As lead designer of the Lever House and many of America’s most historically prominent buildings, Pritzker Prize-winning architect Gordon Bunshaft (9 May 1909 – 6 August 1990) is credited with ushering in a new era of Modernist skyscraper design and corporate architecture. A stern figure and a loyal advocate of the International Style, Bunshaft spent the majority of his career as partner and lead designer for SOM, who have referred to him as “a titan of industry, a decisive army general, an architectural John Wayne.” Born in Buffalo, New York to a Russian Jewish immigrant family, Bunshaft studied architecture at MIT, earning his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1933 and 1935, respectively. Upon graduation, he spent two years traveling in Europe through fellowships earned at school, and then moved to New York to work with Edward Durell Stone. After a short stint with Stone, he joined Louis Skidmore of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill to work on projects for the 1939 New York World Fair. After a hiatus to serve in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II, Bunshaft returned to SOM, where he was named lead designer of the Lever House.
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