Grosvenor Atterbury

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Grosvenor Atterbury
Forest Hills Gardens, Queens, NY.jpg
Grosvenor Atterbury's Forest Hills Gardens in Queens, New York
Grosvenor Atterbury

(1869-07-07)July 7, 1869
DiedOctober 18, 1956(1956-10-18) (aged 87)
EducationColumbia University
Yale University
OccupationArchitect, Urban Planner and Writer
Known forForest Hills Gardens (1909)
House of the Redeemer (1916)
Wereholme (1917)
Aldus Chapin Higgins House (1921)
Holy Trinity Rectory (1927)
Rockefeller Hall (1933)
HonorsNational Academy of Design

Grosvenor Atterbury (July 7, 1869 in Detroit, MI – October 18, 1956 in Southampton, NY) was an American architect, urban planner and writer. He studied at Yale University, where he was an editor of campus humor magazine The Yale Record[1] After travelling in Europe, he studied architecture at Columbia University and worked in the offices of McKim, Mead & White.

Much of Atterbury's early work consisted of weekend houses for wealthy industrialists. Atterbury was given the commission for the model housing community of Forest Hills Gardens which began in 1909 under the sponsorship of the Russell Sage Foundation.

For Forest Hills, Atterbury developed an innovative construction method: each house was built from approximately 170 standardized precast concrete panels, fabricated off-site and assembled by crane. The system was sophisticated even by modern standards: panels were cast with integral hollow insulation chambers; casting formwork incorporated an internal sleeve, allowing molds to be "broken" before concrete had completely set; and panels were moved to the site in only two operations (formwork to truck and truck to crane).

Atterbury's system influenced the work of mid-1920s European modern architects like Ernst May, who used panelized prefab concrete systems in a number of celebrated experimental housing projects in Frankfurt. In this way Atterbury can be considered a progenitor of the Modern Movement.

Atterbury was elected to the National Academy of Design in 1918 as an Associate member, and became a full member in 1940.

Atterbury worked on various projects with John D. Rockefeller, Jr., in the 1930s, including what today is Stone Barns Food and Agriculture Center, and the Gatehouse and Entrance Wall to Kykuit Estate, as well as the six stucco houses built for estate employees. The six houses were designed as the core of Pocantico Village that Rockefeller was building as Kykuit was being completed, and to complement the style of the Union Church and Pocantico Hills Central School, which he had completed.[2]


"Surprise Valley Farm," Arthur Curtiss James property, Beacon Hill Road, Newport, RI, by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1917. Architect: Grosvenor Atterbury, 1914-1916. Today these buildings survive as part of the SVF Foundation founded to preserve endangered breeds of livestock

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Grosvenor Atterbury". The twelfth general catalogue of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity. New York: Psi Upsilon. May, 1917. p. 158.
  2. ^ a b Pennoyer, Peter (2009). The Architecture of Grosvenor Atterbury. 500 Fifth Avenue, N.Y., N.Y. 10110: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., p. 230, 266
  3. ^ Pennoyer, Peter (2009). The Architecture of Grosvenor Atterbury. 500 Fifth Avenue, N.Y., N.Y. 10110: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., p. 266
  4. ^ Pennoyer, Peter (2009). The Architecture of Grosvenor Atterbury. 500 Fifth Avenue, N.Y., N.Y. 10110: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc. p. 264. ISBN 978-0-393-73222-1.CS1 maint: location (link)
  5. ^ Office for Metropolitan History, "Manhattan NB Database 1900-1986," (Accessed 25 Dec 2010).
  6. ^ [1][dead link]

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