Raymond Hood on “Exterior Architecture of Office Buildings”

In the wake of the Tribune Tower competition, Architectural Forum asked Raymond Hood, co-designer of the premiated entry, to comment on the “Exterior Architecture of Office Buildings.”  They undoubtedly expected a scholarly essay on the appropriateness of the Gothic, the necessity of verticality, etc., etc.  Instead, here’s what Hood wrote:

“…the exterior should be big enough to cover the inside of a building, and thick enough to keep out the weather.”

He wrote more that that, but essentially tossed the assignment aside.  With only two skyscrapers to his credit–neither of them actually finished, he claimed to have no meaningful opinion.  An editor’s note made it clear that they’d expected more; perhaps to mollify the joural, Hood threw in this useful disquisition on his design process:

“…take the exterior of your building, divide it into the proper number of stories, make an arrangement of windows that is dictated by the renting and lighting conditions, and then proceed to make the resulting mass attractive, by one means or another.  This is the only way to go about it.”

Not bad for one of the supposed villains of the post-Sullivan years.  I suspect Raymond Hood would have been good company at the pub.

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