Architecture on the Carpet: The Curious Tale of Construction Toys and the Genesis of Modern Buildings

Architecture on the Carpet: The Curious Tale of Construction Toys and the Genesis of Modern Buildings

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Overview

Architecture on the Carpet: The Curious Tale of Construction Toys and the Genesis of Modern Buildings by Brenda Vale, Robert Vale

An intriguing and nostalgic exploration of the relationships between children’s building sets and developments in modern architecture
This entertaining book offers a novel view of architecture through the prism of construction toys. Ranging over the last century to the present, Brenda and Robert Vale draw parallels between the model-building sets of the modern period and architectural movements, social history, and national identities and myths. Some children’s construction toys such as Lincoln Logs and Tudor Minibrix have looked to the past. Others have looked to the future: as early as the 1920s, the American metal toy Bilt-E-Z could be used to construct a stepped-back skyscraper like the Empire State Building.
The Vales investigate not only how models sets have reflected different building styles but also whether the toys themselves influenced the careers of the children who grew up playing with them. They explore connections between model-railway buildings and modernism; model sets such as Castos and reinforced concrete housing; and even between the creative but slightly surreal Playplax and postmodern deconstructivist architecture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780500342855
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Publication date: 09/09/2013
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Brenda Vale is a professor of architecture at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. Her previous books include The New Autonomous House.

Robert Vale is a professor architecture at Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand. His previous books include The New Autonomous House.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Toys Are Us 7

Chapter 1 Modernism on the Line 9

Chapter 2 Richter's Blocks and the Castles on the Rhine 24

Chapter 3 Meccano and Making Visible How Things Work 38

Chapter 4 Lott's Bricks and the Arts and Crafts Movement 51

Chapter 5 Wenebrik and the (Un-modern) Steel House 64

Chapter 6 Lincoln Logs and the Log Cabin 77

Chapter 7 Mobaco and De Stijl 89

Chapter 8 Bayko and Suburbia 99

Chapter 9 Minibrix and Unassuming Architecture 111

Chapter 10 Juneero and the Architecture of Make-Do-and-Mend 127

Chapter 11 Castos and Concrete on the Carpet 136

Chapter 12 Bilt-E-Z, Girder and Panel, Arkitex and the Brave New World 150

Chapter 13 Playplax and Deconstruction 164

Chapter 14 Lego and the Green City 176

Chapter 15 Learning Architecture on the Carpet 189

Notes 191

Picture Credits 204

Acknowledgments 204

Index 205

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