HARRY MOHR WEESE, FAIA (1915-1998)
Weese grew up in Kenilworth IL and was enrolled in the progressive Joseph Sears School in 1919. By 1925, Weese decided that he wanted to be either an artist or an architect. After graduating from New Trier High School, Weese enrolled at MIT in 1933 to earn a Bachelor in Architecture degree. Weese also took architecture classes at Yale University starting in 1936. Weese studied under Alvar Aalto at MIT, and fraternized with classmates I. M. Pei and Eero Saarinen. In the summer of 1937, Weese toured northern Europe on a bicycle, fostering his appreciation for Modernism. Upon his return to the United States, Weese was offered a fellowship at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, studying with Ralph Rapson, Florence Knoll, and Charles Eames. Weese formed an architectural partnership in Chicago with classmate Benjamin Baldwin upon their graduation in 1940. He would later marry Baldwin's sister, Kitty. Following the brief partnership, Weese joined the firm of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill but shortly after enlisted as an engineering officer in the Navy in WWII. Weese moved back to Chicago after the war in 1945 and rejoined SOM. In 1947, Weese started Harry Weese Associates.
Weese is best known for the design of the Washington DC Metro, above, plus other rail projects in Miami, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Buffalo. Weese also served as a judge for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial design competition, and helped defend fledgling architect Maya Lin's unconventional design against her critics. He did hundreds of projects including the US Embassy in Accra, Ghana; the First Baptist Church, in Columbus, Indiana, and Swissôtel Chicago. Sadly, from the mid-1980s, Weese drank heavily and his reputation faded; he died after years of going in and out of alcohol rehab and a series of strokes. In January 2014, the AIA announced that it would present its 25 Year Award to the Washington Metro system. While being interviewed by the building committee of the Seventeenth Church of Christ, Scientist in Chicago, when asked of his religious views, he said, "My father was Episcopalian, my mother Presbyterian, and I'm an architect." Bio adapted from Wikipedia. Research by Catherine Westergaard Cramer.
1936 - The Shack Tamarack, 6684 West MacFarlane Road, Glen Lake, Glen Arbor MI. Designed for Weese's parents and family out of the local tamarck trees. Available for rental.
1938 - The Cottage Two, West McFarlane Road, Glen Lake, Glen Arbor MI.
1938 - The Richard Pritchard Cottage, Glen Lake, Glen Arbor MI.
1940 - 3147 Grant Street, Evanston IL. Sold to Nancy Jaffe. Sold in 2016 to Suzanne Torry and Scott Peters who updated it. Sold in 2019 to Ann and David Baker.
1940 - 2300 Ridgeway Avenue, Evanston IL. Sold in the 1990s to John Agnew and Dorothy Schmid.
1941 - The Alexander Newton House, aka Simplicity House, Highland Park IL.
1941 - The Robert P. Weese House, Barrington IL. Built for Weese's uncle.
1942 - The Red House, Barrington IL.
1948 - The Harry and Kitty Weese House, aka Water Tower House, Barrington IL.
1950 - The Benner House, Champaign IL.
1951 - The Loomis Courts Housing, 1314 West 15th Street, Chicago IL. 125 units of affordable housing designed with John Van der Meulen and Brewster Adams. Restored in 2009.
1951 - The Jim and Pat Richard House, Davenport IA.
1951 - The Celia Stendler House, Champaign IL. Stendler was a Professor of Elementary and Early Childhood Education at the University of IL.
1951 - The Herbert Zim House, Champaign IL. Zim was a Professor of Ecology at the University of IL.
1952 - The Roger and Neil Barrett Addition, 222 Leicester Road, Kenilworth IL. Original house built in 1928. Weese designed a library addition to hold the couple's Abraham Lincoln memorabilia. House has since been entirely renovated on the interior. Sold in 2016 to Stewart and Megan Bradley.
1952 - The Frank and Barbara Kohlhase House, Barrington IL.
1952 - The William and Jane Welch House, Barrington IL. Designed for Weese's sister and her husband.
1952 - The Harry Weese House, aka The Yellow House, Barrington IL.
1953 - The Kirk and Bernie Bassett House, Columbus IN.
1953 - The Edgar and Delora Lauther House, 2815 Franklin Drive, Columbus IN. Sold in 2003 to Brad Olinger Stine. Remodeled.
1954 - The Robert and Suzanne Drucker House, 2801 Iroquois Road, Wilmette IL. Suzanne was Harry Weese's sister. Two-story addition built in 1963. Deeded to the Suzanne Drucker Henry Trust.
1955 - The Picher House, Belvedere CA. Likely destroyed.
1956 - Apartment House, 227 East Walton Place, Chicago IL. 24 units designed for group headed by Weese and John Baird. Converted to condominiums in 1969. Landmark designation.
