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Elizabeth Meredith Dowling

American organization dedicated to improving the quality of architectural education. Incorporated in 1916 by the architect Lloyd Warren (1867–1922), the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design (BAID) was an outgrowth of the Society of Beaux-Arts Architects (SBAA; 1894–1942) established by his brother Whitney Warren (1864–1943) with Thomas Hastings and Ernest Flagg who had all studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris and were nationally recognized American architects. BAID was dedicated to the improvement of architectural education by providing a centralized location for the distribution and judging of design problems. Architecture schools and private ateliers located throughout the United States developed projects based on the programs created by BAID. The student work was then sent to the headquarters in New York to be judged. An award system of medals and mentions cited the work considered most deserving by the jury of distinguished architects. The award winning projects published in ...

Article

Sandra L. Tatman

American architectural competition held in 1922 by the Chicago Tribune newspaper for its new corporate headquarters. The competition changed American views of European modernism and the course of American Skyscraper architecture. The 1922 Chicago Tribune Competition’s call for competitors attracted more than 260 architects from 23 countries with the offer of a $50,000 prize for the winning design. Although the company may have issued this competition as a way of attracting attention to its newspaper, competitors from around the world, drawn by what was in 1922 an astronomical sum, submitted entries that varied from the very traditional revival styles to cutting edge European modernism. In the end, the winners were Americans John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood (Howells & Hood) with their neo-Gothic skyscraper influenced by the Tour de Beurre in Rouen Cathedral (see Rouen, §IV, 1). However, the second place entry from Saarinen family, §1 of Finland took America by storm, encouraging the architect to immigrate to the United States. In fact, some American architects and critics, such as Louis Sullivan, preferred the Saarinen design to the Howells & Hood tower, and Saarinen’s stepped-back tower with little applied decoration certainly influenced later skyscraper design (...

Article

G. Lola Worthington

(Alva)

(b Milan, OH, Feb 11, 1847; d West Orange, NJ, Oct 18, 1931).

American inventor, entrepreneur, film producer and businessman. Edison invented numerous electrically based technologies. His father, Samuel Edison (1804–96), and mother, Nancy Matthews Elliot (1810–71), lived very modestly. Home schooled after he performed poorly in school, his formal educational experience lasted only three months. A shrewd businessman his instinctive abilities combined with his innovative inventions furthered his extensive research. He famously “invented” the first practical incandescent light bulb. Nicknamed the “Wizard of Menlo Park,” he established the first large American industrial research laboratory in Menlo Park, NJ.

Credited with developing predominant technical designs and electrically powered mechanisms for numerous devices, his inventions were instrumental toward the arts. Some principal imaginative, mechanical creations are the phonograph, electrically powered generators, individual home electricity, motion picture cameras and audio recordings. Edison patented his first motion picture camera, the “kinetograph,” and began his foray into film. In 1891 his kinetoscope, which allowed individuals to view short films through a peephole at the top of a cabinet, became highly lucrative. In ...

Article

Jill L. Grant

Architectural, urban design and planning movement that began in the USA in the 1980s; by the turn of the century it had become a highly influential alternative to conventional development practices in the USA and beyond.

In the early 1980s a design and planning movement took root in the USA that proponents described either as the “return of the small town” or as the “next form of the American metropolis.” Architect-planners like Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk (see Arquitectonica) and Peter Calthorpe advocated and designed compact, mixed-use, walkable and clearly bounded communities as an antidote to ugly and inefficient sprawl. Although new urbanism designers initially favored traditional architectural styles that reflected local vernacular patterns, as the movement’s principles became more widely applied in urban redevelopment projects, building design styles diversified. By the end of the first decade of the 21st century, new urbanism principles had influenced government development agendas in several countries and had become widely accepted as good planning principles....

