Scope and Content
This collection is composed primarily of correspondence, memoranda, course material, photographs,
drawings and slides. Much of the material pertains to Herdeg’s career as a professor at Cornell University’s
College of Architecture, Art and Planning as well as his career as a professor and subsequent department
head at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Many of the
photographs are proofs used in Herdeg’s
Formal Structure in Indian Architecture
Formal Structure in Islamic Architecture of Iran and Turkistan.
for the series and subseries order was developed from Herdeg’s own groupings. For the majority of the collection,
Herdeg’s folder titles have been maintained and the material has been arranged chronologically.
Series I: Faculty Papers
Series I is comprised of three subseries: Cornell University, Columbia University and Design Studio
and Travel in Asia. The first subseries contains minutes to faculty meetings, department
memoranda and course material. There are also numerous copies of the Cornell Daily Sun with articles
surrounding the mounting racial tension at Cornell University in the later 1960s, specifically the
Willard Straight Hall Takeover by members of the Afro-American Society in 1969 and the presumed arson
of the Africana Studies and Research Center in 1970. There is also newspaper coverage and department
correspondence surrounding the unwarranted dismissal of faculty members from Cornell University’s College
of Architecture, Art and Planning. The subseries also contains material relating to symposiums held at
Cornell and a large collection of student work from a 1971 summer session taught by Herdeg. Folders largely
retain their original contents.
The second subseries contains course material from Herdeg’s work as a professor and subsequent
department head at Columbia University. The material is primarily in folders by course with much
of material corresponding to studio courses. Class rosters, syllabi, and assignment sheets are
common as are lecture notes. The material is arranged chronologically with much of it either from
the Fall or Spring semester of an academic year.
The third subseries contains material corresponding to an exchange program Herdeg
developed with Tianjin University for architecture students. The material includes notes and correspondence leading up
to and following each summer program, as well as bound reports consisting of student work. A
collection of Chinese travel publications and other ephemera is also present. The material is largely
bound reports of each summer program consisting of student work, however a collection
of Chinese travel publications is also present. The material was separated from Herdeg’s
other work at Columbia University due its volume, specific subject matter and the fact
that Herdeg organized and developed the programs outside of the prescribed GSAPP curriculum.
Series II: Formal Structure in Indian Architecture
Series II is comprised of material relating to Herdeg’s traveling
exhibit and later publication
Structure in Indian Architecture.
The research for both
the exhibit and publication was conducted in 1965 when Herdeg traveled to the
north of Indian with funds garnered from Cornell University’s Eidlitz Fellowship.
In his application for the fellowship Herdeg wrote he wished to travel to India to
conduct research on Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh, he instead made an in-depth study of
Hindu and Islamic architecture in the north west of India. The exhibition developed
from Herdeg’s study toured throughout Universities in North America and Western Europe
for thirty years. The material in this series contains Herdeg’s travel diary and a series
of correspondence conducted immediately before, during, and immediately after his travels.
Also present are flyers for the exhibition, correspondence about ordering the book produced
form the exhibition folios and correspondence regarding the subsequent reprinting of the book.
Series III: Formal Structure in Islamic Architecture of Iran and Turkistan
Series III is comprised of material relating to Herdeg’s traveling exhibit and later
Formal Structure in Islamic Architecture of
Iran and Turkistan.
The research for both the exhibit and later publication
was conducted in 1975 when Herdeg traveled to Iran and present-day day Uzbekistan with
funds garnered through Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Wheelwright Prize. This series
is primarily comprised of material relating to the exhibit but also contains draft pages
of the book, which was published in 1990. Also present are Herdeg’s base drawings and
sketches with dimensions of buildings he surveyed in Iran and present-day Uzbekistan.
Series IV: Professional Papers
Series IV is comprised of material relating to Herdeg’s career outside of academia.
The series contains information on design competitions Herdeg entered including a
student housing competition for ETH Zurich, a competition to design a new city hall
building for Amsterdam, and a competition to design a new headquarters for the PAX Life
Insurance Company. There is also work conducted by Herdeg for RP&M Steiger Architects
in which Herdeg studied and analyzed the growth patterns of small suburban towns surrounding
Zurich. The remainder of the material is largely devoted to Herdeg’s work for the Landmarks
Conservancy in designing an adaptive reuse scheme for the Federal Office Building (FOB),
also known as the Federal Archive building. The repurpose of the building, located in the
Greenwich Village, was entrusted to the Landmarks Conservancy in the 1970s by the US General
Services Administration. The Conservancy directed the project: conducting a feasibility study,
consulting with federal, state and city agencies and the local community board; exploring
legal and economic issues and selecting a developer. Also present is material surrounding
Herdeg’s study and analysis of Alvar Aalto’s Villa Mariea and blueprints for a studio Herdeg
designed for Friedel Dzubas in Massachusetts.
Series V: Visual Material
Series V is divided into two subseries: Photographs and Negatives, and Slides.
Throughout the entire collection visual material was collected and organized
separately as not to falsely associate it with written material. In both subseries,
the material is organized by the location of its subject matter. The first subseries
has a large collection of photographs form Herdeg’s travels in India, the Middle East
and the former Soviet Union. The photographs and negatives of India, Iran and Uzbekistan
have been identified by specific site. Other photographs and negatives present are a
collection of prints of China, a majority of which are images of concession-era
architecture. Also present are a collection of photographs of Herdeg’s work on the Federal Office Building for
the Landmark’s Preservation Commission including photographs of the model Herdeg produced
and assorted views of the building. There are also photographs of selected sites for studio
projects and student work from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture
Preservation and Planning as well as photographs of a symposium held at Cornell in 1970.
