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Building Zion

The Material World of Mormon Settlement

Thomas Carter

For Mormons, the second coming of Christ and the subsequent millennium will arrive only when the earth has been perfected through the building of a model world called Zion. Throughout the nineteenth century the Latter-day Saints followed this vision, creating a material world—first in Missouri and Illinois but most importantly and permanently in Utah and surrounding western states—that serves as a foundation for understanding their concept of an ideal universe.

Building Zion is, in essence, the biography of the cultural landscape of western LDS settlements. Through the physical forms Zion assumed, it tells the life story of a set of Mormon communities—how they were conceived and constructed and inhabited—and what this material manifestation of Zion reveals about what it meant to be a Mormon in the nineteenth century. Focusing on a network of small towns in Utah, Thomas Carter explores the key elements of the Mormon cultural landscape: town planning, residences (including polygamous houses), stores and other nonreligious buildings, meetinghouses, and temples. Zion, we see, is an evolving entity, reflecting the church’s shift from group-oriented millenarian goals to more individualized endeavors centered on personal salvation and exaltation.

Building Zion demonstrates how this cultural landscape draws its singularity from a unique blending of sacred and secular spaces, a division that characterized the Mormon material world in the late nineteenth century and continues to do so today.

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Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum

Vol. 14 (2007) through current issue

Buildings & Landscapes examines the built world-houses and cities, farmsteads and alleys—churches and courthouses, subdivisions and shopping malls—that make up the spaces that most people experience every day. Strongly based on fieldwork and archival work that views buildings as windows into human life and culture, articles are written by historians, preservationists, architects, cultural and urban geographers, cultural anthropologists, and others whose work involves the documentation, analysis and interpretation of the built world. Formerly titled Perspectives in Vernacular Architecture, Buildings & Landscapes is presently an annual publication that will begin publishing two issues a year beginning in 2009.

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California Mission Landscapes

Race, Memory, and the Politics of Heritage

Elizabeth Kryder-Reid

“Nothing defines California and our nation’s heritage as significantly or emotionally,” says the California Mission Foundation, “as do the 21 missions that were founded along the coast from San Diego to Sonoma.” Indeed, the missions collectively represent the state’s most iconic tourist destinations and are touchstones for interpreting its history. Elementary school students today still make model missions evoking the romanticized versions of the 1930s. Does it occur to them or to the tourists that the missions have a dark history?

California Mission Landscapes is an unprecedented and fascinating history of California mission landscapes from colonial outposts to their reinvention as heritage sites through the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Illuminating the deeply political nature of this transformation, Elizabeth Kryder-Reid argues that the designed landscapes have long recast the missions from sites of colonial oppression to aestheticized and nostalgia-drenched monasteries. She investigates how such landscapes have been appropriated in social and political power struggles, particularly in the perpetuation of social inequalities across boundaries of gender, race, class, ethnicity, and religion. California Mission Landscapes demonstrates how the gardens planted in mission courtyards over the last 150 years are not merely anachronistic but have become potent ideological spaces. The transformation of these sites of conquest into physical and metaphoric gardens has reinforced the marginalization of indigenous agency and diminished the contemporary consequences of colonialism. And yet, importantly, this book also points to the potential to create very different visitor experiences than these landscapes currently do.

Despite the wealth of scholarship on California history, until now no book has explored the mission landscapes as an avenue into understanding the politics of the past, tracing the continuum between the Spanish colonial period, emerging American nationalism, and the contemporary heritage industry.

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The Carbon Efficient City

Building Blocks to Cool Our Planet

A-P Hurd

The Carbon Efficient City shows how regional economies can be aligned with practices that drive carbon efficiency. It details ten strategies for reducing carbon emissions in our cities: standardized measurement, frameworks that support innovation, regulatory alignment, reducing consumption, reuse and restoration, focus on neighborhoods, providing spaces for nature, use of on-site life cycles for water and energy, coordination of regional transportation, and emphasis on solutions that delight people.

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Change Over Time

Vol. 1 (2011) through current issue

Change Over Time is a new, semiannual journal focused on publishing original, peer-reviewed research papers and review articles on the history, theory, and praxis of conservation and the built environment. Each issue is dedicated to a particular theme as a method to promote critical discourse on contemporary conservation issues from multiple perspectives both within the field and across disciplines. Themes will be examined at all scales, from the global and regional to the microscopic and material.

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Chanticleer

A Pleasure Garden

By Adrian Higgins. Photographs by Rob Cardillo

Chanticleer, a forty-eight-acre garden on Philadelphia's historic Main Line, is many things simultaneously: a lush display of verdant intensity and variety, an irreverent and informal setting for inventive plant combinations, a homage to the native trees and horticultural heritage of the mid-Atlantic, a testament to one man's devotion to his family's estate and legacy, and a good spot for a stroll and picnic amid the blooms. In Chanticleer: A Pleasure Garden, Adrian Higgins and photographer Rob Cardillo chronicle the garden's many charms over the course of two growing cycles.

Built on the grounds of the Rosengarten estate in Wayne, Pennsylvania, Chanticleer retains a domestic scale, resulting in an intimate, welcoming atmosphere. The structure of the estate has been thoughtfully incorporated into the garden's overall design, such that small gardens created in the footprint of the old tennis court and on the foundation of one of the family homes share space with more traditional landscapes woven around streams and an orchard.