Article

Richard Guy Wilson

Architectural partnership formed in Norfolk, VA, in 1917 by John Kevan Peebles (b Petersburg, VA, 3 Nov 1866; d Norfolk, VA, 31 July 1934) and Finley Forbes Ferguson (b Norfolk, VA, 11 Nov 1875; d Norfolk, VA, 7 Oct 1936). Peebles studied engineering at the University of Virginia (class 1890) and then apprenticed with architects prior to joining James E. R. Carpenter (1867–1932) in a partnership in 1893.They designed the first Jeffersonian Revival building at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, the Fayerweather Gymnasium (1893–4). In an article Peebles critiqued recent designs in the Second Empire and medieval modes and called for a return to the “Classical.” The partnership ended in 1898, and Peebles practiced independently until 1917 participating in the expansion of Jefferson’s Virginia State Capitol, Richmond (1902–6), the Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition, Norfolk (1907), and many buildings across the state such as the Hotel Monticello, Norfolk (...

Article

Edward A. Chappell

Architectural partnership founded in Boston, MA, in 1922 by William Graves Perry (b Boston, MA, 8 Nov 1883; d Boston, MA, 4 April 1975), Thomas Mott Shaw (1878–1965) and Andrew H. Hepburn (1880–1967). The firm rose to prominence as Colonial Revival architects primarily through their work for John D. Rockefeller Jr. in the historic town of Williamsburg, VA. Both Perry and Hepburn had studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. By 1927, they had designed New England buildings in a number of historical styles but favored an American neo-classicism reminiscent of Charles Bulfinch.

In 1926, they were hired to produce a conceptual plan for restoration of the 18th- century capital of Virginia, followed by detailed research and design for restoration and reconstruction of dozens of Williamsburg buildings. Investigative work included excavation of old foundations, documentary research and use of early images of lost buildings, most fortuitously a copper engraving plate showing the earliest Capitol, Governor’s Palace and buildings at the College of William and Mary. These they combined with a physical investigation of surviving buildings as a basis for vigorous restoration to an 18th-century state, primarily that of the 1770s. Seeking such architectural purity was counter to British preservation theory cultivated by ...

Article

Kate Wight

An international prize awarded annually for achievements in architecture. It is considered the world’s most celebrated architectural award and has sometimes been referred to as the “Nobel Prize of Architecture.”

Cindy and Jay Pritzker of Chicago founded the prize in 1979. The Pritzker Prize was sponsored and awarded by the Hyatt Foundation, an extension of the Pritzker family business, the Hyatt Corporation, best known for Hyatt Hotels.

The purpose of the Pritzker Prize is “to honor a living architect whose built work demonstrates a combination of those qualities of talent, vision, and commitment, which has produced consistent and significant contributions to humanity and the built environment through the art of architecture.” Rather than awarding an architect for a specific building or design, the award recognized an entire body of work by a particular architect.

The prize consists of an award of $100,000, a formal certificate, and a bronze medallion. Until ...

Article

Saul Zalesch

The Society of American Artists (1877–1906) was the most conspicuous and historically significant of the art organizations that proliferated in New York during the last quarter of the 19th century. It saw itself, and scholars have usually portrayed it, as a liberal challenger to the National Academy of Design . In reality the Society’s birth and operation had little to do with modern conceptions of liberal versus conservative ideals for art but reflected a fundamental American/European split over the way that art progresses and how to educate popular tastes. It was inextricably linked with the interests of members of New York’s traditional cultural elite then defending their leadership against the growing influence bought by the unprecedented wealth of America’s “Robber Barons.”

Although mostly discussed by historians in monographic studies of its more famous members, the Society deserves careful study because the circumstances of its creation, operation, and eventual merger with the National Academy of Design offer richer insights into artists’ attitudes and the complexities of artistic patronage in New York than are usually found in studies of American art of that period....

Article

Peter L. Laurence

Although the theory and practice of renovating cities is ancient, and although the term is still used to refer to similar practices today, “urban renewal” typically refers to the large-scale, federally funded redevelopment projects that took place in US cities in the 1950s and 1960s. Such projects wrought dramatic physical transformations and caused controversial social upheaval. Urban renewal in this sense came into being with the US Housing Act of 1954, although it evolved out of a history of government-funded slum clearance and housing project construction dating back to the 1930s. Following two decades of slum clearance and model housing projects including First Houses (1935), Williamsburg Houses (1937) and Stuyvesant Town (1947), all in New York, the US Housing Act of 1949 was signed into law with broad political support due to a national postwar housing shortage. As the immediate legislative predecessor of urban renewal legislation, the Housing Act of ...