Klaus Herdeg papers, 1963-1992

Klaus Herdeg papers, 1963-1992
10.5 linear feet and 700+ drawings (in 10 archival boxes, 1 manuscript box, 1 oversize box, 33 oversize folders, and 11 rolls)
This collection is made up of six series: Series I: Faculty Papers, Series II: Formal Structure in Indain Architecture, Series III: Formal Structure in Islamic Archtecture of Iran and Turkistan, Series IV: Professional Papers, Series V: Visual Material, Series VI: Drawings.
Finding Aid
Finding aid available online. See Online Link.
This collection is composed primarily of correspondences, memoranda, course material, photographs, drawings and slides. Much of the material pertains to Herderg's career as a professor at Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning as well as his career as a professor and subsequent department head at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture Planning and Preservation (GSAPP). Many of the photographs are proofs used in Herdeg's Formal Structure in Indian Architecture and Formal Structure in Islamic Architecture of Iran and Turkistan. The basis for the series and subseries order was developed from Herdeg's own groupings. For the majority of the collection, Herdeg's folder titles have been maintained and the material has been arranged chronologically.
Biographical / Historical Note
Klaus Herdeg was born March 4th 1937 in Paris, France to Swiss parents. Educated at Stiener Schools in both Switzerland and England, Herdeg went on to earn a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Cornell University. In 1965 Herdeg was awarded Cornell University's Eidlitz fellowship with which he traveled extensively throughout northwestern India producing measured drawings of monumental architectural complexes. This work would later be compiled and produced into a traveling exhibit and book titled Formal Structure in Indian Architecture.
Herdeg worked as an architect in both Europe and the United States, becoming a licensed architect in New York State in 1970. The majority of his career, however, was spent in academia. Herdeg began work as a professor at Cornell University's College of Architecture, Art and Planning in 1966. At Cornell, Herdeg witnessed a period of turmoil climaxing with the lighting of a burning cross outside Wari House, the subsequent Willard Straight Hall Takeover by members of the Afro-American Society in 1969 and the presumed arson of the Africana Studies and Research Center in 1970. Resigning from Cornell in response to the firing of four untenured faculty members on ideological grounds, Herdeg was recruited by Dean James Polshek to join the faculty at Columbia University's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation in 1973.
Before commencing his teaching duties at Columbia, Herdeg traveled to Iran and modern day Uzbekistan with funds garnered through Harvard Graduate School of Design's Wheelwright Prize to study Islamic architecture. Herdeg's work in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union culminated in another traveling exhibition and book titled Formal Structure in Islamic Architecture of Iran and Turkistan published in 1990.
At Columbia University, Herdeg taught a variety of design studios as well as courses on Indian and Islamic architecture that proved to be popular with students. In 1974 Herdeg was selected by the Landmarks Conservancy to consult on a project for the preservation and adaptive reuse of the Federal Office Building, also known as the Federal Archive Building, in Greenwich Village. Herdeg's work for the project would later be published in 1976 in a book titled Working Paper 1: Creative Analysis for the Reprogramming of Landmarks.
While a professor at Columbia, Herdeg inaugurated an exchange program for students with Tianjin University that began in 1982. The program derived from an unsolicited invitation Dean Polshek received from Tianjin University regarding the idea of an architectural exchange between the two universities. Polshek delegated the responsibility of developing and organizing the program to Herdeg, who in 1980 had traveled, as part of an expedition headed by the Agha Khan, to Kashagar and other sites in Mainland China. Through his travels Herdeg developed an interest in concession era Chinese architecture producing a number of large drawings of important early-twentieth century buildings in Tianjin. In 1984 Herdeg was made Chairman of the Division of Architecture and a year later his book The Decorated Diagram was published.
Klaus Herdeg died on February 21, 2009 in New York City.
This collection is available for use by appointment in the Department of Drawings & Archives, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University. For further information and to make an appointment, please call (212) 854-4110 or email
Manuscript/Archive Manuscript/Archive
Acquired On
October 29, 2013
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