Through conversations and rambles with Chanticleer's team of gardeners and artisans, Higgins follows the garden's development and reinvention as it changes from season to season, rejoicing in the hundred thousand daffodils blooming on the Orchard Lawn in spring and marveling at the Serpentine's late summer crop of cotton, planted as a reminder of Pennsylvania's agrarian past. Cardillo's photographs reveal further nuances in Chanticleer's landscape: a rare and venerable black walnut tree near the entrance, pairs of gaily painted chairs along the paths, a backlit arbor draped in mounds of fragrant wisteria. Chanticleer fuses a strenuous devotion to the beauty and health of its plantings with a constant dedication to the mutability and natural energy of a living space. And within the garden, Higgins notes, there is a thread of perfection entwined with whimsy and continuous renewal.

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Characteristically American

Memorial Architecture, National Identity, and the Egyptian Revival

By Joy M. Giguere

Far more than a study of Egyptian revivalism, this book examines the Egyptian style of commemoration from the rural cemetery to national obelisks to the Sphinx at Mount Auburn Cemetery. Giguere argues that Americans adopted Egyptian forms of commemoration as readily as other neoclassical styles such as Greek revivalism, noting that the American landscape is littered with monuments that define the Egyptian style’s importance to American national identity. Of particular interest is perhaps America’s greatest commemorative obelisk: the Washington Monument. Standing at 555 feet high and constructed entirely of stone—making it the tallest obelisk in the world—the Washington Monument represents the pinnacle of Egyptian architecture’s influence on America’s desire to memorialize its national heroes by employing monumental forms associated with solidity and timelessness. Construction on the monument began in 1848, but controversy over its design, which at one point included a Greek colonnade surrounding the obelisk, and the American Civil War halted construction until 1877. Interestingly, Americans saw the completion of the Washington Monument after the Civil War as a mending of the nation itself, melding Egyptian commemoration with the reconstruction of America. As the twentieth century saw the rise of additional commemorative obelisks, the Egyptian Revival became ensconced in American national identity. Egyptian-style architecture has been used as a form of commemoration in memorials for World War I and II, the civil rights movement, and even as recently as the 9/11 remembrances. Giguere places the Egyptian style in a historical context that demonstrates how Americans actively sought to forge a national identity reminiscent of Egyptian culture that has endured to the present day.

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Chicago River Bridges

Patrick T. McBriarty

Chicago River Bridges presents the untold history and development of Chicago's iconic bridges, from the first wood footbridge built by a tavern owner in 1832 to the fantastic marvels of steel, concrete, and machinery of today. It is the story of Chicago as seen through its bridges, for it has been the bridges that proved critical in connecting and reconnecting the people, industry, and neighborhoods of a city that is constantly remaking itself. In this book, author Patrick T. McBriarty shows how generations of Chicagoans built (and rebuilt) the thriving city trisected by the Chicago River and linked by its many crossings.This comprehensive guidebook chronicles more than 175 bridges spanning 55 locations along the Main Channel, South Branch, and North Branch of the Chicago River. With new full-color photography of existing bridges and more than one hundred black and white images of bridges past, the book unearths the rich history of Chicago's downtown bridges from the Michigan Avenue Bridge to the often forgotten bridges that once connected thoroughfares such as Rush, Erie, Taylor, and Polk Streets.Throughout, McBriarty delivers new research into the bridges' architectural designs, engineering innovations, and their impact on Chicagoans' daily lives, explaining how the dominance of the "Chicago-style" bascule drawbridge influenced the style and mechanics of bridges worldwide. A confluence of Chicago history, urban design, and engineering lore, Chicago River Bridges illustrates Chicago's significant contribution to drawbridge innovation and the city's emergence as the drawbridge capital of the world.

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Chicago's White City of 1893

David F. Burg

In 1893, the year that marked the four hundredth anniversary of the landing of Columbus in the New World, Chicago was host to an exposition to mark the occasion. Although the World's Columbian Exposition was the fifteenth world's fair, it was of vastly greater scope than any of its predecessors. Chicago created a veritable new city. It was not only larger than any previous exposition but also more elaborately designed, more precisely laid out, more fully realized, and more prophetic. It was the first exposition truly to solicit the participation of the entire world.

In this study of the White City, David F. Burg shows America at a crossroads in its development. It was in the process of moving from a largely agricultural society to a predominately urban and industrial one. The exposition was an index of American values, achievements, and expectation in this era of profound and complex change. The exposition was an achievement of cooperative endeavor and expertise. It demonstrated that both artistic capacity and technology were available to transform, in agreeable combination, burgeoning industrial cities into well-designed centers of business, culture, and community.

Burg places his discussion in the context of the United States and Chicago during the early 1890s. Besides dealing with the multifaceted fair itself -- its architecture, artworks, music, technological achievements -- he discusses the congresses that were held on a variety of subjects, two of the most significant being the Congresses of Women and the World's Parliament of Religions.

In the exposition's theme was the potential of fashioning the Kingdom of God on earth in contrast to the chaotic, dirty, industrial cities of the time. Burg finds in the exposition a significant legacy to architecture, city planning, and civic organization. Its most promising aftereffect occurred in the City Beautiful movement; its influence extended also to such ordinary concerns as well-lighted streets, efficient waste disposal, and honest government.

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