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Ellen G. D’Oench

Group portrait, often full-length but small in scale, set in a domestic interior or garden setting. It was an especially popular genre in 18th-century England though it can also be found later than this and in other countries.

The term derives from the Latin word ‘conversatio’ and is synonymous with the French word ‘conversation’; this was defined in the 17th century as a gathering of acquaintances for social discourse. It is also related to the Flemish word ‘conversatie’. In the ...

Article

Mary M. Tinti

Architecture, design and conceptual art partnership. Diller Scofidio + Renfro [Diller + Scofidio] was formed in 1979 by Elizabeth Diller (b Lodz, Poland, 1954) and Ricardo Scofidio (b New York, NY, 1935) as an interdisciplinary design practice based in New York....

Article

Naomi Miller

Sculptural or architectural structure that channels a spring or source of water and shapes it by means of jets or sprays, the water falling into one or more containers or basins.

Fountains may serve decorative or practical purposes and have, in a multitude of forms, been a feature of both public and private spaces since ancient times. They have been erected to celebrate technological advancement in a civilization, for example in the harnessing of water for public use; to serve as objects of religious significance or to commemorate events of historical importance; and to create poetic and theatrical displays....

Article

Economically and socially independent urban unit of medium size surrounded by a green belt. The term is often loosely applied to various other forms of urban planning. Letchworth, Herts, begun in 1903, was the first garden city proper; it was followed in Britain by Welwyn, Herts (from ...

Article

Jeremy Hunt and Jonathan Vickery

At the turn of the millennium, public art was an established global art genre with its own professional and critical discourse, as well as constituencies of interest and patronage independent of mainstream contemporary art. Art criticism has been prodigious regarding public art’s role in the ‘beautification’ of otherwise neglected social space or in influencing urban development. Diversity and differentiation are increasingly the hallmarks of public art worldwide, emerging from city branding strategies and destination marketing as well as from artist activism and international art events and festivals. The first decade of the 21st century demonstrated the vast opportunity for creative and critical ‘engagement’, activism, social dialogue, and cultural co-creation and collective participation. New public art forms emerged, seen in digital and internet media, pop-up shops, and temporary open-access studios, street performance, and urban activism, as well as architectural collaborations in landscape, environment or urban design....

Article

Monique Riccardi-Cubitt

[Fr.: ‘rockwork’]. Term used to describe a type of European ornament of variable form, resembling the irregular edges of rocks and shells. The motif was used in the 16th century in Grotto decoration to imitate the incidental effect of natural rock formation. In the 1730s the supple asymmetricality of rocaille ornament was exploited in the designs of ...

Article

Barbara Kahle

Garden hall or room situated on the ground floor of a palace or mansion, beneath the principal room of the corps de logis, serving as a connecting link between the vestibule and the garden. It is a creation of the German Baroque, influenced mainly by Italian forms and dependent on features of garden design common since antiquity (e.g. grottoes, nymphs and theatres). German precursors of the ...

Article

Michael Lancaster

Type of Garden designed to display a collection of sculptures in an open-air courtyard or landscape setting. Its origins can be traced back to the archetypal concepts of the cave oracle, the sacred grove and the totemic figures of gods and rulers found in many parts of the world. During the time of the ...

Article

Professional organization devoted to the study of architecture worldwide. Founded in 1940 by a small group of students and teachers attending summer session at Harvard University, the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has grown into the leading professional and scholarly organization in the world concerned with various aspects of the built environment. With a membership of around ...

Article

Gavin Townsend

Federal Agency, founded in 1933. Chartered by the US Congress on May 18, 1933, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) was established to control the flooding of the Tennessee River and to generate the enormous amounts of hydroelectric power needed nationally. To fulfill its aims, TVA constructed dams, hydroelectric plants, locks and housing throughout the Tennessee River basin, employing thousands of workers in Southern Appalachia and providing economic relief and electricity to one of the most impoverished regions of the country....