- Reviewed by
Authors Karen Kingsley and Guy W. Carwile provide readers with an overview of modern architecture in Shreveport, Louisiana, from 1920 to 1960. Specifically, Kingsley and Carwile reveal through extensive research "how and why modern architecture appeared so early" in a region deeply rooted in architectural tradition (p. 1). The authors summarize the historical development of Samuel G. and William B. Wiener's modernism in Shreveport's residences and communities and among their contemporaries at large. Chapters include rich project descriptions and both color and black-and-white photographs, which enable readers to envision each project and thereby provide a glimpse into the minds and design processes of the Wiener brothers.
The book succinctly conveys the two brothers' journey through education and into professional practice of architecture, with an underlying emphasis on "going to the source—to see the buildings" in context (p. 23). Kingsley and Carwile communicate the Wieners' evolution of design practice and adaptation of architecture suitable for the modern world during their productive careers.
This book demonstrates the ever-pressing reminder for designing in context and the need for historical precedents. It is filled with insight into modern architectural history and the impact these designers made on the community of Shreveport. This work enlivens the spirit to preserve architectural relics and safeguard each example for the future. Not only is the text well written and filled with insights about the modern architecture movement in Shreveport, but also it reveals the evolution of American modernism and its application by leading practitioners. The book is a resource for all communities who desire similar documentation, for preservationists who endeavor to protect architectural heritage, and for all students of architecture and architectural history. This thoughtful [End Page 462] and interesting book enriches our understanding of modern architecture in Shreveport.