Male, born 1921-12-02

Associated with the firms network

Marquis and Stoller, Architects; Stoller Knoerr Architects; Stoller/Partners, Architects

Professional History


Partner, Marquis and Stoller, Architects, San Francisco, CA, 1956–1978; Stoller and Marquis both attended the legendary Black Mountain College; Partner, Stoller/Partners, Berkeley, CA, 1978; Partner, Stoller Knorr, Architects, Berkeley, CA;


Associate Professor, College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley (UCB), c. 1966.


In 2000, Stoller's papers were donated to the UCB, College of Environmental Design Archives in Berkeley, CA. The collection is known as the "Claude Stoller Collection, 1957-1996," Collection Number 2000-14.


Coursework, City College of New York (CCNY), New York, NY; Coursework, Black Mountain College, Black Mountain, NC, 1942; M. Arch., Harvard University, Graduate School of Design, Cambridge, MA, 1949; coursework, University of Florence, Florence, Italy, 1949-1950.



Stoller was born in the Bronx, NY, and spent his childhood there. He didn't venture far to attend college, first matriculating at the City College of New York (CCNY) for a single semester. He attended a Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibition that opened on 12/07/1938 entitled "The Bauhaus 1919-1928," where he first learned of many of its teaching principles. The show indicated that Black Mountain College in Black Mountain, NC, had developed an "advanced" curriculum comparable to that of the Bauhaus, and decided to transfer from CCNY to Black Mountain College in 1938. (For more on the connections between the Bauhaus and the curriculum of Black Mountain College see Helen Molesworth, Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957, [Boston: Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston ; New Haven: In association with Yale University Press, 2015], pp. 103-105.) See This avant-garde institution opened in 1933 was founded by four former art faculty dismissed from Rollins College in March of that year. (The four declined to recite a "loyalty pledge" required by Rollins' President Hamilton Holt [1872-1951].)

At Black Mountain, studied art theory and photography with Bauhaus painter Josef Albers (1888-1976) and architecture with avant-garde Modernist A. Lawrence Kocher (1885-1969) and others. He stayed here until 1942, when he was drafted. Because of a hearing problem, Stoller was not taken immediately into active duty, but received an enlisted reserve assignment with the 14th Coast Artillery on Puget Sound. This unit was enlarged in 1941-1942 and stationed at four main locations: Forts Worden, Flagler, Casey and Whitman. The Army positioned batteries at key locations around Puget Sound, including Port Angeles, Sequim, Marrowstone Island, Agate Passage, Rich Pass, Beans Point and Orchard Point, among others. In 1944, Stoller was transferred to the 13th Armored Division, the "Black Cat Division," that began European operations in 01/1945 landing at LeHavre, France. In 04/1945, the 13th was attached to the Army's XVIII Corps, engaging the Wehrmacht in combat near the town of Bad Honnef. The corps continued operations in the North Rhine/Westphalia northeast of Bonn before turning southeast cutting through the center of Germany with the purpose of meeting resistance in Bavaria. It remained in the vicinity east and southeast of Munich in both Germany and Austria. On 05/02/1945, the 13th Armored Division set up its headquarters in the Austrian town of Braunau am Inn in the house in which Hitler was born. The war in Europe concluded on 05/08/1945, and Stoller's unit left for home on07/14/1945.

By 02/1946, Stoller gained admittance to the Master's in Architecture program at Harvard University, although he did not technically finish his undergraduate coursework at Black Mountain. Walter Gropius, Chair of the Department of Architecture, had worked with Albers at the Bauhaus, and held his teaching methods in high esteem. Gropius maintained close relations with Albers while the painter developed Black Mountain's curriculum. Gropius and Marcel Breuer prepared designs for a new Black Mountain College Campus in 1939-1940, and Gropius's own daughter, Ati Gropius Johansen, even attended Black Mountain during the 1940s. According to the Online Archive of California, at Harvard, Stoller felt "...that at first he was envious of the more advanced drafting skills of those who had come through professional undergraduate programs. He soon realized, however, that his courses with Josef Albers, an excellent physics course with Peter Bergmann, and his practical construction experience at Black Mountain compensated by far for any deficiency in technical skills which he soon mastered." (See Online Archive of California, "Claude Stoller Collection, 1957-1996: Biographical Notes," accessed 01/05/2016.) Stoller graduated with a master's degree from Harvard's Gradaute School of Design in 1949, having worked with Gropius, Joseph Hudnut and others teaching luminaries.

Following Harvard, Stoller spent one year in Italy studying at the Unversity of Florence, along with others with whom he had attended Black Mountain College, including his wife, Nan Oldenburg, and Lucian C. and Jane Slater Marquis. Lucian Marquis (1921-2005) would later become a Professor of Political Science at Pitzer College, and was the brother of Robert B. Marquis (1927-1995), who would become Stoller's architectural partner in San Francisco. Both Marquis brothers had been born in Stuttgart and fled the Nazis in 1937.

Following this European study, Claude Stoller and his wife re-settled in the Boston area where he worked in the offices of various architects. He relocated to Saint Louis, MO, in 1955, in order to take a teaching position in architecture at Washington University. He also worked as a practicing architect briefly in the States of IA and MO. He worked at Washington University for a short time, before relocating to CA.

Marquis and Stoller operated in San Francisco from 1956 until 1978. Soon after relocating to San Francisco, William W. Wurster (1895-1973), Dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), invited him to teach there. He continued to teach at UCB until 1991. Stoller lived in Berkeley for many years, and he transferred his next architectural firm, Stoller/Partners (later Stoller Knoerr Architects) to Berkeley, as well.

Stoller's family had roots in ME, and he and his second wife, Rosemary Raymond Stoller, remodeled a barn on the Atlantic seacoast as a second residence over many years.


He married Nan Oldenburg Stoller, and divorced her. (She later became known as Nan Black.)

Associated Locations

  • New York, NY (Architect's Birth)
    New York, NY

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PCAD id: 431