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JUDITH DAVIDSON CHAFEE, FAIA (1932-1998)

Chafee was born in Chicago. Her mother, Christina Affeld Davidson, studied archaeology and anthropology. Chafee's birth father Percy Davidson died before she was born but maintained investments for his family. Shortly after her mother remarried Benson Bloom, the family moved to Tucson AZ when Chafee was 2 years old, Chafee attended the Parker school for two years in Chicago in the late 1940s, earned a visual arts degree at Bennington College in 1954. During her sojourn at Bennington, she benefited from mentors Howard Nemerov, Paul Feely and Alexander Dorner who with his wife Lydia became second a second family, introducing her to Walter Gropius.  She worked in New York, as a magazine editor and in a hardware store, and took classes at the New School, studying with reknown sculptor Seymour Lipton.  By 1956 she enrolled in the School of Architecture at Yale University under Paul Rudolph.  She graduated with a Bachelor and Master degree in 1960. In 1959 she was the first female to win the Koppers Architectural Student Design Competition - for a 150-bed community hospital for Fairfield CT. However, the award ceremony was held in a men's club and Chafee had to go through the kitchen to receive the plaque.

From 1959-1964, she was married to Richard Chafee, an architectural historian she met at Yale. She received a BA and MA in architecture from Yale in 1960 as the only woman in her class and went on to work for firms such as Eero Saarinen, Paul Rudolph, Edward Larrabee Barnes, and Walter Gropius. Notably she worked on the TWA building at JFK. She briefly had a private architectural practice in Hamden CT then in 1969, Chafee returned to Tucson to start her own firm, producing mostly single family residences. Among other awards, Chafee won the Academy of Rome fellowship to study architecture in Italy in 1977. She taught for many years at the University of Arizona, and she was a visiting professor at the University of Texas, the University of Washington St. Louis, and MIT. Her archives are at University of Arizona Special Collections. KUAT of Arizona produced the video documentary The Architect, Judith Chafee in 2016. Chafee was featured often in Sunset Magazine. There are about 35 houses.  If you know of more, please contact us.Bio adapted from Wikipedia and the Beverly Willis Foundation.

End of second paragraph - she also had some projects for an Evening Dinner Theatre, The Arizona Nature Conservancy and small school projects.

Awards: 1975 Burlington * 1978 AIA Housing Award * 1978 American Concrete Institute Award * 1979 Record House Award * 1984 American Concrete Institute Award

 Ramada House: Original owner, Jane London ( former married name was Soloman-TMI) first time the house to second owners in 2021 to Woody and Sharon Jackson,

Jacobson House....photos Glenn Allison

 Stanton House has suffered from numerous unfortunate remodel work.  Little of Chafee's work left.

 Hydeman House, original clients were Lee and Marisha( who died in 2000, Lee in 2011). second wife Judith provided needed restoration work on the house that sat empty for so many years. sold to Diana Nijland and John Schaefer

 Russell-Randolph - still occupied by original owners

 Merriman....first time sold in 2002 to Annemie and Donald Baker

Finkel House......owners in ( I think) 2006  to William and Karen Schumacher

 The Adelyn Hansen House - last I heard a few years ago Adelyn moved to Mexico and the house was going to be sold by the bank.  Not up to date...afraid to ask.  We have great photos by Bill Timmerman. 


1969 - The Ruth Merrill House, 51 Andrews Road, Guilford CT. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1970, the first woman to have a project featured on the cover. 7500sf. Structural engineer, Associated Engineering; interiors, Christina A. Bloom; built by Erwin C. Griffiths; photos by John T. Hill. Sold to Paul and Meg Johnson. Sold in 2019 to 51 Andrews Road LLC, controlled by daughter Gwendolyn Johnson.


1970 - The Robert Funking Vacation House, aka Midnight Train to Funking Hill, 421 Furnace Road, Richmond MA. Near West Stockbridge. Inspired by a Pullman train car. Built by Carleton Anderson; photos by John Hill. Featured in Architectural Record, November 1972. Still owner as of 2019.


