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COLLECTION Identifier: DES-2008-0003-014379248

Jerzy Soltan Collection

The Jerzy Soltan Collection includes, in large part, teaching and administrative files related to his academic years at the GSD and his consulting activities, research files on various topics and architects (mainly related to Le Corbusier and Team 10 members), as well as writings by himself and others. The collection also contains a few set of drawings and numerous slides of architectural sites, sketches and drawings, including projects and built works by Soltan in Europe and in the United States.


  • 1956-2003

Language of Materials

Materials are mostly in English. The collection also includes materials in French, as well as in Polish and Spanish.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Subseries BA is closed until 2045 due to the presence of university records. Subseries BB is closed until 2040.


10 linear feet (7 record boxes of files; 1 large box of slides; 1 tube)

Biographical / Historical

Jerzy Soltan was born in Prezma, Latvia, in March 1913, and later moved to Poland with his parents. He studied architecture at the Warsaw Technical Institute, and graduated right before the World War II. Captured at the beginning of the hostilities, he was detained in a camp in Murnau, Germany until 1945. During his captivity, he began corresponding with Le Corbusier, who eventually offered him to join his Parisian workshop. After spending a few years in Paris working on developing the Modulor (a proportional scale system based on the human body) together with Le Corbusier, Soltan returned to Warsaw in 1949 to hold a professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts, in the Department of Design. There, from the mid to late 1950s, he was primarily involved in the Artistic-Research Institute (ARI), and worked on, among other projects, the Polish Pavilion for the Brussels World's Fair in 1958. In 1959, Soltan was invited by Josep Lluis Sert as a visiting critic at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and was appointed two years later as the Nelson Robinson Jr. professor of architecture. From 1967 to 1974, he also served as the chairman of the Faculty of Architecture. After retiring in 1979, Soltan remained an active pedagogue, honored with the ACSA Distinguished Professor Award for 1986-1987 and the Topaz Medallion for Excellence in Architecture Education in 2002. He died at his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in September 2005.


The Jerzy Soltan Collection is composed of Series A (Teaching and Research Materials), Series B (Administrative Materials), and Series C (Visual Materials).

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Joanna Soltan, 2008.

Processing Information

Processed by Marie-Luce Kauffman
Link to catalog
The Jerzy Soltan Collection
Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard University Graduate School of Design
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Frances Loeb Library Repository

The archival collections at GSD consist of primary source materials that further academic research in the design fields both within the GSD and beyond Harvard University. These materials, individually and collectively, offer engaging documentation of design history, theory, and practice. For further information, please visit:

Gund Hall
48 Quincy St.
Cambridge MA 02138 USA
(617) 495-9164
(617) 496-5929 (Fax)