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The Architecture of William Nichols

Building the Antebellum South in North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi

by Paul Hardin Kapp with Todd Sanders; foreword by William Seale

The Architecture of William Nichols: Building the Antebellum South in North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi is the first comprehensive biography and monograph of a significant yet overlooked architect in the American South. William Nichols designed three major university campuses—the University of North Carolina, the University of Alabama, and the University of Mississippi. He also designed the first state capitols of North Carolina, Alabama, and Mississippi. Nichols’s architecture profoundly influenced the built landscape of the South but due to fire, neglect, and demolition, much of his work was lost and history has nearly forgotten his tremendous legacy.

In his research onsite and through archives in North Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi, Paul Hardin Kapp has produced a narrative of the life and times of William Nichols that weaves together the elegant work of this architect with the aspirations and challenges of the Antebellum South. It is richly illustrated with over two hundred archival photographs and drawings from the Historic American Building Survey.

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Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin

by Emily Pugh

On August 13, 1961, under the cover of darkness, East German authorities sealed the border between East and West Berlin using a hastily constructed barbed wire fence. Over the next twenty-eight years, the Berlin Wall served as an ever-present and seemingly permanent physical and psychological divider in this capital city, and between East and West during the Cold War. Similarly, stark polarities arose in nearly every aspect of public and private life, perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the built environment. In Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin, Emily Pugh provides an original comparative analysis of selected works of architecture and urban planning in East and West Berlin during the “Wall era,” to reveal the importance of these structures to the formation of political, cultural, and social identities. Pugh uncovers the roles played by organizations such as the Foundation for Prussian Cultural Heritage in West Germany and the East German Building Academy in conveying the preferred political narrative of their respective states through constructed spaces. She also provides an overview of architectural works prior to the Wall era, to show the precursors for design aesthetics in Berlin at large, and also considers projects in the post-Wall period, to demonstrate the ongoing effects of the Cold War. Pugh examines representations of architectural works in exhibits, film, journals, magazines, newspapers, and other media, and discusses the effectiveness of planners’ attempts to ‘win the hearts and minds’ of the public. Ideas of home, belonging, community, and nationalism were common underlying themes on both sides of the wall, and instrumental to the construction of cultural and physical landscapes. Overall, Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin offers a compelling case study of a divided city poised at the precipice between the world’s most dominant political and ideological forces, and the effort expended by each side to sway the tide of public opinion through the built environment.

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Architecture's Historical Turn

Phenomenology and the Rise of the Postmodern

Jorge Otero-Pailos

Architecture’s Historical Turn traces the hidden history of architectural phenomenology, a movement that reflected a key turning point in the early phases of postmodernism and a legitimating source for those architects who first dared to confront history as an intellectual problem and not merely as a stylistic question.
 
Jorge Otero-Pailos shows how architectural phenomenology radically transformed how architects engaged, theorized, and produced history. In the first critical intellectual account of the movement, Otero-Pailos discusses the contributions of leading members, including Jean Labatut, Charles Moore, Christian Norberg-Schulz, and Kenneth Frampton. For architects maturing after World War II, Otero-Pailos contends, architectural history was a problem rather than a given. Paradoxically, their awareness of modernism’s historicity led some of them to search for an ahistorical experiential constant that might underpin all architectural expression. They drew from phenomenology, exploring the work of Bachelard, Merleau-Ponty, Heidegger, and Ricoeur, which they translated for architectural audiences. Initially, the concept that experience could be a timeless architectural language provided a unifying intellectual basis for the stylistic pluralism that characterized postmodernism. It helped give theory—especially the theory of architectural history—a new importance over practice. However, as Otero-Pailos makes clear, architectural phenomenologists could not accept the idea of theory as an end in itself. In the mid-1980s they were caught in the contradictory and untenable position of having to formulate their own demotion of theory.
 
Otero-Pailos reveals how, ultimately, the rise of architectural phenomenology played a crucial double role in the rise of postmodernism, creating the antimodern specter of a historical consciousness and offering the modern notion of essential experience as the means to defeat it.