1957 - The Gale Johnson House, 5617 South Kenwood Avenue, Chicago IL. Sold in 1997 to Minfang Gong and Wei Du.
1958 - The Thomas E. Allen House, Wayne Township IL.
1959 - The Harry and Kitty Weese House and Studio, 75 Hawthorne Road, Barrington IL. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1960. Built by Rieke Construction; photos by Hedrick Blessing. Sold in 1994 to Vedran Novella Skulic. Sold in 2000 to Craig and Kelly Dukerschein.
1959 - The G. H. Cummins House, Columbus IN. Unbuilt. Planned to be built mostly underground in a boulder-strewn pasture in the foothills of Brown County. Eero Saarinen said it was interesting but not architecture. Weese responded, "that's what I like about it."
1959 - The Bartholomew County Home for the Aged, 2025 Illinois Street, Columbus IN. Originally used as low income housing for seniors, it is now the Salvation Army Social Services Offices and Food Distribution Center.
1960 - The Columbus Village, 1560 28th Street, Columbus IN. 96 2-story apartments designed for the Mayor's Housing Committee. Built in 3 stages with the first commission in 1951. Sold to K Camp Realty.
1961 - The Walter Paepcke Swiss Chalet, Aspen CO. Unbuilt due to Paepcke's death. Design of a three bedroom vacation home including a fairy-tale bedroom tower and a glass pavilion living room. The house was arranged so that three separate suites with bedroom and bath could be rented independently when the owner was not there. Featured in Architectural Record, October 1961. The house was one of 12 commissioned by Walter Paepcke for Aspen.
1961 - The Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity House, 3361 Wabash Avenue, Chicago IL. Located at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
1962 - The Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall Men's Dormitory, 1215 30th Street, Des Moines IA. Located at Drake University. In 1965 Weese designed a T-shaped expansion, which added 105 rooms. Four stories connected by a series of enclosed overpasses. One architectural feature is the bay windows that stand out from the building on the second through fourth floors, providing a window seat in every room. Remodeled in 2003.
1962 - The Ross Residence Hall, 1214 31st Street, Des Moines IA. Located at Drake University.
1962 - The East End Associates Apartments, Chicago IL.
1962 - The Kedvale Square Apartments, 1860 South Karlov Avenue, Chicago IL. Urban renewal project designed for the nonprofit, Lawndale Redevelopment Corporation. 89 unit townhouses. Each has a fenced in back yard and covered front porch.
1962 - The Old Town Triangle Apartments, 235 West Eugenie Street, Chicago IL. Example shown: unit T6.
1963 - The Pauline Goltra Armstrong House, Vail CO. Status unknown.
1963 - The Pauley Dormitory, MacGregor Lane, Mt. Vernon IA. Located at Cornell College. Renamed Pauley Rorem Hall. Renovated 2015-2016.
1963 - The Dows Dormitory, Summit Avenue, Mt. Vernon IA. Located at Cornell College. Renovated 2015-2016.
1964 - The Sampson Plaza, aka Parkview Apartments, 725-745 West Washington, Madison WI. Designed as urban renewal studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartments.
1964 - The George and Elizabeth Newlin House, 2920 Franklin Drive, Columbus IN. Sold to Dennis and Lori Heathfield. Sold in 2020 to Jeffrey and Laurie Martin.
1964 - The Elizabeth Clementine Miller and Robert Tangeman Summer House, Llanfair Island, Muskoka Lakes Ontario Canada. Built near Miller's brother's house, which was designed by Eero Saarinen. Architect Catherine Naismith recently conducted an assessment report, which has resulted in an ongoing repair program.
1965 - The Tarr Hall, 340 Pfeiffer Circle, Mount Vernon IA. Located on the Cornell College campus. One of several campus buildings renovated in 2015-2016.
1967 - The Chicago Teachers Union Apartment Building, aka John Fewkes Tower, 55 West Chestnut Street, Chicago IL. 30 stories, 225 one- bedroom units ranging from 500-601 sf.
1968 - The Air India Housing, Bombay, Mumbai, India. Staff quarters for 300 families. Weese was a visiting teaching consultant with the National Institute of Design.
1969 - The Channel Square Apartments, 325 P Street SW, Washington DC. Built for Southwest Housing Renewal Co.
1969 - The Leo and Celia Lavatelli House, Snowmass CO. Lavatelli was a professor of physics at the University of Illinois. Status unknown.
1969 - The Ben Heineman Home Office, aka Shadowcliff, 2142 Porcupine Bay Road, Ellison Bay WI. Heineman hired Weese to design a detached home office, instructing him to create something that was not visible from the main house and that would feel like a sailboat. Weese designed a compact structure suspended by double cantilevers over the side of the cliff, its interior outfitted in teak by Palmer Johnson Yachts. Sold in 2021.
