Tuesday, December 27, 2011

John Randal McDonald

This is a great site to familiarize yourself with John Randal McDonald:


Friday, December 2, 2011

Bio: Donald Grieb, Architect

Donald Grieb, AIA

"Donald Grieb was a quirky "Tomorrowland" modernist with great ambitions and a knack for winning prominent jobs." (arcchicago.blogspot.com)

He grew up in Milwaukee, the son of Leon and Lulu Grieb.

AIA Listing 1956
Office: 316 E. Silver Spring Dr, Milwaukee 17, Wise.
Home: 2700 East Jarvis St, Milwaukee, WI
b. Milwaukee, Sep. 24, 1918.
M. 51, Children 1.
Educ: Unlv. of HI, B.S. in Arch, 36-39, 40-41;
Unlv. of Penna, M. In Arch, 42. Amer. Acad. In Rome,
Award In Arch, 41; Gargoyle, BAID, 2-2nd Medals, 41, Joseph Horn Fellowship
In Arch, Unlv. of Penna, 41-42.
Foreign Travel: Panama, Peru, Argentina,
Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Amer. Inst. Trek around S.A, P.I, Austl,
Mex, 49 & 52. Designer, Eschweiler & Eschweiler, 45-46; Fritz Von Grossman,
49-52; Brust & Brust, 52.
Prev, Partnership: Von Grossmann-Grleb.
Present Firm: Donald L. Grieb, Archt, org. 52.
Reg: Wis.
Prin. Wks: S. 55th St, Sch. Milwaukee, Wis, 53, G & G; Munic, Bldg, Glendale, Wis, 55.
Con. Archt: Brust & Brust, Brooks Mem. Morquette Union Bldg, 51.
Gen.Types; 1,2,4,5,6,7,9,15.
Mem: Masonic Lodge 267, Milwaukee, Wis. AIA

1962 AIA Listing
GRIEB, DONALD L(EON). AIA 51. Wisconsin Chapter
t Donald L. Grieb, 777 West Glencoe Place, Milwaukee 17, Wise.
b. Milwaukee, Sept. 24, 18. Educ: Univ. of HI, B.S. Arch, 36-39; 40-41; Univ.
of Pa, M. Arch, 42. Amer. Acad, in Rome, Award in Arch, 41; Gargoyle, BAID,2-2nd Medals, 41. Joseph Horn Felshp. in Arch, Univ. of Pa, 41-42.
Firm: Donald L. Grieb, Archt, org. 52.
Registered: Wisconsin
Gen. Types: 1,2,4,5,6,7,9,15.
Principle Works: Whitefish Bay State Bk, Milwaukee, Wash, Irving Elem. Sen, M,
& Green Tree Elem. Sch, Glendale, Wis, 59; C & P Shop. Ctr, Madison, Wis, &
Crystal Lake State Bk, C.L, 111, 61.

1972 AIA Listing
GRIEB, DONALD LEON. AIA 51. Wisconsin Chapter
Office Address: Donald Grieb Assocs, 777 W. Glencoe PI, Milwaukee, Wis. 53217.
Home Address: 8135 N. River Rd, Milwaukee, Wis. 53217.
b. Milwaukee, Wis, Sept. 24, 18.
Educ: B.Sc.Arch.(hons), Univ. Ill, 41;
M.Arch, Univ. Pa, 42: Gargoyle Soc, 39; Beaux Arts 2 second pi. medals,
41; Rome Prize in Arch, 41; Joseph Horn fel, arch, Univ. Pa, 41-42.
Pres.Firm: Prin, Donald Grieb Assocs, org. 52.
Reg: Minn, Wis. Prin. Wks: Milwaukee Rd-R.R. Sta, 65 & Milwaukee Co. Courthouse Annex, 68,
consult, archit. to Howard, Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff; Mitchell
Park Conservatory, Milwaukee, 66; Milwaukee Civic Ctr. Plaza, 69; Mem.
Clock Tower, Milwaukee Civic Ctr. Plaza, 69. Hon. Awards: Hon. award for
Mitchell Park Conservatory, Wis. Chap. AIA, 66. Educ. Activ: Lectr. Pub.
Serv: Mem, Milwaukee Civic Ctr. Completion Cmt; mem, Milwaukee Transp.
Ctr-Post. Off. Cmt. Govt. Serv: U.S.A.A.F, 1st Lt, 42-45.

This young Milwaukee based (316 East Silver Spring Drive, Milwaukee, WI) earned the spotlight by designing The Domes (the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory).

More than 30 architects were interviewed for the job, including the established firm of Eschweiler & Eschweiler. A young architect named Donald Grieb won the commission. He began work on the project in 1958, and just as the architect of the original conservatory had turned to a symbol of the modern era for inspiration, Grieb looked to a visionary architect/engineer of his day, Buckminster Fuller, whose signature geodesic domes had gained international repute and were already employed in conservatory designs elsewhere.

