Herbert Greenwald

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Herbert Greenwald (August 16, 1915 – February 3, 1959) was a Chicago real estate developer who utilized Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as the design architect for several landmark modern residential buildings.

Personal life[edit]

Herbert "Squiff" Greenwald was born and raised in St. Louis. He pursued rabbinical studies at Yeshiva University in New York. After serving in the military during World War II, he studied philosophy at University of Chicago.[1] He used money inherited from the death of his mother in 1949 to go into the real estate business with Samuel Katzin.[2]

Herbert S. Greenwald was married to Lillian Feldman Greenwald (Dec. 31, 1915 to Sept. 7, 2007). They had two sons, Michael and Bennet. Together they supported artists including: Leon Golub, Nancy Spero,[3] Cosmo Campoli, Misch Cohen, Ruth Duckworth, Richard Hunt (sculptor), David Sharpe, Martha Schlamme and Abraham Stokman.[4]

Lillian Greenwald earned a BA degree and a M.SW degree from the University of Chicago. She served on the Visiting Committee of the University's School of Social Services Administration and may have influence the decision to use Mies van der Rohe to design the School of Social Services building.[5][6]

Real estate development[edit]

Greenwald developed three residential buildings in Evanston, Il by 1946.[7] Mr. Greenwald sought a famous architect to design his first important building. After failing to hire Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Eliel Saarinen, and Walter Gropius. He followed Gropius's recommendation to hire Mies van der Rohe.[8][9]

Greenwald utilized Mies on several projects including:

  • The Promontory, 5530 S. South Shore Drive, Chicago, IL (1949)
  • 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago, IL (1949-1951)
  • Esplanade Apartments, 900-910 N. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL (1953-1956)
  • Commonwealth Plaza, 330-340 W. Diversey Parkway, Chicago, IL (1953-1956)
  • Lafayette Park, Detroit, MI (1955-1963)

Additionally, he worked with Mies on several unbuilt designs including:[10]

  • 1300 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago, IL (1953-1956)
  • Chestnut and DeWitt Apartments, Chicago, IL (1953-1956)
  • Commonwealth Promenade Apartments, Chicago, IL (1953-1956) Note: Two of the buildings were built.
  • Herbert Greenwald House, Lake Forest, IL (1955)
  • Diversey-Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago, IL (1956-1958)
  • Hyde Park Urban Renewal, Chicago, IL (1959)
  • Lafayette Park Detroit, MI (1955-1963)[11]
  • Bay Street at Hyde San Francisco, CA (1958)[12]

Mies Designed Single Family Homes[edit]

In addition to the proposed home for Herbert Greenwald in Lake Forest, Mies designed single family homes for:

  • Greenwald's brother, Morris Greenwald. The home was later renovated and expanded by Peter Gluck, located at 11 Homeward Lake, Weston, Connecticut[13]
  • Greenwald's business partner, Robert Hall McCormick. The home is now part of the Elmhurst Art Museum in Illinois.[14]


Greenwald died in the crash of American Airlines Flight 320 from Midway International Airport to New York City's LaGuardia Airport on February 3, 1959.[15] The plane crashed in the East River and his body was not recovered. His estate was paid $287,000 by the insurance company.[16]

Successor Firm - Metropolitan Structures[edit]

After his death, his real estate firm, Herbert Realty Co., was renamed Metropolitan Structures. Under the leadership of Bernard Weissbourd, the firm developed Illinois Center in Chicago and other properties throughout the United States including[17][18]

Bibliography and Other Resources[edit]

  • They Built Chicago: Entrepreneurs Who Shaped a Great City's Architecture by Miles L. Berger August, 1992
  • [13] Mies, IIT, and the Second Chicago School Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago


  1. ^ Schulze, Franz (1995). Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography (Paperback ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. p. 276. ISBN 978-0226151458.
  2. ^ The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream By Thomas L. Dyja Penguin Press 2013
  3. ^ Leon Golub: Echoes of the Real By Jon Bird Reaktion Books, London 2000 page 28
  4. ^ [1] "Lillian Greenwald: 1915-2007: Devoted arts patron fostered careers" September 16, 2007|By Courtney Flynn
  5. ^ [2] "Death Notice: Lillian Greenwald" Chicago Tribune September 9, 2007
  6. ^ Building Ideas: An Architectural Guide to the University of Chicago by Jay Pridmore University of Chicago Press 2013, page 89
  7. ^ Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography, New and Revised Edition By Franz Schulze, Edward Windhorst page 276
  8. ^ Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography, New and Revised Edition By Franz Schulze, Edward Windhorst page 276
  9. ^ [3] Promontory Apartments: An Architectural History by Alfred Swenson
  10. ^ [4] Illinois Institute of Technology, "Mies Work"
  11. ^ [5] Lafayette Park by Mies Society
  12. ^ [6] SFGate "Planned high-rises near the bay never made it big" By John King Updated 4:37 pm, Friday, December 13, 2013
  13. ^ [7] Modern Design by ModernDesign.org 2006.
  14. ^ [8] History of the McCormick House, Elmhurst Art Museum website.
  15. ^ [9] New York Plane Crashes East River
  16. ^ [10] Chicago Tribune, April 3, 1959 "287,000 is Paid in Greenwald Plan Death"
  17. ^ [11] Mies Legacy:How Famed Architect Shaped Chicago With Aid Of 2 Developers Chicago Tribune May 04, 1986 By Karl Plath.
  18. ^ [12] Business People: Metropolitan Venture By Sandra Salmans New York Times, July 22, 1981