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Sert, Josep Lluis, 1902-1983. The Josep Lluis Sert Collection: An Inventory.

Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Design School


© 2004 The President and Fellows of Harvard College

Last update 2016 June 10

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Special Collections, Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Call No.: DES.1982.0003.000603276
Title: The Josep Lluis Sert Collection
Date(s): 1925-1983.
Creator: Sert, Josep Lluis, 1902-1983.
Quantity: 700 linear feet
Quantity: Extent is approximate
Abstract: Drawings, plans, correspondence, manuscripts, photographs, slides and ephemera drawn from the personal and professional files of Josep Lluis Sert, architect, planner and educator.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Mary Daniels

Acquisition Information:

Immediate source of acquisition: Gift of Josep Lluis Sert, 1979-1982. Additional material received from James B. Herold, Huson Jackson and Albert Szabo.

Conditions on Use and Access:

Contact Special Collections Department, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Design School. Note: Access to Collection may be limited, May-October 2003, due to exhibitions preparation.


Josep Lluis Sert received a degree in architecture in 1929 from the Escuela Superior de Arquitectura in his native Barcelona; in the subsequent decade he was among the leading young Spanish architects, active in both CIAM (International Congress of Modern Architecture) and GATEPAC (Grupo de Arquitectos y Tecnicos Espanoles para el Progresso de la Arquitectura Contemporanea). Sert gained an international reputation with his design for the Spanish Pavilion built for the 1937 International Exposition in Paris. Immigrating to the United States in 1941, he was, from 1941-1958, a founding partner in Town Planning Associates, a design firm specializing in both architectural and urban design projects, with a particular focus on Latin America. In 1955, Sert opened, with Huson Jackson, Sert Jackson and Associates in Cambridge, MA; the firm’s work included private residences, museums and numerous large-scale commercial and educational commissions in the United States and abroad. Among the last-named were several buildings for Harvard University, including the Science Center, Holyoke Center and Peabody Terrace. Sert also oversaw the construction process for the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts; he had also been an effective advocate for his long-time colleague Le Corbusier in securing the commission.
Sert’s academic career began with a year’s appointment as a professor of city planning at Yale; at the recommendation of Walter Gropius, he was named Dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Design in 1953, with a complementary appointment as Chairman and Professor of Architecture. During his extraordinarily vibrant and productive tenure as Dean (retiring in 1969), Sert oversaw a variety of innovations in the curriculum, including the establishment of the first formal professional degree program in Urban Design.

Scope and Content

The Sert Collection includes thousands of drawings and plans related to his work as an architect and urban designer, as well as substantial files of correspondence, manuscript material, photographs and slides. The collection’s contents also document his activities as a writer and lecturer and his involvement in professional and civic organizations.


The Sert Collection is composed of Series A (Photographs and Memorabilia), Series B (Project/Commission Related Materials), Series C (Book Related Materials, Series D (Lecturers, Articles), Series E (Correspondence), Series F (Research Files), Series G (Exhibition Related Materials), Series H (Miscellanea) and Series J (Slides).

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