Since February is Black History Month, we want to dedicate a weekly blog to an influential African American individual in a field related to the environment and/or building science. Architect J. Max Bond Jr. was “regarded as a mentor, a voice of social responsibility in practice, and a magnetic presence.” He passed away three years ago, and at the time of his death, was in charge of designing the museum portion of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
Mr. Bond Jr. studied at Harvard during the 1950’s, where he earned both his Bachelors and Masters Degrees. For one summer during his studies, he worked for architect Paul Williams, a very successful African American architect. This internship empowered him into realizing that he could fulfill his dream of becoming an architect himself, no matter the racial barriers and obstacles in his path.
In his early career, Mr. Bond worked in France under André Wogenscky, who was an assistant of Le Corbusier for 20 years! Mr Bond also worked in Ghana, designing the Bolgatanga Regional Library which incorporated natural ventilation through its roof design.
Other of his famous projects include the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and the Audobon Biomedical Science and Technology Park for Columbia.
Mr. Bond Jr. was also “an impassioned educator”. He taught at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture & Planning and City College’s School of Architecture & Environmental Studies, both located in New York City. Thank you, Mr. Bond Jr., for setting an inspiring example for aspiring architects of all races!