Selection from Work of the Office of Bertram A. Weber Architect... Chicago 1, Illinois; Architecture and Design, v. XV (September 1951).
This has been digitized from the Special Collections copy of this second Bertram A. Weber monograph, published in 1951, and with permission of Weber's son, John B. Weber, Winnetka, IL. This is the second of two monographs of Weber's office's work published by the Chicago office of Architecture and Design, the first appearing in 1940.
Bertram A. Weber (1898-1989) was the son of architect Peter Weber, Chicago, and the father of John B. Weber, of Weber & Weber, architects, Chicago and later Northfield. A resident of Highland Park, much of his residential and commercial/industrial practice centered on Chicago's North Shore, with institutional work also in Michigan, Indiana, and Alabama, notably. He was a 1922 graduate of the architecture program at Boston's M. I. T. and he was an associate in the 1920s of Howard Van Doren Shaw (1869-1926), an 1891 M. I. T. grduate as well.
He was affiliated with M. I. T. alumnus Charles E. White, Jr., who was very knowledgeable about modernist trends in the field, from 1922 to 1936, when White died. They designed together notable Art Deco buildings in the region around Chicago and in 1939 Weber himself designed an Art Deco Fire Station for River Forest. After World War II, practicing on his own, Weber's work was typically characterized by traditional, classic styling adapted to new simpler and smaller projects in an era of high taxes and inflation.
This volume features in its earliest images some of these institutional, commercial, and domestic examples of Art Moderne or Art Deco design. The Allen Silverstine house, HIghland Park, is a notably creative but classically massed symmetrical two-story house, its exterior quite innovative though its interior is more predictable. Before long though weber's design work was reflecting the post-war desire for tradition, normalcy, etc. with houses of some scale (Friedman, Highland Park; McMaster, Bannockburn) that were colonial revival in style, quite historicist.
Institutional work was mostly of four types: local school and park structures, churches in newer suburbs, sorority and fraternity houses at large universities, and osteopathic hospitals in Chicago and Detroit. There were also local area offices and light industrial factories. Notable was his work converting the memorably large and significant architecturally Mellody Farm estate of J. Ogden Armour to Lake Forest Academy use in the late 1940s and early 1950s--just suggested in a couple photos here. But this wa a major assignment then west of the city of Lake Forest, though now annexed.
In his later years his Princeton-trained engineeer son, John B. Weber, Winnetka, worked in the firm and then became a partner by ca. 1980, and the firm relocated to the suburbs.
Weber had employed usually a few draftmen and other staff, keeping this team busy with new jobs from his wide acquaintenceship among other club-able Chicagoans. He served on the boards of the Exmoor Country Club, Highland Park, and maintained and added there to the venerable Boyington clubhouse of the late 1890s while adding also many auxiliary structures, additions, etc. He similarly attended to the Ravinia Festival Park in the Ravinia section of south Highland Park, similarly attending to the minor architectural needs of the Association, on buildings deisgned by his father Peter early in the 20th C. For major renovations or reconstructions he deferred to Schmidt Garden & Erickson for Exmoor and Holabird & Root for the 1970s new Ravinia pavilion.
But many, if not most, of his jobs came from assciations in these and other social groups--the Adventurers Club, the Safari Club, the Dairyman's Country Club (WI), etc. Much respected and known on the North Shore, he was called on for a steady stream of public, private residential, and commercial projects, large and small.
Bertram A. Weber was a contemporary of architects Stanley D. Anderson and Jerome Cerny, both of Lake Forest, and his practice and taste were quite like theirs--better residential work mixed with local hospitals and schools, etc. His work too paralleled that of Frazier & Raftery on the North Shore, but mostly west at Geneva, IL, and the Fox River valley and Barrington, the last where Weber also was active. These highly qualified architects among whom Weber more than held his own, with dependable staffs of draftsmen, produced a calibre of work that still stands out and above later postmodern work by less broadly educated, traveled and skilled designers. Their work including Weber's deserves more respect, study and emulation today.
This is the only postwar Architecture and Design monograph known so far by this library, though several featuring designers of Chicago's North Shore were published between 1937 and 1940 (see the other Bertram A. Weber entry in these digital collections).