Latvian architect Gunnar Birkerts has passed away at age 92. The Detroit-based architect was best known for his formally exuberant interiors that carried on the legacy of Eero Saarinen; in 1951 Birkerts came to the U.S. to work with Saarinen in Birmingham, Michigan. He also worked in the offices of Perkins + Will before starting his own practice where he developed a unique style around unexpected angular forms and layered, folding planes that defined spectacular spaces.
— sven birkerts (@svenbirkerts) August 15, 2017
His work extended the Scandinavian tradition into late modernism, especially with his use of indirect lighting (via skylights) in ways similar to the Saarinens and Alvar Aalto. Some of his most notable projects include the Kansas City Museum of Contemporary Art; the Calvary Baptist Church of Detroit; The Corning Glass Museum in Corning, New York; Lincoln Elementary School in Columbus, Indiana; and The Latvian National Library, also known as the Castle of Light.
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Gunnar Birkerts, RIP. Part of the amazing legacy of the Saarinen office / one of a kind. This Detroit church is one of my favorite architectural surprises: the entire ceiling is a mirror, so that those in the back can see the linear baptismal font in front. #gunnarbirkerts