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Building character : the racial politics of modern architectural style

Author: Charles L Davis
Publisher: Pittsburgh : University of Pittsburgh Press, 2019.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : English
Summary:
In the nineteenth-century paradigm of architectural organicism, the notion that buildings possessed character provided architects with a lens for relating the buildings they designed to the populations they served. Advances in scientific race theory enabled designers to think of "race" and "style" as manifestations of natural law: just as biological processes seemed to inherently regulate the racial characters that  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Electronic books
History
Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Charles L Davis
ISBN: 9780822986638 0822986639
OCLC Number: 1117708822
Description: 1 online resource
Contents: Introduction : the racialization of architectural character in the long nineteenth century --
part I. The Aryan character of Alpine architecture --
Campfires in the salon : Viollet-le-Duc and the modernization of the Aryan hut --
Beyond the primitive hut : Gottfried Semper and the material embodiment of Germanic character --
part II . The whiteness of American architecture --
The search for an American architecture : Louis Sullivan and the physiognomic translation of American character --
When public housing was white : William Lescaze and the Americanization of the International Style --
Conclusion : race, nature, and nation in postwar American architecture.
Responsibility: Charles L. Davis II.

Abstract:

In the nineteenth-century paradigm of architectural organicism, the notion that buildings possessed character provided architects with a lens for relating the buildings they designed to the populations they served. Advances in scientific race theory enabled designers to think of "race" and "style" as manifestations of natural law: just as biological processes seemed to inherently regulate the racial characters that made humans a perfect fit for their geographical contexts, architectural characters became a rational product of design. Parallels between racial and architectural characters provided a rationalist model of design that fashioned some of the most influential national building styles of the past, from the pioneering concepts of French structural rationalism and German tectonic theory to the nationalist associations of the Chicago Style, the Prairie Style, and the International Style. In Building Character, Charles Davis traces the racial charge of the architectural writings of five modern theorists--Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Gottfried Semper, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and William Lescaze--to highlight the social, political, and historical significance of the spatial, structural, and ornamental elements of modern architectural styles.

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