Benjamin Weese (1929-)

For the exhibition, "Three Architects at Williams College, " John Stamper's evaluation of Ben Weese's design for Sawyer Library concludes, "Weese appears to understate the design to the point of overstatement. This relates most particularly to the Chicago School of architecture with its highly functional, no-nonsense tradition. Sawyer Library is a distinctly Midwestern building placed in an equally distinct New England Campus." Forced to contend with the varied architectural styles of the buildings surrounding the library site, Weese chose not to institute another distinctive building or copy one of the existing forms. Instead, he solved the dilemma by designing a building that would unassumingly blend in to the busy area.

Ben Weese is the brother of prominent architect Harry Weese, whose approach to architecture was influenced by Louis Sullivan. Ben was a member of Harry's firm, Harry Weese and Associates, from 1957-1977. During this time he also acted as President and Assistant Head of Design for the firm. Ben received his Bachelor of Architecture from Harvard in 1951 and his Masters of Architecture, also from Harvard, in 1957. Additionally, he studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts at Fontainbleau, France, in 1956.

Ben Weese has continued to be very active in the world of architecture. Since 1966, he has been a member of--and once served as President of--the Chicago School of Architects Foundation, which he also helped to found. In 1977, he left Harry Weese and Associates to establish Weese Langley Weese. He has been a Trustee of the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts since 1988 and its President since 1995. Ben Weese is a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

By Jaime Margalotti (Williams Class of 2000)

SOURCES:
Stamper, John W. Three architects at Williams College: photographs and drawings of Benjamin Thompson and Associates, Mitchell/Giurgola Associates Architects, Harry Weese and Associates . Williamstown, Mass.: Williams College, 1976.

"Weese, Ben." Who's Who in America . (2 vols.) Wilmette: A.N. Marquis, 1999.