Cambridge-based Hugh Stubbins was in his day “Boston’s showstopper architect… one of the most notable architects of the 20th century,” per critic Margaret Floyd.
A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Stubbins studied at Georgia Tech and Harvard before working with local architect Royal Barry Wills to help develop a modern counterpart to Wills' seminal Cape Cod-style house plans. In 1940, Stubbins joined the faculty at Harvard GSD, where he became friendly with Gropius, Aalto, and Breuer, and ultimately succeeded Gropius as Chairman of the Department of Architecture. His students there included I.M. Pei, Philip Johnson, and Paul Rudolph.
Stubbins’ design firm got started with residential commissions and then took off following his 1955 Harleston Parker Medal-winning modern school designs in Weston. The 1957 Berlin Congress Hall put him on the map internationally, and commissions at Harvard and other campuses followed. Like many of the most successful Boston designers, his work generally demonstrated an ability to deliver innovative Modernist ideas while responding to history and context.
Recognized with the AIA Firm award in 1969, Stubbins went on to design the aluminum-clad, louvered Federal Reserve Building in downtown Boston, a modern landmark that brought his second Harleston Parker Medal. Thereafter, Stubbins’ most notable work happened elsewhere, in particular at the iconic Citicorp Center in New York City, the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., and the Yokohama Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Japan.
In a 2007 merger, Stubbins Associates became KlingStubbins, which in turn was acquired in 2011 by Jacobs Engineering Group.
Sources: “Built in Boston,” Shand-Tucci, 2009; modernmass.com; Wikipedia.