ABRAMOVITZ, MAX (1908–2004), U.S. architect, born in Chicago. From 1947 to 1952 Abramovitz was deputy director of the Planning Office of the United Nations. He was partner in the firm of Harrison & Abramovitz, which built the United Nations Secretariat, New York (1950). The design incorporated the ideas of an international panel of architects that included Le Corbusier and Oscar Niemeyer. This construction, the east and west sides of which were faced almost entirely with glass, proved a prototype of later buildings. His firm specialized in office buildings such as the Alcoa Building, Pittsburgh (1953), and the Socony Mobil Building, New York (1956), in which story-high metal units were used for the curtain walls. He also worked on projects of Jewish interest. These include Temple Beth-Zion, Buffalo, N.Y., and the Hillel Foundations on the campuses of the University of Illinois (1951) and of Northwestern University (1952). His three chapels (Protestant, Catholic, Jewish) at Brandeis University (1954) expressed the harmony and equality of the three faiths as represented on the campus, while at the same time respecting their differences. The chapels were similar structures placed around a pool. In 1963 Abramovitz built the new Philharmonic Hall, New York. The facade features two superimposed rows of concrete shafts softened with flattened vaults. It has been regarded as an example of American "neoclassicism." In 1973 Philharmonic Hall was renamed Avery Fisher Hall. Located at the northern end of the Lincoln Center Plaza, the concert hall is home to the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and can seat an audience of more than 2,700. The Plaza, built in 1964–65 by Harrison & Abramovitz, was rebuilt in 1984–85 by Lew Davis and renamed Paul Milstein Plaza in 1997. Abramovitz's auditorium of the University of Illinois at Urbana (1964) is a vast saucer dome surrounded by a circulation gallery that can accommodate more than 18,000 spectators. The Empire State Plaza in Albany, N.Y., considered one of the most ambitious urban renewal projects in modern U.S. history, was designed by Harrison & Abramovitz and built between 1965 and 1979. The government complex consists of ten buildings set on a six-story platform, which forms the plaza.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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