Archive for the ‘Gwendolyn Wright’ Category

The secret history of American modernism

02/08/2008

Full book review here.

“Gwendolyn Wright’s excellent new book on modern architecture in the USA, may kick off with images of star architects on the covers of Time Magazine but hers is not an account that centers on iconic buildings or the careers of major stars.

Wright, professor at Columbia University in New York City, intends to give pointers to today’s practitioners. …

Wright doesn’t emphasise the importance of European precursors, and looks for American modernism’s roots in the 19th century. She traces it back to the aftermath of the American Civil War, when America, or the northern states at least, was transformed by better infrastructure, corporate business systems and a flourishing consumer culture. …

She also recognises the positive contribution of African-Americans and women — as architects, and as critics and curators — and she points out the inherent racism in many aspects of policy and practice, especially in urban renewal.”

From the blurbs:

“Gwendolyn Wright’s splendid book updates, revises and enriches everything we know about the development and influence of American architecture with new material, brilliant insights, and the perspective of a new century. She makes the story so new and compelling and writes it so well that it will supplant older versions to become the standard reference.”—Ada Louise Huxtable

“I am always amazed at Gwendolyn Wright’s ability to bring excitement and positive joy to urbanism and architecture in a rare way. Her enthusiasm for historical examples surely inspires others to take a deeper look and to reflect. In this moment of rapid urbanization worldwide, that reflection is needed more than ever.”–Steven Holl

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