| Fellow of the AIA|
| January 7, 1925 (age 90) (1925-01-07) Riga, Latvia|
Technische Hochschule, Stuttgart
Birkerts and Straub, Birkerts and Associates
Process and Expression in Architectural Form, Gunnar Birkerts: Buildings, Projects, and Thoughts, 1960-1985
Castle of Light, Corning Museum of Glass, Detroit Institute of Arts, Kemper Museum of Contemp, Tom Monaghan's Leaning
Sven Birkerts, Wallace Harrison, Michael Graves, Paul Philippe Cret
Gunnar Birkerts Wikipedia
Gunnar Birkerts (Latvian: Gunārs Birkerts, January 17, 1925 – August 15, 2017) was a Latvian-American architect who, for most of his career, was based in the metropolitan area of Detroit, Michigan.
Some of his designs include the Corning Museum of Glass and the Corning Fire Station in Corning, New York, Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City, Missouri, and the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela.
In 2014, he designed the National Library of Latvia in Riga, Latvia, aka the Castle of Light, whose architectural form references and draws inspiration from Latvian folklore.
Birkerts was born and raised in Latvia but fled ahead of the advancing Russian army toward the end of the Second World War. He graduated from the Technische Hochschule, Stuttgart, Germany, in 1949. Birkerts came to the United States and worked initially for Perkins and Will, then for Eero Saarinen, and finally for Minoru Yamasaki before opening his own office in the Detroit suburbs.
Birkerts initially practiced in the partnership Birkerts and Straub; after that partnership broke up the firm became Gunnar Birkerts and Associates. The firm received Honor Awards for its projects from the (national) American Institute of Architects in 1962, 1970, 1973, as well as numerous awards from the Michigan Society of Architects and the local chapter.
Birkerts joined the faculty at the University of Michigan in 1959 and taught until 1990. The ACSA (Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture) honored Birkerts with the ACSA Distinguished Professor Award in 1989–90.
Gunnar Birkerts was selected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1970, and a Fellow of the Latvian Architect Association in 1971. He was the recipient of numerous individual awards including a 1971 fellowship from the Graham Foundation, the Gold Medal of the Michigan Society of Architects in 1980, the Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1981, and the 1993 Michigan Artist of the Year award. He received an honorary doctorate from Riga Technical University in 1990, the Order of the Three Stars from the Republic of Latvia in 1995 and the Great Medal of the Latvian Academy of Sciences in 2000.
Birkerts maintained an architectural office in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
His son is noted literary critic Sven Birkerts.
Gunnar Birkerts is noted for designing the new building of National Library of Latvia in Riga.
Birkerts was an honorary professor at The University of Illinois and was the Architect-In-Residence at the American Academy in Rome. He also was a member of the Latvian Union of Architects, honorary member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and a foreign member of the Riga Technical University.
Aside from the national library in Riga, Birkerts has built a number of notable buildings in the United States including the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis, Corning Glass Museum, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the University of Iowa College of Law, the Duluth Public Library in Duluth, Minnesota, and the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela.
G. Birkerts received several awards for his architectural work, notably the Arnold V. Brunner Memorial Prize, Michigan Arts Award, awards by the Michigan Union of Architects, the American Union of Architects in Detroit and student organization Tau Sigma Delta.
Birkerts died at the age of 92 on August 15, 2017 in Needham, Massachusetts of congestive heart failure.
Perkins+WillRockford Memorial Hospital, Rockford, Illinois 1950
Eero SaarinenGM Tech Center, Warren, Michigan 1950–1955
Milwaukee County War Memorial Building, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 1950–1955
Kresge Auditorium at MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1953
Concordia College, Fort Wayne, Indiana 1953
Irwin Union Bank and Trust, Columbus, Indiana 1954
Minoru YamasakiLambert-St. Louis International Airport Main Terminal, St. Louis, Missouri 1956
Reynolds Metals Regional Sales Office, Southfield, Michigan 1959
Personal WorkCultural Center, Leopoldville, Belgian Congo, 1958
Technical University, Ankara, Turkey 1959
Work Done while Faculty at The University of Michigan (Birkerts & Straub, Birkerts & Associates)Schwartz Summer Residence, Northville, Michigan 1960
1300 Lafayette East Apartments, Detroit, Michigan 1961–1963
Lillibridge Elementary School, Detroit, Michigan 1962–1963
People's Federal Savings and Loan Branch, Royal Oak, Michigan 1962–1963
Marathon Oil Office Building, Detroit, Michigan 1962–1964
University Reformed Church, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1963–1964
Detroit Institute of the Arts Master Plan and South Wing, Detroit, Michigan 1964
