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Essays Drawn from English Landscapes
"Twenty-eight years ago I went to England for a three-month visit and rest. What I found changed my life."
So begins this memoir by one of America's best-known landscape architects, Laurie Olin. Raised in a frontier town in Alaska, trained in Seattle and New York, Olin found himself dissatisfied with his job as an urban architect and accepted an invitation to England to take a respite from work. What he found, in abundance, was the serendipity of a human environment built over time to respond to the land's own character and to the people who lived and worked there. For Olin, the English countryside was a palimpsest of the most eloquent and moving sort, yet whose manifestation was of ordinary buildings meant to shelter their inhabitants and further their work.
With evocative language and exquisite line drawings, the author takes us back to his introduction to the scenes of English country towns, their ancient universities, meandering waterways, and dramatic cloudscapes racing in from the Atlantic. He limns the geologic histories found within the rock, the near-forgotten histories of place-names, and the recent histories of train lines and auto routes. Comparing the growth of building in the English countryside, Olin draws some sobering conclusions about our modern lifestyle and its increasing separation from the landscape.
As much a plea for saving the modern American landscape as it is a passionate exploration of what makes the English landscape so characteristically English, Across the Open Field is "an affectionate ramble through real places of lasting worth."
Bodies of Knowledge at Work
Joanna Grabski and Carol Magee bring together a compelling collection that shows how interviews can be used to generate new meaning and how connecting with artists and their work can transform artistic production into innovative critical insights and knowledge. The contributors to this volume include artists, museum curators, art historians, and anthropologists, who address artistic production in a variety of locations and media to question previous uses of interview and provoke alternative understandings of art.
Living Myth and Architectonics in Southern China
Allegorical Architecture offers the first detailed architectural analysis of built forms and building types of the minority groups in southern China and of the Dong nationality in particular. It argues that Dong architecture symbolically resembles its inhabitants in many ways. The built world is an extension of their body and mind; their experience of architecture is figurative and their understanding of it allegorical. Unlike the symbolism of historical architecture, which must be decoded through a speculative reconstruction of the past, the Dong tell stories about inhabitants in their living state in the recurrent process of ritualistic making and inhabiting of their built world. This book thus offers architectural analysis of both spatial dispositions (building types) and social life (the workings of buildings). Xing Ruan likens the built world to allegory to develop an alternative to textual understanding. The allegorical analogy enables him to decipher minority architecture less as a didactic "text" and more as a "shell," the inhabitation of which enables the Dong to renew and reinvent continually the myths and stories that provide them with an assurance of home and authenticity. Attention is focused less on the supposed meanings (symbolic, practical) of the architecture and more on how it is used, inhabited, and hence understood by people. Throughout, Ruan artfully avoids the temptation to textualize the built world and read from it all sorts of significance and symbolism that may or may not be shared by the inhabitants themselves. By likening architecture to allegory, he also subtlety avoids the well-worn path of accounting for rich traditions via a "salvage ethnography"; on the contrary, he argues that cultural reinvention is an ongoing process and architecture is one of the fundamental ingredients to understanding that process. Ruan offers "thick description" of Dong architecture in an attempt to understand the workings of architecture in the social world. Paying attention to Dong architecture within a regional as well as a global context makes it possible to combine detailed formal analysis of settlement patterns and building types and their spatial dispositions with their effects in a social context. Architecture, in a broad sense, is assumed to be an art form in which the feelings and lives of its makers and inhabitants are embodied. The artifice of architecture—its physical laws—is therefore analyzed and contested in terms of its instrumental capacity. Allegorical Architecture is a work of refreshing originality and compelling significance. It will provide timely lessons for those concerned with the meaning and social sustainability of the built world and will appeal to architects, planners, cultural geographers, anthropologists, historians, and students of these disciplines.
Since the Renaissance, architects have been authors and architecture has been the subject of publications. Architectural forms and theories are spread not just by buildings, but by the distribution of images and descriptions fed through the printing press. The study of an architect's library is an essential avenue to understanding that architect's intentions and judging his or her achievements. In this well-illustrated volume, a chronological sequel to American Architects and Their Books to 1848, twelve distinguished historians of architecture discuss from various points of view the books that inspired architects both famous and not-so-famous, and the books the architects themselves produced. They examine the multifaceted relationship of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century architects to print culture—the literary works that architects collected, used, argued over, wrote, illustrated, designed, printed, were inspired by, cribbed from, educated clients with, advertised their services through, designed libraries for, or just plain enjoyed. The result is a volume that presents the intersection of the history of architecture, the history of ideas, and the history of the book. Changes in print culture during this period had a significant impact on the architectural profession, as revealed in these well-informed scholarly essays. In addition to the editors, contributors include Jhennifer A. Amundson, Edward R. Bosley, Ted Cavanagh, Elspeth Cowell, Elaine Harrington, Michael J. Lewis, Anne E. Mallek, Daniel D. Reiff, Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr., and Chris Szczesny-Adams. Among the architects discussed are A. J. Downing, Charles Sumner Greene, James Sims, Samuel Sloan, John Calvin Stevens, Thomas U. Walter, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
From Primordial Sea to Public Space
Extensively illustrated with detailed site plans and photographs, this architectural history of the Mexican plaza reveals why this central public space has been the heart of the community from ancient Mesoamerican times until the present.
