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Architecture as Revolution Cover

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Architecture as Revolution

Episodes in the History of Modern Mexico

By Luis E. Carranza

The period following the Mexican Revolution was characterized by unprecedented artistic experimentation. Seeking to express the revolution's heterogeneous social and political aims, which were in a continuous state of redefinition, architects, artists, writers, and intellectuals created distinctive, sometimes idiosyncratic theories and works. Luis E. Carranza examines the interdependence of modern architecture in Mexico and the pressing sociopolitical and ideological issues of this period, as well as the interchanges between post-revolutionary architects and the literary, philosophical, and artistic avant-gardes. Organizing his book around chronological case studies that show how architectural theory and production reflected various understandings of the revolution's significance, Carranza focuses on architecture and its relationship to the philosophical and pedagogic requirements of the muralist movement, the development of the avant-garde in Mexico and its notions of the Mexican city, the use of pre-Hispanic architectural forms to address indigenous peoples, the development of a socially oriented architectural functionalism, and the monumentalization of the revolution itself. In addition, the book also covers important architects and artists who have been marginally discussed within architectural and art historiography. Richly illustrated, Architecture as Revolution is one of the first books in English to present a social and cultural history of early twentieth-century Mexican architecture.

Architecture iconique Cover

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Architecture iconique

Les leçons de Toronto

Edited by Guillaume Éthier

La recette de l’architecture iconique peut se décrire assez simplement. Il s’agit d’ériger un édifice culturel spectaculaire afin qu’une ville se transforme sous cette impulsion nouvelle. De nombreuses villes occidentales ont adopté cette stratégie de régénération urbaine au vu de l’expérience de Bilbao, une ville d’Espagne qui a engrangé des retombées économiques intéressantes à la suite de la construction d’un musée par l’architecte Frank O. Gehry. Mais au-delà de sa nature stratégique, l’architecture iconique comporte un sens connoté profondément énigmatique. Si les édifices iconiques sont emblématiques de la production architecturale contemporaine, ils doivent bien dire quelque chose sur la société dans laquelle ils sont érigés. Mais quoi ? L’auteur de cet ouvrage a vu émerger un fait singulier dans l’étude de ces édifices iconiques : tous présentent une rupture importante avec leur contexte d’implantation. Il les appréhende ainsi comme des objets dont la logique culturelle consiste à se distinguer de leur milieu (forme iconique) pour ensuite rétroagir sur lui de manière à le transformer (fonction iconique). Il prend pour point de mire quatre édifices de Toronto, l’Ontario College of Arts and Design, le Royal Ontario Museum, l’Art Gallery of Ontario et le Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, la ville ayant connu une véritable renaissance culturelle dans la décennie 2000, alors que pas moins de onze institutions culturelles majeures se sont refait une beauté. Ces leçons torontoises permettent d’entrevoir comment est pensé le rapport au contexte dans la conception des icônes, et comment, de manière générale, ce processus relève d’une tentative d’organisation de sens dans une société en crise de représentation.

The Architecture of Life and Death in Borneo Cover

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The Architecture of Life and Death in Borneo

Robert L. Winzeler

Among Borneo's spectacular indigenous buildings, the longhouses, mortuary monuments, and other architectural forms of the interior are some of the most outstanding, and much of the renewed interest in indigenous architecture has focused on the rapidly vanishing or now extinct traditional forms of a small number of surviving examples or recreations. Drawing on the author's extensive research and travel in Borneo, this impressive and original study offers a more comprehensive account of this architecture than any previous work. Organized into two sections, the book first documents and explains traditional built forms in terms of tools and materials, the environmental context, village organization, and social arrangements. This section includes a full discussion of architecture designs and symbolism, especially those dealing with life and death. The author next looks at the destruction or transformation of traditional architecture based on a number of interrelated developments, including religious conversion, Western influence, internal migration, and logging, as well as governmental attitudes and efforts. The book concludes with a discussion of recent efforts to document and preserve traditional structures and turn indigenous as well as colonial architecture into history and heritage.

The Architecture of Madness Cover

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The Architecture of Madness

Insane Asylums in the United States

Carla Yanni

Elaborately conceived, grandly constructed insane asylums—ranging in appearance from classical temples to Gothic castles—were once a common sight looming on the outskirts of American towns and cities. Many of these buildings were razed long ago, and those that remain stand as grim reminders of an often cruel system. For much of the nineteenth century, however, these asylums epitomized the widely held belief among doctors and social reformers that insanity was a curable disease and that environment—architecture in particular—was the most effective means of treatment.


