The Structure of Light: Richard Kelly and the Illumination of Modern Architecture

The Structure of Light: Richard Kelly and the Illumination of Modern Architecture

by Dietrich Neumann
     
 

The potential of electric light as a new building “material” was recognized in the 1920s and became a useful design tool by the mid-century. Skillful lighting allowed for theatricality, narrative, and a new emphasis on structure and space. The Structure of Light tells the story of the career of Richard Kelly, the field’s most influential

Overview

The potential of electric light as a new building “material” was recognized in the 1920s and became a useful design tool by the mid-century. Skillful lighting allowed for theatricality, narrative, and a new emphasis on structure and space. The Structure of Light tells the story of the career of Richard Kelly, the field’s most influential figure.

Six historians, architects, and practitioners explore Kelly’s unparalleled influence on modern architecture and his lighting designs for some of the 20th century’s most iconic buildings: Philip Johnson’s Glass House; Louis Kahn’s Kimbell Art Museum; Eero Saarinen’s GM Technical Center; and Mies van der Rohe’s Seagram Building, among many others. This beautifully illustrated history demonstrates the range of applications, building types, and artistic solutions he employed to achieve a “nocturnal modernity” that would render buildings evocatively different at night. The survival of Kelly’s rich correspondence and extensive diaries allows an in-depth look at the triumphs and uncertainties of a young profession in the making.

The first book to focus on the contributions of a master in the field of architectural lighting, this fascinating volume celebrates the practice’s significance in modern design.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Neumann (Royce Family Professor for the History of Modern Architecture & Urban Studies, Brown Univ.) presents a companion to a Yale University Art Gallery exhibition devoted to Richard Kelly (1910–77), a little-known architectural lighting designer of the 1950s and 1960s who worked in New York City and taught at Yale after World War II. Kelly's clients make up a who's who of modern New York City architecture—e.g., Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Eero Saarinen, Eliot Noyes, Louis Kahn. Neumann here compiles essays by seven historians and architects, including Phyllis Lambert (daughter of Samuel Bronfman, who commissioned Mies's masterpiece, the Seagram Building in New York City, in 1956). VERDICT This book will delight historians of modern architecture and design before the advent of postmodernism, which prevailed beginning in the 1970s. It reflects the interest of Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture, who wrote the foreword. Highly recommended to design libraries, collections, and historians.—Peter S. Kaufman, formerly with Boston Architectural Coll.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300163704
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
11/22/2010
Pages:
224
Sales rank:
437,833
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

Dietrich Neumann is Royce Family Professor for the History of Modern Architecture and Urban Studies at Brown University. Robert A.M. Stern is dean of the Yale School of Architecture.

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