Bald Mountain Recreation Facility, Lake Orion, Michigan 1964–1968
Fisher Administrative Center at the University of Detroit-Mercy, Detroit, Michigan 1964–1966
Travis Residence, Franklin, Michigan 1964–1965
Tougaloo College Master Plan, Tougaloo, Mississippi 1965
Tougaloo College Library and Dormitories, Tougaloo, Mississippi 1965–1972
Lincoln Elementary School, Columbus, Indiana 1965–1967
Freeman Residence, Grand Rapids, Michigan 1965–1966
Massey-Ferguson North American Operations Offices Project, Des Moines, Iowa Unbuilt, 1966
Vocational Technical Institute Master Plan, Carbondale, Illinois Unbuilt, 1967
Ford Pavilion at Hemisfair 1968, San Antonio, Texas 1967–1968
Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, Minnesota 1967–1973
Amsterdam City Hall Project, Amsterdam, Netherlands 1968
Corning Public Library Project, Corning, New York Unbuilt, 1969
Corning Public Library II Project, Corning, New York Unbuilt, 1969
Duluth Public Library, Duluth, Minnesota 1969–1979
IBM Corporate Computer Center, Sterling Forest, New York 1970–1972
Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, Texas 1970–1972
Ford Visitors Reception Center, Dearborn, Michigan Unbuilt, 1971
Dance Instructional Facility for SUNY Purchase, Purchase, New York 1971–1976
General Motors Dual-Mode Transportation Study 1973–1974
Corning Municipal Fire Station, Corning, New York 1973–1974
Subterranean Urban-Systems Study, Graham Foundation Grant, 1974
Calvary Baptist Church, Detroit, Michigan 1974–1977
IBM Office Building, Southfield, Michigan 1974–1979
University of Michigan Law Library Addition, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1974–1981
United States Embassy, Helsinki, Finland Unbuilt, 1975
Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, New York 1976–1980
University of Iowa College of Law Building, Iowa City, Iowa 1979–1986
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament Renovations, Detroit, Michigan Unbuilt Scheme, 1980
Ferguson Residence (Villa Ginny), Kalamazoo, Michigan 1980–1983
Uris Library Addition at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 1980–1983
St. Peter's Lutheran Church, Columbus, Indiana 1980–1988
Anchorage Library, Anchorage, Alaska Unbuilt, 1981
Minnesota State Capitol Expansion Project, St. Paul, Minnesota Unbuilt, 1983
Holtzman and Silverman Office Building, Southfield, Michigan 1983–1989
Minnesota History Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota Unbuilt, 1984
Bardha Residence, Birmingham, Michigan 1984–1989
Domino's Pizza Corporate Headquarters (Domino's Farms), Ann Arbor, Michigan 1984–1998
Oberlin College Conservatory of Music Library Addition, Oberlin, Ohio 1986–1988
Schembechler Hall for the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1986–1990
Papal Altar and Furniture, Pontiac, Michigan 1987
Novoli I, Florence, Italy Unbuilt, 1987
Domino's Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1987–1988
UC-San Diego Library Addition, San Diego, California 1987–1993
Ohio State University Law School Addition, Columbus, Ohio 1988–1993
Church of the Servant, Kentwood, Michigan 1988–1994
Torino I, Turin, Italy Unbuilt, 1989
Torino II, Turin, Italy Unbuilt, 1989–1990
Marge Monaghan House, Drummond Island, Michigan 1989–1990
Sports and Civic Stadium, Venice, Italy Unbuilt, 1989–1992
United States Embassy, Caracas, Venezuela 1989–1996
Latvian National Library, Riga, Latvia 1989–2012
Professor Emeritus at the University of MichiganGrasis Residence, Vail, Colorado 1990–1994
Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri 1991–1994
Marriott Library Addition at the University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 1992–1996
Novoli II, Florence, Italy Unbuilt, 1993
Juma Al-Majid Center for Culture and Heritage, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Unbuilt, 1993
Riga Central Market Restoration and Expansion, Riga, Latvia Unbuilt, 1995
Cellular Communications Tower at Domino's Farms, Ann Arbor, Michigan 1995
Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, Michigan 1998–2003
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Public Library, San Jose, California 1998–2004
Kellogg Library at California State-San Marcos, San Marcos, California 2000–2004
The Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, Riga, Latvia 2002–
Birkerts, Gunnar, Gunnar Birkerts – Metaphoric Modernist, Axel Menges, Stuttgart, Germany 2009; ISBN 978-3-936681-26-0
Birkerts, Gunnar, Process and Expression in Architectural Form, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman OK 1994; ISBN 0-8061-2642-6
Birkerts, Gunnar, Subterranean Urban Systems, Industrial Development Division-Institute of Science and Technology, University of Michigan 1974
Kaiser, Kay, The Architecture of Gunnar Birkerts, American Institute of Architects Press, Washington DC 1989; ISBN 1-55835-051-9
Martin, William, Gunnar Birkerts and Associates (Yukio Futagawa, editor and photographer), A.D.A. Edita (GA Architect), Tokyo 1982
Gunnar Birkerts & Associates, IBM Information Systems Center, Sterling Forest, N.Y., 1972; Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1973 (Yukio Futagawa, editor and photographer), A.D.A. EDITA (GA Architecture), Tokyo 1974