From the Reliance Building and Coney Island to the Kimbell Museum and Disney Hall, the United States has been at the forefront of modern architecture. American life has generated many of the quintessential images of modern life, both generic types and particular buildings. Gwendolyn Wright’s USA is an engaging account of this evolution from the late nineteenth century to the twenty-first. Upending conventional arguments about the origin of American modern architecture, Wright shows that it was not a mere offshoot of European modernism brought across the Atlantic Ocean by émigrés but rather an exciting, distinctive and mutable hybrid.
USA traces a history that spans from early skyscrapers and suburbs in the aftermath of the American Civil War up to the museums, schools and ‘green architecture’ of today. Wright takes account of diverse interests that affected design, ranging from politicians and developers to ambitious immigrants and middle-class citizens. Famous and lesser-known buildings across America come togethermodel dwellings for German workers in rural Massachusetts, New York’s Rockefeller Center, Cincinnati’s Carew Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in the Arizona desert, the University of Miami campus, the Texas Instruments Semiconductor Plant, and the Corning Museum of Glass, among othersto show an extraordinary range of innovation.
Ultimately, Wright reframes the history of American architecture as one of constantly evolving and volatile sensibilities, engaged with commerce, attuned to new media, exploring multiple concepts of freedom. The chapters are organized to show how changes in work life, home life and public life affected architectureand vice versa. This book provides essential background for contemporary debates about affordable and luxury housing, avant-garde experiments, local identities, inspiring infrastructure and sustainable design.
A clear, concise and richly illustrated account of modern American architecture, this timely book will be essential for all those who wonder about the remarkable legacy of American modernity in its most potent cultural expression.
|Publisher:||Reaktion Books, Limited|
|Series:||Reaktion Books - Modern Architectures in History Series|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||6.75(w) x 8.67(h) x 0.80(d)|
About the Author
Gwendolyn Wright is professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University. She is cohost of the PBS television series “History Detectives” and is also the author of Building the Dream and The Politics of Design in French Colonial Urbanism.
Table of Contents
One: Modern Consolidation, 1865-1893
Two: Progressive Architectures, 1894-1918
Three: Electric Modernities, 1919-1932
Four: Architecture, the Public and the State, 1933-1945
Five: The Triumph of Modernism, 1946-1964
Six: Challenging Orthodoxies, 1965-1984
Seven: Disjunctures and Alternatives, 1985 to the Present