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Art & Art History

The Myron Goldsmith Retrospective

Monday, January 09, 1984–Saturday, January 21, 1984

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The Myron Goldsmith Retrospective is an exhibition surveying the work and thought of Myron Goldsmith. It consists of photographs, models, plans and original drawings of completed projects, including bridges, towers, cable-hung arenas, solar observatories and buildings large and small. Both an architect and a structural engineer, Goldsmith had been a guiding figure at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill ’s Chicago office for over twenty-five years. After retiring as a Skidmore, Owings and Merrill partner, he continued his work at the Illinois Institute of Technology in the capacity of Research Professor. His projects, through which he investigated structural problems on both practical and theoretical levels, exist outside the realm of fluctuating architectural trends. Demonstrating the Modernist belief that a building ’s design expresses its structure, Goldsmith’s works also respond poetically to the material needs of our society.

The Myron Goldsmith Retrospective was organized by Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design.


Gapp, Paul. “Architect builds career along long-standing lines.” Chicago Tribune, January 11, 1984, section 5, p. 3.


The Myron Goldsmith Retrospective is supported by the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Art and Design’s College of Architecture, Art and Urban Planning. This exhibition is also funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

Exhibition Checklist

Myron Goldsmith

Competition for the Olympic Velodrome, 1955
Rome, Italy

The Equibank Building, 1975
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Hanging Arc Bridge, 1982
speculative project

A High-Rise Office Building, 1981
speculative project

Inland Steel Research Laboratories, 1968
East Chicago, Indiana

Kitt Peak Solar Telescope, 1959
schematic project

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, 1966
Oakland, California

Project for a Sports Complex, 1954
Rome, Italy

Republic Newspaper Plant, 1971
Photograph, 3 x 3 ft.
Columbus, Indiana

A Sports Arena, 1965
speculative project

A Sports Center, 1964
speculative project

St. Joseph Valley Bank, 1974
Elkhart, Indiana

Steel Exhibition for 1964 World ’s Fair, 1960
New York City, New York

Student Theses, 1961 –
Graduate School of Architecture, Illinois Institute of Technology

The Tall Building: The Effects of Scale, 1953
Drawing, 30 x 40 in.
With Thesis Adviser Mies van der Rohe

United Airlines Maintenance Hangar, 1958
San Francisco, California

Myron Goldsmith HeadshotMyron Goldsmith (born 1918) is an architect and structural engineer whose work transcends both disciplines in his rational building art. For many years a General Partner and now a Consulting Partner of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, as well as Institute Research Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology, Mr. Goldsmith has investigated both theoretical and practical problems of structure in projects ranging from bridges and other works of pure engineering to prototypical architecture of towers, long-span spaces, and highly refined smaller buildings which express his powerful concepts in lyrical form.

To Mr.Goldsmith, the principles of structural humanism were clear from the start of his career. As a Chicagoan, he was aware of the great building tradition of the industrial metropolis. His early study and association with Mies van der Rohe and Pier Luigi Nervi gave him deep insights into the development of the modern movement in his country and abroad. Teamwork, both as an intellectual conviction and in the nature of large organizations such as SOM, has always been a part of Mr. Goldsmith ’s approach to architecture and engineering. Many of his projects, including diagonally-braced high-rise tubes and cable-hung arenas and bridges, have developed from collaboration with other innovators such as Fazlur Kahn and T.Y.Lin, both who shared Mr.Goldsmith ’s rigorous logic and the belief that difficult problems are best solved by the most direct and efficient means.

This has resulted over the past 40 years in a body of significant work which today stands singularly immune to passing architectural fashion. In more than 50 major designs, built and unbuilt, the clear revelation of each building ’s construction and purpose has been a search for permanent architectural truth which, as in the Gothic cathedrals and other historic buildings Mr.Goldsmith admires, remains perennially fresh and even timeless.

If such architecture has been revolutionary, creating unprecedented forms and spaces in new building types that could not have been achieved before the technological age, it is also an architecture of humanism which, in defining both spiritual and material needs of contemporary man, rejects simplistic High-Tech formalism. And it is far more than the minimalist sculpture it has widely influenced. At the summit of an Arizona mountain, which to the Indians was sacred to the sun, the Kitt Peak Solar Observatory unlocks secrets of the cosmos, and yet reveals further mysteries beyond. The spare logical structure, which physically could not be more different from the chapel at the hilltop of Ronchamp, belongs by paradox to the same high realm of philosophic inquiry.

Allan Temko

The College of Architecture, Art and Urban Planning will exhibit a “Myron Goldsmith Retrospective” at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) from January 9 through 21, 1984.

The show, free and open to the public from noon through 5 pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, will be exhibited at the Gallery 400, southwest corner of Peoria and Van Buren streets.

An architect and consulting engineer, Goldsmith will discuss his work at 4 pm January 11 in Lecture Center A-1, located in the center of the UIC campus. A reception will follow in the Gallery 400. Both are open to the public.

The show includes photographs, models and original drawings of completed projects ranging from bridges and towers to cable-hung arenas and solar observatories.

Goldsmith recently retired as a partner at Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, where he worked for more than 25 years, and continues as research professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He has investigated structural problems at both practical and theoretical levels, always guided by the Modernist belief that design should express structure.

The retrospective was organized by Harvard University ’s Graduate School of Design. Its Chicago showing is due in part to an Illinois Arts Council grant.


Flyer: The Myron Goldsmith Retrospective