Monday, September 06, 2010

PBS airs documentary about architect Daniel Burnham

On Monday, Labor Day, Sept. 6, 2010, PBS aired “Make No Little Plans: Daniel Burnham and the American City”, 60 minutes, link here. It is directed by Judith McBrien, and narrated by Joan Allen.

Daniel Burham was born in upstate New York in 1846, was moved to Chicago in 1854, and became an architect, instrumental in rebuilding Chicago after the great fire of 1871. He formed the architectural firm Burnham & Root, but his partner died of pneumonia at age 41.

He later would plan a Chicago World’s Fair, and then help design the National Mall in Washington, and eventually a new Union Station in Washington (moving the old one off the Mall). He also helped design the Flatiron Building in New York. One of his innovations was the steel frame for the skyscraper.

He was rebuffed in San Francisco after the 1906 quake.

How would he have fit into Ayn Rand’s “The Fountainhead”.

He developed adult onset diabetes and died at 66.

One could compare this film to "My Architect" (2003, about Louis Kahn, directed by his son Nathaniel), and Sony's "Sketches of Frank Gehry" (2005, directed by Sydney Pollack).

YouTube: “The 1909 Plan for Chicago”.

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