Photograph by Stuart-Rodgers-Reilly, courtesy of Grunsfeld Shafer Architects.
Ernest Alton "Tony" Grunsfeld, III, was born in 1929 in Chicago, Illinois, and studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1952. After serving in the military and working briefly in the offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill George Fred Keck, and Bertrand Goldberg in Chicago, in 1956 Grunsfeld joined Wallace Yerkes, formerly a partner of his father, noted Chicago architect Ernest Alton Grunsfeld, Jr., in a small residential practice in Chicago. Before long, Yerkes and Grunsfeld became the architects of choice for many prominent clients in Chicago's North Shore communities. After Yerkes' death in 1965, Grunsfeld continued in private practice, designing private houses, apartments, and commercial projects across the United States. Working in a modern aesthetic, Grunsfeld is highly regarded for his sensitivity to site and landscape, architectural massing, and building materials. He was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1985. Grunsfeld died on April 22, 2011.
Grunsfeld first speaks about his family background, focusing on his father's architectural career and his father's important commissions, including the Whitehall Hotel, the Adler Planetarium, and and the Michigan Avenue Garden Apartments—all in Chicago— and the Lessing Rosenwald house in Pennsylvania; landscape designers; his father's dislike of life in California and his father's love of life in France. Then Grunsfeld speaks about his own career in architecture; study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; military service; work at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, for George Fred Keck. and for Bertrand Goldberg; opening his own firm with Wallace Yerkes; his residential and commercial commissions; working with landscape designers Gertrude Kuh and Franz Lipp and various interior designers, including Marianne Willisch and Arthur Elrod; opinions and reflections.
Ernest A. Grunsfeld, Jr., architect. Adler Planetarium and Astronomical Museum, Chicago, IL, 1930. Kaufmann & Fabry Co., photographer. Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.
Ernest A. Grunsfeld, Jr., architect. Century of Progress International Exposition, Lumber Industries House, Chicago, IL, 1933. Kaufmann & Fabry Co., photographer. Historic Architecture and Landscape Image Collection, Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.
"Sometimes I can't believe I've been so lucky since an awful lot of the building I've done over the years has been on ravines or Lake Michigan—something like thirty-three or thirty-four houses on the lake. Those houses pose that problem but even more so because there's such a discrepancy in quality between the lake view and your neighbors or the street. Straightening out those priorities is sometimes difficult, and if it's difficult, it's fun.... You're constantly making decisions, little or big.... If you think about decisions based on what the client wanted, you'd almost have to call them every time to find out. Otherwise you're guessing. That's too hard, because as you're working on it and it's really hard to solve, you can say, Well, maybe the client didn't want that. And so you try something else. Then you begin to merge what you think the client wants with what's easy. So instead you just go ahead and make decisions based on what you think is right for the client's program.... I think houses are very private. That's where you go hide, that's where you're with your family, where you can take your shoes off and be comfortable. I think that's sort of the idea of the gate and the moat and drawbridge. Then there's the lake and the ravine or a beautiful garden that is all your private space. I think [my] houses are intentionally closed in the front. I'm not sure they're unfriendly. They are certainly private. I think maybe the truth is that we all are designing houses for ourselves and when they're complete, you just turn them over to someone else. I think that's true. I've always felt that was true." (pp. 208-210)
Ernest A. Grunsfeld, III, architect. Residence in Northfield, IL, 1965. Photograph by Orlando Cabanban, courtesy of Grunsfeld Shafer Architects.
Ernest A. Grunsfeld, III, architect. Residence in Highland Park, IL, 1990. Photograph by Lambros Photography, courtesy of Grunsfeld Shafer Architects.
34 min 55 sec ago The Art Institute of Chicago Mary Cassatt was the only American artist to exhibit with the original Impressionist group. This sensitive portrayal of a mother and child reflects the most advanced 19th-century ideas about raising children. Scientists and physicians of the day encouraged mothers (instead of wet nurses and nannies) to care for their children and to include regular bathing in their hygiene practices to prevent disease. #5WomenArtists
See three paintings by Mary Cassatt now on view: http://bit.ly/2nl9Z68
Image: [Now on view in Gallery 273] Mary Cassatt. The Child's Bath, 1893. Robert A. Waller Fund.
4 hours 39 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago APRIL 21—Join us for After Dark in the Modern Wing!
Check out the new exhibition Go with special tours and late-night access. And catch live performances by Monakr and Mano.
Must be 21+. Hosted by The Evening Associates of the Art Institute of Chicago.