Archive for the 'Walter Netsch' Category

10
Dec
09

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.

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11
Nov
09

Inland Steel Building

This is one of the defining commercial high-rises of the post-World War II era of modern architecture. The use of stainless steel cladding is an eloquent testimony to the corporation that commissioned the building as its headquarters. The placement of all structural columns on the building’s perimeter — and the consolidation of elevators and other service functions in a separate tower — allowed for a highly flexible interior floor layout. It was the first skyscraper to be built in the Loop following the Great Depression of the 1930s. Its principal designers were Bruce Graham and Walter Netsch of the SOM architecture firm.

from: http://egov.cityofchicago.org/Landmarks/I/InlandSteel.html

10
Oct
09

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings and Merrill LLP (SOM) is an architectural and engineering firm that was formed in Chicago in 1936 by Louis Skidmore and Nathaniel Owings; in 1939 they were joined by John O. Merrill. They opened their first branch in New York City, New York in 1937. SOM is one of the largest architectural firms in the world. Their primary expertise is in high-end commercial buildings, as it was SOM that led the way to the widespread use of the modern international-style or “glass box” skyscraper. They have been built several of the tallest buildings in the world, including: John Hancock Center (1969, second tallest in the world when built), Sears Tower (1973, tallest in the world for over twenty years), and Burj Khalifa (2010, current world’s tallest building). SOM provides services in Architecture, Building Services/MEP Engineering, Digital Design, Graphics, Interior Design, Structural Engineering, Civil Engineering, Sustainable Design and Urban Design & Planning.

Design
Many of SOM’s post-war designs have become icons of American modern architecture, including the Manhattan House (1950), designated as a New York City landmark in 2007 by the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission, and the Lever House (1952), also in New York City; as well as the Air Force Academy Chapel (1958) in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the John Hancock Center (1969) and Willis Tower (1973), both in Chicago.

Although SOM was one of the first major modern American architectural firms to promote a corporate face, i.e. not specifically crediting individual architects for their buildings, many famous architects, engineers and interior designers have been associated with the various national offices.

Due to their faithful following of Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe’s ideas, Frank Lloyd Wright nicknamed them “The Three Blind Mies”.

Architects
Well-known SOM architects include: Gordon Bunshaft, Natalie de Blois, Myron Goldsmith, Bruce Graham, Gertrude Kerbis, Walter Netsch, Pietro Belluschi, Adrian Smith, Ferdinand Gottlieb, Larry Oltmanns, Fazlur Rahman Khan and David Childs.

Engineers
The earliest amongst the many SOM engineers was John O. Merrill. Fazlur Khan, another engineer at SOM, is considered “the greatest structural engineer of the second half of the 20th century;” he is best known for his constructions of the Willis Tower and John Hancock Center and for his designs of structural systems that remain fundamental to all high-rise skyscrapers.[3] Indeed, Khan is responsible for developing the algorithms that made the Hancock building and many subsequent skyscrapers possible.

Interior designers
Davis Allen, a pioneer in corporate interior design, had a forty-year tenure at SOM.

Awards
Throughout its history, SOM has been recognized with more than 800 awards for quality and innovation. More than 125 of these awards have been received since 1998. In 1996 and 1962, SOM received the American Institute of Architects Firm Award[5], which recognizes the design work of an entire firm. SOM is the only firm to have received this honor twice.

In 2009, SOM received four of 13 R+D Awards from Architect Magazine. In addition, a collaboration between SOM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, The Center for Architecture, Science & Ecology, was honored with a fifth award.

The firm’s website: http://www.som.com/
from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skidmore,_Owings_and_Merrill




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