Gordon Bunshaft And Som: Building Corporate Modernism by Nicholas AdamsGordon Bunshaft And Som: Building Corporate Modernism by Nicholas Adams

Gordon Bunshaft And Som: Building Corporate Modernism

byNicholas Adams

Hardcover | October 22, 2019

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A nuanced portrait of the 20th-century architect whose work defined the built aesthetic of corporate America

Gordon Bunshaft’s (1909–1990) landmark 1952 design for Lever House reshaped the Manhattan skyline and elevated the reputation of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), the firm where he would spend more than 40 years as a partner. Although this enigmatic architect left behind few records, his legacy endures in the corporate headquarters, museums, and libraries that were built in his distinctive modernist style. Bunshaft’s career was marked by shifts in material. Glass and steel structures of the 1950s, such as New York’s Chase Manhattan Bank, gave way to revolutionary designs in concrete, such as the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University and the doughnut-shaped Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC. Bunshaft’s collaborations with artists, including Isamu Noguchi, Jean Dubuffet, and Henry Moore, were of paramount importance throughout his career.
Nicholas Adams explores the contested line between Bunshaft’s ambition for acclaim as a singular artistic genius and the collaborative structure of SOM’s architectural partnership. Bunshaft received the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 1988 and remains the only SOM partner to have achieved this distinction. Adams counters Bunshaft’s maxim that “the building speaks for itself” with necessary critical context about this modernist moment at a time when the future of Bunshaft’s iconic works—including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and the Union Carbide building in Manhattan—are very much in question.
Nicholas Adams is professor emeritus of architectural history at Vassar College.
Title:Gordon Bunshaft And Som: Building Corporate ModernismFormat:HardcoverProduct dimensions:296 pages, 11.5 × 9 × 0.98 inShipping dimensions:11.5 × 9 × 0.98 inPublished:October 22, 2019Publisher:Yale University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0300227477

ISBN - 13:9780300227475


Editorial Reviews

“Adams offers a genuinely new portrait of Gordon Bunshaft and fresh observations about American corporate architecture and practice at midcentury.”—Mary McLeod, Columbia University