Archive for the 'MIT' Category


Harry Weese

Harry Mohr Weese (June 30, 1915 – October 29, 1998) was an American architect, who was born in Evanston, Illinois in the Chicago suburbs who had an important role in 20th century modernism and historic preservation. His brother, Ben Weese, is also a renowned architect.

Harry Weese studied under Finnish architect, Alvar Aalto at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduating in 1938, and went on to study city planning while on a fellowship at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. Weese was also influenced by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen, whom he met at Cranbrook. He built primarily in the modern architectural style, but integrated other styles as he felt appropriate for the project. Out of Cranbrook, Weese joined the major architectural and engineering firm, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill. During World War II, Weese served as an engineer on a U.S. Navy destroyer, and 1947, he started his own architectural firm. Weese is also well known for his firm advocacy of historic preservation and was remembered as the architect who “shaped Chicago’s skyline and the way the city thought about everything from the lakefront to its treasure-trove of historical buildings.”
Weese also served as a judge for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial design competition.

Other well known works include:

The United States Embassy Building in Accra, Ghana.
Arena Stage, Washington, D.C..
Time-Life Building, Chicago, Illinois.
First Baptist Church, in Columbus, Indiana.
Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist in Chicago, Illinois.
The Marcus Center for the Performing Arts in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The Humanities Building at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, widely considered one the Midwest’s best examples of brutalist architecture but slated for demolition soon.
The Chazen Museum of Art at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, formerly known as the Elvehjem Museum of Art.
Mercantile Bank, Kansas City, Missouri.
Westin Crown Center Hotel, Kansas City, Missouri.
The former U.S. Embassy to Ghana in Accra.
Fulton House at 345 N. Canal Street in Chicago. Converted 19th century 16-story cold-storage warehouse building to condominium building.
River Cottages at 357-365 N. Canal Street in Chicago. Sloped, structurally expressive facade responds to the angle and cross bracing of the railroad bridge directly across the river.
William J. Campbell United States Courthouse Annex in downtown Chicago (formerly known as the Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago.) Federal temporary holding prison which has no window bars, instead each cell is provided with a vertical 5″ slot window. Weese was mandated to follow then new federal prison architectural guidelines, like cells having no bars and by original design each prisoner had his own room.
Middletown City Building, Middletown, Ohio.
Sterling Morton Library, The Morton Arboretum.
O’Brian Hall at the State University of New York at Buffalo
The Healey Library at the University of Massachusetts Boston

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Louis H Sullivan

“Louis H. Sullivan
(b. Boston, Massachusetts 1856; d. Chicago, Illinois 1924)

Louis Sullivan was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1856. He studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for one year. He then worked as a draughtsman for Furness and Hewitt in Philadelphia and for William Le Baron Jenney in Chicago. In July 1874 Sullivan travelled to Europe where he studied in the Vaudremer studio at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. He returned to Chicago a year later.

In 1883 Sullivan became a full partner with Dankmar Adler. They remained together until 1895 when Adler retired. Although Sullivan was usually viewed as the designer being backed by Adler’s engineering skills, Adler’s work showed an individual strength that has often been ignored. A notable designer who moved up within the office, eventually going out on his own, was Frank Lloyd Wright.

Sullivan’s designs generally involved a simple geometric form decorated with ornamentation based on organic symbolism. As an organizer and formal theorist on aesthetics, he propounded an architecture that exhibited the spirit of the time and needs of the people. Considered one of the most influential forces in the Chicago School, his philosophy that form should always follow function went beyond functional and structural expressions.

Considered the “Dean of American Architects”, Sullivan died in Chicago, Illinois 1924 shortly after The Autobiography of an Idea and A System of Architectural Ornament. were published.



I.M. Pei

Ieoh Ming Pei (貝聿銘) (born April 26, 1917), commonly known by his initials I. M. Pei, is a Chinese architect. Although he refuses to apply labels to his own work, he is considered a master of modern architecture. Born in Guangzhou and raised in Hong Kong and Shanghai, Pei drew artistic inspiration at an early age from the gardens at Suzhou. He was fascinated by movies from the United States, especially those of Buster Keaton and Bing Crosby, and taught himself English by reading the Bible and novels by Charles Dickens.