Grieb, now more than 90 years old, recalls an early attempt to get Fuller’s design team onboard: “I asked them if they’d like to join hands with me in designing these domes,” Grieb says. “They sent an attorney out and he made it clear their system was one they didn’t want to work on with another architect. So they were off the list.”

Perhaps rightly so, for Grieb ended up significantly tweaking Fuller’s design to maximize the Domes’ height and cut out obstructive structural members. His Domes are described as the world’s first glass conoidal domes and were greeted by the media of the day with comments ranging from the exclamatory “revolutionary” and “ultramodern” to the highly descriptive “Eskimo village” and “glass bubble.” Like Fuller’s domes, they somehow stood outside of their time, and continue to do so today. Interestingly, after the first dome was underway, Grieb was reminded of ancient precedents for his structure.

“I got a call from a friend and he said, ‘Is that dome you’re building anything like the domes I just saw in Italy?’” he recalls. “I asked, ‘What dome did you see’ and he said, ‘It’s the Pantheon in Rome.’ Here was this building built 100 years after Christ and the principles of its design matched my own!”

The Domes’ tessellated, reinforced-concrete substructure also nodded to new and innovative uses of this material by architects of the day like Le Corbusier, Eduardo Torroja and Eero Saarinen, who designed the War Memorial. Even the echoing archways of the Domes’ entryway have a Saarinen feel. And like Fuller’s creations, the futuristic, otherworldy form of the Domes speaks to the Space Age’s fascination with unexplored territories. The first dome was completed in 1964, succeeded by the other two in the following three years. The Mitchell Park Domes symbolized a period for Milwaukee that promised hope and change.

Designed by the architectural firm of Donald L. Grieb and Associates of Milwaukee, the new station was dedicated on August 3, 1965, and saw its first train arrival the next day with the Morning Hiawatha.

Birkerts received American citizenship in 1955, shortly after leaving Saarinen’s office to join Donald Grieb in Milwaukee. After one year with Grieb, he was invited by Minoru Yamasaki to work with Yamasaki, Leinweber and Associates, in Birmingham, Michigan.

John Randal McDonald - 2580 North 100th Street, Wauwatosa

2580 North 100th Street, Wauwatosa


This is a John Randal McDonald house (called Longbow) originally built in 1951 for a wealthy businessman Gilbert Diehl believed to be associated with the Mayfair Mall development area. It was one of several houses the business owned throughout the country. It was subsequently purchased by neurologist with a large family. The family is now selling the property.

Beside the expansive glass nearly grasping as the forest, it features a private pond that used to be stocked with goldfish. The property overlooks the beautiful Menomonee River Parkway on a dead end street adjacent to Blue Mounds Country Club.

Interestingly, the two houses further north on the street used to exist another John Randal McDonald house formerly owned by Kareem Abul Jabar. However, that house was demolished as some point for a nice comtemporary home.

John Randal McDonald - 875 East Donges Lane, Bayside

875 East Donges Lane, Bayside, WI


Orignally built for Helen and Adam Wolf in 1953, the 1683 sq foot house, 2 bed, 1.5 bath set on 1.2 acres was then bought by Jacob Clark. But it recently hit the market again, with selling again in November 2011. It came back on the market in June 2015 with updates.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Russell Barr Williamson - 4860 N Oakland Ave, Whitefish Bay

Russell Barr Williamson (1893-1964)

42 - 4860 N. Oakland Ave - The Russell Barr Williamson Residence
A brick Prairie School Style residence, the house was designed by Russell Barr Williamson as his own residence. It was constructed in 1921. The design reportedly is based on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Henry Allen House in Wichita, KS. Russell Barr Williamson (1893-1962) was the supervising architect for that house while working for Frank Lloyd Wright and apparently adapted that design for his own home in Whitefish Bay. Williamson designed his own furniture for the living room, dining room and sunroom which are separated only by low planters. Williamson and his wife lived here for thirty years and then moved to Oostburg, Wisconsin where he continued his practice until his death at the age of 71.

Williamson worked for several years as supervisor of architectural planning in the office of Frank Lloyd Wright. He was the supervising architect for two of Wright’s Prairie style projects – the Bogk House and the American System Build prefab houses built by the Milwaukee developer Arthur L. Richard. For a time, Barr also designed houses as a member of the American Builders Service.

He came to Milwaukee in 1918 and, working on his own, created smaller homes with an emphasis on economy. Williamson returned however to the long, low “prairie” profile in 1921 for his own home which has a cross axial plan with the wings protecting a private garden area. Its similarity to a house designed by Wright in Kansas City has been noted.

He designed several Whitefish Bay homes. His best known work in Milwaukee is the Eagle’s Club, built in 1925 at 2401 West Wisconsin Avenue. Williamson’s career spanned more than forty years.

The residence was identified by the Wisconsin State Historical Society in a 1980 survey. It was declared a Milwaukee County Landmark Designation in 1977.

-- adapted from the Village of Whitefish Bay website