Albert Mayer (1897-1981) was an American planner and architect. He is well recognized for his architectural plans and designs in India, particularly the master design for Chandigarh, the capital of Panjab and Haryana, as well as his contributions to new town development in the United States. Mayer took his last breath on 14 October 1981 after cardiac arrest at the age of 83.
Albert Mayer was born on Wednesday, 29 December 1897 (age 83 years; at the time of death) in New York City. In 1919, he received a degree in engineering from Columbia University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Mayer took an interest in social impact design after working in the civil engineering sector for many years after college. A few years later, he decided to become an architect.
Parents & Siblings
There is not much information about his parents and siblings.
Wife & Children
Albert Mayer first got married to Phyllis Carter, and then divorced her due to unknown reasons. His second wife, Marion Mill Preminger, died in 1972. Mayer got married for the third time to Magda Pastor in 1975. Stella Staltonstall, Kerry Mayer, and Rafael Pastor are Mayer’s three children. The New York Times
Albert Mayer started his career as a civil engineer in New York City. Firstly, he was the co-founder and the senior partner of a firm named Mayer, Whittlesey & Glass, established in 1935, and then a planning consultant who worked in India, British Columbia, and Israel. He was the master planner for Chandigarh, a city in India that gained international praise in the 1950s when Le Corbusier was commissioned to design its major public structures.
Mayer’s last work in New York was the ‘East Harlem Plaza’ which was an open-air cultural and play center created in 1960. At the age of 64, Mayer retired from Mayer, Whittlesey, and Glass firm in 1961 but worked as a consultant thereafter. University of Chicago
Architecture In Manhattan
Albert worked on many large scaled projects in New York and because of his great interest in this sector, the US Government got convinced to change its housing policy in the 1930s, thus introducing ‘The United States Housing Authority’ in 1937. He designed many buildings in Manhattan including:-
- Butterfield House, 37 West 12th St, Greenwich Village, Manhattan.
- 240 Central Park South, Manhattan.
- Manhattan House of 1950. (co-designed)
- East Harlem Plaza, Manhattan
- 333 E 69th St, Manhattan. (co-designed)
Master Plan In India
Albert Mayer developed a keen interest in Indian life and culture while he was administrating the construction of airfields in Bengal. His pilot project was in rural Etawah, Uttar Pradesh, India. He gained recognition for planning:-
- Chandigarh Master Plan
- Kanpur Master Plan
- Gujarat University Master Plan
- Allahabad Agricultural Institution Master Plan
- Uttar Pradesh Pilot Development Project
- Uttar Pradesh General Community Development
- Consultant on the Master Plan for Greater Bombay (1947)
Awards, Honours, Achievements
- Certificate of Merit from the ‘Municipal Art Society of New York
- An award from the ‘American Society of Landscape Architects
On 14 October 1981, Albert Mayer, at the age of 83, died after cardiac arrest at his residence in Manhattan, New York.
- In 1945 Albert Mayer met Jawaharlal Nehru and discussed a plan for “model villages” that would make a good housing, hygiene, and community structure. University of Chicago
- He discontinued his work in Chandigarh after developing the master plan for the city due to his architect-partner Maciej Nowicki‘s death in a plane crash in 1950.
- Mayer worked as an architect in New York City after 1935.
He was the co-founder of ‘The Housing Study Guild’ which was founded in 1933 to be known as a research and study center for technical, economic, and social housing and community planning issues.Snac Cooperative
- A book by Albert Mayer, “The Urgent Future: People, Housing, City, Region,” has his views on the need for creative planning.
- Albert once held a national series of design workshops for the Public Housing Administration, the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, and the American Institute of Architects. University of Chicago
- During World War II, he was a U.S. Army engineer stationed in India.
- From the year 1967 to 1971, Mayer was a visiting professor of urban planning at Columbia University. The New York Times
- Albert Mayer was designated as National Planning Pioneer by the American Planning Association in 2000.