Date/place of birth:
20 October 1906
Date/place of death:
8 September 1998
Relationship to the
Instructor in Architecture
11 May - 18 June1945-
1945 Summer Art Institute
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
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
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).