Gordon Bunshaft (1909-1990)

A Center for Architectural Crafts for Metropolitan Boston

A Center for Architectural Crafts for Metropolitan Boston
elevation with entrance detail, 1935
watercolor, ink and pencil on paper

Born in Buffalo, New York, Gordon Bunshaft received his Bachelors Degree in Architecture from MIT in 1933 and his Masters Degree in 1935. That same year he was awarded the Rotch Traveling Fellowship. He joined the New York office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in 1937, becoming a partner in 1949. Gordon BunshaftThe project that elevated Bunshaft to world fame was the Lever House, designed in 1952. A number of significant commissions followed including Manufacturers Hanover Trust Bank Branch Headquarters in New York City and the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC.

Bunshaft's design for an Architectural Crafts Center, which was clearly aimed at MIT, shows a major shift from his undergraduate thesis work of two years earlier. The plan and elevation reveal changes in the Department of Architecture's design philosophy after the arrival of Professor Lawrence B. Anderson. Long and low with little decorative detail, except for the entrance which retains a Moderne flavor, the entire complex has its roots in the Bauhaus.

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