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American Republic Insurance Company

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1965, Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (Gordon Bunshaft). Northeast corner of 6th St. and Keosauqua Way

Bunshaft perfectly translated into concrete, glass, and steel the client's ideal of creating a “clerical factory.” A six-story set of concrete “bureau drawers” (open at the ends) is suspended over a walled compound. A vertical barred gate leads into a hygienic, pristine courtyard, self-consciously elegant in its white polished stone floors, concrete walls, and acres of plate glass. This conveys the idea that it naturally functions best with no humans about. Though a modest-sized project for SOM and Bunshaft, it beautifully sums up the impersonal corporate machine-image of the post-World War II decades. The one human note is the playful Alexander Calder stabile, Spunk of the Monks.

Writing Credits

Author: 
David Gebhard and Gerald Mansheim

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