Sunday, June 17, 2007

From Skidmore to Gonzalez to DeStefano

Crain's Chicago Business has a report today that Gonzalez Partners, the 10-person firm headed by architect Joseph Gonzalez, is being absorbed by DeStefano & Partners, Ltd, where Gonzalez becomes a design principal. Both Gonzelez and James DeStefano are alumnus of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill.

I'll always remember Gonzalez as the guy (and if my memory is faulty, I hope someone will correct me) who came out to the hearings on the 1911 Chicago and Northwestern terminal and said that since all the really great stations had already been demolished, it was ok to throw away the Chicago and Northwestern - the last complete and functioning example of the great depots - because it wasn't quite up to the standard of the ones we had wrecked already. While at SOM, Gonzalez designed two of the more graceful skyscrapers of the Post-Modern era, One North Franklin and 303 West Madison, notwithstanding the fact that columns of 303's penthouse arcade shelter, not windows and a balcony, but supersized air vents.

Among Gonzalez's recent projects is the new Little Village High School, opened in 2005, and new Brown Line stations at Sedgewick, Armitage and Chicago, currently under construction.


Anonymous said...

At least Gonzalez hid those air vents better than the designer of Chase Tower (First National Plaza) did. I just noticed recently how obtrusive the vents are in the latter building, making it look blocky and disrupting the tower's otherwise graceful vertical curve.

Anonymous said...

At the hearing for Mies van der Rohe's Arts Club interior, Gonzalez remarked that he had had lunch at the club once with Gordon Bunschaft. And that Gordon said, "This is not one of Mies' finer works."

Anonymous said...

I think the scandal broke in the Chicago Tribune on Christmas Eve 1998, that Gonzales, appointed as head of something like the Landmarks Commission for Chicago, and instrumental in the demolition of significant historical works, had lied about completing the professional master of architecture degree as well as being licensed as an architect. Soon after, all the employees at SOM, which was in the process of becoming a LLP and was therefore exposed to liability for malpractice, were called into a closed meeting where the other principals informed all of us that he would be on "leave of absence", ostensibly to complete the missing thesis / degree / license. I made a joke to my supervisor that if they pass out kool-aid to us all, we should not drink it. Gonzales started his own firm soon thereafter, taking some of the mainstays at SOM with him, and never returned to SOM. As a young intern architect, I found it all scandalous.

Anonymous said...

It was Christmas day, actually. Happy holiday!

Howard Roark said...


Joseph Gonazlez....FAIA????

February 26, 2009
The Chicago Seven (plus one): Eight make the AIA's College of Fellows.

The American Institute of Architects has just announced that 112 of its members, including eight from Chicago, have been named to the institute's College of Fellows. The honor is "awarded to members who have made significant conributions to the profession," the AIA says in a news release.

The new fellows will be recognized as a ceremony at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral on May 1 during this year's national AIA convention.

Lynn Becker said...

". . . will be recognized as a ceremony at San Francisco's Grace Cathedral."

maybe he'll take the opportunity to seek absolution for his sins.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, "Howard Roark" (wtf?) you have not worked with Joe Gonzalez. I have and have found him to be remarkably talented and collaborative. I don't fully understand or condone his past actions, but I don't hold them against him either. He is hardly "bottom of the barrel." Frankly, I think people, especially architects, who blog about others being "bottom of the barrel" are already right there themselves.
In my opinion, the architecture profession is a better place with Gonzalez in it. I would look forward to any opportunity to work with him again.

OC said...

its not going to do you any good trying to knock the guy down. He's tuff enough to sit down, read these comments, smirk about it, and go on his daily business. I guarantee it!
I have worked with Gonzalez as a designer at DeStefano and I support AIA for making him a fellow, he has some good work and is modest about it.
However working with Gonzalez once, was enough for me.