Comment of the Day: City of Studied Knock-Offs

COMMENT OF THE DAY: CITY OF STUDIED KNOCK-OFFS Escher Saarinen“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

5 Comment

  • 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 :(

  • @cody

    Do a Google search. It’s never too late to learn something new. :-)

  • For cody:

    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….