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The Archaeology of Town Creek

Written by Edmond A. Boudreaux

The sequence of change for public architecture during the Mississippian period may reflect a centralization of political power through time. In the research presented here, some of the community-level assumptions attributed to the appearance of Mississippian mounds are tested against the archaeological record of the Town Creek site—the remains of a town located on the northeastern edge of the Mississippian culture area. In particular, the archaeological record of Town Creek is used to test the idea that the appearance of Mississippian platform mounds was accompanied by the centralization of political authority in the hands of a powerful chief.
A compelling argument has been made that mounds were the seats and symbols of political power within Mississippian societies. While platform mounds have been a part of Southeastern Native American communities since at least 100 B.C., around A.D. 400 leaders in some communities began to place their houses on top of earthen mounds—an act that has been interpreted as an attempt to legitimize personal authority by a community leader through the appropriation of a powerful, traditional, community-oriented symbol. Platform mounds at a number of sites were preceded by a distinctive type of building called an earthlodge—a structure with earth-embanked walls and an entrance indicated by short, parallel wall trenches. Earthlodges in the Southeast have been interpreted as places where a council of community leaders came together to make decisions based on consensus. In contrast to the more inclusive function proposed for premound earthlodges, it has been argued that access to the buildings on top of Mississippian platform mounds was limited to a much smaller subset of the community. If this was the case and if ground-level earthlodges were more accessible than mound-summit structures, then access to leaders and leadership may have decreased through time.
Excavations at the Town Creek archaeological site have shown that the public architecture there follows the earthlodge-to-platform mound sequence that is well known across the South Appalachian subarea of the Mississippian world. The clear changes in public architecture coupled with the extensive exposure of the site's domestic sphere make Town Creek an excellent case study for examining the relationship among changes in public architecture and leadership within a Mississippian society.

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Architect en ambtenaar

De West-Vlaamse provinciaal architecten en de 19e-eeuwse architectuurpraktijk

Jeroen Cornilly

Het ambt van provinciaal architect in de 19e-eeuwse Belgische architectuur. De provinciaal architecten wisten met hun ontwerpen voor plattelandskerken, pastorieën, lagere scholen en andere openbare gebouwen sterk hun stempel op de 19e-eeuwse Belgische architectuur te drukken. Dat zij tezelfdertijd ambtenaar en architect waren, had een belangrijke invloed op hun ontwerpen en sociale positie. Aan de hand van een ‘biografie’ van het ambt in de provincie West-Vlaanderen legt de auteur vakkundig de relaties bloot tussen overheid, administratie en architectuur. Daarbij krijgt de lezer inzicht in de administratieve context waarbinnen de provinciaal architecten actief waren, en ook een levendig beeld van hun dagelijkse ontwerppraktijk en verankering in het bredere maatschappelijke veld. Dankzij deze veelzijdige benadering van het ambt van provinciaal architect biedt Architect en ambtenaar een tegengewicht voor meer traditionele overzichten van de architectuurgeschiedenis die sterk uitgaan van een stilistische ontwikkeling en uitzonderlijke ‘kunstenaar-architecten’.

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Architects' Gravesites

A Serendipitous Guide

Henry H Kuehn

All working architects leave behind a string of monuments to themselves in the form of buildings they have designed. But what about the final spaces that architects themselves will occupy? Are architects' gravesites more monumental -- more architectural -- than others? This unique book provides an illustrated guide to more than 200 gravesites of famous architects, almost all of them in the United States. Led by our intrepid author, Henry Kuehn, we find that most graves of architects are not monumental but rather modest, that many architects did not design their final resting places, and that a surprising number had their ashes scattered.Architects' Gravesites offers an alphabetical listing, from Alvar Aalto and Dankmar Adler (Louis Sullivan's partner) to Frank Lloyd Wright and Minoru Yamasaki (designer of the Word Trade Center's twin towers). Each entry includes a brief note on the architect's career and a color photograph of the site. For example, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is buried in Chicago under a simple granite slab designed by his architect grandson; Louise Bethune, the first American woman to become a professional architect, is buried under a headstone inscribed only with her husband's name (a plaque honoring her achievements was installed later); Philip Johnson's ashes were spread in his rose garden, with no marker, across the street from his famous Glass House; and the grave of Pierre L'Enfant in Arlington National Cemetery offers a breathtaking view of Washington, D.C., the city he designed. Architects' Gravesites is an architectural guide like no other, revealing as much about mortality as about monumentality.

