The Architect as Designer

Charles Luckman Associates, the lead architects of the Prudential Center (they teamed with local firm Hoyle, Doran and Berry, the successors of Cram and Ferguson), was one of the largest architecture firms in the world in the 1960s.  Its leader, Charles Luckman, was perhaps better known as a businessman than as an architect — his first career took him to the very top of Lever Brothers, the American arm of the global Unilever Corporation.  Luckman believed firmly that architects should play a larger role in urban development and that they should adhere to business standards in terms of operation and efficiency.  His own firm included divisions for planning, engineering, and interiors, as well as architectural design.  For Luckman, the role of “designer” was only one aspect of the larger responsibility that architects had for shaping the built environment.

Luckman made his views clear in the many public talks and lectures he was asked to deliver over the course of his career.  He was a sought-after speaker and was considered to be a public thinker in the fields of architecture, business, and, more broadly, the American free enterprise system.  It is true that Luckman liberally recycled his material, but I have no doubt that he believed in his message.  Many of them were bound and published in small pamphlets, like the one you see above.

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