Architectural Forum, a prominent American magazine about architecture and the building arts, was based in New York City and traced its history to the founding of The Brickbuilder magazine in 1892. It became Architectural Forum in 1917 and stopped publishing in 1974. During Komai’s tenure at the magazine, it was owned by Time, Inc., with founder Henry Luce serving as Editor in Chief. Forum’s subject matter was unusually specific, its circulation small, and its returns meager compared to the famous general-interest magazines in Luce’s stable, including Fortune, Life, House & Home, and Sports Illustrated.
Writers and editors at Architectural Forum analyzed and critiqued American architecture and urban planning. Some issues featured new buildings on its covers, while others were devoted to larger themes of urban planning, particular building types (schools were a favorite), individual cities, and the general architectural profession. These ambitious themed issues required more symbolic and original cover designs, which are some of Komai’s strongest.
Ray Komai’s name enters the staff list of Architectural Forum as Associate Art Director in May, 1952, after he had worked as a designer at CBS for six years. Komai went to Forum as a “kind of retirement:” a comfortable, calm place to work after the pressure of working at CBS. Accounts of Komai's time at the magazine come to us from some of the accomplished people who went through its offices, such as graphic designer Peter Bradford and editor/writer/architect Peter Blake. Following are all 46 of Ray Komai’s striking covers, designed between 1953 and 1963.