Landis Gores - Career

Career

Returning from the war, from 1945–1951, he worked with Philip Johnson. They were a good team: Johnson would design and Gores would draft the ideas to a polished result. Gores helped Johnson on Early Miesian inspired houses which included the Booth House, the Rockefeller townhouse, the MOMA garden, and the famous Glass House. Upon complaints that Johnson had not yet passed his New York architectural exam and therefore could not practice in New York state, the two left their office in NYC and relocated their practice to New Canaan, Connecticut. In 1951 Johnson and Gores parted professionally, and on November 1 Gores opened his own architectural practice, a date that corresponded with the birth of his fourth child.

In 1954, only three short years later, Gores was stricken with polio. It was just a year before the US government approved the distribution of the polio vaccine. Gores was initially confined to an iron lung and for the rest of his life and doctors informed him that his physical activities would be severely restricted. Nevertheless, he slowly began to resume his work with the help of a close friend John Irwin (for whom he later built the famous Gores Pavilion) who fashioned Gores a special electric typewriter so that he would be able to continue his architectural career.

However, Landis’s work was limited, according to his wife Pamela, “people didn’t want someone in a wheelchair. It made them nervous.” To help her husband continue with his love for architecture, Pamela became involved in his work and even once acted as contractor for one of his projects.

Mr. Gores’ work is characterized by several unique traits. An oversized Prairie fireplace is a common denominator in almost all of his residential buildings. For example, the Gores Pavilion, the Close House and Gores own house all contain styled large fireplaces. Also, like many other modern architects of the time period, Landis included large amounts of natural light by incorporating grand glass windows into his building designs.

Gores was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Walter Gropius's embracement of the International Movement. He visited Gropius’s buildings as a student so as to fully appreciate the works of art that Gropius constructed.

In 1991, Landis Gores died. He had no contact with Philip Johnson in the last years of his life, but Johnson nonetheless admired his fellow architect. “…I remember the extraordinary brilliance of Landis in school, his command of English, the amazing ability of his mind…” Philip Johnson wrote in a letter to Landis’s widow Pamela Gores.

The Gores family house was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places as Landis Gores House in 2001.

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