In 1935, Pei moved to the United States and enrolled in the architecture school at the University of Pennsylvania, but quickly transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He was unhappy with the focus on Beaux-Arts architecture, and spent his free time researching the emerging masters of modern architecture, especially Le Corbusier. After graduating, he joined the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and became friends with the Bauhaus architects Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer. In 1942, he married Eileen Loo, who had introduced him to the GSD community. They have been married for over fifty years, and have four children (two of whom also became architects).

Pei spent ten years working with New York real estate magnate William Zeckendorf before establishing his own independent design firm. Originally called I. M. Pei & Associates, the firm evolved over many years to its current incarnation as Pei Cobb Freed & Partners. Among the early projects on which Pei took the lead were the L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in Washington, DC and the Green Building at MIT. He created his first widely recognized signature building when he designed the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado. The recognition from this project led to his selection for the John F. Kennedy Library in Massachusetts. He went on to design Dallas City Hall and the East Building of the National Gallery of Art.

He returned to China for the first time in 1974, and agreed to design a hotel at Fragrant Hills. The project became something of a disaster for Pei, but he returned to East Asia again fifteen years later to design a skyscraper in Hong Kong for the Bank of China. In the early 1980s, Pei was the focus of a huge controversy when he designed a glass-and-steel pyramid for the Louvre museum in Paris. Critical and public opinion eventually turned in Pei’s favor, but the experience was difficult for the architects and project coordinators. Pei later returned to the world of the arts by designing the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas, the Miho Museum in Japan, and the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar.

Pei has won a wide variety of prizes and awards in the field of architecture, including the AIA Gold Medal in 1979, the first Praemium Imperiale for Architecture in 1989, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum in 2003. In 1983 he won the Pritzker Prize, sometimes called the Nobel Prize of architecture. In its citation, the jury wrote: “Ieoh Ming Pei has given this century some of its most beautiful interior spaces and exterior forms…. His versatility and skill in the use of materials approach the level of poetry.”

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Walter Netsch

Walter Netsch (February 23, 1920-June 15, 2008) was an American architect based in Chicago. He was most closely associated with the brutalist style of architecture, as well as the firm of Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. His signature aesthetic is known as Field Theory and is based on rotating squares into complex shapes. He may be most well known as the lead designer for the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and its famous Cadet Chapel. The Cadet Area at the Academy was named a National Historic Landmark in 2004.

Summary of work
After graduating from The Leelanau School, a boarding school in Michigan, Netsch studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and then enlisted in the United States Army Corps of Engineers. He began his career as an architect working for L. Morgan Yost in Kenilworth, Illinois. In 1947, he joined Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, which initially assigned him to work in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Later he became a partner for design in that firm.

University Hall at the University of Illinois at Chicago, part of Netsch’s original design for the Chicago Circle campus.Following his work on the Air Force Academy, Netsch led the team which designed the original University of Illinois Circle Campus. The campus design grouped buildings into functional clusters and now constitutes most of the east campus buildings at the University of Illinois at Chicago. During his career, Netsch designed 15 libraries, as well as academic buildings for colleges and universities in the United States and Japan, including Grinnell College, Miami University, Wells College, Illinois Institute of Technology, Sophia University, Texas Christian University, University of Chicago, and University of Iowa. He did the initial design for the Inland Steel Building in Chicago; built circa 1956-1957, this was the first skyscraper built in Chicago’s Loop after the Great Depression. He also designed the east wing of the Art Institute of Chicago. Netsch designed several buildings at Northwestern University and was the focus of an exhibit at the Northwestern University Library in February-March 2006[4] as well as a monograph, Walter A. Netsch, FAIA: A Critical Appreciation and Sourcebook, published in May 2008.

July 2019
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