The work grew progressively more daring as time moved along. In his years with Saarinen in Bloomfield Hills, he participated in the iconic General Motors Technical Center, in Warren, MI, the “Industrial Versailles” of our nation, the Milwaukee War Memorial, in Milwaukee, WI, and three college projects: Concordia Senior College in Ft. Wayne IN, Stephens College Chapel in Columbia, MO, (pictured, showing a keen composition of materials) and the MIT Auditorium in Cambridge. Each of these projects would test a new material, spatial relationship, or technical/structural feat.
The first use of glazed brick, the largest mosaic mural, a 1/8 sphere shell rather than a dome…the audacity of trying was half of the excitement. While I couldn’t yet pin down a list of Mr. Birkerts work with Yamasaki (stay tuned, I’m working on it) interviews that followed the construction of the World Trade Center in NY focused on the sheer bulk of the towers, the shadows they cast and while there was much discussion of massing, the nearly incomprehensible scale of the buildings evaded general design critique. It was lauded more as a feat of engineering- to prove that it could be built. A monument to how well we had harnessed our own technologies.
Gunnar’s work that followed continued to test material strengths and structural possibilities, but without losing sight of the architectural divinity within. It is impossible to discuss his buildings merely on structural grounds because their accomplishments are so intertwined with the designs themselves.
Please join us on the 24th for a visual tour of Mr. Birkerts work, and career and ask him more about his thoughts on architecture in general over coffee after the salon.
Thursday, June 24th, 2010
6:45 - 8:00 pm
doors open at 6:15 pm
Modulightor, 246 East 58th Street
Sean Khorsandi, Foundation Co-Director
Limited copies of Gunnar Birkerts a new look at the Firm's work by Sven Birkerts will be on hand for purchase and dedication.
Coffee and cookies provided by
The Paul Rudolph Foundation
Limited tickets are available on the event's website located here.