New Architecture and City Planning: A Symposium

By Paul Zucker | Go to book overview

PRIVATE AND PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION BUILDINGS

By GEORGE HOWE

In 1931 a client for whom William Lescaze and I were designing a building asked me, "Can you guarantee that American buildings in the future will be designed in the style you are proposing for this one?" I answered unhesitatingly, "Yes."

The building was completed in 1933 and I cannot say that in the ten past years that have since elapsed my guarantee has been completely fulfilled. Nevertheless I still feel the answer was justified. The question in substance was whether I was convinced the principles incorporated in the design were sufficiently compelling to necessitate their general adoption. I was and am still so convinced.

I felt justified, therefore, in disregarding, the question of "style," or canonical beauty, which I knew was of paramount importance to him, his building committee and his board of managers. In spite of acid criticism from businessmen and architects alike at the time of construction ten years of experience in operation have shown that I was right.

My only reason for mentioning this personal experience is to give myself courage to take another look into the future. The building of which I have been speaking was designed for a savings bank and was to be erected in the heart of a highly developed commercial area, on a medium-priced shopping street extending for several blocks in the center of a large city. The technical advisory

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