Walter S. Pierce ’41

Walter S. Pierce ’41, noted architect of suburban homes, died February 27, 2013, in Lexington, Mass. He was born on February 10, 1920, in Brooklyn, N.Y., son of the late Stanley W. Pierce of the Class of 1911, and prepared for college at Ridgewood (N.J.) High School and Thomas Jefferson High School.He attended Bowdoin from 1937 to 1938, a member of Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, and graduated from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1941. He served five years in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, attaining the rank of major. He was commander of 1637th Engineering Construction Battalion, serving in France, Germany, and the Philippines. He was awarded an American Defense Service Medal, American Theater Ribbon, Victory Ribbon, Asiatic-Pacific Theater Ribbon, European Theater Ribbon with one star, and the German Occupation Ribbon. After the war, he returned to Europe on a Fulbright scholarship to see architectural styles that eventually influenced his work. He went on to earn a master of architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1947 and taught architecture there for three years. He also studied design in Denmark. In 1952, Pierce and his business partner, Danforth Compton, bought forty-two acres in Lexington and created Peacock Farms community, the first manifestation of Pierce’s design of the modern suburban home. He lived there, amid the mostly single-story homes, for fifty-five years. Peacock Farms is credited with introducing an era of modernism in architecture. It was the first mid-century modernist neighborhood in Massachusetts to be put on the National Register of Historic Places and has been featured in the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and Time magazine. He is survived by sons Steffen and Christian Pierce and two grandchildren.

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