk of the records, fifty linear feet, consist of job files and specifications. Although some residential work is included in the material, Broad and Nelson (and related firms) specialized in institutional and commercial works and planning. Major projects represented in the records include: Buckner Orphans Home, Dallas; Science and English department buildings, University of Texas, Austin; Memorial Grand Lodge Temple, Waco; Mercantile National Bank, Dallas; Dallas County Government Center, Dallas; Broadmoore Building, Hobbs, N.M.; and Love Field, Dallas.
The visual material series contains large format matted photographs of most of Broad and Nelson's finished projects. The series also contains extensive documentation of the construction process of many of their important projects. Approximately half of the films focus on Nelson's travels in Europe. Of the 815 color slides one third are unidentified; the remainder illustrate finished projects, mostly of the firm of Broad and Nelson.
The drawing series consists of over six thousand drawings representing approximately 250 different projects. Working drawings from the firm of Broad and Nelson make up the majority of the series.
For more information https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/alexander-architectural-archives