This manifesto is a verbal articulation of the authors' visionary theory of how the human body, architecture, and creativity define and sustain one another.
This revolutionary work by artist-architects Arakawa and Madeline Gins demonstrates the inter-connectedness of innovative architectural design, the poetic process, and philosophical inquiry. Together, they have created an experimental and widely admired body of work--museum installations, landscape and park commissions, home and office designs, avant-garde films, poetry collections--that challenges traditional notions about the built environment. This book promotes a deliberate use of architecture and design in dealing with the blight of the human condition; it recommends that people seek architectural and aesthetic solutions to the dilemma of mortality.
In 1997 the Guggenheim Museum presented an Arakawa/Gins retrospective and published a comprehensive volume of their work titled Reversible Destiny: We Have Decided Not to Die. Architectural Body continues the philosophical definition of that project and demands a fundamental rethinking of the terms "human" and "being." When organisms assume full responsibility for inventing themselves, where they live and how they live will merge. The artists believe that a thorough re-visioning of architecture will redefine life and its limitations and render death passe. The authors explain that "Another way to read reversible destiny . . . Is as an open challenge to our species to reinvent itself and to desist from foreclosing on any possibility."
Audacious and liberating, this volume will be of interest to students and scholars of 20th-century poetry, postmodern critical theory, conceptual art and architecture, contemporary avant-garde poetics, and to serious readers interested in architecture's influence on imaginative expression.
An Essay Concerning the Project considers the practice of architectural design as it has developed during the last two centuries. In this challenging interpretation of design education and its effect on design process and products, Argentinean scholar Alfonso Corona-Martinez emphasizes the distinction between an architectural project, created in the architect’s mind and materialized as a set of drawings on paper, and the realized three-dimensional building. Corona-Martinez demonstrates how representation plays a substantial role in determining both the notion and the character of architecture, and he traces this relationship from the Renaissance into the Modern era, giving detailed considerations of Functionalism and Typology. His argument clarifies the continuity in the practice of design method through the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a continuity that has been obscured by the emphasis on changing goals instead of design procedures, and examines the influences of modernity and the legend of the Bauhaus. Architectural schooling, he suggests, has had a decisive role in the transmission of these practices. He concludes that the methods formalized in Beaux Arts teaching are not only still with us but are in good part responsible for the stylistic instability that haunts Modern architecture. Abstract but not abstruse, An Essay Concerning the Project provides clear information for a deeper understanding of the process of design and its results. More so than any other recent text, it shows the scope and richness of the field of speculation in architecture. It presents subtle considerations that must be mastered if an architect is to properly use typology, the means of representation, and the elements of composition and in architecture. Students, teachers, and practitioners alike will benefit from its warning about the deeper aspects of the endeavor of architecture.
The phrase "Pennsylvania German architecture" likely conjures images of either the "continental" three-room house with its huge hearth and five-plate stoves, or the huge Pennsylvania bank barn with its projecting overshoot. These and other trademarks of Pennsylvania German architecture have prompted great interest among a wide audience, from tourists and genealogists to architectural historians, antiquarians, and folklorists. Since the nineteenth century, scholars have engaged in field measurement and drawing, photographic documentation, and careful observation, resulting in a scholarly conversation about Pennsylvania German building traditions. What cultural patterns were being expressed in these buildings? How did shifting social, technological, and economic forces shape architectural changes? Since those early forays, our understanding has moved well beyond the three-room house and the forebay barn.
In Architecture and Landscape of the Pennsylvania Germans, 1720-1920, eight essays by leading scholars and preservation professionals not only describe important architectural sites but also offer original interpretive insights that will help advance understanding of Pennsylvania German culture and history. Pennsylvania Germans' lives are traced through their houses, barns, outbuildings, commercial buildings, churches, and landscapes. The essays bring to bear years of field observation as well as engagement with current scholarly perspectives on issues such as the nature of "ethnicity," the social construction of landscape, and recent historiography about the Pennsylvania Germans. Dozens of original measured drawings, appearing here for the first time in print, document important works of Pennsylvania German architecture, including the iconic Bertolet barns in Berks County, the Martin Brandt farm complex in Cumberland County, a nineteenth-century Pennsylvania German housemill, and urban houses in Lancaster.
Architecture and Modern Literature explores the representation and interpretation of architectural space in modern literature from the early nineteenth century to the present, with the aim of showing how literary production and architectural construction are related as cultural forms in the historical context of modernity. In addressing this subject, it also examines the larger questions of the relation between literature and architecture and the extent to which these two arts define one another in the social and philosophical contexts of modernity. Architecture and Modern Literature will serve as a foundational introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary study of architecture and literature. David Spurr addresses a broad range of material, including literary, critical, and philosophical works in English, French, and German, and proposes a new historical and theoretical overview of this area, in which modern forms of "meaning" in architecture and literature are related to the discourses of being, dwelling, and homelessness.