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Thursday, February 19th, 2009

J. Max Bond Jr., Architect, Groundbreaker

Becky

Posted by Becky | View all posts by Becky
4 Comments » | Published in Architecture, Public Space, Urban Planning  |  4 Comments

I was sad to read that J. Max Bond Jr. died on Wednesday. Mr. Bond had an illustrious career as an architect and educator, in spite of being told by one of his Harvard professors that he should forget about it because he was African-American. At the time of his death, Bond was working on the National September 11 Museum at the WTC. One of his many projects was the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Social Change here in Atlanta. I did not realize that he was related to Julian Bond until I read his obituary on Thursday (in 2004, Julian Bond was inducted into the Civil Rights Walk of Fame, part of the same property as the MLK Center). To learn more about J. Max Bond Jr., his remarkable career and family, there is a concise but informative summary with links here, and you can read the obituary in full over at NYTimes.com. I have to share the last two paragraphs, which really got to me:

Despite these insider’s credentials, Mr. Bond never lost an outsider’s perspective, applying it critically in 2003 to early plans that called for public spaces high up in the new skyscrapers at the World Trade Center site.

“It’s always been difficult for young blacks, for young Hispanics, for anyone who looks aberrant to get access to the upper realms of Wall Street towers,” Mr. Bond said. “For a city of immigrants, the public realm is more than ever now the street.”

photo swiped from University of Michigan Visiting Faculty page

About Becky

Hi, I'm Becky. I live in Atlanta. Besides acting as the "Editorial Director" here on Hatch, you can find me spewing lots of design opinions and tips over at Houzz. Make me happy -- leave a comment!

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  1. Adrienne Colon says:

    February 20th, 2009 at 9:11 am (#)

    I want to thank you all for you sweet words. I had the pleasure of being his assistant and was blessed to have been in his presence. Words can even begin to express how Max will be missed. But his legacy will live on in every young person who makes srtides and puhses beyond all boundries as Max did.

    Thank you All,

    Adrienne Colon

  2. becky says:

    February 20th, 2009 at 1:11 pm (#)

    Adrienne, I am so sorry for your loss. He sounds like he was a remarkable person, and many people should be grateful to him for clearing paths they were able to follow after him.

    Becky

  3. Fran Phillips-Calhoun says:

    February 20th, 2009 at 3:00 pm (#)

    Friends and Immediate Family of J. Max Bond, Jr.,

    You are in our sincerest prayers and thoughts. We admire Mr. Bond’s work and honor his life. He will not be forgotten.

  4. Atim Annette Oton says:

    February 20th, 2009 at 5:52 pm (#)

    Max Bond inspired me to believe that Architecture is Revolution and I studied architecture at City College while he was the Dean. He was an eloquent man
    who pursued architecture with spirit in a time where architecture was most difficult. He was one of the most reasonable educators focused on the student,
    the process and truly enjoyed teaching and architecture.

    He was a wonderful soul and was indeed the most influential African American Architect. My class of 1991 and those who knew him at City as Dean still smile when we talk about him. I remember first meeting him when I was deciding to go to City College and having a long conversation about choices and the importance of making architecture a life path focused on change and revolution. A quiet radical, he made you think about life and boundaries, about the importance of having a perspective, an opinion and approach to architecture.

    I was fortunate to have him on several architectural critiques at school and also fortunate to work for him on the Audubon Biomedical Science and Technology Park after coming out of graduate school. I was also fortunate to be able to call him periodically just to talk and sometimes laugh. I still remember him in North Carolina at a conference talking about transitioning your practice to the next generation…Always a thinker, he was vibrant and focused.

    He will be truly missed.

    I have called Davis Brody Bond, 212-633-4700 – to add my name to the list -as a service for him has not yet been announced. I will also suggest you do
    the same.

    Atim Annette Oton

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