Throughout the entirety of the photograph collection Herdeg frequently taped fragments of
photographs together to create panoramic views.
Subseries 2 represents a large volume of slides that pertain to a wide breadth of subject matter.
A majority of the slides are photographic images of China from the trips Herdeg organized with Columbia
University. The remainder of the collection is divided between slides Herdeg used for lectures, slides of
student work from final pin-ups, and slides of photographs taken while traveling. Locations include sites
in the Middle East, Russia, and Italy.
Series VI: Drawings
Series VI is comprised of five subseries: Formal Structure in Indian Architecture, Formal Structure in
Islamic Architecture of Iran and Turkistan, Professional Work, Student Work, and Chinese Concession
Architecture. The first subseries includes sketches on tracing paper, base drawings on velum and final
ink on Mylar drawings of the buildings and monuments Herdeg visited and surveyed in India.
The second subseries includes sketches on tracing paper, base drawings on velum and final ink on Mylar drawings
of the buildings and monuments Herdeg visited and surveyed in China, Iran and Uzbekistan.
The third subseries includes sketches on tracing paper, base drawings on velum and final ink on
Mylar drawings of Herdeg’s entry for a Student Housing Competition for ETH Zurich.
The fourth subseries includes the final boards for Herdeg’s thesis at Cornell University.
The fifth subseries includes sketches on tracing paper, base drawings on velum and final
ink on Mylar drawings of a series of concession era buildings Herdeg studied in Tianjin.
Many of the buildings Herdeg documented in Tianjin are located in what was the French
concession and were designed by Paul Muller. Muller was educated at the Ecole des Beaux
Arts where he studied architecture. Moving to China in the 1920s, Muller held a position at
the engineering department of the Public Discussion Bureau. While in Tianjin, Muller also worked
as an architect for Brossard & Mopin and served as a professor of architecture at the Tianjin
College of Industry and Commerce.
Series VII: The Decorated Diagram
Series VII is comprised of three subseries: Drafts, Research, and Books. The first subseries includes
bound and unbound manuscripts for
The Decorated Diagram: Harvard Architecture and the Failure of
the Bauhaus Legacy
(Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1983) in various stages of completion. The second
series includes notes, index cards, as well as research files on individual architects that graduated from
Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design between 1942 and 1952. The third subseries includes
hard and soft cover copies of The Decorated Diagram, along with a copy of the German translation, Die
Geschmückte Formel: Harvard: Das Bauhaus-Erbe und sein amerikanischer Verfall (Wiesbaden: Vieweg +
Teubner Verlag, 1988).
Series VIII: Misc. Publications
Series VIII is comprised of miscellaneous bound and unbound material sent to or collected by Herdeg
throughout his career. This material includes manuscripts for presentations by Hassan Fathy and
publications from Doxiades Associates.
Klaus Herdeg was born March 4th 1937 in Paris, France to Swiss parents.
Educated at Steiner Schools in both Switzerland and England, Herdeg went
on to earn a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Cornell University. In
1965 Herdeg was awarded Cornell University’s Eidlitz fellowship with which
he traveled extensively throughout northwestern India producing measured
drawings of monumental architectural complexes. This work would later be
compiled and produced into a traveling exhibit and book titled
Formal Structure in Indian Architecture.
Herdeg worked as an architect in both Europe and the United States, becoming a licensed
architect in New York State in 1970. The majority of his career, however, was spent
in academia. Herdeg began work as a professor at Cornell University’s College of Architecture,
Art and Planning in 1966. At Cornell, Herdeg witnessed a period of turmoil climaxing with
the lighting of a burning cross outside Wari House, the subsequent Willard Straight Hall
Takeover by members of the Afro-American Society in 1969 and the presumed arson of the Africana
Studies and Research Center in 1970. Resigning from Cornell in response to the firing of four
untenured faculty members on ideological grounds, Herdeg was recruited by Dean James Polshek
to join the faculty at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and
Preservation in 1973.
Before commencing his teaching duties at Columbia, Herdeg traveled to Iran and modern day
Uzbekistan with funds garnered through Harvard Graduate School of Design’s Wheelwright Prize
to study Islamic architecture. Herdeg’s work in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union
culminated in another traveling exhibition and book titled
Structure in Islamic Architecture of Iran and Turkistan
published in 1990.
At Columbia University, Herdeg taught a variety of design studios as well as courses on Indian
and Islamic architecture that proved to be popular with students. In 1974 Herdeg was selected
by the Landmarks Conservancy to consult on a project for the preservation and adaptive reuse
of the Federal Office Building, also known as the Federal Archive Building, in Greenwich Village.
Herdeg’s work for the project would later be published in 1976 in a book titled
Working Paper 1: Creative Analysis for the Reprogramming of Landmarks.
While a professor at Columbia, Herdeg inaugurated an exchange program for students with Tianjin
University that began in 1982. The program derived from an unsolicited invitation Dean Polshek
received from Tianjin University regarding the idea of an architectural exchange between the two
universities. Polshek delegated the responsibility of developing and organizing the program to Herdeg,
who in 1980 had traveled, as part of an expedition headed by the Agha Khan, to Kashagar and other sites
in Mainland China. Through his travels Herdeg developed an interest in concession era Chinese architecture
producing a number of large drawings of important early-twentieth century buildings in Tianjin. In 1984
Herdeg was made Chairman of the Division of Architecture and a year later his book
The Decorated Diagram
Klaus Herdeg died on February 21st 2009 in New York City.