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J. Max Bond, Jr., New York Visionary

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New York Architect J. Max Bond, Jr.

New York Architect J. Max Bond, Jr.

Photo © Mario Tama/Getty Images
In addition to his many accomplishments, J. Max Bond, Jr. will be long remembered for his role in developing plans for the National 9/11 Museum in New York City.

Born:

1935

Died:

February 18, 2009

Education:

Harvard University: bachelor’s degree in 1955 and a master’s degree in 1958

Major Projects:

  • Schomburg Centre for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, NY
  • Birmingham Civil Rights Institute in Alabama
  • Martin Luther King Jr. crypt and memorial in Atlanta, Georgia
  • A controversial modernist expansion of the Harvard Club in midtown Manhattan
  • The Bolgatanga Regional Library in Ghana, which provided a unique roof design that provided natural ventilation
  • With his firm, Davis Brody Bond Aedas, helped flesh out plans for the September 11 Memorial Museum

Teaching:

  • Columbia University
  • Served as dean for the school of architecture at the City University of New York

Associations:

  • Worked with André Wogenscky in France
  • Worked at Gruzen & Partners and Pedersen & Tilney in New York
  • Established the Architect's Renewal Committee of Harlem
  • Co-founded the firm of Ryder Bond and Associates. In 1990, this firm merged with Davis Brody & Associates

More About J. Max Bond, Jr.:

When J. Max Bond, Jr. was a student at Harvard, racists burned a cross outside his dormitory. Concerned, a white professor at the University advised Bond to abandon his dream of becoming an architect.

Years later, in an interview for the Washington Post, Bond recalled his professor saying, "There have never been any famous, prominent black architects... You'd be wise to choose another profession."

Fortunately, Bond had spent a summer working for African-American architect Paul Williams and he knew that he could overcome racial stereotypes.

After graduating from Harvard, Bond designed many office buildings, libraries, and university research facilities in the United States. He worked on buildings designed by the Swiss-born architect Le Corbusier, and also designed some buildings in Ghana and Zimbabwe. He became a fellow in the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and an inspiration to young minorities in his architecture classes at Columbia and City University.

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