1895 - 1969

Albert Irvin Cassell

Born in Towson, Maryland, and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Cassell enrolled in Cornell University in 1915. After completing two years of college, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving in World War I. He was honorably discharged in 1919 and received a war-awarded B.Arch. degree from Cornell University. He partnered with architect William Hazel, designing trade buildings at Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) and worked briefly as chief draftsman for architect Howard Wiegner in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

In 1920 he joined the faculty of Howard University as an instructor and associate architect, becoming the head of the architecture department and university architect in 1922. He served as the department head until 1928, developing the College of Applied Science (now College of Engineering and Architecture). As the university architect he prepared a twenty-year masterplan, worked as a surveyor and land manager, and collaborated with landscape architect David Williston to develop and expand the grounds. Cassell embraced the Georgian-style to unify the campus, designing and supervising the construction of several structures, including the Chemistry Building (1935) and Founders Library (1938).

After leaving Howard University in 1938 Cassel designed apartment communities for middle-income African Americans, including the James Creek Dwellings public housing (1943) and the Mayfair Mansions Apartments, both in Washington, D.C. Following his acquisition of the Mayfair land in 1942, the project was completed in 1946, and is notable as among the first privately developed, multi-family communities for African Americans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

Cassell worked independently and with his firm, Cassell, Gray & Sulton on projects throughout Baltimore and the nation’s capital. In addition to Howard University, he contributed to other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), designing dormitories at Virginia Union University and Morgan State College (now Morgan State University).

Cassel died in Washinton, D.C., at the age of 74 and is buried at Baltimore National Cemetery