Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Eric Chaim Kline, Bookseller

Lonberg-Holm: Chicago Tribune Tower Competition 1922. Five Vintage Prints Of Lonber-Holm's Model for the Competition (Photos of His Design Taken by the Architect)

Original photographs. Gelatin silver prints (ca. 9,5 x 7"), matted (16 x 12") with tissue guards, depicting the design for the Chicago Tribune Tower.

1. Side view
2. Front view
3. Lateral view
4. Vertical section
5. Ground floor and floor plan

When there were hardly any construction commissions after the First World War, the tempting competition of the American daily newspaper Chicago Tribune for its new building in 1922 electrified architects all over the world. At the same time, it was an expression of the “high-rise building fever” of the time. 263 designs from 23 countries were submitted. Walter Gropius and Adolf Meyer, Max Taut, Bruno Taut and many others took part from Germany. Representatives of an eclectic approach to architecture competed with the pioneers of modernism. The former prevailed because the Gothic design was carried out by New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond M. Hood. One of the most spectacular modern designs had not even been submitted: The Danish architect Knud Lonberg-Holm (1895–1972), who lived in Altona near Hamburg at the time, envisioned a functional high-rise press building that, with its striking facade design, would also act as an advertising structure that could be seen from afar.

The Berlin architecture critic Adolf Behne was the first to recognize the importance of this design, which he published repeatedly. By now Lonberg-Holm had emigrated to the United States – via Rotterdam in the Netherlands, where he met with the Dutch architect J.J.P. Oud. With the intention to support his young colleague’s further career Oud published Lönberg-Holm’s design for the Chicago Tribune Tower in November 1923 in the Dutch architecture magazine Bouwkundig Weekblad and later again in his Bauhausbuch Holländische Architektur [Dutch architecture] (1926) as an example of the international “new building movement”. Walter Gropius also included the design in his Bauhausbuch Internationale Architektur [International Architecture] (1925). In the second edition of that book (1927) he deliberately placed the design opposite the model of the glass high-rise by Mies van der Rohe (1922). He also commissioned Lonberg-Holm to write a volume about modern architecture for the series of Bauhaus books, which unfortunately never came about. Le Corbusier also published Lonberg-Holm’s design at the time. While already in the US as a photographer Lonberg-Holm contributed some of the best images of Detroit and New York to Erich Mendelsohn's photo book Amerika. Bilderbuch eines Architekten (1926, 2nd ed. 1928). As an architect, teacher and publicist, in turn, he became a pioneer of the cultural transfer of the European architectural avant-garde in the United States alongside Richard Neutra.

Lonberg-Holm's legendary design for the Chicago Tribune Tower is available here in five authentic vintage prints of photographs the architect took of his original drawings. Furthermore, these are the very prints that Oud used for reproduction in his article in Bouwkundig Weekblad in 1923 (they have corresponding markings on the back). The images show the high-rise building in side, front and lateral views as well as a vertical section through the building and two exemplary floor plans. More details can be seen in the photos than in the printed reproductions. Since the original design drawings no longer exist, these photographic reproductions have exceptional source value. Only one other set of the photos survived in Lonberg-Holm’s estate.

Like Mies van der Rohe's glass high-rise, also designed in 1922, Knud Lonberg-Holm's design for the Chicago Tribune Tower is one of those visionary modernist designs that were not realized, but which, in the medium of photography, became seminal icons of architectural history in general and modern high-rise construction in particular. Fine condition. Item #53493

Provenance: From the estate of the architect J. J. P. Oud, Rotterdam, via the Dutch trade to a private collection in Germany.

Reference and illustrations: Adolf Behne: Ein Wolkenkratzer-Wettbewerb. Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, 1923, no. 4, p. 63 f. – Adolf Behne: Hooge Gebouwen in de Handelscen
tra van Europa en Amerika. Wendingen, series 5, 1923, no. 3, p. 9. – Adolf Behne: Baukunst des Auslandes. Bausteine, 1925, no. 2/3, S. 6. – Adolf Behne: Der moderne Zweckbau. München 1926 [1923], pl. 34. – J.J.P. Oud: Bij een Deensch Ontwerp voor de ›Chicago Tribune‹. Bouwkundig Weekblad, 1923, no. 45, p. 456–458. – L'Architecture Vivante, fall an winter 1924, p. 24 f. – Le Corbusier: Almanach d’Architecture Moderne. Paris 1925, p. 187. – Walter Gropius: Internationale Architektur. Munich 1925 (Bauhausbuch 1), p. 42 f. – J.J.P. Oud: Holländische Architektur. Munich 1926 (Bauhausbuch 10), p. 61. – Alberto Sartoris: Gli elementi dell'architettura funzionale. Milan 1932, p. 109 f. – Stanley Tigerman: Chicago Tribune Tower Competition & Late Entries. New York 1980, p. 149. – Hilde de Haan / Ids Haagsma: Architects in Competition. International Architectural Competitions of the Last 200 Years. London 1988, p. 124. – Paul Makovsky: The Invisible Architect of Invisible Architecture [Knud Lonberg-Holm]. Metropolis, 2014, June, p. 102–118, illustrated p 104.

Price: $12,500.00

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