Walter Netsch



The Air Force Academy Chapel in Colorado Springs – an expressionistic volume whose spires evoke rockets about to take off – is the most representative work of this tall and thin Chicago architect, who departed from the orthodox Miesian glass boxes that prevailed in the fifties. Netsch graduated from the MIT in 1943, and four ? years later joined SOM, firm to which he devoted most of his career with works like the Inland Steel Building in his home city or the master plan for the University of Illinois, where he built the Architecture and Art Building, demolished in the mid-1990s. Other projects for universities are the main library and the Lindheimer Astronomical Research Center at Northwestern’s Evanston campus. The marked materiality and the mystery surrounding his oeuvre would in time earn it a special recognition. After retiring from SOM?in 1980, the mayor of Chicago called upon Netsch to lead the plan to reorganize the city’s entire system of public parks. An avid art collector, he financed part of the campaign of his wife, the Democrat Dawn Clark?Netsch, with the sale of a Roy Lichtenstein painting from his collection.

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