Edward Larrabee Barnes

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Edward Larrabee Barnes
Edward Larrabee Barnes Portrait.png
Born(1915-04-22)April 22, 1915
DiedSeptember 22, 2004(2004-09-22) (aged 89)
Alma mater
Mary Barnes, Edward Barnes' wife, was an integral member of the design team. Working on 590 Madison Ave. interior designs with Toshiko Mori in 1979.
Detail of the Heckscher House in Maine. Barnes was well known for adherence to strict geometry and sought to simplify the details of construction to their most minimal presence.

Edward Larrabee Barnes (April 22, 1915 – September 22, 2004) was an American architect. His work was characterized by the "fusing [of] Modernism with vernacular architecture and understated design."[1] Barnes was best known for his adherence to strict geometry, simple monolithic shapes and attention to material detail. Among his best known projects are the Haystack School, Christian Theological Seminary, Dallas Museum of Art, the Walker Art Center, 599 Lexington Ave, the Thurgood Marshall Federal Judiciary Building, and 590 Madison Avenue, also known as the IBM building.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Barnes was born in Chicago, Illinois into a family he described as "incense-swinging High Episcopalians", consisting of Cecil Barnes, a lawyer, and Margaret Helen Ayer, recipient of a Pulitzer Prize for the novel Year of Grace. Barnes graduated from Harvard in 1938 after studying English and Art History before switching to architecture, then taught at his alma mater Milton Academy,[3] before returning to Harvard for further studies under Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. He graduated from the Harvard Graduate School of Design in 1942 and served in the Navy during World War II. After the war he worked for Henry Dreyfuss in Los Angeles designing prototypes for mass-produced homes.


In 1949 Barnes founded Edward Larrabee Barnes Associates in Manhattan. During his long career, Barnes, with his wife Mary Barnes as interior designer, designed office buildings, museums, botanical gardens, private houses, churches, schools, camps, colleges, campus master plans, and housing. Although best known for the Haystack Mountain College of Arts and other smaller residential homes, the firm also completed a number of master planning urban development projects.

The firm's planning projects include:

Over the years, he also taught at Harvard University, the Pratt Institute, and the University of Virginia, and served as a member of the Urban Design Council of New York and as vice-president of the American Academy in Rome. In 1969, Barnes was elected into the National Academy of Design as an Associate member, and became a full member in 1974. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1978.[4] In 2007 he was posthumously honored with the American Institute of Architects' highest award, the AIA Gold Medal. He also received the Thomas Jefferson Medal in Architecture, the Harvard University 350th Anniversary Medal, and some forty other awards. His Haystack Mountain School of Crafts won the AIA Twenty-five Year Award.

In 1993 Barnes announced his retirement but he continued to work as a consultant for Lee / Timchula Architects, founded by Barnes' lead partner, John M.Y. Lee, and associate, Michael Timchula. Lee / Timchula inherited various projects that the Barnes' office were awarded.

Edward Larrabee Barnes reviewing designs in New York City, 1980s.

The AIA Board of Directors posthumously awarded the 2007 AIA Gold Medal to Edward Larrabee Barnes, FAIA.

Barnes died in 2004 in Cupertino, California. His archives are located at the Frances Loeb Library at Harvard University.[5] He is laid to rest on Mt. Desert Island, Maine.

Notable collaborators and architects mentored by Barnes[6][7][edit]

Selected projects list[edit]

599 Lexington Avenue, New York City (1986)



  1. ^ "AIArchitect This Week | Edward Larrabee Barnes, FAIA, Selected for 2007 AIA Gold Medal". info.aia.org. Retrieved 2021-07-19.
  2. ^ Martin, Douglas (2004-09-23). "Edward Larrabee Barnes, Modern Architect, Dies at 89". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-10-22.
  3. ^ "Milton Magazine, Spring 2005". Issuu. Retrieved 2021-01-02.
  4. ^ "Book of Members, 1780-2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 17, 2011.
  5. ^ "Collection: The Edward Larrabee Barnes Collection | HOLLIS for". hollisarchives.lib.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2021-08-01.
  6. ^ Woo, Elaine (September 24, 2004). "Edward Larrabee Barnes, 89; Architect Designed Noted Modernist Buildings". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ Blake, Peter (1995). Edward Larrabee Barnes: Architect. New York, NY USA: Rizzoli Books. p. 4. ISBN 0847818225.
  8. ^ "The Visual Arts Center - Edward Larrabee Barnes Architect (Bowdoin - Art History)". 2013-04-05. Archived from the original on 2013-04-05. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  9. ^ "The Bass Library Grand Opening" (PDF). No•ta Be•ne: News from the Yale Library. 22 (2): 1. Fall 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on 26 May 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  10. ^ Williams, Winston; Times, Special To the New York (1981-10-02). "HYATT HOTEL, WHERE 113 DIED, IS TERMED SAFE ON REOPENING". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-12-30.
  11. ^ Daivs, Marion (6 Aug 2005). "Brown to buy Old Stone Bank Building for $31.5M". Providence Business News. Retrieved 1 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Second Master Plan ('80s to '90s)". www.nus.edu.sg/.

Further reading[edit]

  • Edward Larrabee Barnes: Architect, Rizzoli International Publications, 1995. ISBN 978-0-8478-1821-1.
  • "Snatched from Oblivion," Jeffrey Head, Metropolis magazine, October 2006, p. 56

External links[edit]