Peter Blake (1920-2006)

Editor of Architectural Forum magazine and vocal critic of modernism

Updated: October 13, 2011

Through his position as editor of Architectural Forum, Peter Blake had close contacts to many of the leading modernist artists and architects. He was a vocal critic of the development of modernism; his beliefs were strongly affected by his European background.

Peter Blake was born and spent his childhood in northeastern Germany. In 1933, when his father, a Jewish lawyer, was forced out of his job by the Nazi elites, Blake was sent to England to finish school. After graduation, Blake started his architectural education in London where he worked part time at the office of Serge Chermayeff, one of the leading British modernists.

Shortly after the outbreak of World War II, Blake left England for the United States. Initially he settled in New York, working as a temporary draftsman for Architectural Forum. In 1940, he moved to Philadelphia after being accepted to the University of Pennsylvania. Parallel to his studies, he worked part time for modernist architects Louis Kahn and Oskar Stonorov. Among Blake’s colleagues at Stonorov & Kahn was Wilhelm Viggo von Moltke, another emigrant from Germany, who later became head of the city planning commission in Philadelphia. In 1944, Blake was drafted into the US Army.

After his service in the army, Blake returned to the United States and – after a short stint at the New York Museum of Modern Art – to Architectural Forum. He started working permanently for the journal in 1950 and held the position of editor-in-chief from 1964 to 1972. In addition to his work as an architectural journalist he was senior partner in two New York architecture offices. During the 1970s, he taught architecture at universities in Boston and Washington, DC. Blake retired from teaching in 1979, but remained an active and critical voice in architecture until his death in 2006.

Selected Publications

Blake, Peter. Form Follows Fiasco. Why Modern Architecture Hasn’t Worked. Boston: Little Brown, 1977.

Blake, Peter. No Place Like Utopia. Modern Architecture and the Company We Kept. New York/London: W.W. Norton, 1993.

Archival Collections

Peter Blake Collection, Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York.

Cite this Entry

MLA Style

"Peter Blake," Transatlantic Perspectives, 2017, Transatlantic Perspectives. 27 Jul 2017 <http://transatlanticperspectives.org/entry.php?rec=24>

APA Style

"Peter Blake." (2017) In Transatlantic Perspectives, Retrieved July 27, 2017, from Transatlantic Perspectives: http://transatlanticperspectives.org/entry.php?rec=24