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Chinese Architecture in an Age of Turmoi, 200-600 Cover

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Chinese Architecture in an Age of Turmoi, 200-600

Nancy S. Steinhardt

Between the fall of the Han dynasty in 220 CE and the year 600, more than thirty dynasties, kingdoms, and states rose and fell on the eastern side of the Asian continent. The founders and rulers of those polities represented the spectrum of peoples in North, East, and Central Asia. Nearly all of them built palaces, altars, temples, tombs, and cities, and almost without exception, the architecture was grounded in the building tradition of China. The physical remains are a handful of pagodas, dozens of cave-temples, thousands of tombs, small-scale evidence of architecture such as sarcophaguses, and countless representations of buildings in paint and relief sculpture. Together they narrate an expansive architectural history that offers the first in-depth study of the development, century-by-century, of Chinese architecture of third through the sixth centuries, plus a view of important buildings from the two hundred years before the third century and the resolution of architecture of this period in later construction. Illustrated with more than 475 color and black-and-white photographs, maps, and drawings, Chinese Architecture in an Age of Turmoil uses all available evidence—Chinese texts, secondary literature in six languages, excavation reports, and most important, physical remains—to present the architectural history of this tumultuous period in China’s history.

Churches Of Minnesota Cover

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Churches Of Minnesota

An Illustrated Guide

Alan K. Lathrop

Churches are among the most profound and long-lasting expressions of faith, reflecting the heritage, beliefs, and traditions of their congregations. Whether they are elaborate or austere, traditional or modern, they are places to visit and admire, whatever your creed. In Churches of Minnesota, Alan Lathrop profiles more than one hundred religious buildings in a valuable compendium made even richer by the photography of Bob Firth. More than 140 black-and-white and full-color images present a comprehensive view of the architectural styles that make up Minnesota’s religious and cultural heritage.

Lathrop embarked on a journey to explore the architectural histories of churches in every corner of Minnesota, and what he found was a panorama of designs steeped in the traditions of their communities. From the board and batten siding on the tiny St. Mark’s Episcopal Chapel in Annandale to the grand elegance of St. Paul’s cathedral, Lathrop discusses a variety of architectural styles in both urban and rural settings across the state. He reveals the intrinsic character of these buildings and uncovers the enchanting stories behind the lives of those connected to each church—the architects, the leaders, the parishioners—and the history that brought them to where they are today.

By enticing his readers to explore the pleasures of architecture, Lathrop has created a valuable resource not only for those with an interest in ecclesiastical design and tradition, but also for anyone who simply cherishes the beauty and character of Minnesota’s churches.

City Choreographer Cover

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City Choreographer

Lawrence Halprin in Urban Renewal America

Alison Bick Hirsch

One of the most prolific and influential landscape architects of the twentieth century, Lawrence Halprin (1916–2009) was best known for the FDR Memorial in Washington, D.C., and Sea Ranch, the iconic planned community in California. These projects, as well as vibrant public spaces throughout the country—from Ghirardelli Square and Market Street in San Francisco to Lovejoy Fountain Park in Portland and Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis—grew out of a participatory design process that was central to Halprin’s work and is proving ever more relevant to urban design today.

In City Choreographer, urban designer and historian Alison Bick Hirsch explains and interprets this creative process, called the RSVP Cycles, referring to the four components: resources, score, valuation, and performance. With access to a vast archive of drawings and documents, Hirsch provides the first close-up look at how Halprin changed our ideas about urban landscapes. As an urban pioneer, he found his frontier in the nation’s densely settled metropolitan areas during the 1960s. Blurring the line between observer and participant, he sought a way to bring openness to the rigidly controlled worlds of architectural modernism and urban renewal. With his wife, Anna, a renowned avant-garde dancer and choreographer, Halprin organized workshops involving artists, dancers, and interested citizens that produced “scores,” which then informed his designs.

City Choreographer situates Halprin within the larger social, artistic, and environmental ferment of the 1960s and 1970s. In doing so, it demonstrates his profound impact on the shape of landscape architecture and his work’s widening reach into urban and regional development and contemporary concerns of sustainability.

Column of Marcus Aurelius Cover

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Column of Marcus Aurelius

The Genesis and Meaning of a Roman Imperial Monument

Martin Beckmann

In THE COLUMN OF MARCUS AURELIUS, Beckmann offers a study of the form, content, and meaning of the Column and its sculpture. He also provides full documentation of the Column and its sculpture in the form of complete drawings of the frieze (by the author) and full photographic coverage (using the incomparable German photos of 1896, taken before the worst ravages of modern pollution). No modern drawing of the frieze exists anywhere in any form. The 1896 photographs are extremely rare today, and the author has secured permission to include some of these images in this book.

