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Architecture of skidmore owings & merrill, 1950-1962 SOM

By: Contributor(s): Material type: TextTextLanguage: English Publication details: 1962 Architectural Press LondonDescription: 231 p. : ill. ; 29 cmSubject(s): DDC classification:
  • 720.973 DAN
Summary: This is the first book to document in detail buildings completed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill during the last twelve years: buildings which the museum of modern art described in its catalogue to a recent SOM exhibition ad defining two disciplines, “the discipline of modern architecture and that of American organisation.” SOM has become symbol for the largest architectural group practice in the world: it employs a staff of 600 and it has branches in Chicago, New York. Oak Ridge, San Francisco and Portland. It might have been reasonably supposed that such a giant-sized practice which must depend on close-knit organisation and overall planning, would inevitably lead to standardised solutions to building problems, and the repetition of routine architectural clichés. The opposite has proved to be the case as this book graphically reveals. For this vast group practice has produced a widely varied range of buildings-hotels, schools, universities, factories, housing, etc. for which the world “pioneer” can be accepted as accurately descriptive. There is not only no evidence of routine solutions to building problems, but again and again their buildings display a remarkable inventiveness and individuality of approach. And as Herny Russell Hitchcock points out in his introduction: “more imitations of lever house have been built by othr architects, here are abroad, than by SOM themselves.”
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This is the first book to document in detail buildings completed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill during the last twelve years: buildings which the museum of modern art described in its catalogue to a recent SOM exhibition ad defining two disciplines, “the discipline of modern architecture and that of American organisation.” SOM has become symbol for the largest architectural group practice in the world: it employs a staff of 600 and it has branches in Chicago, New York. Oak Ridge, San Francisco and Portland. It might have been reasonably supposed that such a giant-sized practice which must depend on close-knit organisation and overall planning, would inevitably lead to standardised solutions to building problems, and the repetition of routine architectural clichés. The opposite has proved to be the case as this book graphically reveals. For this vast group practice has produced a widely varied range of buildings-hotels, schools, universities, factories, housing, etc. for which the world “pioneer” can be accepted as accurately descriptive. There is not only no evidence of routine solutions to building problems, but again and again their buildings display a remarkable inventiveness and individuality of approach. And as Herny Russell Hitchcock points out in his introduction: “more imitations of lever house have been built by othr architects, here are abroad, than by SOM themselves.”

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