Architecture and Design

Collection

The Museum’s Architecture and Design Collection is one of the country’s important collections for the study of architectural instruction and practice. Developed as a repository for the thesis drawings and course materials from the first American architectural program, MIT’s Course Four, the collection has grown into a significant document of American and European architectural training and graphics of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The collection documents the oldest architectural program in the country through more than 15,000 student thesis drawings from 1873 through the 1960s. Program books from 1905 through 1956 record studio competitions, often with photographs of student presentations. The emphasis of the collection is on study drawings, such as travel sketches by MIT students awarded the Rotch traveling fellowship, today awarded by the Boston Society of Architects.

Developed for instruction in architectural design and graphics, the collection includes work of European and American architects of the 1840s through the 1920s, including Samuel Chamberlain, Louis Rosenberg, Bertram Goodhue, and Emmanuel Brune and Piranesi prints brought to MIT in the 1860s.

Collection Highlights

The Architects Collaborative

The Architects Collaborative (TAC), founded in 1946 by Walter Gropius and seven colleagues in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was one of the most influential architectural firms of the twentieth century. The MIT Museum and the School of Architecture and Planning acquired the majority of TAC’s drawings and office records when the firm closed in 1995.

Campus Collection

The Campus Collection includes photographs, drawings, and models documenting MIT’s original Boston campus and the evolution of its current Cambridge campus. The Architecture and Design Collection also includes drawings from Department of Architecture life drawing and color theory classes. Written thesis statements that accompanied these thesis drawings are housed at the Institute Archives and Special Collections of the MIT Libraries.

The Imre Halasz Collection

The collection consists of Imre Halasz's personal and professional archive of papers, notes, clippings, scrapbooks, photographs, drawings, and journals. The processing and digitization of the collection was generously funded by the Imre Halasz Trust, established in 2007 to offer financial support for working architects to advance their professional interests through scholarly research and related projects.