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Gordon Bunshaft and SOM: Building Corporate Modernism

Adams, Nicholas
2019, Geb., 296 S., Abb.
Yale University Press


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.

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