THE GOUCHER COLLEGE ARCHITECTURAL COMPETITION OF 1938
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In I92I Dr. William Westley Guth, President of Goucher College, purchased a 42I acre tract in Towson, Maryland with the intention of moving the College from its crowded city location to a more suitable site in the suburbs. Although the financial situation at this time and during the Depression made a move unfeasible, by I935 it was felt that the time was right to plan for the development of a new campus. An Advisory Board of Architects was employed by the College to assess the situation and prepare a program of development for the property. After much deliberation, the Board decided on November I4, I937 to recommend to the Trustees that an architect be selected by means of a competition; this recommendation was approved, and on June I , I938 a Program of Competition was issued to fifty-three of the more than two hundred and fifty architects and firms who had expressed a desire to compete . The judging took place on October 11 and 12, 1938 . Of the thirty - five entries that had been submitted to the Competition, four were awarded prizes: First Place, Moore & Hutchins, New York; Second Place, Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan; Third Place, Frederick G. Frost, New York; and Fourth Place, Thompson, Holmes & Converse, New York. Having lain dormant for thirty-four years$ the subject of the Goucher Competition is now being re-examined in light of the facts that: I) architectural competitions are not as prevalent today as they were twenty or thirty years ago; 2) the event was in 1938, and still is in 1972, important from an architectural standpoint; 3) little was published concerning the Competition; and 4 ) interesting implications for the educational aims and goals of Goucher College evolve from the study of such a Competition. It is the hypothesis of this thesis that the Moore & Hutchins plan was the best expression of the aims and desires of Goucher College in the Competition. By analyzing and discussing eight of the entries -- four losers, the three runners-up, and the winner --~ an attempt was made to point out the aspects of style and design that succeeded or failed in reflecting Goucher's aims and desires. The conclusion was that of all the submissions, the one by Moore & Hutchins was best suited t o the educational philosophy and requirements of the College because of its simplicity and distinctiveness of style, flexibility and informality in design, and preservation of the natural contours and landscape of the site. No other plan quite so deftly handled all of these elements which were the visual embodiment of Goucher's progressive aims and informal life style. Apart from this hypothesis and conclusion, the major task of this thesis has been to sort through all of the documents and raw material on this event and put them in order, secure additional information and visual material from those few participating architects and firms still alive and active today, and ultimately synthesize this mass of information into the first comprehensive history ever to b e written on the Goucher College Architectural Competition of 1938.