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Architects of Buddhist Leisure

Socially Disengaged Buddhism in Asia’s Museums, Monuments, and Amusement Parks

Justin Thomas McDaniel

Buddhism, often described as an austere religion that condemns desire, promotes denial, and idealizes the contemplative life, actually has a thriving leisure culture in Asia. Creative religious improvisations designed by Buddhists have been produced both within and outside of monasteries across the region—in Nepal, Japan, Korea, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. Justin McDaniel looks at the growth of Asia’s culture of Buddhist leisure—what he calls “socially disengaged Buddhism”—through a study of architects responsible for monuments, museums, amusement parks, and other sites. In conversation with noted theorists of material and visual culture and anthropologists of art, McDaniel argues that such sites highlight the importance of public, leisure, and spectacle culture from a Buddhist perspective and illustrate how “secular” and “religious,” “public” and “private,” are in many ways false binaries. Moreover, places like Lek Wiriyaphan’s Sanctuary of Truth in Thailand, Suối Tiên Amusement Park in Saigon, and Shi Fa Zhao’s multilevel museum/ritual space/tea house in Singapore reflect a growing Buddhist ecumenism built through repetitive affective encounters instead of didactic sermons and sectarian developments. They present different Buddhist traditions, images, and aesthetic expressions as united but not uniform, collected but not concise: Together they form a gathering, not a movement.
Despite the ingenuity of lay and ordained visionaries like Wiriyaphan and Zhao and their colleagues Kenzo Tange, Chan-soo Park, Tadao Ando, and others discussed in this book, creators of Buddhist leisure sites often face problems along the way. Parks and museums are complex adaptive systems that are changed and influenced by budgets, available materials, local and global economic conditions, and visitors. Architects must often compromise and settle at local optima, and no matter what they intend, their buildings will develop lives of their own. Provocative and theoretically innovative, Architects of Buddhist Leisure asks readers to question the very category of “religious” architecture. It challenges current methodological approaches in religious studies and speaks to a broad audience interested in modern art, architecture, religion, anthropology, and material culture.

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Architects of Little Rock


Charles Witsell Jr.

Architects of Little Rock provides biographical and historical sketches of the architects working in Little Rock from 1830 to 1950. Thirty-five architects are profiled, including George R. Mann, Thomas Harding, Charles L. Thompson, Max. F. Mayer, Edwin B. Cromwell, George H. Wittenberg, Lawson L. Delony, and others. Readers will learn who these influential professionals were, where they came from, where they were educated, how they lived, what their families were like, how they participated in the life of the city, and what their buildings contributed to the city. Famous buildings, including the Historic Arkansas Museum, the Old State House, the Arkansas State Capitol, St. Andrews Cathedral, Little Rock City Hall, the Pulaski County Court House, Little Rock Central High School, and Robinson Auditorium are showcased, bringing attention to and encouraging appreciation of the city’s historic buildings.

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Architectural Agents

The Delusional, Abusive, Addictive Lives of Buildings

Annabel Jane Wharton

Buildings are not benign; rather, they commonly manipulate and abuse their human users. Architectural Agents makes the case that buildings act in the world independently of their makers, patrons, owners, or occupants. And often they act badly.

Treating buildings as bodies, Annabel Jane Wharton writes biographies of symptomatic structures in order to diagnose their pathologies. The violence of some sites is rooted in historical trauma; the unhealthy spatial behaviors of other spaces stem from political and economic ruthlessness. The places examined range from the Cloisters Museum in New York City and the Palestine Archaeological Museum (renamed the Rockefeller Museum) in Jerusalem to the grand Hostal de los Reyes Católicos in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and Las Vegas casino resorts. Recognizing that a study of pathological spaces would not be complete without an investigation of digital structures, Wharton integrates into her argument an original consideration of the powerful architectures of video games and immersive worlds. Her work mounts a persuasive critique of popular phenomenological treatments of architecture.

Architectural Agents advances an alternative theorization of buildings’ agency—one rooted in buildings’ essential materiality and historical formation—as the basis for her significant intervention in current debates over the boundaries separating humans, animals, and machines.

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Architectural Body

Written by Shusaku Arakawa and Madeline Gins

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.

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Architectural Project

By Alfonso Corona-Martínez; Edited by Malcolm Quantrill; Foreword by Marco Frascari

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.

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Architecture and Landscape of the Pennsylvania Germans, 1720-1920

Edited by Sally McMurry and Nancy Van Dolsen

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.

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Architecture and Modern Literature

David Anton Spurr

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.

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