Process and Expression in Architectural Form

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University of Oklahoma Press, 1994 - Architecture - 166 pages
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Generously illustrated with concept development sketches as well as site plans, section drawings, full schematics, and photographs of finished buildings, this engaging volume focuses on "organic synthesis," the creative process that is architect Gunnar Birkerts's methodology and philosophy.

Birkerts likens his organic approach to listening to music: the music must be heard as it unfolds; an attempt to perceive it all at once would reduce it to noise. Organic synthesis occurs as all aspects of a project present themselves: the building site, the building program and budget, available materials and technologies, emotional or intuitive content revealed through architect-client interaction.


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About the author (1994)

Gunnar Gunivaldis Birkerts was born in Riga, Latvia on January 17, 1925. At the end of World War II, he fled Latvia ahead of the advancing Soviet Army and made his way to Germany. He received diplomas in engineering and architecture from Stuttgart's technical university. He emigrated to the United States in 1949. He worked for the Chicago firm Perkins & Will for two years before joining Eero Saarinen's firm. In 1956, he joined Yamasaki, Leinweber & Associates. In 1959, he and his colleague Frank Straub formed their own firm, Birkerts & Straub. In 1963, he started his own firm, Gunnar Birkerts & Associates. He designed the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston, the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, the American embassy in Caracas, and the Latvian National Library in Riga. He taught architecture at the University of Michigan from 1959 to 1990. He wrote several books including Subterranean Urban Systems, Gunnar Birkerts: Buildings, Projects, and Thoughts, 1960-1985, and Process and Expression in Architectural Form. In 1981, he received the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture. He died on August 15, 2017 at the age of 92.

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