In The Architecture of Madness, Carla Yanni tells a compelling story of therapeutic design, from America’s earliest purpose—built institutions for the insane to the asylum construction frenzy in the second half of the century. At the center of Yanni’s inquiry is Dr. Thomas Kirkbride, a Pennsylvania-born Quaker, who in the 1840s devised a novel way to house the mentally diseased that emphasized segregation by severity of illness, ease of treatment and surveillance, and ventilation. After the Civil War, American architects designed Kirkbride-plan hospitals across the country.


Before the end of the century, interest in the Kirkbride plan had begun to decline. Many of the asylums had deteriorated into human warehouses, strengthening arguments against the monolithic structures advocated by Kirkbride. At the same time, the medical profession began embracing a more neurological approach to mental disease that considered architecture as largely irrelevant to its treatment.


Generously illustrated, The Architecture of Madness is a fresh and original look at the American medical establishment’s century-long preoccupation with therapeutic architecture as a way to cure social ills.


Carla Yanni is associate professor of art history at Rutgers University and the author of Nature’s Museums: Victorian Science and the Architecture of Display.

Architecture of Middle Georgia Cover

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Architecture of Middle Georgia

The Oconee Area

John Linley

The middle Georgia area—including Baldwin, Hancock, Jasper, Johnson, Putnam, Washington, and Wilkinson Counties—is a vast living museum of classic southern architecture. First published in 1972, this sweeping survey remains one of the best books on the topic, covering primitive, Gothic, Greek Revival, and Victorian styles, and beyond.

John Linley’s descriptions of the diverse structures of the Oconee area are illustrated with more than three hundred photographs and representative floor plans. Fine architecture, as Linley shows, is greatly influenced by climate and geography, by the natural resources of the region, and by history, custom, and tradition. He considers these major factors along with such individual features as green spaces—gardens and parks—and town and city plans, viewing the architecture in relation to the whole environment.

The architecture is discussed in chronological order by style and is related to the surrounding country, with each of the seven Oconee area counties presented historically and in terms of its own resources. Touring maps of the counties and the principal towns locate all structures and points of interest mentioned in the text.

Architecture of Minoan Crete Cover

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Architecture of Minoan Crete

Constructing Identity in the Aegean Bronze Age

By John C. McEnroe

Ever since Sir Arthur Evans first excavated at the site of the Palace at Knossos in the early twentieth century, scholars and visitors have been drawn to the architecture of Bronze Age Crete. Much of the attraction comes from the geographical and historical uniqueness of the island. Equidistant from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Minoan Crete is on the shifting conceptual border between East and West, and chronologically suspended between history and prehistory. In this culturally dynamic context, architecture provided more than physical shelter; it embodied meaning. Architecture was a medium through which Minoans constructed their notions of social, ethnic, and historical identity: the buildings tell us about how the Minoans saw themselves, and how they wanted to be seen by others. Architecture of Minoan Crete is the first comprehensive study of the entire range of Minoan architecture—including houses, palaces, tombs, and cities—from 7000 BC to 1100 BC. John C. McEnroe synthesizes the vast literature on Minoan Crete, with particular emphasis on the important discoveries of the past twenty years, to provide an up-to-date account of Minoan architecture. His accessible writing style, skillful architectural drawings of houses and palaces, site maps, and color photographs make this book inviting for general readers and visitors to Crete, as well as scholars.

Architecture of Thought Cover

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Architecture of Thought

Andrzej Piotrowski

In Architecture of Thought, Andrzej Piotrowski maps and conceptually explores material practices of the past, showing how physical artifacts and visual environments manifest culturally rooted modes of thought and participate in the most nuanced processes of negotiations and ideological exchanges. According to Piotrowski, material structures enable people to think in new ways—distill emerging or alter existing worldviews—before words can stabilize them as conventional narratives.

Combining design thinking with academic methods of inquiry, Piotrowski traces ancient to modern architectural histories and—through critical readings of select buildings—examines the role of nonverbal exchanges in the development of an accumulated Western identity. Unlike studies that organize around the traditional scheme of periodization in history, Architecture of Thought uses an interdisciplinary approach to investigate a wide spectrum of cultural productions in different times and places.
Operating from the assertion that buildings are the most permanent record of unself-conscious beliefs and attitudes, it discusses Byzantium and the West after iconoclasm, the conquest and colonization of Mesoamerica, the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Eastern Europe, the rise of the culture of consumerism in Victorian England, and High Modernism as its consequence. By moving beyond the assumption that historical structures reflect transcendental values and deterministic laws of physics or economy or have been shaped by self-conscious individuals, Piotrowski challenges the traditional knowledge of what architecture is and can be.

The Architecture of William Nichols Cover

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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.

Architecture, Politics, and Identity in Divided Berlin Cover

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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.

Architecture's Historical Turn Cover

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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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