9. Executives Rejected the Designs of Over Three Renowned Architects In Favor of Mies’s Proposal
The Seagram Building could not have been built without a persistent, visionary woman named Phyllis Lambert, who was the daughter of Samuel Bronfman, owner of Joseph E. Seagram & Sons. Lambert served as the building’s planning director. In a NY Times article, she said she had wanted to choose someone who could “make the greatest contribution to architecture.”
Before its creation in 1959, several architects like Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Pietro Belluschi, and Louis Kahn proposed their plans for the building to Lambert. Lambert seriously considered the designs of Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, but still preferred Mies’s design.
She cared so much that she wrote a seven-page letter to Bronfman when he showed her the initial plans for the building, emphatically explaining why it wasn’t right. She even rejected Frank Lloyd Wright, the architect of the Guggenheim Museum and several other famous structures, who proposed constructing a 100-story building.