L. Robert Gardner, Architect: Cedar City Mid-Century Modern

October 14, 2023 - March 2, 2024

L. Robert Gardner Rendering of SUSC Administration Building, 1973

When L. Robert Gardner (1918-1992) returned to his hometown of Cedar City in 1948 to open his own architecture practice, he was the only licensed architect between Las Vegas and Salt Lake City. He had graduated from MIT and cut his teeth in northern Utah, but ultimately Gardner made his mark across the southern part of the state and bordering regions, designing dozens of residential, institutional, and commercial structures over the course of four decades. A product of his time, Gardner designed buildings that exemplify mid-century modernism, contributing to the suburban development of rural Cedar City. 

Drawing from Gardner’s expansive archive, held in Southern Utah University’s Special Collections, this exhibition illuminates the profound impact of L. Robert Gardner on the built environment and architectural history of the university and its wider community. A selection of his campus, residential, commercial, and civic buildings serve not only to demonstrate the breadth of his work and its impact but also to illustrate the key attributes of mid-century modern architecture. Shown in conjunction with BRUTAL DC, which centers on Brutalist architecture in our nation’s capital, the Gardner exhibition highlights the connections between these modernist movements, while celebrating the local examples of a global aesthetic, all designed by one of Cedar City’s own.  

Image: Artist's Rendering of SUSC Administration Building (SUU's Bennion Building), completed 1973, L. Robert Gardner (Courtesy of L. Robert Gardner Collection, SUU Special Collections and University Archives)