Last Man Standing

John Harkness, co-founder of The Architects’ Collaborative, passes away

Architecture East
John Harkness, co-founder of The Architects' Collaborative, passes away. (Courtesy Philip Gross/Pinterest)
John Harkness, co-founder of The Architects' Collaborative, passes away. (Courtesy Philip Gross/Pinterest)

The last founding member of The Architects’ Collaborative (TAC), John Harkness, died yesterday at the age of 100. A 1941 graduate of Harvard, Harkness co-founded TAC with his wife Sarah Harkness, five other architects, and Walter Gropius, in 1945. They submitted entries for a competition to design dormitories for Smith College which they did not win but they became famous for designing scores of post-war modern buildings all over New England. These buildings were important in creating an American modernism and furthering the idea of the architect’s social responsibility. In 2002 Harkness told The Boston Globe: “We were on a mission to make a better world after the war… We all believed deeply in modern architecture. We used clean, simple lines and modern materials. There is no reference to traditional styles, just a desire to create what is appropriate for the purpose at hand.”

Related Stories