Born in Munich, Germany, Alfred Clauss received his equivalent of a Bachelors in Architecture from the Munich Technical Architectural School in 1926. After graduation Clauss worked with Karl Schneider on the design of housing projects in Hamburg, Germany, but in 1928 he left Schneider for the office of Mies van der Rohe and worked on the Barcelona Pavilion for the Barcelona Exposition of 1929. Clauss stayed with the Mies van der Rohe firm only until the end of 1929, and then he emigrated to the United States.
By February 1930, Clauss had become a designer with Howe & Lescaze, working on the landmark PSFS Building at 12th and Market streets in Philadelphia. Through this contact with Howe & Lescaze, Clauss also met Philip Johnson when he supervised the installation of a new interior for Johnson's apartment on East 53rd Street in New York. In 1931 Clauss organized the "Salon des Refuses" for architects who found themselves excluded from the annual Architectural League of New York exhibition; and, while still with the Howe firm, he associated briefly with another member of the firm George Daub in the office of Clauss & Daub, an office which exhibited both at the "Salon des Refuses" and in the show of Modern Architecture held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1932, and immortalized in the Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson International Style catalogue.
From 1934 to 1945 the Clausses were in Tennessee, working for the Tennessee Valley Authority, with Alfred Clauss as Architect in Charge of Housing. While in Tennessee, he and his wife Jane West Clauss collaboratively designed "Little Switzerland", a group of split-level houses in the suburbs of Knoxville. Before returning to Philadelphia, he joined George Howe at Yale University, directing thesis students; but in 1945, back in Philadelphia, he rejoined his partner George Daub, who was then working on the WCAU broadcasting station. This partnership with Daub lasted until 1947, and he immediately began working with <>Eugene Stopper>In 1948, he began working as an architectural associate and later partner of Gilboy & O'Malley, engineers, in Philadelphia. In 1954, the firm re-formed to establish Gilboy, Bellante & Clauss. Within about two years, it became Bellante & Clauss. By 1962, the firm had offices in Philadelphia, Scranton, Phoenix, AZ, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This firm was succeeded by Bellante, Clauss, Miller & Nolan, architects, engineers, planners. In 1956 Clauss also opened an office under his own name in Trenton, NJ, which later became Clauss & Nolan, architects and engineers. His wife was a participating associate in this office. This firm and the others appear to have operated concurrently. Clauss was at the head of the design division of the Bellante & Clauss and its successors until his retirement in 1981.
Clauss joined the AIA in 1946 and was also a member of the Philadelphia Chapter, where he chaired the yearbook, exhibition, art and architecture committees and organized the hospitality committee for the national convention held in Philadelphia.
Sandra L. Tatman, and
Emily T. Cooperman.
Clubs and Membership Organizations
- American Institute of Architects (AIA)
- Philadelphia Chapter, AIA
- Yale University
- Munich Technical Architectural School
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