The Lucybeth Rampton Award was established in 1994 in honor of former First Lady Lucybeth Rampton. Mrs. Rampton was a founding member of Utah Heritage Foundation and a lifelong advocate of the preservation of Utah's architectural heritage. The Lucybeth Rampton Award is presented to individuals who have demonstrated a lifetime commitment to historic preservation and whose vision and activities have significantly impacted the preservation movement in Utah.
2010's award was given to Wally Cooper and Allen Roberts. As Michael Stransky put it: "If one knows of Wally and Allen's long term commitment to one another and their commitment to architectural historic preservation, they cannot be separated any more than one could separate Ririe and Woodbury, Simon and Garfunkel, or Click and Clack." Cooper Roberts was one of the first architectural firms in Utah to direct their efforts in the area of historic preservation. Their firm's list of historically-related projects is impressive and includes many of the state's most important buildings. They are, in the words of Wilson Martin, "giants in the field...They are a state treasure of information and professionalism. They are also great guys."
Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Allen Roberts and comes from a long line of builders and craftsman. His father and grandfather were building contractors and carpenters, and his ancestors were professional pottery-makers. He received his education in the Milwaukee and San Francisco areas before attending college at Brigham Young University and the University of Utah.
Early in his career, Allen worked for three different architectural firms before becoming the Historical Architect for the Utah State Historical Society's Preservation Office. There he prepared more than 100 successful National Register nominations, never knowing that he would be the one to restore these building years later.
In 1976 he joined friend, neighbor, and Capitol Theater project co-worker, Wally Cooper. Having grown up in a historic home, and attending school in historic buildings, Allen's love of preservation has been life-long. After working together on numerous projects, the firm became Cooper/Roberts Architects in 1984. Allen has written and collaborated on several books, including the 6 volume Utah State Capitol Historic Structures Report and Master Plan which helped guide the State Capitol renovation. He also enjoys teaching, most recently at the Traditional Building Skills institute at Snow College and the University of Utah.
A strong advocate of "green" preservation, Allen has been very successful in marrying historic preservation with sustainable design. Tangibly supporting what he believes in, Allen has owned and restored twelve historic buildings throughout the state. Allen is a modern renaissance man. Intellectual, artist, writer, and historian. While we sleep, he is likely creating, learning, or discovering something beyond our boundaries. Allen passes on his incredible knowledge through his service on the numerous boards that he sits on.
A catalyst and a teacher, Allen has spurred hundreds of successful projects from initiation to completion, while attracting new people to preservation.
In the 35 years since, Cooper Roberts has complete thousands of restoration projects that range from small single family homes to Salt Lake landmarks like the Walker building. Again, in the words of Mike Stransky: "I have always admired how they collaborated to server their clients by bringing the best of each of them: Wally's sense of the practical and Allen's understanding of the intellectual. Allen researches and Wally executes. Allen develops the context for restoration or preservation and Wally makes it happen within the desires and budget of the client." Another said: "Their deep devotion and love of the historic fabric of our communities has resulted in literally hundreds of buildings being saved and recovered."
If you think of this metaphorically and compare those decrepit, forgotten, and discarded buildings as people—they have saved the equivalent of a small town: the mayor (imagine the St. George City or Park City Town Halls), the priest or bishop (picture the Brigham City Tabernacle), the busy body housemaker (the single cell Santa Anna Casto house in Holladay or the Judge Jacob Johnson House in Spring City or Wally Cooper's own home on Quince Street in Marmalade District). Think of the legions of school children who once played in the halls of Park City's Washington School or the Maeser School or of the high school or college students who flirted in the lobby of Old Main at Southern Utah University or South High on Salt Lake City's State Street and the new life these new buildings embody through the careful preservation work of Cooper/Roberts Architects carrying forward for new generations the beautiful architecture of the past.
There is something immensely loving and grateful about the care they have put into this work. You think of the thousands of hours Wally Cooper and Allen Roberts have spent crawling through the attics or cellars of buildings rotting in their own filth. Measuring and assessing the life span of beams stretching across the interior of a dark and shadowy barn, or the porousness of adobe bricks crumbling from more than a century of weather and wear. Or perhaps, humbled or at least quieted bv the remarkable workmanship of a carved mantle over a hearth laid with careful tile or stonework, the place where a generation of men or women knelt when they carefully laid out a fire. Astounded by the beautiful color and exuberance of the façade of buildings like Odgen's Egyptian Theatre or the Logan Taberacle or the Knight Block in Provo. And if this list seems to long, this is exactly the point. These two men have made a career out of caring about old buildings, of saving old buildings, of offering up for a new generations to appreciate and even to love, architecture worth saving. They are teachers in this. They are poets in this. They are crusaders in this. They inspire and search for understanding. They create something new in the old: the promise of new life. It doesn't get any better than that. Wally Cooper and Allen Roberts are outstanding examples of professionals committed to what they love. Utah is richer, much richer, because of the exemplary contribution they have made to the preservation movement in Utah.
That is why Utah Heritage Foundation presented Wallace N. Cooper II, AIA, and Allen D. Roberts, AIA, with the Lucybeth Rampton Lifetime Achievement Award for their significant impact on historic preservation throughout the state.