- Gunnar Birkerts
Gunnar Birkerts (born 1925 in
Riga, Latvia) is a prominent American architect, who, for most of his career, was based in southeastern Michigan. Some of his designs include the Corning Museum of Glassin Corning, New York, Marquette Plazain Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Artin Kansas City, Missouri, and the U.S. Embassyin Caracas, Venezuela.
Gunnar Birkerts was raised in Latvia but fled ahead of the advancing Russian army toward the end of the Second World War. He graduated from the Technische Hochschule, Stuttgart, Germany, in 1949. Birkerts came to the United States and worked initially for
Perkins and Will, then for Eero Saarinen, and finally for Minoru Yamasakibefore opening his own office in the Detroit suburbs.
Birkerts initially practiced in the partnership Birkerts and Staub; after that partnership broke up the firm became Gunnar Birkerts and Associates. The firm received Honor Awards for its projects from the (national)
American Institute of Architectsin 1962, 1970, 1973, as well as numerous awards from the Michigan Society of Architects and the local chapter.
Birkerts joined the faculty at the
University of Michiganin 1959 and taught until 1990.
Gunnar Birkerts was selected as a Fellow of the
American Institute of Architectsin 1970, and a Fellow of the Latvian Architect Association in 1971. He is the recipient of numerous individual awards including a 1971 fellowship from the Graham Foundation, the Gold Medal of the Michigan Society of Architectsin 1980, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Lettersin 1981, and the 1993 Michigan Artist of the Year award. He received an honorary doctorate from Riga Technical University in 1990, the Order of the Three Stars from the Republic of Latvia in 1995 and the Great Medal of the Latvian Academy of Sciencesin 2000.
Birkerts now maintains an architectural office in
His son is noted literary critic
* Birkerts, Gunnar, "Process and Expression in Architectural Form",
University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK 1994; ISBN 0806126426
* Birkerts, Gunnar, "Subterranean Urban Systems", Industrial Development Division-Institute of Science and Technology, University of Michigan 1974
* Kaiser, Kay, "The Architecture of Gunnar Birkerts",
American Institute of ArchitectsPress, Washington DC 1989; ISBN 1558350519
* Martin, William, "Gunnar Birkerts and Associates" (Yukio Futagawa, editor and photographer), A.D.A. Edita (GA Architect), Tokyo 1982
* Gunnar Birkerts & Associates, "IBM Information Systems Center, Sterling Forest, N.Y., 1972; Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1973" (Yukio Futagawa, editor and photographer), A.D.A. EDITA (GA Architecture), Tokyo 1974
* [http://www.gunnarbirkerts.com/ Gunnar Birkerts Architects, Inc.]
* [http://www.hti.umich.edu/cgi/f/findaid/findaid-idx?c=bhlead&idno=umich-bhl-02103 "Gunnar Birkerts papers 1930-2002"] , at the
Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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