Commemorating and Forgetting Cover

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Commemorating and Forgetting

Challenges for the New South Africa

Martin J. Murray

When the past is painful, as riddled with violence and injustice as it is in postapartheid South Africa, remembrance presents a problem at once practical and ethical: how much of the past to preserve and recollect and how much to erase and forget if the new nation is to ever unify and move forward? The new South Africa’s confrontation of this dilemma is Martin J. Murray’s subject in Commemorating and Forgetting. More broadly, this book explores how collective memory works—how framing events, persons, and places worthy of recognition and honor entails a selective appropriation of the past, not a mastery of history.

How is the historical past made to appear in the present? In addressing these questions, Murray reveals how collective memory is stored and disseminated in architecture, statuary, monuments and memorials, literature, and art—“landscapes of remembrance” that selectively recall and even fabricate history in the service of nation-building. He examines such vehicles of memory in postapartheid South Africa and parses the stories they tell—stories by turn sanitized, distorted, embellished, and compressed. In this analysis, Commemorating and Forgetting marks a critical move toward recognizing how the legacies and impositions of white minority rule, far from being truly past, remain embedded in, intertwined with, and imprinted on the new nation’s here and now.

Commodification and Spectacle in Architecture Cover

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Commodification and Spectacle in Architecture

A Harvard Design Magazine Reader

William Saunders

More than ever, architectural design is seen as a means to promote commercial goals rather than as an end in itself. Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, for example, simply cannot be considered apart from its intended role as a catalyst for the economic revitalization of Bilbao and its ability to attract tourist dollars, regardless of its architectural merits. A built environment intended to seduce consumers is more likely to offer instant gratification than to invite independent thought and reflection. But how harmful, if at all, is this unprecedented commercialization of architecture? 

Framed with a provocative introduction by Kenneth Frampton, the contributions to Commodification and Spectacle in Architecture stake out a variety of positions in the debate over the extent to which it is possible—or desirable—to escape from, resist, or suggest plausible alternatives to the dominant culture of consumer capitalism. Rejecting any dreamy nostalgia for an idealized present or past in which design is completely divorced from commerce—and, in some cases, celebrating the pleasures of spectacle—the individual essays range from indictments of particular architects and critiques of the profession to broader concerns about what the phenomenon of commodification means for the practice of democracy and the health of society. 

Bringing together an impressive and varied group of critics and practitioners, Commodification and Spectacle in Architecture will help to sharpen the discussion of how design can respond to our hypercommodified culture. 

Contributors: Michael Benedikt, Luis Fernández-Galiano, Thomas Frank, Kevin Ervin Kelley, Daniel Naegele, Rick Poynor, Michael Sorkin, Wouter Vanstiphout. 

William S. Saunders is editor of Harvard Design Magazine and assistant dean for external relations at the Harvard Design School. He is the author of Modern Architecture: Photographs by Ezra Stoller

Kenneth Frampton is Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation and author of many books, including Labour, Work, and Architecture.

Community by Design Cover

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Community by Design

The Olmsted Firm and the Development of Brookline, Massachusetts

Keith N. Morgan, Elizabeth Hope Cushing, and Roger G. Reed

In 1883, Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. moved from New York City to Brookline, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb that annointed itself the “richest town in the world.” For the next half century, until his son Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. relocated to California in 1936, the Olmsted firm received over 150 local commissions, serving as the dominant force in the planned development of this community. From Fairsted, the Olmsteds’ Brookline home and office, the firm collaborated with an impressive galaxy of suburban neighbors who were among the regional and national leaders in the fields of architecture and horticulture, among them Henry Hobson Richardson and Charles Sprague Sargent. Through plans for boulevards and parkways, residential subdivisions, institutional commissions, and private gardens, the Olmsted firm carefully guided the development of the town, as they designed cities and suburbs across America. While Olmsted Sr. used landscape architecture as his vehicle for development, his son and namesake saw Brookline as grounds for experiment in the new profession of city and regional planning, a field that he was helping to define and lead. Little has been published on the importance of Brookline as a laboratory and model for the Olmsted firm’s work. This beautifully illustrated book provides important new perspective on the history of planning in the United States and illuminates an aspect of the Olmsted office that has not been well understood.

