Long-time associate of Richard Neutra, Thaddeus Longstreth was born in Cincinnati, OH, the son of George Brown Longstreth and Anna Margaret Pullen. His father died when Longstreth was young, and he was educated in New England boarding schools, first at the Fessenden School in Waltham, MA and then the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT. After earning a bachelor's degree at Yale in 1933, Longstreth worked for three years in the aircraft industry, first for aeronautical engineer and author Paul H. Wilkerson, and then with the Luscombe Airplane Development Corporation as a sales engineer. Longstreth contributed a chapter on superchargers to the 1936 edition of Wilkerson's guide Diesel Aircraft Engines (Brooklyn, NY: Guide Printing Company, 1936). Longstreth entered Princeton's Graduate School of Architecture in 1938 and completed his M.F.A. in 1941. He won the AIA's school medal in his final year, among other awards. He worked in the office of architect Edwin A. Weed of Flemington, NJ while at Princeton.
Longstreth entered the U.S. Navy as an ensign immediately after graduation, having been commissioned in the Naval Reserve when he left Yale. He commanded a ship repair unit in the Southwest Pacific during World War II. After the war, he worked briefly for Leland Evison in Pasadena, CA, and then entered the office of Richard Neutra as a draftsman in 1946. He worked on several important projects while in Neutra's office, including the well-known Edgar Kaufmann "Desert House" in Palm Springs, CA. He moved to Philadelphia in 1947, joining Oscar Stonorov's office that same year to work on the Greater Philadelphia City Planning exhibit. In 1948, he began working with Vincent G. Kling as a draftsman and designer, and remained there through 1949, participating in the Lankenau Hospital project, among others, and the planning of Earlham College's campus in Richmond, IN. Longstreth then worked for Gabriel Roth on a number of Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority projects, including the site development for the "Golden Triangle" area of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.
Longstreth began to work independently in 1947 and opened his own office in Washington Crossing, PA in 1950. He joined the Philadelphia Chapter of the AIA in 1952. Beginning in 1953, he collaborated with Neutra on a number of houses in the region, and was the East Coast resident supervising architect for Neutra & Alexander on several projects, including the Lincoln Memorial Cyclorama and Visitors' Center for the National Park Service at Gettysburg, PA. Longstreth also completed several early residential designs in association with David Anderson. Longstreth's associations were significant, but the vast majority of his projects were independent commissions: among them were designs for the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ and numerous private residences. He retired from practice in 1980.
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Princeton University
- Yale University
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