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Article

Walter Smith

(b Buenos Aires, 1945).

American architect and theorist of Argentine birth. She received her Diploma of Architecture at the University of Buenos Aires in 1967 and studied further in Paris at the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes and the Centre du Recherche d’Urbanisme (1967–9). She moved to New York in 1971. From 1976 Agrest taught at Cooper Union, New York, and at Columbia, Princeton and Yale universities. In 1980 she went into partnership with her husband, Mario Gandelsonas (b 1938), in the firm A & G Development Consultants Inc., in New York. She also formed her own firm, Diana Agrest, Architect, in New York. Agrest was deeply involved in theoretical research, and was a Fellow at the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York, from 1972 to 1984. She was strongly influenced by semiotics and developed the idea that architecture can refer beyond itself, discussed particularly in her essay on architecture and film (...

Article

Leland M. Roth

(b Detroit, MI, July 7, 1869; d Southampton, NY, Oct 18, 1956).

American architect, urban planner and writer. Atterbury studied at Yale University, New Haven, CT, and travelled in Europe. He studied architecture at Columbia University, New York and worked in the office of McKim, Mead & White before completing his architecture studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Atterbury’s early work consisted of suburban and weekend houses for wealthy industrialists, such as the Henry W. de Forest House (1898) in Cold Springs Harbor on Long Island, NY. De Forest was a leader in the philanthropic movement to improve workers’ housing, an interest that Atterbury shared; through him Atterbury was given the commission for the model housing community of Forest Hills Gardens, NY, begun in 1909 under the sponsorship of the Russell Sage Foundation; the co-planners and landscape designers were the brothers John Charles Olmsted (1852–1920) and Frederick Law Olmsted Jr (1870–1957), the sons of Frederick Law Olmsted. Atterbury developed a system of precast concrete panels to build a varied group of multiple units and town houses suggesting an English country hamlet. He continued his research into prefabrication largely at his own expense throughout his life....

Article

(b Elgin, 1838; d New York, 1925).

Scottish architect, designer and writer. Trained as an architect, he moved to Liverpool, Lancs, in 1856 and set up an architectural practice with his brother William James Audsley (b 1833) in 1863. With him he wrote Handbook of Christian Symbolism (1865), and together they designed a number of buildings in and around Liverpool, among them the Welsh Presbyterian Church, Prince’s Road, Toxteth (1865–7), Christ Church, Kensington (1870), and the church of St Margaret, Belmont Road, Anfield (1873). For the merchant William Preston they designed the church of St Mary (1873) in the grounds of his house, Ellel Grange, Lancs. Other commissions were for a synagogue and a tennis club. He was among the earliest publishers to exploit the graphic potential of chromolithography, and, contrary to other major books on ornament, he made a case for classifying designs by their basic motif rather than by nationality. He was an expert on Japanese art, lecturing on the subject and between ...

Article

Joseph R. Kopta

(b Neenah, WI, June 28, 1894; d Bedford, MA, March 4, 1984).

American architectural historian. Conant was the leading 20th-century American architectural historian specializing in Romanesque architecture, and was the primary archaeologist of the monastic complex at Cluny. He earned his degrees from Harvard, including a BA in Fine Arts in 1915, an MArch. in 1919, and a PhD with a dissertation on the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, supervised by Arthur Kingsley Porter, in 1926. He trained in archaeological practices in 1926 at the excavations of Chichén Itzá and Pueblo Bonito before directing excavations in earnest at Cluny starting in 1928. He was Professor of Architecture Emeritus at Harvard University, retiring from teaching in 1954.

An active member of the Medieval Academy of America (which funded his excavations after initial funding from the Guggenheim Foundation), Conant published frequent field reports documenting the excavations of Cluny as articles in Speculum. Additionally, Conant published a monograph on the sum of the excavations in ...

Article

(b San Francisco, Jan 8, 1873; d New York, April 21, 1954).

