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Ain, Gregory (28 March 1908–10 January 1988), architect and educator, was born Gregory Samuel Ain in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the son of Baer Ain, who ran a small business, and Chiah Ain (maiden name unknown); the couple had recently fled Russian Tsarist rule together. In 1911 the family settled in Los Angeles. Ain was raised in Boyle Heights, a dense mixed neighborhood of Eastern European immigrants. His father, a shopkeeper, openly despised capitalism and participated in socialist political groups. In fact, his father's socialist convictions ran so deep that in 1916 he moved the family to Llano del Rio, an experimental collective farming colony in the Antelope Valley of California. The Ains were among the colony's earliest members. Although the family returned to East Los Angeles a year and a half later, the experience contributed decisively to Ain's developing political beliefs and his social conscience. Cooperative housing projects became a consistent area of exploration later, in his architectural practice....

Article

Cret, Paul Philippe (23 October 1876–08 September 1945), architect and educator, was born in Lyons, France, the son of Paul Adolphe Cret and Ann Caroline Durand, both possibly employed in the silk industry, although after his father’s death, his mother became a dressmaker. His education began in the office of his uncle, an architect, and was continued at the École des Beaux-Arts in Lyons. In 1896 he was awarded the Paris Prize, enabling him to move to Paris to attend the École there and to enroll in the Atelier Pascal. Even in a larger and more competitive venue Cret gained attention, winning the Rougevin Prize in 1901. Cret’s life, however, changed in 1903, when Paul Armon Davis III, himself a former student in the Atelier Pascal, put out a call to University of Pennsylvania alumni pursuing their architectural studies abroad to nominate a candidate for professor of architectural design at the university. The alumni chose Cret, who was at first hired as an assistant professor. Then twenty-seven years of age, Cret could little know the effect that his arrival in the United States would have on the architectural community, both in Philadelphia and in the nation. Soon he was acting as patron, not only for the atelier at the University of Pennsylvania, but also for one held in the evenings under the auspices of the T-Square Club of Philadelphia. Under his direction students from the Philadelphia Atelier excelled in national competitions; beginning in 1911 Cret’s students took the Paris Prize, administered by the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects, for four consecutive years. Theo B. White, one of Cret’s architectural design students, described Cret’s working method: “Cret’s criticism was made largely on rolls of tracing paper spread over the student’s problem, drawing with a soft pencil and with a minimum of talk (quite different from the modern critic)” (White, p. 29)....

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R. Buckminster Fuller. Oil on canvas, c. 1981, by Ruth Munson. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.

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Fuller, R. Buckminster (12 July 1895–01 July 1983), inventor, designer, and environmentalist, often referred to as “Bucky,” was born Richard Buckminster Fuller, Jr., in Milton, Massachusetts, the son of Richard Buckminster Fuller, an importer of leather and tea, who died in 1910, and Caroline Wolcott Andrews. He was the grandnephew of author and literary critic ...

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Walter Gropius Photograph by Arnold Genthe. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G412-T-5409-004).

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Gropius, Walter (18 May 1883–05 July 1969), architect and educator, was born Walter Adolf Georg Gropius in Berlin, Germany, the son of Walter Gropius, an architect, and Manon Scharnweber. His family was long involved in architecture and government service. His father was an adviser for the construction of Berlin’s police headquarters and his great uncle was Martin Gropius, a successful Berlin architect and student of the architectural giant Karl Friedrich Schinkel. Young Gropius apprenticed with Berlin architects Hermann Solf and Franz Wichards in 1903 while they were beginning the Imperial Patent Office Building; he then attended architectural classes in the Technical Universities of Munich and Berlin-Charlottenburg in 1903 and 1905–1907, respectively, with a stint between as a cadet in the Fifteenth Regiment of Hussars....

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Hamlin, Talbot Faulkner (16 June 1889–07 October 1956), architect, professor, and librarian, was born in New York City, the son of Alfred Dwight Foster Hamlin, a professor of architecture at Columbia University, and Minnie Florence Marston. He began his writing career at the age of twelve with a translation from the Latin of Pliny’s letter describing his Laurentine villa. He received a B.A. in classics and English at Amherst College (1910), where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. From there he proceeded to Columbia School of Architecture, where he received a B.Arch. in 1914. That same year he began to work as a draughtsman in the New York architectural firm of Murphy and Dana. In 1916 he married Hilda B. Edwards; they had three sons. That year he published his first book, ...

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Moore, Charles Willard (31 October 1925–16 December 1993), architect and educator, was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, the son of Charles Ephraim, a businessman, and his wife Kathryn, a teacher. During his years growing up the family would leave Benton Harbor for annual trips to either Florida or California that would last up to four months. These excursions were invaluable influences as Charles honed an active interest in urban environments and their structures. After graduating from high school in 1942 Moore enrolled in the architecture program at the University of Michigan and earned a bachelor's degree in 1947. By the 1940s the Michigan school had begun to move away from the historicism of the Beaux-Arts, and Moore received instruction in a more technical approach to design focusing on construction technology and specification....

Article

Catherine Dyer Klein and Karen Bachman Barnett

Proskouriakoff, Tatiana (23 January 1909–30 August 1985), artist, architect, and archaeologist, was born in Tomsk, Siberia, the daughter of Avenir Proskouriakoff, an engineer and chemist, and Alla Nekrassova, a physician who graduated with the first class of women from a Russian medical school. The parents were aristocrats. The family traveled to the United States in late 1915, when Avenir Proskouriakoff was sent to supervise the manufacture and sale of weapons to Russia. When Tatiana and her older sister Ksenia contracted diphtheria and scarlet fever, they and their mother returned to Russia. The following spring they joined their father in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When the Russian Revolution broke out, the family elected to remain in their adoptive country. Tatiana Proskouriakoff attended Pennsylvania State University and graduated in 1930 with a bachelor of science degree in architecture. Though she never pursued architecture as a profession, her training and artist talents came into play later....

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Stokes, Isaac Newton Phelps (11 April 1867–18 December 1944), architect and historian, was born in New York City, the son of Anson Phelps Stokes, a banker, and Helen Louisa Phelps. His education was interrupted by episodes of ill health, but he entered Harvard University in 1887 and graduated in 1891. Stokes worked briefly in banking before he began to study at the School of Architecture of Columbia University from 1893 to 1894. He left without taking a degree and went to Paris to study housing design at the École des Beaux Arts. Improved tenement housing was to be a lifelong interest of his. In 1895 he married Edith Minturn. They had an adopted daughter....

Article

Willard, Solomon (26 June 1783–27 February 1861), sculptor, architect, inventor, and educator, was born in Petersham, Massachusetts, the son of William Willard, a carpenter and joiner, and Katherine Wilder. After completing an apprenticeship with his father, Willard left for Boston in 1804 to find work as a carpenter. There he may have studied architectural drawing with ...

Article

Wurster, William Wilson (20 October 1895–19 September 1973), architect and educator, was born in Stockton, California, the only child of Frederick Wurster, a banker, and Maude Wilson, a homemaker. Wurster's paternal grandparents had come to California over the Isthmus of Panama, and his maternal grandmother arrived after sailing around Cape Horn. Wurster attended the Stockton schools, graduating from high school in 1913. During the summer vacations, he worked in the office of E. B. Brown, a local architect, producing basic drawings and learning the basics of what would become his avocation....