Built in USA: 1932-1944

Built in USA: 1932-1944

Built in USA: 1932-1944

Built in USA: 1932-1944


Architecture is more than a matter of efficient and beautiful buildings. The architect must deal with mechanical equipment, with furniture, textiles and utensils, with the space around buildings and with the relationship of one building to another. The architectural process of rational analysis and creative synthesis carries over without break into design for the crafts and for industry, and into landscaping and city planning, involving complex problems of technics and intricate social, economic and political relationships.

The modern architect sees clearly the exacting role which he must play if we are to have a more satisfactory environment, but he faces a public which is reluctant to forget the many decades in which architecture and decoration were too nearly synonymous.

Many people still prefer to entrust serious building problems to engineers, and the architect is still regarded as the man who supplies the trimmings. The attitude is no longer justified, but it persists. Any architect who applied for work in connection with the gigantic military construction program at the start of the war was apt to be told, "Oh, no, nothing for architects. We're just building here, you know. Nothing fancy." The fallacy of that argument is proved by the success of the few jobs which were given to competent architects--the Maritime Training School in San Mateo, for example (page 78).

Now, faced with the probability of large-scale construction after the war, the architect is increasingly concerned with his responsibilities. The new projects must be based on scientific analysis of present conditions and future needs. They must be sensibly planned and soundly built. They will be realized only through purposeful politics. All this depends upon the collaboration of the architect with allied technicians, and their willingness, individually and collectively, to fight for sane and decent solutions. But there is one final and unique requirement: that these projects be organized in humanly satisfactory form. Problems of design seem more serious than ever, even in a world at war.

International Exhibition of Modern Architecture, 1932

The point of departure chosen for this book is not so arbitrary as it sounds, for 1932 was the year of the Museum's International Exhibition of Modern Architecture. The exhibition was directed by Philip Johnson, and the accompanying catalog, now out of print, contained essays on the leading European and American architects by Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Jr., and Mr. Johnson, a separate article on housing by Lewis Mumford and a critical foreword by Alfred H. Barr, Jr., Director of the Museum. A dozen museums throughout the country each subscribed a thousand dollars toward the expenses of the exhibition.

There had been isolated articles and pictures in American magazines and the English translation (1928) of Le Corbusier Vers une Architecture had aroused . . .

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