American architect, teacher and writer. He studied engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, graduating in 1895, and then went to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris (1896), where he entered the atelier of Jean-Louis Pascal and received his diploma in 1900. In 1901 he joined the New York office of Cass Gilbert as a draughtsman, later going into partnership (1903–12) with F. Livingston Pell and, until 1922, with Frank J. Helmle. His earliest major commissions were won in competitions, including those for the Maryland Institute (1908–13) in Baltimore, a variation on a Florentine palazzo, and the classical Municipal Group building (1916–17) in Springfield, MA. From 1907 to the mid-1930s he lectured at the Columbia School of Architecture, which followed the Beaux-Arts educational system. The vertically expressive Bush Terminal Tower (1920–24) on 42nd Street, New York, with its prominent position and slight setbacks in buff, white and black brick, marked his début as an influential skyscraper designer and he maintained his leading position through the 1920s and 1930s. Both in his work and writing for the media, Corbett explored the creative potential of the ‘setback’ restrictions of the New York zoning laws of ...

Article

Douglass Shand-Tucci

(b Hampton Falls, NH, Dec 16, 1863; d Boston, Sept 22, 1942).

American architect and writer. Cram was the leading Gothic Revival architect in North America in the first half of the 20th century, at the head of an informal school known as the Boston Gothicists, who transformed American church design.

In 1881 Cram was apprenticed to the firm of Rotch & Tilden in Boston. His letters on artistic subjects to the Boston Transcript led to his appointment as the journal’s art critic by the mid-1880s. In 1886 he began his first European tour. In 1888 he founded the firm of Cram & Wentworth with Charles Wentworth (1861–97). With the arrival of Bertram Goodhue, the firm became Cram, Wentworth & Goodhue in 1892, and in 1899 Cram, Goodhue & Ferguson, with Frank Ferguson (1861–1926) having joined the office as business and engineering partner following the death of Wentworth.

Cram was strongly influenced both by the philosophies of John Ruskin...

Article

Malcolm Quantrill

(b Newark, NJ, Aug 12, 1932).

American architect, theorist, writer and teacher. He graduated from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY (BArch 1955), and worked for Percival Goodman in New York (1957–8) and the Architects’ Collaborative in Cambridge, MA (1959). He then went to Columbia University, New York (March 1960), and the University of Cambridge, England, where he completed his PhD in the theory of design (1963) and also taught (1960–63). Back in the USA, he was involved in several unexecuted competition entries and projects (1963–5) with Michael Graves and began to teach (1963–7) at Princeton University, NJ, moving to Cooper Union, New York, in 1967. In that year he became the founding director of the Institute for Architecture and Urban Studies, New York, which became a major centre for exhibition and debate in the architectural profession; he also established and edited its influential journal ...

Article

Carol Willis

(b St Louis, MO, July 12, 1889; d New York, Jan 29, 1962).

American architect, draughtsman and theorist. He graduated in architecture in 1911 from Washington University, St Louis, where the teaching was Beaux-Arts oriented. In 1912 he moved to New York where he worked as a draughtsman in the large office of Cass Gilbert until 1915, when he launched his career as a freelance delineator. Although his first jobs were mostly illustrations or advertisements for newspapers or magazines, by the early 1920s finished perspective renderings, particularly of skyscrapers and other commercial architecture, became his principal work. Working in carbon pencil, he perfected a rich and dramatic chiaroscuro technique that exaggerated the monumental qualities of structures, suppressing ornament and detail and reducing buildings to the profound power of their simple mass. This abstraction of building forms, which had great influence on subsequent architecture by others, began with a series of ‘zoning envelope’ studies, which Ferriss did in 1922 with Harvey Wiley Corbett; these illustrated how the maximum building volumes permitted by New York’s setback zoning laws of ...

Article

Paul Crossley

(b Prague, 1879; d Princeton, NJ, Jan 30, 1962).

