Carl J. Nelson, Jr.

  • 1932–2002


Carl R. Nelson Jr. was born 6 October 1932 in Duluth, Minnesota, to parents Carl Sr. and Margaret. Nelson moved to Minneapolis in the late summer of 1950 and undertook studies in architecture at the University of Minnesota, graduating in 1955. This degree was followed by a Masters in Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) completed in 1957, during which time Nelson was the recipient of a winning a Fulbright Scholarship in 1956. Nelson’s studies at MIT were succeeded by a year at the University of Rome and teaching positions at the University of Illinois and Notre Dame University. In 1963 Nelson moved to Winnipeg to commence work as a professor at the University of Manitoba, a position he held until 1993. During this time Nelson headed the department of environmental studies – one of the first of its kind at a North American university – for nine years, later working with the department of landscape architecture, contributions for which he was named Professor Emeritus. While a student and, later, while pursuing professorial ambitions, Nelson also engaged in practice, in Minneapolis in 1955 with the firm of Thorshov & Cerny Architects; while at MIT with the noted modernist Georgy Kepes (1956); at the University of Illinois working on the layout for college’s Creative Buildings; and at Notre Dame employed as an Associate Partner with the office of Mantan, Schultz & Associates (1962-63). Not long after his arrival in Winnipeg Nelson served as a key figure in the design of the University of Manitoba’s 1966 University Centre. Other work undertaken in the city include collaboration on the design of the Wildwood Park Community Centre (1974) and the design of the 1983 Fort Whyte Interpretive Centre and serving as Design Consultant for the West Pakistan Agricultural University. In his spare time Nelson enjoyed working with his own garden and fountain and making wooden toys and furniture.