The Ralph Bunche House, Washington DC


Ralph Bunche House
Photo courtesy of the DC SHPO

Portrair of Ralphe Bunche
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress

This house was the residence of Dr. Ralph Bunche, the distinguished African American diplomat and scholar, from 1941 to 1947. The home was designed for him by Hilyard R. Robinson, a noted Washington architect, in the International Style. Ralph Johnson Bunche is internationally known as a scholar who served as Undersecretary-General of the United Nations and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1949. Between 1929 and 1941, Bunche lived in several Washington, DC h omes, l ocated in the general vicinity of the Howard University campus. While serving as a full professor at Howard University, Bunche commissioned Hilyard R. Robinson to design a home in the Brookland area. The family moved into the completed house in 1941. Architect Hilyard Robinson, the designer of the house, was the most prolific and successful black architect in Washington, DC prior to his retirement in the 1960s. He was greatly influenced by the European urban planning, post-war housing developments, and Modernism which he studied. Among Robinson’s notable works in Washington are Langston Terrace, and several campus buildings at Howard University. The straightforward and refined residence served the Bunche family for six years and is associated with the early career and accomplishments of Dr. Bunche.

The Ralph Bunche House is located in the Brookland neighborhood. A private residence, it is not open to the public.