American art historian. He first trained as an architect but, in his early thirties, he turned to the study of art history and in 1911 submitted his doctoral dissertation at Munich University on 15th-century stained glass in southern Germany. Under the influence of his teacher, Heinrich Wölfflin, Frankl soon attempted a systematic definition of the formal principles underlying Renaissance and post-Renaissance architecture. His first theoretical work, Die Entwicklungsphasen der neueren Baukunst (1914), was strongly influenced by the visual formalism and philosophical idealism of German art history in the decades before World War I. It isolated four main categories of analysis, which were fundamental to much of his later investigations: spatial composition, treatment of mass and surface (‘corporeal form’), treatment of light, colour and other optical effects (‘visible form’), and the relation of design to social function (‘purposive intention’). His emphasis on spatial analysis as a determinant of style relied heavily on August Schmarsow’s works on Baroque and Rococo architecture. His concept of ‘visible form’ (sometimes called ‘optical form’), which presupposes that viewers derive their experience of a building kinetically, as the mental synthesis of many images from different viewpoints, owed much to late 19th-century theories of perception, in particular to Konrad Fiedler’s and Adolf von Hildebrand’s emphasis on the physiological and psychological processes of seeing, and to Alois Riegl’s notion of ‘haptic’ and ‘optic’ forms. Frankl’s principal debt, however, lay in his adoption of Wölfflin’s quasi-Hegelian model of style as a predetermined, supra-individual force, impelled onwards by its own immanent laws, and evolving from one art-historical period to another through the action and counter-action of ‘polar opposites’: the underlying formal principles of a style are diametrically antithetical to those of the styles preceding and succeeding it....

Article

Karl-Heinz Hüter

(Karl)

(b Karlsruhe, Sept 14, 1885; d Chicago, IL, May 6, 1967).

American urban planner, architect, critic and teacher of German birth. After studying at the Technische Hochschule, Karlsruhe, with Friedrich Ostendorf and Hermann Billing (1906–11), he moved to Berlin. His early projects, for example for an opera house in Berlin (1911), followed Ostendorf’s neo-classical lines. During World War I he was first an assistant and later in control of a government department that laid the plans for aircraft workshops and hangars in Staaken and for a flying school and flight research institute in Müritzsee.

Hilberseimer’s style changed after 1918 from neo-classical to Elementarism in which, with the abandonment of classical details, buildings are combined in blocks, are given an uncluttered structure and are organized uniformly and, in the preference for natural materials such as brick over the use of colour, can often create a somewhat barren impression. In 1919 he joined the Novembergruppe and Arbeitsrat für Kunst and in ...

Article

Benjamin Flowers

(b New York, March 14, 1921; d New York, Jan 7, 2013).

American architectural critic. Ada Louise Huxtable (Landman) is one of the best known American architecture critics in the post-World War II era (and one of the few women working in that field). Educated at Hunter College and New York University, she has written prolifically on the many successes and shortcomings of American architecture and urbanism. Huxtable is notable for her wide-ranging eye and sharp pen.

Huxtable spent several years early in her career working at the architecture department of the Museum of Modern Art. She later wrote for both Progressive Architecture and Arts Magazine. In 1958 she was awarded a Guggenheim fellowship to support her research on “structural and design advances of American architecture.” In 1963 she was appointed chief architecture critic for the New York Times, a post she held until 1982. In the nearly two decades she was at the Times, Huxtable polished the quick and taut critical style for which she had already developed a reputation. Commenting on the unconscionable civic bungling that allowed the demolition of Pennsylvania Station (by ...

Article

Franz Schulze

(Cortelyou)

(b Cleveland, OH, July 8, 1906; d New Canaan, CT, Jan 25, 2005).

