Modern Architecture and Other Essays

Overview

Vincent Scully has shaped not only how we view the evolution of architecture in the twentieth century but also the course of that evolution itself. Combining the modes of historian and critic in unique and compelling ways--with an audience that reaches from students and scholars to professional architects and ardent amateurs--Scully has profoundly influenced the way architecture is thought about and made.

This extensively illustrated and elegantly designed volume distills ...

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Overview

Vincent Scully has shaped not only how we view the evolution of architecture in the twentieth century but also the course of that evolution itself. Combining the modes of historian and critic in unique and compelling ways--with an audience that reaches from students and scholars to professional architects and ardent amateurs--Scully has profoundly influenced the way architecture is thought about and made.

This extensively illustrated and elegantly designed volume distills Scully's incalculable contribution. Neil Levine, a former student of Scully's, selects twenty essays that reveal the breadth and depth of Scully's work from the 1950s through the 1990s. The pieces are included for their singular contribution to our understanding of modern architecture as well as their relative unavailability to current readers. Levine offers a perceptive overview of Scully's distinguished career and introduces each essay, skillfully setting the scholarly and cultural scene. The selections address almost all of modern architecture's major themes and together go a long way toward defining what constitutes the contemporary experience of architecture and urbanism. Each is characteristically Scully--provocative, yet precise in detail and observation, written with passionate clarity. They document Scully's seminal views on the relationship between the natural and the built environment and trace his progressively intense concern with the fabric of the street and of our communities. The essays also highlight Scully's engagement with the careers of so many of the twentieth century's most significant architects, from Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Kahn to Robert Venturi.

In the tradition of great intellectual biographies, this finely made book chronicles our most influential architectural historian and critic. It is a gift to architecture and its history.

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Editorial Reviews

The Nation - Thomas Bender
Scully . . . may find a place among the gallery of distinguished American critics . . . for his historically grounded but engaged architectural criticism. That possibility is enhanced by the well-chosen essays in this volume. Not only did Neil Levine make an excellent selection, he also provided a brief but illuminating biographical essay tracing Scully's career. Better yet, the headnotes he has written for each of Scully's essays are themselves gemlike mini-essays.
The Art Book - Victoria Keller
Vincent Scully is surely one of the most influential architectural historians and critics of the twentieth century. . . . None of the essays included here are available in Scully's (more than 15) published books. Interestingly, I think the selection will work well both for readers familiar with Scully and his work, as well as for those to whom his writing will be new territory. . . . The very best thing about this book is the wonderful quality of Scully's writing itself—clear, learned and witty.
ArtNews - Eve M. Kahn
Many of the texts, which span the years 1954 to 1999, were previously published only in magazines and have thus effectively been out of print. They cover the 20th century's mainstream trends, from the birth pangs of Frank Llyod Wright's Prairie Style to the death throes of postmodernism. All are fiercely opinionated.
Architectural Review - Jeremy Melvin
Covering diverse themes from Classicism to Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright to suburbia, each essay is telling in its own right, But whatever the ostensible theme, almost every one charts a growing awareness of Modernism's complex roots and relationships to tradition.
Architectural Record - Richard Guy Wilson
[These essays] provide wide-ranging insights into the architectural thought of the past half-century by a central figure.
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians - Michael Lewis
[An] overdue and welcome anthology. Scully owes his reputation to an authorial voice that is as arresting in the classroom as the printed page. In lecture, it is the elegant literary and formal precision that startles; on the printed page, the intimate spoken quality.
Art in America - Tom McDonough
Reading [this book], one sees quickly why Vincent Scully (now emeritus) was such a popular lecturer, a charismatic professor whose influence extended broadly throughout the architectural profession and the academy. . . . Scully's writing bears comparison with [the] elevation of the esthetic to an almost religious level, and his particular approach to the architectural object—which he regards ideally both as internally coherent and as somehow 'corresponding' with reality itself—is very much in keeping with the New Criticism.
From the Publisher

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2003

"Scully . . . may find a place among the gallery of distinguished American critics . . . for his historically grounded but engaged architectural criticism. That possibility is enhanced by the well-chosen essays in this volume. Not only did Neil Levine make an excellent selection, he also provided a brief but illuminating biographical essay tracing Scully's career. Better yet, the headnotes he has written for each of Scully's essays are themselves gemlike mini-essays."--Thomas Bender, The Nation

"Vincent Scully is surely one of the most influential architectural historians and critics of the twentieth century. . . . None of the essays included here are available in Scully's (more than 15) published books. Interestingly, I think the selection will work well both for readers familiar with Scully and his work, as well as for those to whom his writing will be new territory. . . . The very best thing about this book is the wonderful quality of Scully's writing itself--clear, learned and witty."--Victoria Keller, The Art Book

"Many of the texts, which span the years 1954 to 1999, were previously published only in magazines and have thus effectively been out of print. They cover the 20th century's mainstream trends, from the birth pangs of Frank Llyod Wright's Prairie Style to the death throes of postmodernism. All are fiercely opinionated."--Eve M. Kahn, ArtNews

"Scully ranks among the most influential architectural historians of the 20th century. . . . [T]his anthology is a wonderful source for anyone with a keen interest in architecture. No one living has written on the subject in a more eloquent and compelling way."--Choice

"Covering diverse themes from Classicism to Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright to suburbia, each essay is telling in its own right, But whatever the ostensible theme, almost every one charts a growing awareness of Modernism's complex roots and relationships to tradition."--Jeremy Melvin, Architectural Review

"[These essays] provide wide-ranging insights into the architectural thought of the past half-century by a central figure."--Richard Guy Wilson, Architectural Record

"[An] overdue and welcome anthology. Scully owes his reputation to an authorial voice that is as arresting in the classroom as the printed page. In lecture, it is the elegant literary and formal precision that startles; on the printed page, the intimate spoken quality."--Michael Lewis, Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians

"Reading [this book], one sees quickly why Vincent Scully (now emeritus) was such a popular lecturer, a charismatic professor whose influence extended broadly throughout the architectural profession and the academy. . . . Scully's writing bears comparison with [the] elevation of the esthetic to an almost religious level, and his particular approach to the architectural object--which he regards ideally both as internally coherent and as somehow 'corresponding' with reality itself--is very much in keeping with the New Criticism."--Tom McDonough, Art in America

ArtNews
Many of the texts, which span the years 1954 to 1999, were previously published only in magazines and have thus effectively been out of print. They cover the 20th century's mainstream trends, from the birth pangs of Frank Llyod Wright's Prairie Style to the death throes of postmodernism. All are fiercely opinionated.
— Eve M. Kahn
Choice
Scully ranks among the most influential architectural historians of the 20th century. . . . [T]his anthology is a wonderful source for anyone with a keen interest in architecture. No one living has written on the subject in a more eloquent and compelling way.
Architectural Review
Covering diverse themes from Classicism to Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright to suburbia, each essay is telling in its own right, But whatever the ostensible theme, almost every one charts a growing awareness of Modernism's complex roots and relationships to tradition.
— Jeremy Melvin
Architectural Record
[These essays] provide wide-ranging insights into the architectural thought of the past half-century by a central figure.
— Richard Guy Wilson
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians
[An] overdue and welcome anthology. Scully owes his reputation to an authorial voice that is as arresting in the classroom as the printed page. In lecture, it is the elegant literary and formal precision that startles; on the printed page, the intimate spoken quality.
— Michael Lewis
Art in America
Reading [this book], one sees quickly why Vincent Scully (now emeritus) was such a popular lecturer, a charismatic professor whose influence extended broadly throughout the architectural profession and the academy. . . . Scully's writing bears comparison with [the] elevation of the esthetic to an almost religious level, and his particular approach to the architectural object—which he regards ideally both as internally coherent and as somehow 'corresponding' with reality itself—is very much in keeping with the New Criticism.
— Tom McDonough
The Nation
Scully . . . may find a place among the gallery of distinguished American critics . . . for his historically grounded but engaged architectural criticism. That possibility is enhanced by the well-chosen essays in this volume. Not only did Neil Levine make an excellent selection, he also provided a brief but illuminating biographical essay tracing Scully's career. Better yet, the headnotes he has written for each of Scully's essays are themselves gemlike mini-essays.
— Thomas Bender
The Art Book
Vincent Scully is surely one of the most influential architectural historians and critics of the twentieth century. . . . None of the essays included here are available in Scully's (more than 15) published books. Interestingly, I think the selection will work well both for readers familiar with Scully and his work, as well as for those to whom his writing will be new territory. . . . The very best thing about this book is the wonderful quality of Scully's writing itself—clear, learned and witty.
— Victoria Keller
Library Journal
One of the luminaries of American university life during the second half of the 20th century, Scully taught architectural history at Yale for over 40 years, influencing generations of scholars, critics, and designers as a legendary lecturer, writer, and scholar before his retirement in 1991 to an emeritus status at the University of Miami. This book brings together his most noted essays from far-flung publications that are difficult, if not impossible, to find. It is long overdue, as Harvard's Michael Hays notes in his enthusiastic endorsement. Topics range from the nature of classical art to Frank Lloyd Wright, to Pueblo ruins, Egyptians, and urban renewal in the 1960s. The essays have been carefully selected and introduced by Scully's prot g Neil Levine, Gleason Professor of History of Art at Harvard. This book is highly recommended as a treasure trove of great writing and observations on American, Modern, and worldwide architecture.-Peter McKee Kaufman, Boston Architectural Ctr. Copyright 2003 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691074429
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/18/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.10 (h) x 1.01 (d)

Meet the Author

Vincent Scully is Sterling Professor Emeritus of the History of Art at Yale University and the author of many books, including "The Shingle Style, Frank Lloyd Wright, Modern Architecture: The Architecture of Democracy, American Architecture and Urbanism", and "Architecture: The Natural and the Manmade". Neil Levine is Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. He is the author of "The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright" (Princeton) and other works.
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Table of Contents


Acknowledgments 6
Introduction 8
Vincent Scully: A Bibliographical Sketch 12
Chapter 1: American Villas: Inventiveness in the American Suburb from Downing to Wright 34
Chapter 2: Wright vs. International Style 64
Chapter 3: Archetype and Order in Recent American Architecture 64
Chapter 4: Modern Architecture: Toward a Redefinition of Style 74
Chapter 5: The Nature of the Classical in Art 88
Chapter 6: Frank Lloyd Wright and Twentieth[Century Style 106
Chapter 7: The Death of the Street 120
Chapter 8: Doldrums in the Suburbs 128
Chapter 9: RIBA Discourse 1969: A Search for Principle between Two Wars 142
Chapter 10: Where is Modern Architecture Going? 158
Chapter 11: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Stuff of Dreams 170
Chapter 12: Architecture, Sculpture, and painting: Environment, Act, and Illusion 198
Chapter 13: Le Corbusier, 1922[1965 236
Chapter 14: Introduction to The Lois I. Kahn Archive: Personal Drawings 250
Chapter 15: Robert Venturi's Gentle Architecture 260
Chapter 16: Architecture: The Natural and the Mammade 282
Chapter 17: Louis I. Kahn and the Ruins of Rome 298
Chapter 18: Everybody Needs Everything 320
Chapter 19: The Architecture of Community 340
Chapter 20: America at the Millennium: Architecture and Community 358
Bibliography of Vincent Scully's Writings 368
Index 384
Text and Photography Credits 398
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