A Final Lesson From Max Bond

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Library in Bolgatanga, Ghana (all photos by Quilian Riano)

Fifty-one years after his graduation the late Max Bond Jr.’s influence is once again felt in his alma mater, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. An exhibit and celebration of his life and work opened there on Monday September 14th and will run through October 18th. The exhibit takes a close look at Max Bond’s personal life, his passion for social equity, and his professional design work.

Design for the Apollo Theater.

Bond made all three areas of his life inseparable. In an 1981 interview with Paul Broches in the Journal of Architectural Education he pronounced that “Progress means trying to improve the lot of the people in the world generally and to have architecture contribute toward that goal.” The exhibit displays Bond’s design work from Ghana to Harlem to Washington DC that shows what may be Max Bond’s most important contribution, taking strongly held social ideals and turning them into built form. This posthumous lesson is specially timely for a class starting their design education in the midst of what many consider to be the worst economic down turn in over 80 years.

Life and Works of J. Max Bond, Jr.: Practice, Education, and Activism
September 14th-October 18th

Related lecture:
Max Bond, Multiculturalism, and Social Equity in the Built Environment
October 2nd – 3:30PM
Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design

1973 cover of Partisan Planning.

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