The Amazing Career of Nathaniel A. Owings (1903–1984)
March 26, 2018
When Nathaniel Owings died, the Washington Post wrote that the architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill was his finest creation. SOM is, however, but one piece of an extraordinary career. Gordon Bunshaft called Owings a “mere salesman,” yet Bunshaft’s career depended on Owings’ ability to “get the job.” Though little known, Owings’ work as an environmentalist and preservation-minded urban planner are of equal interest. Nicholas Adams, the Mary Conover Mellon Professor in the Art Department at Vassar College, will discuss how Owings’ approach to his work—part huckster, part visionary—reveals much about American life and architecture in the mid-20th century.
Nicholas Adams is the Mary Conover Mellon professor in the Art Department at Vassar College where he has taught architectural history for the past 30 years. He has also taught at Lehigh University, Columbia University, and Harvard GSD. He is the author of books covering topics as broadly separated as Italian sixteenth-century military architecture, Gunnar Asplund’s Law Court addition in Gothenburg, and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Adams was the curator of two recent exhibitions at Vassar College and the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library covering architectural books. He is currently writing a biography of the architect Gordon Bunshaft (1909–1990). Adams serves on the publication committee of the Italian architectural magazine Casabella, where a number of his essays have appeared.
Monday March 26, 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
AIA NY Center for Architecture
Details & Registration
Week of March 25th
26The Amazing Career of Nathaniel A. Owings (1903–1984)
29One Building, One Brew
30Lina Bo Bardi: Material Ideologies