Conjuring the Real Cover

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Conjuring the Real

The Role of Architecture in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Fiction

Edited by Rumiko Handa and James Potter , Foreword by Iain Borden

In the Western world the period from the mid-eighteenth through the nineteenth century was a time of expanding historical consciousness, a period that saw the birth of modern historiography, a profusion of historical novels and paintings, and the widespread production of historical plays. Historical buildings, in themselves already of intense interest to people of the day, also found their way into the multiplying cultural forms as concrete presences anchoring a novelist’s, poet’s, painter’s, or, eventually, filmmaker’s vision of the past. In recent years a number of blockbuster films have used historically significant buildings as filming locations because buildings can concretely bring a former era or fictional world closer to contemporary viewers. Conjuring the Real traces the genealogy of this representational role of architecture, going back through the history of film and then further in literature, art, and theater. The contributors examine the ways in which authors, artists, and stage managers used complex depictions of buildings to feed and shape the audience’s historical imagination. How can we understand the significance of architecture, not through its original design and construction but through the ways in which the public experiences, perceives, and understands it? The contributors pursue this question through the ideas of secondary portrayers of historical buildings, such as writers and artists, and then through the responses of those who read and view these creations.

Constitutional Modernism Cover

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Constitutional Modernism

Architecture and Civil Society in Cuba, 1933-1959

Timothy Hyde

How does architecture make its appearance in civil society? Constitutional Modernism pursues this challenging question by exploring architecture, planning, and law as cultural forces. Analyzing the complex entanglements between these disciplines in the Cuban Republic, Timothy Hyde reveals how architects joined with other professionals and intellectuals in efforts to establish a stable civil society, from the promulgation of a new Cuban Constitution in 1940 up until the Cuban Revolution.

By arguing that constitutionalism was elaborated through architectural principles and practices as well as legal ones, Hyde offers a new view of architectural modernism as a political and social instrument. He contends that constitutionalism produced a decisive confluence of law and architecture, a means for planning the future of Cuba. The importance of architecture in this process is laid bare by Hyde’s thorough scrutiny of a variety of textual, graphical, and physical artifacts. He examines constitutional articles, exhibitions, interviews, master plans, monuments, and other primary materials as acts of design.

Read from the perspective of architectural history, Constitutional Modernism demonstrates how the modernist concepts that developed as an international discourse before the Second World War evolved through interactions with other disciplines into a civil urbanism in Cuba. And read from the perspective of Cuban history, the book explains how not only material products such as buildings and monuments but also the immaterial methods of architecture as a cultural practice produced ideas that had consequential effects on the political circumstances of the nation.

Corn Palaces and Butter Queens Cover

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Corn Palaces and Butter Queens

A History of Crop Art and Dairy Sculpture

Pamela H. Simpson

Teddy Roosevelt’s head sculpted from butter. The Liberty Bell replicated in oranges. The Sioux City Corn Palace of 1891 encased with corn, grains, and grasses and stretching for two city blocks—with a trolley line running down its center. Between 1870 and 1930, from county and state fairs to the world’s fairs, large exhibition buildings were covered with grains, fruits, and vegetables to declare in no uncertain terms the rich agricultural abundance of the United States. At the same fairs—but on a more intimate level—ice-cooled cases enticed fairgoers to marvel at an array of butter sculpture models including cows, buildings, flowers, and politicians, all proclaiming the rich bounty and unending promise held by the region.

Often viewed as mere humorous novelties—fun and folksy, but not worthy of serious consideration—these lively forms of American art are described by Pamela H. Simpson in a fascinating and comprehensive history. From the pioneering cereal architecture of Henry Worrall at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition to the vast corn palaces displayed in Sioux City, Iowa, and elsewhere between 1877 and 1891, Simpson brings to life these dazzling large-scale displays in turn-of-the-century American fairs and festivals. She guides readers through the fascinating forms of crop art and butter sculpture, as they grew from state and regional fairs to a significant place at the major international exhibitions. The Minnesota State Fair’s Princess Kay of the Milky Way contest, Lillian Colton’s famed pictorial seed art, and the work of Iowa’s “butter cow lady,” Norma “Duffy” Lyon, are modern versions of this tradition.

Beautifully illustrated with a bounty of never-before-seen archival images, Corn Palaces and Butter Queens is an accessible history of one of America’s most unique and beguiling Midwestern art forms—an amusing and peculiar phenomenon that profoundly affected the way Americans saw themselves and their country’s potential during times of drought and great depression.

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