COMMENT OF THE DAY: CITY OF STUDIED KNOCK-OFFS “The Gulf Building is perhaps the closest of the copies of Eliel Saarinen’s Second Place Entry for the Chicago Tribune Tower. Do a Google search and see for yourself. Not sure most will agree, but I think it’s pretty cool. We have a Saarinen design in our City, but we don’t. The building was designed by Alfred Finn and Kenneth Franzheim. It’s a lot like all of our ersatz Frank Lloyd Wright buildings that were actually designed by MacKie and Kamrath.” [ZAW, commenting on Available Now, for a Limited Time Only: Views of a Downtown Art Deco Classic] Illustration: Lulu
The Tribune Building is definitely the Gulf Building inspiration, it influenced many buildings of that era, ironically the actual winner influenced no one. The lobby of the Gulf Building is a tour de force, it was the great Jessie Jones who got the building built–thank God they took that kitchie Gulf sign on the top. As for Wright, he inspired everyone, I love that he always insisted on designing the furniture—beautiful yet spectacularly uncomfortable.
I hope I’m not the only one that has no idea what/who any of that is :(
Do a Google search. It’s never too late to learn something new. :-)
Frank Lloyd Wright – most famous architect of the 20th century
Kenneth Franzheim – most famous Houston commercial architect of the 20th century
Chicago Tribune Tower competition – major event in shaping skyscraper design in the 1920’s
Gulf Building – best historic Houston skyscraper, tallest west of the Mississippi for 20+ years
Jesse Jones – guy who built Houston
Mackie and Kamrath – local architecture firm
Mike: give MacKie and Kamrath their due. Of all the Houston firms, they were the biggest Frank Lloyd Wright devotees. In a way, they were to Frank Lloyd Wright what Gordon Bunshaft and the 1960s SOM crowd was to Mies Van der Rohe – though Wright would probably have scoffed at the notion. He did give one of their buildings an “official” approval, though….