New York: New York Institute of Technology, 1965. Manuscript. Loose leaf. Quarto. (2) 64 (3) leaves , 5pp., one mimeographed, one diagram with original drawings, 11pp., 3pp. plus two with original drawings, 22 diagrams with original drawings, 5 diagrams with text in Hungarian as well as a complete set of copies of the original manuscript in English.
Leslie Szak had emigrated from Hungary to New York in 1957. He started as a draftsman in the offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, and in 1961 joined the firm of Edward Durell Stone, a world renowned architect of dozens of well known buildings throughout the US and all over the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, Radio City Music Hall, General Motors at 5th Ave., the US Embassy in New Dehli, the 1858 US World Fair building, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., among others. Among other projects Leslie Sazk worked on the design of the so-called Uptown Campus of the New York State University in Albany, a manifestation of the vision of Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller for a public university system.
He was later hired by Philip Johnson and subsequently worked on the Elmer Holmes Bobst Library, a project designed by Philip Johnson and Richard Foster. The twelve-story, 425,000 square feet structure is the main library of the New York University at 70 Washington Square in New York City was built in 1972. He took part in the development of the atrium with its noted symmetrical stair cases and the geometric floor. The atrium was hailed as "one of New York's most spectacular experiences" by Paul Goldberger, the architectural critic of the New York Times in 1973. Philip Johnson was ranked 4th in a 2019 post of Time Out New York "Best Architects of all Time" by Howard Halle: "Johnson... helped to shape architectural trends from 1935 onwards... his work achieved iconic status in a number of cases, most notably in the residence he built for himself in 1949."
Szak taught architectural design during a twenty year tenure as a lecturer in 1962 and then, as a professor at the New York Institute of Technology, from December 1967 to 1982. He also was a guest lecturer at three New York architectural institutions and is an emeritus member of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Leslie Szak's particular and unique approach to architectural design as an educator lies in the fact that he combined the professional laboratory design work with corresponding lectures. A proficient practice that he had experienced during his architectural education in Hungary and that he had carried over into his professional work in the US. In his view the separate lectures, in combination with lab-design, constituted a structural difference that may have had some advantages.
1. Complete original typed manuscript mockup of "Basics of Architectural Design" by Leslie Szak, in ring binder with stiff gray wraps and original sketch in red on back cover. The manuscript with illustrated architectural drawings and diagrams was considered for publication by Harry Abrams and Prentice Hall publishers. Leslie Szak was encouraged to expand on the subject. It was rejected only on the grounds of lack of volume. The manuscript contains printed and mounted measured drawings, prospectus' and plans of interior and exterior views, geometric forms used in the connection of masses, along with examples of geometric symmetry and asymmetry, among others. All original drawings were hand drawn by Szak. Following page 64 of the original typed manuscript there are two pages entitled "Ramp & Stairs" (title page unnumbered and page two numbered 60) and a detail table of content, numbered 62, at rear. These pages become 65, 66, 67 in the final manuscript. A copy of the final manuscript in an additional ring binder, with the table of content corrected in pencil by hand by Leslie Sazk, representing the exact flow of the manuscript, is furnished. Szak's text elaborates on the responsibility of the architect as well as the process of architectural work.
2. Five page manuscript handwritten on New York Institute of Technology stationary describing and questioning the process of presenting contemporary architecture to the students. "A building is contemporary if the requirements are answered economically by logical planning using the right material and structural system with the best available technical advancement of the given period. As a contemporary camera, or a locomotive, or a bridge can be pointed out, so can one determine whether a building is up to date or not." Another section of this manuscript elaborates on style in historical perspective. It is entitled "Building from Outside In or From Inside Out," including design and systems of architecture, the value of the building and formalism as they relate to architecture in general. Includes a mimeographed page showing spaces bound by three or four planes, and an inserted, transparent paper page with original drawings showing various interior design options for office spaces illustrating the text.
3. "Architecture is a Creative Process," a handwritten manuscript of eleven pages on lined paper. "The architect has an idea, a motion which he wants to express in terms of structure. His intention to go beyond mere utility to create something of greater human meaning. The observer knows nothing of the building, nothing of the architects intention. He has an image what he interprets as his emotions respond to it depending upon his personal sensitivity and the degree of his training. If the emotion is weak, the architecture is weak if it is great, the architecture is great. If there is no emotion, there is no architecture, there is only a building." This work contains chapter heading (keywords) for each of the detailed texts, relating to their respective keyword dealt with in the text: Unity, Scale, Intimate, Monumental, Rhythm, Proportion, Sequence, and Composition. The quoted text above became the foreword for the work "Basics of Architectural Design."
4. Twenty two pages of transparencies with original drawings and diagrams headlined 'Principles in Design.' The subtitles on the transparencies relate to the table of content of 'Basics of Architectural Design': Foreword, The architect's Responsibility, Design development, The Study, Design Approach, Graphic Delineation, Representation of Building, Elevations, Spaces, Masses, Unity, Scale, Composition, Symmetry, Asymmetry, Proportion, Rhythm, Sequence, accent, Contrast, Silhouette, Color. Although the subtitles on the twenty-two transparencies used for overhead projection are not exactly structured as the table of content, they are clearly relating to the instruction. "Basics of Architectural Design" represents material developed for classes at the New York Institute of Technology. Five mimeographed transparencies on regular paper with text in Hungarian are added, plus three typed pages of "Basics for Architectural Design," the title page, a table of content and the foreword, and two pages on the proportions in architecture, written by hand in pencil with original drawings.
Ring binder with wear along edges, chips and closed tears, and sunned around edges. Title page with upper two punch holes torn. Label removed from cover. The transparency "The Architect's Task" lightly sunned with light wear along edges, small chips and creasing. Transparencies with Hungarian text with wear. Some of the transparencies with light sunning along edges. Else in very good condition. Binder in good-, interior in very good condition. vg. Item #45539