Chester E. Nagel (1911-2004)


Nagel, Chester E.

Personal Information

Birth/Death:    b. 05 April 1911 – d. 18 June 2004
Occupation:    American architect
Location :    Austin,TX; Washington, DC; Cambridge, MA

AIA Affiliation

Member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) 1942-decease
Fellow of the American Institute of Architects (FAIA) 1987

Biographical Sources

American Architects Directories:
Biographical listing in 1956 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1962 American Architects Directory
Biographical listing in 1970 American Architects Directory

Biographical information:
Contributed by the Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas:
Chester Emil Nagel was among the first architects to bring the International Style to Texas. Born in Fredericksburg in 1911, he studied architecture at the University of Texas, graduating in 1934. From 1935 to 1938 he worked as an architect for the National Parks Service, helping to design facilities for Bastrop and Palo Duro state parks.
In 1939 Nagel received a scholarship to study at the Harvard Graduate School of Design where he came in contact with Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. After receiving his Master's degree from Harvard in 1940 he returned to Austin and, inspired by Gropius' ideas, designed one of the first International Style structures in the state, a house for himself and his wife on Churchill Drive.
During the war years, Nagel was assigned to the Army Corps of Engineers in Bastrop, and from 1943 to 1945 he worked as a test engineer on the new Convair B-36 bomber in Ft. Worth. After the war he returned to Austin and collaborated with Dan J. Driscoll on the Barton Springs Bathhouse (1945). In 1946 he was called back to Harvard to be Gropius' assistant and later became an assistant professor at the Graduate School of Design. He gave up his teaching position in 1951 to join The Architect's Collaborative (TAC) and from 1951 to 1953 he headed the TAC offices in Washington. Nagel's designs, many of which were collaborative ventures with Gropius, included the Valley House in Lexington, Massachusetts (1940), the Overholt Thoracic Clinic in Boston (1955), and the American Embassy in Athens (1956). In 1958 he opened his own practice in Massachusetts and during the course of the next decade designed a series of projects in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands as well as several buildings for the Harvard medical and dental schools.
Over the years Nagel has also taught and lectured at a host of different institutions among them Williams College, MIT, and The University of Texas (1964-1984).

Related Records

Archival Holdings

The American Institute of Architects Archives
      Membership file contains membership application, chapter transfer, resume, request for emeritus (retired) status, obituary. Fellowship nomination is scanned as a separate file.

Alexander Architectural Archive, University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas
      Chester E. Nagel Collection, c.1939-1971
The Chester E. Nagel collection consists of 28 exhibition panels, 13 photographic prints, 1 magazine, 10 prints, 2 drawings, 3 architectural renderings, .1 linear feet correspondence, and 38 pages of video transcripts that reveal the working life of this native Texan who became a proponent of the International Style.
For more information https://www.lib.utexas.edu/about/locations/alexander-architectural-archives