BUSINESS MACHINES, 1964
|Click on the image to enlarge.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1964.
Photo, nnp, nd.
high-rise office building we designed was for IBM. It was the practice
of IBM to program the space they needed in a certain location, find the
land, then arrange with a developer to take over and use the strength
of the IBM lease to finance the venture.
IBM was conscious
of its public image as projected in the sophistication of its equipment,
packaging, and buildings. IBM reserved the right to select the architect
and to approve the design of its new facilities. This activity was
handled from the IBM Regional Real Estate Office in Chicago, and
Terkuhle made friends with the head of the IBM Real Estate Department.
We were chosen to be the architects for several small IBM office
buildings in Mobile, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; Jackson, Mississippi;
Trenton, New Jersey; and later on in Gaithersburg, Maryland; Baton
Rouge, Louisiana; and the Computer Manufacturing Plant and offices
in Burlington, Vermont. On all of these projects, we worked with
the young staff architect for IBM Edward Farrow, who along with
all other IBM executives, always wore dark blue suits and striped
ties. We became good friends with Farrow.
We were selected
to design their major office building in a section of Pittsburgh
called the Golden Triangle, located near the confluence of the Allegheny,
Monongahela, and Ohio rivers. The owner was the Equitable Life Assurance
Society of New York, and IBM would be the major tenant. Equitable
had already built two tremendous stainless steel office buildings
in the Triangle, called the Renaissance of Pittsburgh. They retained
as their master planner and advisor the architect Max Abramowitz
of New York, partner of Wallace Harrison, architect for the Rockefeller
Center. Our design team was composed of John Skilling of Seattle,
structural engineer, and Carey Gamble who would handle the mechanical,
electrical, and air-conditioning. I tried to design a building where
the needs of the client, the architecture, and the engineering would
all be totally integrated and where each discipline would influence
the design solution from the beginning. The result, an honest expression
of all three influences.
of jet airplane travel made it possible for us to carry out our
design efforts. After the New Orleans airport runway was lengthened,
it was possible to fly back and forth quickly by jet from New Orleans
to Skilling in Seattle, to IBM in Chicago, to Equitable Life in
New York, and to the site itself in Pittsburgh.