Architect Milton Schwartz is perhaps most well-known for being underappreciated. That he was a developer as well as an architect marked Schwartz as an outsider in the design field. The architecture industry has traditionally frowned upon such hybrids, preferring that architects work separately from the mercantile aspects of the building business. This reality was compounded by the fact that Schwartz rarely vied for architecture awards and “never had critical good press,” as Stanley Tigerman—who worked as a draftsman at Schwartz’s firm in the fifties—stated in Schwartz’s 2007 obituary. Yet Schwartz’s buildings, with their modern forms, advanced engineering and surprising materials, suggest the architect can claim pride of place in helping define America’s midcentury architectural legacy.
Click here to read my preview of the Schwartz exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.