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John Wenrich campus renderings

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RITArt-0030

Scope and Contents

John Wenrich was commissioned to create renderings of the planned RIT Henrietta campus. In 1951, RIT committed $30 million toward building up the campus as part of a neighborhood renewal project. For years, the City of Rochester had been trying to revitalizing the city's Third Ward and RIT was a key component of this project. Then, in 1959 the New York State Department of Public Works announced that the Rochester Inner Loop expressway would be built through the heart of RIT's campus. The Eastman Building, which was constructed with funds donated by George Eastman in 1901, was to be destroyed in the process. The anticipated result was that the college would be split in half by the new thoroughfare. After considering several options, the board voted on November 20, 1961 to relocate the campus to a new area.

Emil Muller, an RIT graduate, helped the university obtain 1300 acres of farmland in the suburb of Henrietta. Ground was broken on November 2, 1964 and by September 1968 the first classes were held. The total cost of the project was around $60 million and included residence and lecture halls, library, student union, and gymnasium. Most importantly, the new campus included space, some 1300 acres. RIT's city campus had consisted of 13 acres. Wenrich's renderings expertly visualized what the new campus would look like, right down to the landscaping.

Henrietta renderings:

  1. College of Graphic Arts and Photography, watercolor and pencil painting, 1964
  2. College of Science, College of Applied Science, watercolor and pencil painting, 1964
  3. Main Entry Court, watercolor and pencil painting, 1964
  4. Overview of the Campus, with the Union, Gymnasium, and Ice Rink as one building, watercolor and pencil painting, 1964
  5. Overview of the Campus, with the Union, Gymnasium, and Ice Rink as separate buildings, watercolor and pencil painting, 1964
  6. Proposed Dormitory Complex, watercolor and pencil painting, 1964
  7. Untitled (aerial view of Henrietta campus), watercolor and pencil painting, 1964

Rochester renderings:

  1. Eastman Building, graphite drawing, 1926
  2. Untitled (downtown campus, gym), watercolor painting, 1955


  • Creation: 1926, 1955, 1964


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Biographical / Historical

John C. Wenrich (1894-1970) was born in Cumberland, MD on May 3, 1894, the son of a locomotive engineer. After finishing high school, Wenrich began working for an architectural firm in the Cumberland area. He considered studying for a career in architectural design, but had struggled with mathematics. Instead, he enrolled at the Rochester Athenaeum and Mechanics Institute (RAMI) in 1914, where he studied drawing and design. In 1916, Wenrich received the Wiltsie Water-Color prize, an award given annually to a student at RAMI. After two years, he moved to New York City where he spent a year at the Art Students League. Wenrich also studied for five months at the University of Toulouse in France, following two years of service in the U.S. Army during World War I.

When Wenrich returned to the United States, he accepted a position as an architectural illustrator at a Rochester-based firm, Gordon and Kaelber. He continued in this position until 1931, when he became an architectural renderer for the design team of Rockefeller Center in New York City. After a year of working as a freelance illustrator in Rochester, Wenrich began working for the New York World's Fair Board of Design. He served as an architectural illustrator for both the 1939 and 1964 New York World's Fairs.

Wenrich returned to his alma mater several times as an instructor. From 1927-1930 he taught architectural rendering, free-hand drawing, and composition at RAMI. Then, in 1947 he joined RAMI's (now known as the Rochester Institute of Technology) faculty as a part-time instructor. He is best remembered for his work for the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition (1930) and his renderings of the two New York World's Fairs. Wenrich died on August 16, 1970.

Throughout his lifetime, Wenrich received several awards and recognitions. He earned the Burdette Long Awards for Architectural Rendering in both 1932 and 1944 and took first prize in the Devoe Travel America National Poster Competition in 1940. He was elected as a fellow in the Rochester Museum of Arts and Sciences and was a member of the American Watercolor Society, the Art and Print Clubs of Rochester, and two architectural societies. The John Wenrich Memorial Library and Preservation Information Center in Rochester is also named for him and was financed by a memorial fund set-up in his name.


9 Item(s) (8 Paintings, 1 Drawing)




John Wenrich campus renderings contains 9 paintings and drawings depicting the RIT Henrietta and Rochester campuses.


Collection consists of 9 pieces of artwork.

Physical Location

C.S. North, Shelf 89, Box 8 (with Art on Campus collection)
Reading Room map case, Drawer 11

Related Materials


  • John Wenrich at Art on Campus, Rochester Institute of Technology


Renderings vary in size: 21 x 17 to 28 x 45 inches.

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Amy Vilz in August 2011.

John Wenrich campus renderings
RIT Art Collection
Amy Vilz
31 August 2011
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the RIT Archives Repository

Rochester NY 14623 USA