American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader

By Keith L. Eggener | Go to book overview

American Architectural History

The study of American architectural and urban history has undergone substantial growth and change during the past two decades. American Architectural History: A Contemporary Reader provides a critical introduction to this development. It features twenty-four illustrated selections drawn from the past twenty years of publishing in the field, arranged chronologically from colonial to contemporary subjects. The editor provides a comprehensive introductory essay and sets the book’s major themes in context.

The chapters examine American architecture through a diverse range of sites, objects, issues, events, and scholarly methods. They are organized into six broad themes pertinent to particular eras. The first section considers European-American and NativeAmerican approaches to shaping architectural and community space before the American Revolution. The second looks at some of the builders and building forms of a nation newly independent and then undergoing processes of cultural consolidation. The third examines architecture and urbanism as related to the changing social and economic circumstances accompanying America’s rapid post-Civil War expansion. In the fourth section, architecture is studied in relation to the country’s rising power and international contact in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The essays in the fifth section discuss the dissemination of, and eventual movement away from, modernism in the post-World War II period. In the sixth and final section, recent concerns about urban form and public space are represented.

The readings chosen for this volume represent significant recent scholarship on key topics in American architectural history and urban history; each is concise, lively, accessible, and engaging. In terms of content and scope, there is no collection, in or out of print, directly comparable to this one.

Keith L. Eggener teaches American art and architectural history at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is the author of Luis Barragáns Gardens of El Pedregal (Princeton Architectural Press) and is associate editor of the Buildings of the United States series (Oxford University Press/Society of Architectural Historians).

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