Landis Gores

Landis Gores was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1919. He attended Princeton University, focusing on Greek and English studies, and graduated summa cum laude in 1939. He received a degree in architecture from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in 1942 and was awarded a gold medal that same year from the American Institute of Architects. At Harvard, he studied under Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) and Walter Gropius (1883-1969), but also developed an interest in the ideas of Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) and Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959).

At the start of World War II, Gores enlisted in the military and became a member of the top-secret operation "Ultra," which successfully deciphered the code of Germany's high command; this operation was viewed as instrumental in the Allied victory. For his service, he was awarded the Legion of Merit and the Order of the British Empire.

After the war, Gores joined Philip Johnson (1906-2005) as an associate designer in New York City. The projects they completed together include a significant addition and gardens for the Museum of Modern Art in New York City (1953). Gores also worked with Johnson on the design of the Hodgson House (1950-51) in New Canaan. It was during this period that Gores began associating with Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983), August Heckscher (1914-1997), and others in building concepts that were sensitive to energy conservation and the environment. Gores's innovative ideas about these subjects are evident throughout his work, especially in his partially underground homes such as the House for All Seasons in New Canaan, Connecticut (1978, no longer extant), designed to limit fuel consumption.

Gores and his family moved to New Canaan in 1948 into a house of his own design. Gores received an award of merit from The American Institute of Architects, which noted the building's use of natural materials and its harmony with the surrounding property. The influence of Frank Lloyd Wright is strongly evident in the house, with its monumental scale, dynamic roof planes, and intimate relationship with the landscape.

In 1951, Gores established his own architectural practice in New Canaan. In 1954, Gores contracted polio; despite the challenges of recovery and confinement to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life, his design work continued.

Among his best-known works is the Gores House (1948), still occupied by his wife Pamela, and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other notable works include Strathmore Village (1967) and Van Doren Hospital (1974) in Fairfield, Connecticut, and the middle school and science buildings of the New Canaan Country Day School (1961). During the 1940s and 1950s, Gores served as an instructor and lecturer of architectural design at the Pratt Institute in New York. In 1973, Gores was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.

Landis Gores died in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1991.


National Trust for Historic Preservation, 2009.