Document Type

Journal Issue


Spring 2-15-2011


architecture, marcel breuer, america, postwar, modernism




Architectural History and Criticism | Architecture | Other Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


At the center of Slocum Hall, four stories below a large skylight, stands a big shaggy lens - a deep, fur-lined scoop framed by a broad rectangle eight feet high. Between stepped floor and slanted ceiling is a curved wall punctuated by a trapezoidal aperture through which you glimpse a purple-tinted fragment of face. Forehead and cheeks, a nose and two eyes: Marcel Breuer.

The lens, a pavilion encasing deep embrasures, marks an exhibition of material from the archive of this leading 20th century architect. It points you toward the adjacent gallery, where more than 120 drawings and photographs reproduced at full scale document thirteen major buildings and projects by Breuer and his office. Image enlargements, wall texts and diagonally striped fields of purple, pink and blue integrate walls and artworks into a color-saturated ambiance.

"Marcel Breuer and Postwar America" offers a new picture of postwar modernism, along with the pleasure of looking at compelling drawings and photographs culled from the archive. It results from an innovative collaboration mobilizing archives and special collections in research and teaching. The exhibition emerged from a seminar I taught with visiting professor Barry Bergdoll at the School of Architecture in fall 2010. Each of the case studies was selected, researched, and curated by one of the students in the course, supported by the Special Collections Research Center of Syracuse University Library, which holds the Marcel Breuer Papers. The Installation was designed and build by faculty members Jon Lott and Brett Snyder with a team of students and staff.

The catalogue documents the outcome of these partnerships in researching, teaching, curating, designing, building, and learning from Breuer.

-Jonathon Massey

Additional Information

Drawings from the Marcel Breuer papers, curated by Syracuse Architecture students with Barry Bergdoll and Jonathan Massey.

Syracuse University School of Architecture | Slocum Gallery | February 15 - March 29, 2011


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.