Compton Laboratories

Gordon Bunshaft


Building 26

Gordon Bunshaft was born in Buffalo, New York in 1909. He graduated from MIT with a Masters Degree in Architecture in 1935. He worked briefly for Edward Durell Stone before being hired by the office of Louis Skidmore (later to become Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill) in 1937. He became a partner at the firm in 1949 and continued to work with them until his retirement in the mid-1980s.

Bunshaft’s first major design project was Lever House in New York (1952), a landmark building of glass and steel. In addition to Compton Laboratories (Bldg. 26) at MIT, Bunshaft’s designs include the Chase Manhattan Bank, New York; the Beinecke Rare Book Library at Yale University; the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; and the National Commercial Bank and Haj Terminal in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Bunshaft was a Trustee of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects, and served on the President’s Commission on Fine Arts from 1963 to 1972. His honors include the Pritzker Architecture Prize; the Gold Medal from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters; the Medal of Honor from the American Institute of Architects, New York chapter; and the Brunner Memorial Prize. He died in New York in 1990. 

Bunshaft.jpgPhoto by George Tames, New York Times, Redux