1971 - The Judith Chafee Studio and Residence Renovation, 317 North Court Avenue, Tucson AZ.  Built in the late 1800s. Chafee bought it in 1970. After her death, architect Charles "Corky" Poster bought the office as Poster Mirto McDonald. Poster had worked with Chafee and was a good friend. 


1973 - The De Haviland House, Hillsdale NY. Commissioned 1972. Unbuilt.


1974 - The Wells House, Tucson AZ. Commissioned 1972. Unbuilt.


1974 - The Christina Davidson Bloom Johnson House, aka Viewpoint, 2840 North Sunrock, Tucson AZ. Commissioned 1972. Designed for her mother, a retired interior designer for Carson Pirie Scott in Chicago. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1975. Built by Richard Kesterton; photos by Glenn Allison. After Chafee's mother's husband died, sold to the Ryers family. With 3 children they needed more room so Chafee designed a 1977 addition. Sold several times. Sold in 2004 to John Biklen and David Streeter who did a restoration. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  


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1974 - The Mary Pickett Knauth Meditation Barn, 670 Baldwin Road, Rushville PA.  Status unknown.  


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1976 - The Solomon House, aka Ramada House, 2801 East Camino Norberto, Tucson AZ. Listed in 2006 on the National Register of Historic Places. Deeded in 2019 to Jane London, formerly Solomon.


 

1977 - The Arthur and Joan Jacobson House, 5645 North Campbell Avenue, Tucson AZ. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1979. Built by James L. Hamilton; structural engineers, Holben and Martin; photos by Glen Allison. Deeded to Joan Jacobson, later to her trust. Status unknown.


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1977 - The Wells House Remodel, Tucson AZ.


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 1977 - The Meyers House, Tucson AZ.


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 1977 - The John J. and Cecil Dahm Addition, Tucson AZ. See 1982. 


1979 - The Jerry Blackwell House, Gates Pass Road, Tucson AZ. Blackwell was forced to sell to the county for a park. The house was vandalized, then slated for destruction. Although faculty and students at the University of Arizona fought to save it, the house was destroyed in 1998, several weeks before Chafee’s death.


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1979 - The Best House, Patagonia AZ. Commissioned 1972. Unbuilt.


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1980 - The Stanton House Remodel, Tucson AZ. Status unknown.


1980 - The Edward and Betty Kollar House, 6955 Mercer Spring Road, Tucson AZ. Sold to Jorge Albala.


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1981 - The Daniels Addition, Tucson AZ. Unbuilt.


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1982 - The Henry Strachan-Louisa Piccone House, Tucson AZ. Commissioned 1981. Unbuilt.


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1982 - The John J. and Cecil Dahm Vacation House Addition, Pinetop AZ.


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1984 - The Garfield Addition and Remodel, Tucson AZ. Commissioned 1983. Unbuilt.


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 1987 - The Nendza House, Tucson AZ. Commissioned 1986. Unbuilt.

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 1988 - The Genzer House, Tucson AZ. Unbuilt.

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 1996 - The Meyers/Bendt Remodel, Tucson AZ. Unbuilt. 


1982 - The Lee and Judith Hydeman House, 85 Hog Canyon Road, Patagonia AZ. Sold for the first time in 2016 to John F. Schaefer.


1984 - aka Centrum House, aka Hamilton Limited Edition, 6606 East Circulo Otono, Tucson AZ. Sold in 2003 to Seymour and Marcia Sabesin.


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1985 - The Russell-Randolph Adobe House, AZ. Status unknown.


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Around 1985 - The Merriman House, AZ. Status unknown.


1985 - The Finkel House, aka Allergy Free House, aka House of Glass and Steel, Tucson AZ. Sold to Karen Schumacher.


1988 - The George Rieveschl House, 7046 North Javelina Drive, Tucson AZ. 7200sf. Sold in 2007 to Sandra Helton and Norman Edelson.


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1995 - The Hansen House, Crystal Falls MI. View of the Paint River. Chafee's last house. Status unknown.


Sources include: Architectural Record; Kathryn McGuire; Beverly Willis Archives.