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Beeby, Thomas Hall

Beeby, Thomas Hall (1941– ). American architect, Director of Design for the firm founded (1961) by James Wright Hammond (1918–86—a former partner at Skidmore Owings & Merrill) as Hammond & Roesch (1961–71), which became Hammond Beeby Associates (1971–77), then (with Bernard F. Babka (1933—retired 1988) Hammond Beeby & Babka Inc. (1977–98), and then, from 1999 (with Dennis R. Rupert (1955—joined firm 1979) and Gary M. Ainge (1958—joined firm 1984), Hammond Beeby Rupert Ainge Inc. The firm's architecture derives from a belief that context is a major factor in determining form. At the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang Camp, Ashford/Eastford, CT, founded by the actor Paul Newman for children with life-threatening illnesses, vernacular themes were explored, and a robust, primitive Classicism was used for the administration building and gymnasium (1988–98). In 1988 the firm, as part of the SEBUS group, won the competition to design the Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago, IL, completed in 1991, a massive structure with façades of brick on a granite plinth pierced by huge arched openings, which presents a strong civic image. The building is crowned with an enormous cornice, and on the top (ninth) floor is a winter-garden with various rooms for special collections. Drawing on historical precedents, not least from Florence, Rome, Greece, and C19 metal-and-glass structures, it is an impressive achievement, firmly rooted in Classicism. Particularly successful are the enormous metal acroteria ornaments (made by the Bloomer Studio) over the main cornice. From the same period is the Art Institute of Chicago's Daniel and Ada Rice Building: in Beeby's own words, it 'shows a decrease in the level of abstraction with the notion of an increased comprehensibility'. Among other buildings in which Classicism is evident, the Hale Library, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS (completed 1997), the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy, Rice University, Houston, TX (completed 1997), and the Meadows Museum, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX (completed 2001), may be cited.

Bibliography

Kalman (1994);
Inst.CA (2002);
J&C (1983);
Thomas Hall Beeby

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