|Avery Drawings & Archives Collections|
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At a Glance
Scope and Content
The Max Gordon architectural records and papers documents the architectural career and life of the internationally renowned architect. The collection is composed primarily of project files, architectural drawings, photographs, correspondence, legal papers, personal diaries, and student sketchbooks.
Series I: Project Records covers Max Gordon's architectural career from his student work at Cambridge, the Architectural Association School of Architecture, and Harvard University to his later work under his own London based practice, Max Gordon Associates. The series is made up of three subseries:
Series II: Office Records contains papers related to Gordon's partnership with Chapman Taylor Partners and Louis de Soissons Partnership, including legal papers and correspondence. The series also includes material associated with Max Gordon Associates, including his desk diaries and promotional portfolios and photographs.
Series III: Student Work contains architectural drawings, sketches, class notes, and student writings created by Gordon while he was a student at University of Cambridge and the Architectural Association in London during the early 1950s. The material is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Series IV: Personal Papers is made up of personal diaries, biographical information, clippings, slides, and collected ephemera. The material is arranged alphabetically by folder title.
Using the Collection
Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
Restrictions on Access
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Permission to publish must be obtained in writing from the Director, Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, 1172 Amsterdam Ave., MC 0301, New York, NY 10027.
Max Gordon architectural records and papers, 1944-2010, bulk 1944-1990. Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
Related Archival Materials
Associated Materials--Researchers interested in Max Gordon's involvement with the advisory board of the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the advisory board associated with the construction of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sophia, Madrid should consult the Papers of the architect Max Gordon located at the Tate Archive, London. The collection housed at the Tate Archive also documents Gordon's role as a patron, curator and collector and include correspondence, invoices, plans and photographs, lecture notes and printed material.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Source of acquisition--David Gordon. Method of acquisition--Donated;; Date of acquisition--2010. Accession number--2010.024.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library
This collection was processed in 2010 by Shelley Hayreh, Archivist, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.
2011-01-11 File created.
2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.
History / Biographical Note
Max Gordon was born June 10, 1931 in Cape Town, South Africa. He received his architectural education at the University of Cambridge, the Architectural Association in London, and the graduate School of Design at Harvard University. At Harvard, Gordon studied Urban Design under Professor Jose Luis Sert and graduated with a Master of Architecture degree in 1956.
Gordon's professional practice began in New York working for Skidmore, Ownings and Merrill. In 1962, Gordon returned to England as a partner in the London based firm Chapman Taylor Partners. After ten years with Chapman Taylor, Gordon left to become a senior partner at The Louis de Soissons Partnership. He remained with Louis de Soissons until 1981 when the firm relocated its offices outside of London.
At that time, Gordon established his own practice in London, Max Gordon Associates. After only a few years, Gordon soon became an internationally sought-after designer of and consultant for exhibition spaces and art galleries. At the time of his death, a New York Times obituary described Gordon as "the architect of choice for museums, dealers' galleries and private collectors from Los Angeles, Chicago and New York to London, Madrid, Athens and Helsinki."
One of Gordon's breakthrough commissions was the Saatchi Gallery located at 98a Boundary Road in London. In 1984, Charles and Doris Saatchi approached Gordon about converting a former paint factory into an exhibition gallery for their contemporary art collection. Gordon converted an old industrial factory in St John's Wood into, as one critic at the time described as, "one of the most blissful spaces of its kind."
His most prominent commissions include, among others, Annely Juda Fine Art, Brooke-Alexander Gallery, Paula Cooper Gallery, James Corcoran Gallery, Fisher Landau Center, Koury-Wingate Gallery, Lorence-Monk Gallery, Luhring-Augustine Gallery, Maeght-Lelong Gallery, Marlborough Fine Art Galleries, and gallery space for the Centro d'Arte Reina Sophia. Gordon also did significant residential design work for clients such as artist Richard Serra, Joel Shapiro, and Jennifer Barlett, art collectors Asher Edelman and Lewis Manilow, and musician Brian Ferry. Gordon worked closely with architects Richard Goldsbrough and Richard Gluckman on many of these projects.
Alongside his work as an architect, Gordon was a member of the trustees' committee on architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art and a member of its international council from 1978 to 1985. In London, he was a founding committee member of the Patrons of New Art at the Tate Gallery and a trustee of the Whitechapel Art Gallery Foundation.
Max Gordon died on August 24, 1990 in London.