Marcel Lajos Breuer was born on 21 May 1902 in the provincial city of Pecs, Hungary. His early study and teaching at the Bauhaus in Weimar and Dessau in the 1920s introduced him to the older giants of the era of whom three - LeCorbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius - were to have a life-long influence upon his professional career.
By the time he left Germany in 1935 to join Gropius in London, Breuer was one of the best-known designers in Europe. Two years later Gropius asked him to join Harvard's architecture faculty.
On his own in New York in 1946, Breuer saw a practice that had been essentially residential finally expand into institutional buildings with the UNESCO Headquarters commission in Paris in 1952 and the first of many buildings for Saint John's Abbey and University in Collegeville, MN, two years later.
At Saint John's, Marcel Breuer designed the monastic residence, Saint Thomas Hall, The Abbey & University Church, Alcuin Library, the Peter Engel Science Center, The Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research, and Saints Bernard, Patrick, and Boniface Halls.
By 1969, when he won the AIA's Gold Medal, he could look back on such world-famous monuments as New York's Whitney Museum (probably the best known), IBM's La Gaude Laboratory (his personal favorite), the headquarters of the Departments of HUD and HEW in Washington DC, and Flaine (an entire ski-town in the Frensh Alps). In that same year, he won the first Jefferson Foundation Medal that cited him "among all the living architects of the world as excelling all others in the quality of his work."
He retired in 1976 and died on the 1st of July 1981.