An Influential Industry Magazine Still Inspiring Designers Today

Architectural Forum is no longer in publication, but I recently found a large stack of past issues and have been browsing, studying and admiring this beautiful work of art.  It was an industry magazine focusing on architecture and the building arts, however the layout and the language used in the magazine attracted a larger audience.

Originally, the magazine was called The Brickbuilder  (I traced back an issue dating back to 1892. It became Architectural Forum in 1917 and was in circulation monthly since then. 

The original cover and name of the magazine, The Brickbuilder, when it was established in 1892

In 1932, Henry Luce, founder of Fortune magazine purchased Architectural Forum and led the magazine through its best years. It was a rare instance for Luce to buy a magazine instead of creating one. A popular story is that he was building a house at the time and wanted to have some firsthand information about the subject.

Publisher Henry Luce, founder of Fortune magazine who purchased Architectural Forum in 1932 and led the magazine though its best years

Writers and editors at Architectural Forum analyzed and critiqued American architecture and urban planning. Some issues featured new buildings on its covers, while others were devoted to larger themes of urban planning, particular building types (schools were a favorite), individual cities, and the general architectural profession.

In 1952, Architectural Forum decided to take a more consistent approach to the design of its covers and hired Japanese American Ray Komai to lead the transformation. Through his 10 years at the magazine, Komai created some of the most stunning and memorable covers.

Select stunning covers for Forum by Ray Komai, who was brought as art director of the magazine from 1952 to 1963
Forum art director Ray Komai who revolutionized the cover direction for Forum magazine, at his creative office

Architectural Forum
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