The Spaces In Between; An Architect's Journey
Carl Bernstein (jacket photograph) Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1973. Second printing [stated]. Hardcover. xv, 303,  pages. Illustrations. Index. DJ has wear, soiling, tears and chips. Nathaniel Alexander Owings (February 5, 1903 – June 13, 1984) was an American architect, a founding partner of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, which became one of the largest architectural firms in the United States and the world. Owings viewed skyscrapers as his firm's specialty. His reputation rested on his ability to be what he called "the catalyst," the person in his firm who ironed out differences among clients, contractors and planning commissions. Owings first job as an architect was with the firm of York and Sawyer. Owings was impressed with Raymond Hood, who designed the RCA Building in Rockefeller Center. Owings described his first glimpse of the 70-story skyscraper as a breathtaking "knife edge, presenting its narrow dimension to Fifth Avenue." Hood's recommendation led to a job Owings worked as an architect on the Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago (1929–34). He had been hired by his brother-in-law, Louis Skidmore, the chief architect for the exposition. Together they designed the layout and buildings for the entire site. They were told to build pavilions for more than 500 exhibits at minimum cost using lightweight, mass-produced materials; and they devised solutions, using the simplest materials—pavilions built out of beaverboard. After the exposition was over, the two men worked independently before forming a Chicago-based partnership in 1936. An architecturally significant residence in Northfield, Illinois, still looks and feels contemporary because of its open, inviting interiors and large windows. Frank Lloyd Wright offered praise for a SOM project designed by Owings when he identified the J.C. Penney Building on the Circle in Indianapolis was "the one interesting building" in the city. ). In The Spaces in Between: An Architect’s Journey, Owings recounts his
life from his youth in Indianapolis, Indiana to the foundation of the firm that bears his name in 1936, to the development and expansion of that firm and its role in the construction of large and important post-war buildings (Lever House, New York, 1952; John Hancock
Center, Chicago, 1967) and many others. The story Owings wanted to tell was racier and would have been more interesting to readers; the book he published was a compromise, designed to avoid law suits and maintain good relations with colleagues at SOM. Keeping his relation with his colleagues was, in the end, important to Owings. Condition: Very good / Fair.
Keywords: Architects, Louis Skidmore, John Merrill, Skyscrapers, Century of Progress, Air Force Academy, Rockefeller, Oak Ridge, Continental Divide, Banyan Tree, Big Sur, Stewart Udall, Pennsylvania Avenue, Gordon Bunshaft, Lever House, Walter Netsch, Severing