The Architects' Collaborative (TAC) Formed
The Architects' Collaborative (TAC) was an American architectural firm formed by Walter Gropius and seven younger architects in 1945 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
The other partners were Norman C. Fletcher (December 8, 1917-May 31, 2007), Jean B. Fletcher (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 8, 1998) and Benjamin C. Thompson (July 3, 1918–August 21, 2002). TAC has created many successful projects, and has been well-respected for its broad range of designs. One of TAC's specialties was designing public school buildings.
This philosophy reflected Gropius' central preoccupation with the social responsibilities of architecture. The idea of "collaboration", which was the basis of TAC. It was carried out in that an entire group of architects have their input on a project, rather than putting an emphasis on individualism. There would be a "partner-in-charge", who would meet with clients and have the final decision of what goes into the design. Originally, each of the eight partners would hold weekly meetings on a Thursday to discuss their projects and be open to design input and ideas. However, as the firm grew larger there were many more people on a team and it was more difficult to consolidate into one group. Therefore, many other "groups" of architects within the firm were formed and carried out the same original objective.
Financial problems in the 1980s resulted in TAC being unable to pay expenses which they owed to BayBank and Harvard University, to which TAC's headquarters was sold in 1988. TAC closed officially in April 1995 In response, many archives and architectural libraries worked fast to retrieve TAC's drawings and records. The majority of these are now stored in the Rotch Library at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
TAC has been a notable landmark in the history of postwar modernism. For the most part the firm functioned as a team rather than on an individual basis, which was considered a unique method of architectural practice, which reflected Gropius' philosophy of working collaboratively with others when he was a Bauhaus instructor in Germany prior to TAC. In later years, TAC was known as one of the first architects to design environmentally "green" buildings starting in the early 1980s. Two of the original eight founders, Norman Fletcher and John "Chip" Harkness stayed with TAC for its entire 50 year existence.
The Architects Collaborative (TAC) was founded in 1945 by a group of graduates of Harvard's Graduate School of Design and soon joined by Bauhaus veteran Walter Gropius. TAC was well-known and highly respected for its broad range of projects, which included many public and private school buildings throughout New England, as well as a large number of hospital buildings. Many other successful firms were formed by graduates of the firm.
In 1995, owing to financial difficulties resulting from political problems in the Middle East, TAC was forced out of business. This sudden closure prompted several Boston-area librarians to act quickly in order to rescue TAC's records. The microfilmed archives of TAC's records are now owned by Rotch Library.