Exhibition

  • The Architects Collaborative 1945–1995: Tracing a Diffuse Architectural Authorship
    Gabriel Cira and James Heard
    Curators
    pinkcomma gallery, Boston
    Dec 2021 to Feb 2022
  • GRANTEE
    Gabriel Cira & James Heard
    GRANT YEAR
    2021

The Architects Collaborative, Tufts University Chemistry Research Building, 1965. Elevation photo of the Tufts University Chemistry Research Building, completed 1965. Published in “Progressive Architecture,” April 1965 (p. 181). Courtesy Richard Reens

This gallery exhibition and accompanying digital wiki tool displays and makes accessible the authors’ significant original documentation, mapping, and historical study of the vast architectural output of The Architects Collaborative (TAC). The authors have combed archives, historical architectural publications, office records, property databases, genealogy tools, and many other sources to compile and geotag hundreds of previously-unpublished built projects by TAC. This body of work shows the normalization of radical precepts of modernism into vernacular, especially in the building types of schools, housing, and healthcare. Founded in 1945 by eight equal partners, TAC was the largest exclusively architectural office in the US by the 1970s. Their internal record lists about 1,500 jobs (194583), although only a handful of these are commonly known. This project seeks to trace the mainstreaming of the subtly political modernism that the group so carefully used to both erase as style and embrace as philosophy.

Gabriel Cira is a licensed architect and historic preservation consultant based in Massachusetts. He is a professor in the history of art at MassArt, where he teaches the longstanding architecture of Boston course; he also teaches community-engaged practice courses at Boston Architectural College, and has also taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Tokyo. Cira’s work and research focuses on historic preservation, vernacular/popular histories, ecological resilience, accessibility and preservation, and infrastructure history. He is also a project organizer for The Architecture Lobby’s Cooperative Network project, a group that works on the transformative power of collaborative and cooperative modes of practice and firm ownership in architecture.

James Heard received his bachelor’s of architecture degree from Virginia Tech and is currently pursuing a master’s of science in architecture studies with a focus in history, theory, and criticism at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a licensed architect and cofounded uxo architects, a Los Angeles-based worker-owned and cooperatively operated architecture practice. In addition to practicing, he has published on the ways in which the profession is complicit in the production of racist border infrastructure and the implementation of cooperative models of practice in architecture. He is an active member of The Architecture Lobby and is currently the organization's national design coordinator. His current research focuses on the intersection of aesthetics and politics in modern architecture.