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Architecture since 1400

Kathleen James-Chakraborty

The first global history of architecture to give equal attention to Western and non-Western structures and built landscapes, Architecture since 1400 is unprecedented in its range, approach, and insight. From Tenochtitlan’s Great Pyramid in Mexico City and the Duomo in Florence to Levittown’s suburban tract housing and the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing, its coverage includes the world’s most celebrated structures and spaces along with many examples of more humble vernacular buildings. Lavishly illustrated with more than 300 photographs, plans, and interiors, this book presents key moments and innovations in architectural modernity around the globe.

Deftly integrating architectural and social history, Kathleen James-Chakraborty pays particular attention to the motivations of client and architect in the design and construction of environments both sacred and secular: palaces and places of worship as well as such characteristically modern structures as the skyscraper, the department store, and the cinema. She also focuses on the role of patrons and addresses to an unparalleled degree the impact of women in commissioning, creating, and inhabiting the built environment, with Gertrude Jekyll, Lina Bo Bardi, and Zaha Hadid taking their place beside Brunelleschi, Sinan, and Le Corbusier.

Making clear that visionary architecture has never been the exclusive domain of the West and recognizing the diversity of those responsible for commissioning, designing, and constructing buildings, Architecture since 1400 provides a sweeping, cross-cultural history of the built environment over six centuries.

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Art Deco

A mode of mobility

Journeying across the globe – from a skyscraper in Vancouver, B.C., to a department store in Los Angeles, and from super-cinemas in Bombay (Mumbai) to radio cabinets in Canadian living rooms – this richly illustrated book examines the reach of Art Deco as it affected public cultures.

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Art in Red Wing

Lawrence Schmeckebier

What happens to the American small community in periods of war and challenge, change and uncertainty? In an age of planning, why not look at the community basis for planning? With these two questions as a basis, the University of Minnesota, in 1943, began one of the most exhaustive studies of an American community undertaken in recent times. Red Wing, Minnesota, on the banks of the Mississippi River in Goodhue County was chosen as the “typical small American city.” Professors of education, economics, sociology, art, home economics, journalism, and public health joined with city officials and civic leaders in studying every aspect of the city and its people. Their findings are published in eleven bulletins, each devoted to an individual topic. The entire survey, entitled The Community Basis for Postwar Planning, was coordinated by Roland S. Vaile, professor of economics and marketing at the University of Minnesota, and made possible by a grant from the Graduate School. The present study, Art in Red Wing, considers the public role of art and architecture in the reconstruction of the postwar Red Wing community; examining a variety of artistic expression including housing style, civic architecture, window displays, public sculpture, and pottery.

Art in Red Wing was first published in 1946. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.

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The Art of Memory

Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids, Michigan

Thomas R. Dilley

In the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, the look and feel of cemeteries in the United States changed dramatically, from utilitarian burial grounds to the serene park-like spaces that we know today. The so-called park cemetery was innovative not only for its distinctive landscape architecture but also because, for the first time, its staff took on the tasks of designing, running, and maintaining the cemetery itself, leading to a very consistent appearance. By the mid-1800s, the influence of park cemeteries began to spread from big cities on the east coast to the Midwest—eventually producing fifteen transitional examples in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In The Art of Memory: Historic Cemeteries of Grand Rapids, Michigan Thomas R. Dilley details the history of Grand Rapids’ park cemeteries, finding that their development mimicked national trends and changing cultural beliefs about honoring the dead. Dilley begins by outlining the history and evolution of cemetery design from its earliest days to present, including information about key design elements and descriptions of important designers. He continues by introducing readers to the fifteen historic cemeteries located in the city of Grand Rapids, detailing their histories, formats, and developmental changes along with more than two hundred photos. The cemeteries are divided between public and private properties, and are discussed chronologically, according to the dates of their founding. Dilley also considers the artistic and architectural forms that appear in the Grand Rapids cemeteries, including a thorough discussion of the religious and decorative symbols used on markers, the use of sometimes florid epitaphs, and variations in the form, structure, and materials of cemetery markers of the time. A brief section on the future of the cemetery and an extensive list of bibliographic sources and suggestions for further reading round out this informative volume. Readers with roots in Grand Rapids as well as those interested in social and cultural history will enjoy The Art of Memory.

