POLSHEK, JAMES

POLSHEK, JAMES
POLSHEK, JAMES (1930– ), U.S. architect. Polshek received his bachelor's degree from Case Western Reserve University and masters in architecture from Yale University (1955). He established Polshek Partnership Architects in Greenwich, Conn., in 1963 and is now based in New York. Polshek also served for 15 years as dean of the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University in New York. Central to Polshek's view of architecture is the necessity of it being connected to community and tradition. Polshek has suggested that the "increasing homogenization" of architecture in the United States "brings despondence and is unhealthy. It indicates a loss of place." As a result, Polshek became an important critic of what he called the "bad quality of building today" that is due to a variety of problems, especially lack of vision by public leaders. Polshek's approach is to create architecture that "implements resolutions rather than creating oppositions," and must fulfill the aspirations of the institutions they house. Polshek's most well-known projects are the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, Ark., the Carnegie Hall renovation, and Zankel Hall expansion in New York, the Rose Center for Earth and Space at the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Times Printing Plant, the Santa Fe Opera Theater in New Mexico, the WGBH public television headquarters near Boston, the Newseum/Freedom Forum headquarters in Washington, D.C., the Omaha Performing Arts Center, and National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron, Ohio. The Clinton Library drew particular praise because of the choice of site in a downtown industrial zone, linked to downtown Little Rock by a 27-acre public park. On the other hand, a more modest, yet important renovation by Polshek Partnership was that of Symphony Space and the Thalia Theater on Manhattan's Upper West Side, which has a tradition of catering to avant-garde film and theater. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: S.S. Stephens, James Stewart Polshek and Partners: Architecture, Planning, Interiors (1992); Strauss and S. Sawyer (eds.), Polshek Partnership Architects: 1988–2004 (2004). (Stephen C. Feinstein (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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