Ernest A. Grunsfeld III, 1929 2011

He was best known for his modernist, single-family home designs, found primarily on the North Shore.

"His lifelong practice of architecture paid continuing attention and respect to the principles of modernism, particularly in his works of residential design," his son wrote in an email. "His houses reflect a proud tradition of Chicago design and are much admired by those who reside in them and beloved by those who build them."

Architect Thomas L. Shafer, who was Mr. Grunsfeld's longtime business partner, said his homes were defined by their clean, minimalist designs often dominated by floor-to-ceiling windows.

"His designs were very simple and very tailored," Shafer said. "There was no mess and no fuss."

Known as "Tony," Mr. Grunsfeld was born in Chicago in 1929 and studied architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he received his bachelor's degree in 1952.

In 1953, Mr. Grunsfeld was commissioned into the Air Force as an air installation officer and served until the end of the Korean War in Bangor, Maine, designing buildings for Air Force bases in the northeastern U.S.

After returning to Chicago, Mr. Grunsfeld worked for architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; George Fred Keck and William Keck; and Bertrand Goldberg.

In 1956, he joined Wallace Yerkes, formerly a partner of his father — the noted Chicago architect Ernest Alton Grunsfeld Jr., whose credits include the art deco Adler Planetarium of 1930 — in a small Chicago practice devoted to residential architecture.

"Before long," according to an Art Institute of Chicago summary of Mr. Grunsfeld's career, "Yerkes and Grunsfeld became the architects of choice for many prominent clients in Chicago's North Shore communities."

"Sometimes I can't believe I've been so lucky, since an awful lot of the building I've done over the years has been on ravines or Lake Michigan — something like 33 or 34 houses on the lake," Mr. Grunsfeld said in a 2004 interview with the Art Institute.

His low-slung modernist houses are in North Shore towns including Highland Park, Glencoe, Winnetka, Northfield and Northbrook.

After Yerkes died in 1965, Mr. Grunsfeld maintained the practice, designing houses, apartments and commercial projects around the country. His national portfolio included work in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Sun Valley, Idaho. Some of those projects were second homes for his Chicago-area clients, his son said.

Source : http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-04-25/features/ct-met-grunsfeld-obit-0426-20110425_1_chicago-architect-tradition-of-chicago-design-residential-architecture

Ernest A. Grunsfeld III, 1929-2011
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