Oskar Gregory Stonorov, Architect [1905-1970]
When Oskar Stonorov [†] arrived in the United States from Germany in 1929, he was one of a small number of European architects bringing to this country the influence of the Bauhaus and the International Style. This philosophy and style would later have a profound effect on America architecture, reinforced and carried forward by other great talents that followed, prior to World War II.
Stonorov brought with him a varied background of education and experience in art and architecture, and by 1931, at age 26, he had achieved recognition through successes in two important international competitions which he entered while working in New York. Immediately thereafter, he moved to Philadelphia and established his own office in partnership with Alfred Kastner. He maintained his practice there until his death in 1970, working individually and in a series of partnerships, including an association with Lou Kahn during the war years, and for the last fifteen years in partnership with J. Frank Haws.
Stonorov had a keen sense of the relationship between political and architectural activity in developing the urban environment, and many of his most significant achievements were a result of his combining his abilities in these areas. He was instrumental in bringing about the participation of government in housing and designed, with Alfred Kastner, the first Federally funded housing, Carl Mackley Houses in Philadelphia. Involvement in the design of low and moderate income housing continued throughout his career.
With Edmund N. Bacon he designed the city planning exhibition "Philadelphia Panorama" in 1947, one of the first and perhaps most significant of his efforts to cultivate public understanding of an involvement in the urban planning process.
His career was centered in public architecture, with artistic and functional endeavor closely interwoven with efforts to achieve social improvements.
† See: Avon Lea, the Oskar Stonorov House and Farm.