Avery Drawings & Archives Collections
 

Max Gordon architectural records and papers, 1944-2010, bulk 1944-1990

Summary Information

Abstract

Max Gordon (1931-1990) was an internationally renowned architect who specialized in the design of galleries and exhibition spaces for modern and contemporary art. The collection is composed primarily of project files, architectural drawings, photographs, correspondence, legal papers, personal diaries, and student sketchbooks.

At a Glance

Bib ID 8277276 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Gordon, Max, 1931-1990 ; Chapman, Taylor Partners ; Richard Gluckman Architects
Title Max Gordon architectural records and papers, 1944-2010, bulk 1944-1990
Physical Description 10 document boxes; 929 photographic items;
Language(s) English .
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 avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu.

Arrangement

Description

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: Drawings, Files, and Photographs. Subseries 1: Drawings primarily documents commissions undertaken by Gordon after he established Max Gordon Associates. The architectural drawings are arranged alphabetically by project. Max Gordon is the primary creator for most of the drawings in this subseries; however, when this is not the case, the other creator has been listed. It is important to note that Gordon worked closely with architect Richard Goldsbrough on many projects. The majority of the architectural drawings are blue line prints, but there are many original ink on trace and ink on Mylar drawings as well as blueprints. Subseries 2: Files consists of non-visual, project-related material, including correspondence, contract records, invoices, notes, and calculations. The files have been arranged alphabetically by project. Subseries 3: Photographs contains project photographs. The majority of the projects contain only color prints; however, the subseries does contain negatives, slides, glass plate negatives, and digital images stored on CD-ROM. The subseries is arranged alphabetically by project name.

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.

  • Series I: Project Records

  • 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.

Publication Date

1944-2010

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 avery-drawings@library.columbia.edu.

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.

Preferred Citation

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.

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library

Processing Information

This collection was processed in 2010 by Shelley Hayreh, Archivist, Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University.

Revision Description

2011-01-11 File created.

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Architectural drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Diaries Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Photographs Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Student drawings Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Annely Juda Fine Art Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Apartment houses -- England -- London Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Apartment houses -- New York (State) -- New York Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- England -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Architecture -- United States -- Designs and plans Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Art Galleries (buildings) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Bartlett, Jennifer, 1941- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Exhibition building spaces Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Feigen, Richard L., 1930- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Fisher Landau Center Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Galleries (Architecture) Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Gordon, Max, 1931-1990 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Joannou, Dakis Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Johns, Jasper, 1930- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Manilow, Lewis, 1927- Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Marlborough Fine Art (London) Ltd Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Saatchi Gallery Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Whitechapel Art Gallery Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biography

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.