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Alan Buchsbaum Visual Materials

Identifier: DV001

  • Staff Only


The Alan Buchsbaum Visual Materials contain materials produced or used by Buchsbaum and his Design Coalition associates for design projects. The majority of materials in this collection are drawings or images for architectural projects undertaken by Alan Buchsbaum or his firm. Other materials relate to graphic design work or textile patterns designed by Buchsbaum.


  • 1924-1990 (bulk dates 1966-1987)
  • Majority of material found within 1966 - 1987


General Physical Description note

(approximately 5435 items)

Restrictions: Access


Restrictions: Use

Permission to publish materials from this collection must be obtained from the Head of Archives and Special Collections.


95 Linear Feet

Scope and Contents

The Alan Buchsbaum Visual Materials contain materials produced or used by Buchsbaum and his Design Coalition associates for design projects as well as a few art posters collected by Buchsbaum. The majority of materials in this collection are drawings for architectural projects undertaken by Alan Buchsbaum or the Design Coalition. Many of the projects include early conceptual design sketches on trace paper as well as more formal drawings on paper vellum.

In addition to drawings, the collection also contains some photographs and slides; posters and artwork collected by Alan Buchsbaum; and materials used in his textile and graphic design projects. Most of the slides were originally housed in three binders. For the sake of brevity in the item-level inventory and on the folders, the binders were given a letter designation. The original names are as follows: Binder A = 1980, Hirsch, Pan Am Electroport, Gold, Bernstein, Sanjerjo, Reinhard, Andreozzi; Binder B = Savannah, Fabrics, Misc.; Binder C = V'Soske, Midler, Abramson, Film Forum, Zanmatti, Jakobson.

The numbering system was established by the COA prior to the collection coming to the Georgia Tech Design Archives. The letter prefixes indicate a grouping of materials by type: KA=space planning and interior design; KB=commercial; KC=residential/houses; KD=residential/house additions and renovations; KE=residential/apartments and lofts; KF=product design; KG=not used; KH=exhibits and graphic design; KI=not used; KJ=theaters and entertainment facilities; KK=landscape/garden design and municipal urban design; KL=architectural competitions/building design; KM=miscellaneous/unknown; KN=personal binders and Design Coalition management documents; KO=posters, articles, fabrics, photos, art collections; KP=Greene Street Construction Company documents, and manuscripts or visual materials originally filed with the manuscripts.

More refined searches and detailed item information are available by visiting the Georgia Tech Archives or by contacting the Visual Materials Archivist.

Biography of Alan Buchsbaum

Alan Buchsbaum (1935-1987) was an influential architect and designer whose work was primarily showcased in New York City.

Born in Savannah in September of 1935, Buchsbaum received his early training at Georgia Tech, graduating in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Architecture. He served for six months in the U.S. Army Ordinance Corps after graduation, as part of the ROTC program. After earning a second architectural degree from M.I.T. in 1961, he worked in several architectural firms, including Conklin and Rossant in Virginia and Warner, Burns, Toan, and Lunde in New York. Buchsbaum took a year-long sabbatical for extensive travel around Europe and Asia in 1966 and 1967, a seminal experience that shaped his development as an architect and designer.

After returning home in the summer of 1967, Buchsbaum founded his own New York City firm, the Design Coalition. It is his work under the auspices of this firm that would propel him to become the designer for many well-known and wealthy clients. His early career was based on the concept of livable, unconstrained, accommodating style, especially the High-Tech style of Manhattan residential loft living. Buchsbaum lived and worked in two lofts he designed on Greene Street in SoHo, New York City. His initial partners were architects Howard Korenstein and Rosaria Piomelli and graphic designer Alan Mitelman. Stephen Tilly was a partner at the time of Buchsbaum's death. The firm designed private residential spaces and commercial spaces, often bringing industrial objects and symbols of popular culture into them. Buchsbaum also designed furniture, rugs, and wallpaper. Selected drawings and wallpaper designs were purchased by the Cooper Hewitt Museum’s permanent collection.

Among Buchsbaum's notable architectural and design projects were Paper Poppy (1968); Metamorphosis, Great Neck, NY (1969); the Tenenbaum House, Columbia, SC (1978); the Gerber House, Chappaqua, NY (1969); Buchsbaum Loft 1 (1976); Buchsbaum Loft 2 (1982); Moondance Diner (1983); Joel/Brinkley Penthouse (1985); and the Dennis Apartment (1986). Current celebrities benefited from Buchsbaum's work, including Diane Keaton (Apartment, 1979), Ellen Barkin (Loft, 1984), and Bette Midler (Loft, 1984). As sidelines Buchsbaum pursued photography and became a food critic, writing occasional restaurant reviews for the Village Voice under the pseudonym FAT.

Buchsbaum’s work has been published in practically every design magazine in the United States as well as in Japan, France, Italy, England, and Germany. He was a guest lecturer for the Pratt Institute, New York University, the New School of Social Research, Fashion Institute of Technology, and Open Atelier. He also taught architectural design at City College of New York, Columbia University, and Yale University.

Although Buchsbaum is well-known for his innovative, free-flowing design and romantic modernism, he is quoted in Alan Buchsbaum, Architect and Designer: The Mechanics of Taste, (edited by Frederic Schwartz): Please don’t pin any label on my work. I have no philosophy to speak of, there’s no ideological content in my work. (p. 78)

Buchsbaum died of complications from AIDS on April 10, 1987 in New York City. After his death, projects were generally completed by his partners at Design Coalition. He is survived by his sister, Gloria Buchsbaum Smiley.


This collection is organized into eight series:

Missing Title

  1. SERIES 1. Commercial Works
  2. SERIES 2. Residential Works
  3. SERIES 3. Parks and Playgrounds
  4. SERIES 4. Competitions and Exhibitions
  5. SERIES 5. Furniture and Textiles
  6. SERIES 6. Graphic Design
  7. SERIES 7. Artwork and Posters
  8. SERIES 8. Miscellaneous

Other Finding Aids

A print copy of this finding aid is available in the Georgia Tech Archives reading room.

Custodial History

The bulk of this collection was originally donated to the College of Architecture at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The collection was transferred to the newly formed Georgia Tech Design Archives in 2008.


Transferred to Archives and Records Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology, College of Architecture. Accession Number 2008.032 (2009.025).

Separated Material

Manuscript materials are processed separately as the Alan Buchsbaum Papers DM001.

General Physical Description note

(approximately 5435 items)

Processing Information

Mallory Velten and Mandi D. Johnson processed these visual materials in October 2009. Visual material addenda from the Alan Buchsbaum Papers DM001 processed by Mandi D. Johnson in February 2010.

Inventory of the Alan Buchsbaum Visual Materials, 1924-1990 (bulk dates 1966-1987)
Mandi D. Johnson
Copyright October 2009.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, Library, Georgia Institute of Technology Repository

Georgia Institute of Technology
266 4th Street, NW
Atlanta 30332-0900 USA