The Architects Collaborative
The Architects' Collaborative (TAC) was an American architecture
firm founded by Walter Gropius in 1945 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The original partners included Norman C. Fletcher (b. December 8,
1917), Jean B. Fletcher (June 23, 1915–September 13, 1965), John C.
Harkness (b. November 30, 1916), Sarah P. Harkness (b. July 8,
1914), Robert S. McMillan (April 3, 1916–March 14, 2001), Louis A.
McMillen (October 21, 1916–May 18, 1998) and Benjamin C. Thompson
(July 3, 1918–August 21, 2002). TAC have created many successful
projects, and have been well-respected for it's broad range of
designs. One of TAC's specialties was designing public school
TAC's philosophy reflected Gropius' central preoccupation with the
social responsibilities of architecture. This was also lead to the
idea of "collaboration", which was the basis of TAC. This method was
carried out in that there would not just be one single architect,
but rather have an entire group of architects having their input on
a project. There would be a "partner-in-charge", who would meet with
the clients and have the final say of what goes into the design.
This method had been previously practiced by Gropius himself when he
was an instructor at the Bauhaus school years before.
Financial trouble resulting in over-extention of what were many
unbuilt projects caused TAC to go bankrupt in 1995. In response,
many archives and architectural libraries worked fast to retrieve
TAC's drawings and records. They are now stored in the Rotch Library
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Norman Collings FletcherNorman Collings Fletcher (born December 8, 1917) is an American
architect who was a co-founder and partner of the architectural firm
The Architects' Collaborative (TAC), working there from 1945 until
the firm's demise in 1995. His wife was Jean B. Fletcher.
Fletcher was born in Providence, Rhode Island. He attended the Yale
University School of Architecture in 1940, and in the same year
joined the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards. In
1943, he worked for the firm Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill until
leaving them in 1944 to work for another firm, Saarinen, Swanson, &
Associates. In 1945, he joined forces with Walter Gropius and
several other architects to established TAC. He and Gropius worked
on many projects together, notably the Boston Back Bay Center (1953)
and Hua Tung University (1948). Neither project was ever built.
From 1963-1965 he was the vice president of the Boston Society of
Norman Fletcher lives in a residential development called Six Moon
Hill, which was designed by TAC.
He's also the uncle of Jad Johnson of Fitzgerald/LaFayette.
Jean Bodman Fletcher (1915 - 1965) was an American architect who was
a founding member of the Architects' Collaborative. She graduated
from Smith College in 1937, and finished her architectural training
at the Cambridge School in 1941, an architecture school for women
affilitated with Harvard University and Smith.
With her husband, Norman C. Fletcher she entered and won many
residential architecture competitions. The Fletchers joined forces
with another architectural couple, John C. Harkness & Sarah P.
Harkness, also alumni of Harvard and Cambridge. With their mentor
Walter Gropius formed the Architects' Collaborative after winning a
dormitory design competition for Smith College.
Jean Bodman Fletcher died of breast cancer on September 13, 1965 at
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