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Bertram A. Weber (1898-1989)

Dates of Interview:

August 4, 1983

Location of Interview:

Weber's home in Highland Park, Illinois


Betty J. Blum

Length of Transcript:

26 pages
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Biographical Summary

Bertram A. Weber was born in Chicago in 1898, the second of three generations of Chicago architects. His study of liberal arts at Northwestern University was interrupted by WW I, and before he returned to school he took a job in his father's architectural office (Peter J. Weber). That experience led him to study at MIT, from where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in architecture in 1922. Before organizing a partnership with Charles White in 1923 (White & Weber), he worked in the office of noted Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw. After White's death in 1936, Bertram practiced independently, specializing in residential and institutional buildings. In 1973 he was joined by his son, John, and the office was then renamed Weber & Weber. Bertram Weber was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1953. He died in 1989 in Pompano Beach, Florida.

Interview Highlights

Weber speaks about his father, Peter J. Weber's career; studying at Northwestern University; the war and work; what led Bertram Weber to architecture; studying at MIT; working for Howard Van Doren Shaw.

Elevation of an addition to the Fisher Building; Chicago, 1907.
Peter J. Weber, architect. Department of Architecture, The Art Institute of Chicago.

Perspective rendering of a "Cape Cod" house, for Small Homes Guide, 1948.
Bertram Weber, architect; rendered by C.J. Speiss. Department of Architecture, The Art Institute of Chicago.

Interview Excerpt

"I spent eight months in [the office of my father, Peter J. Weber]. He had me sit there and draw all the orders of architecture: the Tuscan order, the Doric order, the Ionic order, the Composite order, the Corinthian order. I drew whole sheets out of Vignola, you know. Then he would teach me how to measure columns and how to measure the heights of things and what were good proportions and how you start to design and how you plan. He really was an unbelievably fine teacher." (p. 8)

Additional Resources

Bertram A. Weber images in the R&B Archives
Related archival materials in the R&B Archives
Works by Weber in the Department of Architecture and Design: Bertram A. Weber and White & Weber

Funding for this oral history was provided by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.