Marlene Imirzian interviews Gunnar Birkerts, an internationally renowned architect with a reputation for dramatic expressionist buildings.
Birkerts worked for Perkins and Will in Chicago from 1950-51 before joining Eero Saarinen in Bloomfield, Hills Michigan. He became lead designer for Minoru Yamasaki in 1955 before opening his own office in the Detroit suburbs as Birkerts and Staub in 1959 which became Gunnar Birkerts & Associates in 1963. Upon opening his own practice he said: “my apprenticeship was over. Now it was my turn to speak”. Over the years he developed a reputation as one of our foremost modernist architects. His many projects include museums, corporate headquarters and government buildings for clients in the United States, Europe, and South America. He is noted for his expressive forms emphasizing dynamic flow and illumination of space. He often used lighting as a design element:
“reflected, diffused or directionally washed over an enclosing plane…can give enormous richness to an otherwise simple, uninteresting space”.
Learn more about the spring 2012 conference where attendees will be visiting Lincoln Elementary School.