Symbolic Essence and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American Culture

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Overview


Historian and architectural critic William H. Jordy (1917–1997) significantly shaped the way we understand the character and meaning of modern architecture and American culture. This collection of his thought-provoking essays encompasses Jordy’s entire career and includes his signature essay, “The Symbolic Essence of Modern Architecture of the Twenties and Its Continuing Influence.” The collection also contains critical writings on works by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, and Robert Venturi as well as significant but less-well-known pieces and one previously unpublished text.

Generously illustrated, the book demonstrates the range and depth of Jordy’s thinking. He leads his readers to discover important connections of architecture with art, literature, intellectual history, symbolic structures, social purpose, and community. Mardges Bacon’s insightful introduction to the volume situates Jordy’s essays in historical and architectural context and offers a concise intellectual biography of this original and influential thinker.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300094497
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 4/10/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 7.90 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Mardges Bacon is Matthews Distinguished University Professor and professor of art and architecture, Northeastern University.
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Table of Contents

Foreword
Preface
Introduction 1
Two temperaments in history : scientific and literary 55
American architecture between world's fairs : Richardson, Sullivan, and McKim 71
Four approaches to regionalism in the visual arts of the 1930s 81
The Tennessee Valley Authority : lessons for the present and future 103
Fiasco at Willow Run 127
The symbolic essence of modern European architecture of the twenties and its continuing influence 135
The international style in the 1930s 151
"I am alone" : Le Corbusier, bathrooms, and airplanes 159
William Lescaze reconsidered 171
The aftermath of the Bauhaus in America : Gropius, Mies, and Breuer 187
Seagram assessed 227
Medical research building for the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 235
Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, Texas; library, Phillips Exeter Academy, Exeter, New Hampshire 247
Robert Venturi and the decorated shed 261
Bank of China tower 277
Selected bibliography of writings by William H. Jordy 294
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