Contact the Project

Site Outline
 A Brief History
 College Publications

Special Features


Next Biography

biographies by
 Faculty Discipline

Black Mountain
College Project


Paul H. Beidler    

Date/place of birth:
20 October 1906
Lehighton, Pennsylvania

Date/place of death:
8 September 1998
Tucson, Arizona

Relationship to the college:
Instructor in Architecture
11 May - 18 June1945-

1945 Summer Art Institute



Music Cubicle



Paul Beidler studied at the School of Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania (B.Arch. 1930) and on a Taliesin Fellowship with Frank Lloyd Wright. From 1930-34, he was staff architect for the archaeological expeditions of the University of Pennsylvania in Egypt, Iraq, and Italy. During this time Beidler began a spiritual quest. He was influenced by Sufi dervishes in Egypt, Iraq, and Persia, and lived among Yesidi priests in Kurdistan. His meeting with Gurdjieff was a life-changing experience.

In the United States he started a private architectural practice. He also worked with architectural firms including Jan Duiker in Amsterdam, with Claude Stiehl in Honolulu, and with Webster and Wilson in Los Angeles. His private practice included planning and construction of factories, housing and dwellings. During the war he was Captain on the MSS "Edna" fishing vessel in Barnegat Light, New Jersey.

On the recommendation of Walter Gropius, Beidler first visited Black Mountain College in February 1945 to discuss the architectural program there. In May he was appointed Instructor in Architecture and Consulting Architect. The college was hopeful that he would remain to direct a postwar construction program.

In the spring Beidler and his students designed a small music practice cubicle (Music Cubicle) which they constructed in June. Ideally, other cubicles would have been scattered throughout the college property. His wife Margaret Grant Beidler taught writing during the summer.

At the end of the 1945 summer session Beidler resigned to resume architectural work that had been postponed due to the war. Although he offered to teach for one quarter a year, the college realized it needed a full-time architect to direct the proposed building plans.

After leaving Black Mountain, Beidler settled in his home state of Pennsylvania. In 1946 he established Northeon, a studio in a rural area six miles east of Easton. In 1949 Beidler associated himself with the newly-formed Gurdjieff Foundation. From 1948-53 he was lecturer in architectural design at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, and from 1950-54 he was chairman of the Zoning Commission in Northampton County. From 1954-73 he held positions in city and regional planning and education with the United States Foreign Service in Iraq, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Indonesia.

In 1973 when Beidler returned to the United States, he moved to his tree farm Northeon to undertake The Search at Northeon Forest, a personal journey to bring himself, along with other seekers, "into harmony with the true reason for existence."

Beidler was a member of the American Society of Planning Officials (ASPO) and the American Institute of Architects (AIA).


This biography was funded by a grant from the Graham Foundation for a study of architecture at Black Mountain College.

black mountain college project   biographies by  Surname         Profession         Faculty Discipline       Order Added to Site