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Arts and Crafts Architecture

History and Heritage in New England

Maureen Meister

This book offers the first full-scale examination of the architecture associated with the Arts and Crafts movement that spread throughout New England at the turn of the twentieth century.

Although interest in the Arts and Crafts movement has grown since the 1970s, the literature on New England has focused on craft production. Meister traces the history of the movement from its origins in mid-nineteenth-century England to its arrival in the United States and describes how Boston architects including H. H. Richardson embraced its tenets in the 1870s and 1880s. She then turns to the next generation of designers, examining buildings by twelve of the region’s most prominent architects, eleven men and a woman, who assumed leadership roles in the Society of Arts and Crafts, founded in Boston in 1897. Among them are Ralph Adams Cram, Lois Lilley Howe, Charles Maginnis, and H. Langford Warren. They promoted designs based on historical precedent and the region’s heritage while encouraging well-executed ornament. Meister also discusses revered cultural personalities who influenced the architects, notably Ralph Waldo Emerson and art historian Charles Eliot Norton, as well as contemporaries who shared their concerns, such as Louis Brandeis. Conservative though the architects were in the styles they favored, they also were forward-looking, blending Arts and Crafts values with Progressive Era idealism. Open to new materials and building types, they made lasting contributions, with many of their designs now landmarks honored in cities and towns across New England.

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Asylum on the Hill

Asylum on the Hill is the story of a great American experiment in psychiatry, a revolution in care for those with mental illness, as seen through the example of the Athens Lunatic Asylum. Built in Southeast Ohio after the Civil War, the asylum embodied the nineteenth-century “gold standard” specifications of moral treatment. Stories of patients and their families, politicians, caregivers, and community illustrate how a village in the coalfields of the Hocking River Valley responded to a national impulse to provide compassionate care based on a curative landscape, exposure to the arts, outdoor exercise, useful occupation, and personal attention from a physician. Although ultimately doomed by overcrowding and overshadowed by the rise of new models of psychiatry, for twenty years the therapeutic community at Athens pursued moral treatment therapy with energy and optimism. Ziff’s fresh presentation of America’s nineteenth-century asylum movement shows how the Athens Lunatic Asylum accommodated political, economic, community, family, and individual needs and left an architectural legacy that has been uniquely renovated and repurposed. 

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At Home with Apartheid

The Hidden Landscapes of Domestic Service in Johannesburg

Rebecca Ginsburg

Despite their peaceful, bucolic appearance, the tree-lined streets of South African suburbia were no refuge from the racial tensions and indignities of apartheid’s most repressive years. In At Home with Apartheid, Rebecca Ginsburg provides an intimate examination of the cultural landscapes of Johannesburg’s middle- and upper-middle-class neighborhoods during the height of apartheid (c. 1960-1975) and incorporates recent scholarship on gender, the home, and family.

More subtly but no less significantly than factory floors, squatter camps, prisons, and courtrooms, the homes of white South Africans were sites of important contests between white privilege and black aspiration. Subtle negotiations within the domestic sphere between white, mostly female, householders and their black domestic workers, also primarily women, played out over and around this space. These seemingly mundane, private conflicts were part of larger contemporary struggles between whites and blacks over territory and power.

Ginsburg gives special attention to the distinct social and racial geographies produced by the workers’ detached living quarters, designed by builders and architects as landscape complements to the main houses. Ranch houses, Italianate villas, modernist cubes, and Victorian bungalows filled Johannesburg’s suburbs. What distinguished these neighborhoods from their precedents in the United States or the United Kingdom was the presence of the ubiquitous back rooms and of the African women who inhabited them in these otherwise exclusively white areas.

The author conducted more than seventy-five personal interviews for this book, an approach that sets it apart from other architectural histories. In addition to these oral accounts, Ginsburg draws from plans, drawings, and onsite analysis of the physical properties themselves. While the issues addressed span the disciplines of South African and architectural history, feminist studies, material culture studies, and psychology, the book’s strong narrative, powerful oral histories, and compelling subject matter bring the neighborhoods and residents it examines vividly to life.

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