Wallace Kirkman

Wallace Kirkman

Harrison, Wallace Kirkman, 1895-1981, American architect and city planner, b. Worcester, Mass. Harrison designed the Trylon and Perisphere, the structures that came to symbolize the 1939 New York World's Fair. In 1945 he entered into partnership with Max Abramowitz (1908-2004), who was later famed for his design of Philharmonic Hall (later renamed Avery Fisher Hall) at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and the Columbia Univ. law school (both: 1962). Harrison was responsible for numerous large buildings, such as those for Alcoa in Pittsburgh (1952) and the Time-Life (1960) and Exxon (1973) buildings, both in New York City. He was probably the most effective large-scale coordinator in American architecture. His projects included Rockefeller Center, the UN Headquarters (1947-53), and the World's Fair of 1964 in New York City and the South Mall (1963-78) in Albany, N.Y.

See biography by V. Newhouse (1989).

Wallace Kirkman Harrison (September 28 1895 - December 21981), was an American twentieth-century architect.

Harrison started his professional career with the firm of Corbett, Harrison & MacMurray, participating in the construction of Rockefeller Center. He is best known for executing large public projects in New York City and upstate, many of them a result of his long and fruitful personal relationship with Nelson Rockefeller, for whom he served as an adviser.

Architecturally, Harrison's major projects are marked by straightforward planning and sensible functionalism, although his residential side-projects show more experimental and humane flair. His architectural partner from 1941 to 1976 was Max Abramovitz.

In 1931 Harrison established an 11 acre (45,000 m²) summer retreat in West Hills, New York, which was a very early example and workshop for the International Style in the United States, and a social and intellectual center of architecture, art, and politics. The home includes a 32 foot circular living room that is rumored to have been the prototype for the Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center. Two other circular rooms complete the center of Harrison's design. Frequent visitors and guests included Nelson Rockefeller, Robert Moses, Marc Chagall, Le Corbusier, and Fernand Léger, who waited out part of World War II by painting a mural at the bottom of Harrison's swimming pool. Leger also created a large mural for the home's circular living room and sculpted an abstract form to serve as a skylight. Calder's first show is said to have taken place at the home.

Harrison's architural drawings and archives are held by the Drawings and Archives Department of Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.

Major projects

Further reading

  • Reich, Cary. The Life of Nelson A. Rockefeller: Worlds to Conquer 1908-1958. New York: Doubleday, 1996.
  • Sudjic, Deyan. The Edifice Complex: How the Rich and Powerful - and Their Architects - Shape the World. New York: Penguin, 2005.

See also

External links

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