American architect, critic, and collector. The son of a well-to-do lawyer, he early displayed a keen natural intelligence that was diligently cultivated by his mother. He enrolled as an undergraduate at Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, in 1923. A restless nature drew him successively to disciplines as diverse as music, the classics, and philosophy, while emotional turmoil led to several breakdowns that delayed his graduation until 1930. By then, however, he had developed a close friendship with the young art historian Alfred H. Barr jr, who in 1929 assumed the directorship of the new Museum of Modern Art in New York. At about the same time Johnson met another art historian, Henry-Russell Hitchcock, whose article on J(acobus) J(ohannes) P(ieter) Oud (‘The Architectural Work of J. J. P. Oud’, The Arts, xiii/2 (Feb 1928), pp. 97–103) had suddenly focused Johnson’s scattered mental energies on architecture and, more specifically, on modern European architecture of the 1920s....

Article

Mardges Bacon

(b Poughkeepsie, NY, Aug 31, 1917; d Riverside, RI, August 10, 1997).

American architectural and cultural historian and critic. Jordy received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Bard College, New York, in 1939. From 1939 to 1942 he studied at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. After service in the US Army during World War II, Jordy resumed his graduate work at Yale University where he received his PhD in American Studies in 1948. At Yale he held positions of Instructor and Assistant Professor in the History of Art and American Studies until 1955 when he arrived at Brown University to assume the post of Associate Professor, later Professor, and until 1986 Henry Ledyard Goddard Professor of Art.

Jordy’s scholarship was remarkably broad. His first book Henry Adams: Scientific Historian showed how his subject’s “scientific” view of history was paradoxically enmeshed in cultural, aesthetic and intellectual concerns. In a 1952 New York Times review Henry Steele Commager called it, “The most penetrating study of Henry Adams yet written.” Jordy soon shifted his intellectual focus toward architecture and urbanism through his associations with the social historian ...

Article

Richard Guy Wilson

(b West Newton, MA, Dec 8, 1888; d Munich, Germany, Aug 14, 1955).

American architect and architectural historian. Kimball was one of the most important architectural historians from the 1910s to the 1940s; in a sense he created the field of American architectural history. His landmark book on Thomas Jefferson lifted his subject from obscurity into a place of prominence in American architecture. In 1922 he authored the first comprehensive study of American architecture from the initial English settlement in the 17th century to the early 19th century. Although a committed classicist for all of his life, his survey of American architecture in 1928 recognized the uniqueness of the skyscraper as a new mode of design. An interest in American design during the early Republic led to the identification of, and a book on, the furniture designer and architect, Samuel McIntire (1940), who was active in Salem, MA. His book on French Rococo design (1943) was one of the first English language appreciations of the subject....

Article

A. Krista Sykes

(b Istanbul, Turkey, May 7, 1936; d Berkeley, CA, Dec 7, 1991).

American architectural historian and professor of Turkish birth. Kostof attended Robert College in Istanbul, an American-sponsored university preparatory school. In 1957 he arrived in the USA to study drama at Yale University, yet he switched to art history, studying under noted historian Vincent Scully and earning his doctorate in 1961. After teaching art history at Yale for four years, Kostof moved west in 1965 to the College of Environmental Design at the University of California Berkeley’s Department of Architecture. While he acted as a visiting professor in various places—including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1970), Columbia University (1976) and Rice University (1986–7)—he served as a professor at Berkeley until his untimely death from lymphoma in 1991.

Known as a dynamic and engaging professor, Kostof for decades had taught “A Historical Survey of Architecture and Urbanism,” a course that laid the foundation for his most well-known text, ...

Article

Walter Smith

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 7, 1918; d Gayhead, Martha’s Vineyard, MA, April 25, 1984).

