Tension Between Architect and Client

Charles Luckman Associates (CLA) took on design responsibilities for many of the key tenants at the Prudential Center, including the New England Merchants Bank, which occupied the entire southwest commercial pavilion as well as a floor in the tower.  Luckman’s attention was divided and this did not sit well with Wes Toole, Prudential’s executive overseeing the Regional Home Office program.  In October 1964, He wrote a biting letter to Charles Stanton, the head of CLA’s office in New York, complaining about Luckman’s behavior.  He wanted to remind that firm that “Luckman is representing Prudential first, and any of the tenants secondly, and should be guided accordingly . . .”  Prudential was not used to playing second fiddle.  Luckman was quick to patch up his relationship with Toole, who carried a lot of influence.

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