Bruce John Graham (December 1, 1925 – March 6, 2010) was a Colombian architect. Among his most notable buildings are the Inland Steel Building, the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), the Hotel Arts in Barcelona and the John Hancock Center. He worked with Fazlur Khan on all three constructions. Architectural historian Franz Schulze called him "the Burnham of his generation." He was a 1993 Pew Fellow.
Born on December 1, 1925 in La Cumbre, Colombia, Graham was the son of a Canadian-born father who was an international banker, and a Peruvian mother. His first language was Spanish. He attended Colegio San Jose de Rio Piedras, in Puerto Rico and graduated in 1944. He studied at the University of Dayton, Ohio and at the Case School of Applied Sciences in Cleveland, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 1948 with a degree in architecture.
When he first came to Chicago, he worked for Holabird and Root and joined the Chicago office Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, the largest architectural firm in the United States in 1951. He later headed that office and was a long time friend of Mies van der Rohe. He was deeply involved with many aspects of developing the city of Chicago, from city planning, bringing great public art to the city and involvement in individual projects.
Bruce Graham built extensively all over the world from his home in Chicago, to Guatemala, Hong Kong, London, Cairo, and many other cities. He was extremely involved with the University of Pennsylvania, especially the School of Fine Arts. He believed that teachers of Architecture should be currently involved in its practice. He was committed to the study of Architectural Theory and started the SOM Foundation. He also taught an Architectural studio at Harvard. Graham was a great collector of Art. He befriended Alexander Calder, Joan Miró, Chryssa and Eduardo Chillida, to name a few. He invited these artists to create public works of Art for the city of Chicago. He believed that the architect should be informed by philosophy, history, music and literature to build great monuments. He died on March 6, 2010 at the age of 84 in Hobe Sound, Florida.
On October 14, 2010, Chicago Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd Ward, dedicated the streets to the south and east sides of the John Hancock Center – one of Graham’s most iconic achievements – as Honorary Bruce J. Graham Way. It runs along Chestnut Street between Mies van der Rohe Street and Michigan Avenue and along Mies van der Rohe Street – named after famed architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - between Chestnut and Delaware Streets.
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