American urban planner, teacher and theorist. His early training included an apprenticeship (1937–9) with Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin, Spring Green, WI. Lynch received a bachelor’s degree in urban planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, in 1947 and then began a long teaching career there. A major influence on his work was provided by György Kepes, his teacher and then colleague at MIT. Lynch is best known for his theoretical studies, put forth primarily in a series of books. The Image of the City (1960), his most influential work, has ‘imageability’ as its central idea, and Lynch argued for clarity, cohesiveness, legibility and identifiable structuring in urban planning in order to create this quality. Site Planning (1962) is more technical than theoretical and subsequently became a standard introductory textbook on urban planning. The View from the Road (1964) is concerned with the problems generated by the introduction of motor vehicles into the city, and it presents ways in which highways might be more thoughtfully planned. ...

Article

Kevin D. Murphy

Modernism as an architectural phenomenon, as it was defined by mid-20th-century scholars, was connected to, but distinct from, its manifestations in music, literature, and the other visual arts (see Modernism). Typically, modernist architecture was understood to have been both aesthetically and politically revolutionary, although those claims would be substantially repudiated with Post-modernism, from the 1960s through to the end of the century.

A history of modernist architecture that eventually hardened into a standard account was formulated on the eve of World War II, especially in the influential writings of the Swiss historian, critic, and theorist Sigfried Giedion. In Space, Time, and Architecture, the Growth of a New Tradition (1941), Giedion outlined a teleological history of modernist architecture that began in the Age of Revolution in the late 18th century, and culminated with the ‘high’ modernism of his own time, the salient feature of which he considered to be its lightness, achieved through the use of metal and glass, and inspired by Cubist painting. Already, by the time of Giedion’s writing, German author Emil Kaufmann had proposed the origins for modernism with the ‘Revolutionary architects’ of late 18th-century France: ...

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.

Intellectually, the roots of contemporary public art can be found in the ludic and the architectonic: in the playful public interventions epitomized in the 1960s by the ...

Article

Nadja Rottner

French critic and philosopher Nicolas Bourriaud adopted the term ‘relational aesthetics’ in the mid-1990s to refer to the work of a selected group of artists, and what he considers their novel approach to a socially conscious art of participation: an art that takes as its content the human relations elicited by the artwork. Its key practitioners, most of them emerging in the 1990s, include Rirkrit Tiravanija , Philippe Parreno (b 1964), Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Maurizio Cattelan, Carsten Höller , and Vanessa Beecroft . For example, Carsten Höller installed Test Site (2006) at the Tate Modern in London so that visitors could enjoy the amusement park thrill of large playground slides in the museum’s Turbine Hall, and bond with fellow viewers over their experience. Bourriaud’s collected writings in Relational Aesthetics (1998, Eng. edn 2002) helped to spark a new wave of interest in participatory art.

While Bourriaud omits acknowledging the historical roots of relational art, Marxist-influenced critiques of the changing conditions of modern life, and arguments for art’s ability to improve man’s relationship with reality have a long history in 20th-century art. Critics Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer were among the first to developed new models for an art of politicized participation in the 1920s. The relational art of the 1990s and early 2000s is a continuation and an extension of traditions of participatory art throughout the 20th century (such as ...

Article

Stuart Romm

(b Rotherham, England, Mar 27, 1920; d Arlington, VA, Nov 5, 1999).

American architectural historian, theoretician and educator. Born in Yorkshire, Rowe studied at the Liverpool School of Architecture, where he would later return as a tutor (1950–2), influencing several students of future international prominence, such as James Stirling . Between these periods Rowe had served in the British Infantry (1942) and studied at the Warburg Institute in London under Rudolf Wittkower (1945–6). In 1952 Rowe came to the USA, where he briefly taught at Yale University before taking an academic post at the University of Texas in Austin. After a short return to England where he taught at Cambridge, Rowe eventually settled in the United States to become the Andrew Dickson White Professor of Architecture at Cornell University for 28 years. Although Rowe became an American citizen in 1984, he received the Royal Institute of British Architects’ highest honor, the Gold Medal, in 1995. Colin Rowe was renowned as a major intellectual influence in the field of architecture and urbanism during the second half of the 20th century, pioneering a critical reappraisal of the modern movement’s espoused rupture with history. In his famous essay “The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa” (...