Around 1969 - The Elizabeth Clementine Miller and Robert Stone Tangeman House, Llanfair Island, Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada. Built by Milton Goltz. Featured in Architectural Record Houses of 1970; Architectural Record Vacation Houses 1977. Photos, Balthazar Korab.
1970 - The US Embassy Housing I, Accra, Ghana.
1970 - The Fort Lincoln Urban Renewal Low-Rise Development, Bladensburg Road and Banneker Drive, Washington DC.
1971 - The Sturgeon Bay House, Sturgeon Bay WI. Weekend retreat for the Weese family.
1973 - The Commonwealth Realty Fullerton Apartments, 345 West Fullerton Avenue, Chicago IL. Example photo: Unit 2005.
1973 - The University of Delaware Solar House, aka Solar One, 184 South Chapel Street, Newark DE. Built as the first house to convert solar energy into electricity and heat. Construction of the four-bedroom house (two bedrooms are furnished while two others are used as experimental areas) was managed by Frederick G. Krapf and Son of Wilmington. Decorated by H. Feinberg, a Wilmington furniture company. The house also contains a living room-dining room, kitchen, a bath and a half, attached garage, and full cellar.
1974 - The John Knox Towers, 1210 Colonial Avenue, Norfolk VA. Senior community apartments.
1975 - The Baird House, Aspen CO.
1975 - The Dundale Square Apartments, 6600 Chesapeake Boulevard, Norfolk VA.
1975 - The Grace Street Towers Apartments, 635 West Grace Street, Chicago IL. Designed as housing for the elderly. Studio and one bedroom apartments, 480-700 sf, 19 stories.
1975 - The William Taylor Jr. House, Winnetka IL.
1976 - The Francisco Terrace, 127-141 North Francisco Terrace, Oak Park IL. Built by Benjamin and Harry Weese and inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's Francisco Terrace in Garfield Park. Wright's Francisco Terrace was destroyed in 1974, but the decorative terra cotta archway was salvged and used on the north facade of Weese's Francisco Terrace.
1976 - The Thomas Roberts House, 9 Arrowhead Lane, DeKalb IL. Sold in 2004 to Todd and Molly Green. Sold in 2022.
1976 - The Willow Street Townhouses, 312-318 West Willow Street, Chicago IL. Designed for Quincy Ward Co.
1977 - The Hinsdale Retirement Homes, aka Washington Square Apartments, aka Eve Assisted Living, aka Magnolia Dial Senior Living, 10 North Washington Street, Hinsdale IL. Sold in 2011 to Eden Hinsdale LLC.
1977 - The Donohue Building Renovation, 711 South Dearborn Street, Chicago IL. Condominiums. Original structure built in the early 1880s for Michael Donohue by architect Julius Speyer.
1980 - Condominiums, 1100 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL. A forty story high-rise residential building situated directly across from Oak Street Beach. All units have east and west exposure with unobstructed views of the lake.
1981 - The Baym House, 571 McSkimming Road, Aspen CO. Sold to Lloyd and Tracy Johnson.
1981 - The Fulton House Condominiums, 345 North Canal Street, Chicago IL. Renovation of an 1898 cold storage warehouse. 16 floors, 104 units. Studio - 3+ bedroom units both for sale and rent.
1982 - The US Embassy Housing, 1-3 Roppongi 2, Minato-Ku, Tokyo Japan. 15 stories.
1982 - The Riyadh Airport Community, New Town, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
1983 - The Transportation Building Renovation, 600 South Dearborn Street, Chicago IL. Condominiums. Originally built in 1911 by architect Fred V. Prather as office space for the railroad.
1983 - The Grandview Condominium, Peoria IL. Commissioned by Kenneth Pickens.
1984 - The South Cove Condominiums, Harbor Isle Drive, New Buffalo MI. Inspired by the seaside cottage communities of Cape Cod.
1984 - The Wolf Point Landing Condominiums, 375 North Canal Street, Chicago IL. Unbuilt 41 story condominium building.
1984 - Apartment Building, 401 North Canal Street, Chicago IL. Unbuilt.
1988 - The River Cottages, 375 North Canal Street, Chicago IL. Units 357, 359, 365, and 367.
1991 - The Len Zaiser House, 550 Admiralty Parade, Naples FL. Sold in 2015 to 550 Admiralty Fl Land Trust. Destroyed. Photos from Gulfshore Life at Home, 2010.
1994 - The Scattered Site Housing, Chicago IL. Commissioned by the Habitat Company.
1995 - The Chicago State University Student Union and Residences, Chicago IL. Destroyed. Replaced by Jeanne Gang design.
Year unknown - aka Red Mountain Retreat, Aspen CO.
Year unknown - aka Mountain House, Aspen CO.
Year unknown - aka Hurricane House, Soldier Key FL.
Sources include: The Architecture of Harry Weese by Robert Bruegmann and Kathleen Murphy Skolnik; Architectural Record.