America Builds: Source Documents in American Architecture and Planning

America Builds: Source Documents in American Architecture and Planning

America Builds: Source Documents in American Architecture and Planning

America Builds: Source Documents in American Architecture and Planning

Excerpt

Architecture requires a broad definition. It involves more than simply questions of style, esoteric theory, or technical progress; it is the physical record of a culture's relationship to its technology and the land, and, most important, of the system of values concerning men's relationships with one another. Hence this volume, like my Concise History of American Architecture, deals with all the spatial and environmental arts. Conceived as a companion volume to the Concise History, this similarly surveys architecture, landscape architecture, and planning from the arrival of European settlers up to 1980. The need for this anthology arose from the unavailability of Don Gifford's The Literature of Architecture (New York, 1966), a collection most useful but out of print for almost a decade. That anthology, however, covered only architecture in the nineteenth century, and other collections were equally selective in their foci. David R. Weimer, City and Country in America (New York, 1962), surveys planning and landscape architecture, while Lewis Mumford, Roots of Contemporary American Architecture (New York, 1952), is concerned primarily with the sources of the Modern Movement in the United States. Another collection, William A. Coles and Henry Hope Reed, Jr., Architecture in America: A Battle of Styles (New York, 1961), is comprised of many short fragments concerning five subject buildings, and the brevity of its selections is equaled by the clipped fragments in Christopher Tunnard, The Modern American City (New York, 1968) which surveys planning. Each of these is good for the limited subject it covers, but architecture in the broad sense outlined here crosses chronological and thematic boundaries. Hence this volume seeks to combine something of the breadth of these previous collections in one anthology. Like the Concise History, this sampling of source documents is offered in the hope of spurring the reader to further investigation. For data on the many architects mentioned here, see the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Architects, 4 vols. (New York, 1982), which appeared as this was going to press.

Grateful thanks are due, as always, to Cass Canfield, Jr., of Harper & Row, who helped this project see the light of day. I must thank, too, the staffs of the University of Oregon Library and the Avery Library, Columbia University, who helped provide material and illustrations, and to David R. Gerhan of the Schaffer Library, Union College, who supplied photocopies of the Hunt-Parmly litigation from the rare Architects' and Mechanics' Journal. My sincere thanks are offered to the many living authors who most kindly consented to the reappearance of their words.

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