From Triangle Modernist Houses:
Max Isley was born in Caswell County NC and graduated from Burlington High School in 1947. He enrolled at the University of Oklahoma where his freshman advisor was Henry Kamphoefner. When Kamphoefner moved to be the Dean of the NCSU School of Design, Isley moved with him. A stint in the Army preceded his graduation from NCSU in 1957 with a Bachelor of Architecture degree.
From 1955 to 1956 he worked for Haskins and Rice. From 1956 to 1957 he worked for Durham's John Latimer. During 1957 to 1958 he was an architecture instructor at Montana State University in Bozeman MT. In 1958, he moved to Boston and worked for Eduardo Catalano.
In 1959 he received a Masters of Architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Then it's back to Montana to work for Oswald W. Berg, Jr., for a year. Isley moved again to North Carolina and worked again for Durham's John Latimer. In 1969 he was a partner in Smart, Woodall, Isley, and Herring with George Smart, Charlie Woodall, and Troy Herring. The firm went through several name changes until Isley left in 1975 to start his own firm, Isley Architects.
When he retired in 2004, the firm changed to Isley Hawkins, Inc. to reflect the transition of ownership to son Nathan Isley and J. Malcolm Hawkins. Nathan and his brothers Duncan, Malcolm, and Alexander (with their Dad, right), all graduated from NCSU.