Gordon Lee Wildermuth was born in 1937 in Lima, Ohio on a farm. Living close to the land as a youth is a way of life that has had a life-long influence on him. In 1961 Gordon graduated from the University of Cincinnati where he studied architecture after which he served with the Special Forces of the United States Army until 1962. Through luck and circumstances Wildermuth was hired as a designer in 1963 by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; after four years he advanced to project manager, a position for which he felt he was better suited. His first assignment as a project manager was in South America, the first of many international jobs. Gordon's international work is located in places as diverse as the U.K., Saudi Arabia, and Hong Kong. He takes great pride in his work in Saudi Arabia: the Haj Terminal, King Abdul Aziz Airport and the National Commercial Bank, both in Jeddah, and both award-winning projects. He retired in 1988 only to be called back by SOM in 1990 to reorganize the Chicago office. Gordon was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects in 1985. In 1993 he retired for the second and last time, and now divides his time between his farm in Pennsylvania, Chicago, Germany and traveling to far-flung places in the world.
Wildermuth speaks about his early years on the family farm and its life-long influence on him; why he entered the University of Cincinnati; how he came to be hired by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; other architects who Wildermuth worked with; internal workings of the SOM partnership; Fazlur Khan; social concerns; international work; two exceptional projects in Saudi Arabia; retiring twice.
King Abdul Aziz International Airport - Hajj Terminal, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 1981 Photo by Jay Langlois Copyright, Jay Langlois/Owens-Corning Fiberglass; Courtesy, SOM
McCormick Place - Phase 2 - Exposition Center Expansion North Building, Chicago, IL, 1986 Photo by Hedrich-Blessing; Copyright, Hedrich-Blessing; Courtesy, SOM
"So, when I came to Chicago, the big shock in doing work, number one, was how you people in Chicago are so involved with your city government, or the city government's involved with you. In New York, in those days, most people, I mean the mayor, he really wasn't involved too much. Here, the mayor and your, what are they called? The aldermen are incredibly powerful people and very influential. Well, starting to get involved in McCormick Place and the World's Fair. Also, a major difference is, I find Chicago, as a Midwesterner, this is shocking, you always think that Midwesterners are far more easy-going and practical than those eastern people. But I came here thinking that things would be simpler. They actually were more complex. I feel it's a much more litigious environment in construction here than in New York but that's just my reaction." (pp. 182-83)
18 hours 36 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago NOW OPEN—Humanism + Dynamite = The Soviet Photomontages of Aleksandr Zhitomirsky
The first exhibition in the post-Soviet world devoted to leading political artist Aleksandr Zhitomirsky offers a captivating portrayal of a satirist and loyal citizen who inventively furthered his country’s official causes across a tumultuous half-century.
20 hours 28 min ago The Art Institute of Chicago CLOSING SOON—Icelandic artist/musician Ragnar Kjartansson’s intensely durational works often manifest a rare synthesis of pathos and humor.
A Lot of Sorrow is both a music video and extended concert film, in which The National performs its ballad “Sorrow” on repeat for six hours. See the song take on new layers of meaning as the hours pass and fatigue sets in.
Closing October 16—http://bit.ly/2du3GXh
3 days 16 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago Congratulations to the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture on their grand opening this weekend. The building, designed by architect David Adjaye, is a truly historic addition to the National Mall in Washington D.C. #APeoplesJourney #MakingHistory