Studies in Tectonic Culture: The Poetics of Construction in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century Architecture

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In ten essays and an epilogue, Kenneth Frampton traces the history of contemporary form as an evolving poetic of structure and construction. The book's analytical framework rests on Frampton's close readings of key French, German, and English sources from the eighteenth century to the present. He clarifies the various turns that structural engineering and tectonic imagination have taken in the work of such architects as Perret, Wright, Kahn, Scarpa, and Mies, showing how for them both constructional form and material character were integral to an evolving architectural expression. Frampton also demonstrates that the way in which these elements are articulated from one work to the next provides a basis upon which to evaluate the works as a whole. This is especially evident in his consideration of the work of Perret, Mies, and Kahn and the continuities in their thought and attitudes that linked them to the past.

Frampton considers the conscious cultivation of the tectonic tradition in architecture as an essential element in the future development of architectural form, casting a critical new light on the entire issue of modernity and on the place of much work that has passed as "avant-garde."

Kenneth Frampton is Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University. He is the author of numerous books on architectural theory and history.

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Editorial Reviews

Renowned architectural critic and historian Frampton architecture, Columbia U. challenges the current postmodern infatuation with style and preoccupations with space and form, with an account of design that pivots on construction form and material character as the center of the building craft. He reviews the work of such architects as Frank Lloyd Wright, Auguste Perret, Mies van der Rohe, and Carlo Scarpa, and shows how each expressed the principles known since the 18th century as tectonic. Extensively illustrated with black-and-white drawings and photographs. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262061735
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 11/3/1995
  • Pages: 446
  • Product dimensions: 9.01 (w) x 11.33 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth Frampton is Ware Professor of Architecture at Columbia University.

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Table of Contents

1 Introduction: Reflections on the Scope of the Tectonic 1
2 Greco-Gothic and Neo-Gothic: The Anglo-French Origins of Tectonic Form 29
3 The Rise of the Tectonic: Core Form and Art Form in the German Enlightenment, 1975-1870 61
4 Frank Lloyd Wright and the Text-Tile Tectonic 93
5 Auguste Perret and Classical Rationalism 121
6 Mies van der Rohe: Avant-Garde and Continuity 159
7 Louis Kahn: Modernization and the New Monumentality, 1944-1972 209
8 Jorn Utzon: Transcultural Form and the Tectonic Metaphor 247
9 Carlo Scarpa and the Adoration of the Joint 299
10 Postscriptum: The Tectonic Trajectory, 1903-1994 335
The Owl of Minerva: An Epilogue 377
Notes 389
Bibliography 413
Illustration Credits 423
Index 425
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