Tag Archives: cultural history

New Books at the Architecture & Planning Library: Identity and Interior Design

Interior design is based on expectations and aspirations of how the inhabitants of a space will live and behave.  In this way interior design not only reflects the lifestyle of the inhabitants, it can be used to project personality traits the inhabitants wish to convey. Several new books at the Architecture & Planning Library this week focus on the fascinating intersection of interior design with personal identity.

Biography, Identity and the Modern Interior edited by Anne Massey and Penny Sparke is a collection of essays that consider the historical insights that can be gleaned from investigating the lives of individuals, groups, and interiors. The authors use case studies to explore the history of the interior as a site in which everyday life is experienced and the ways in which architects and interior designers draw on personal and collective histories in their practice.

 

Bachelors of a Different Sort: Queer Aesthetics, Material Culture and the Modern Interior by John Potvin examines the ambivalent and uncomfortable position bachelors have held in society by considering the complicated relationships between the modern queer bachelor and interior design, material culture, and aesthetics in Britain between 1885 and 1957. The author discusses the interiors of Lord Ronald Gower, Alfred Taylor, Oscar Wilde, Charles Shannon and Charles Ricketts, Edward Perry Warren and John Marshall, Sir Cedric Morris and Arthur Lett-Haines, Noël Coward and Cecil Beaton.

Ron Arad: Another Twist in the Plot with text by Anatxu Zabalbeascoa is the catalog from a 2013 exhibition of the work of architect and designer Ron Arad, that includes photographs and sketches of some of his most iconic works as well as several mock-ups and architectural projects. Arad considers himself to be a self-taught designer with an approach to form and structure based on freedom from tradition and convention.  ‘The principle is that everything should be based on something that didn’t exist before’, says Arad.

 

*Click the title of any book in this post to link directly to the library catalog.

Feature Friday: A Guide to Dallas Architecture

Happy Feature Friday! Only a few more posts until the fall semester – time sure flies when you’re sweating uncontrollably in the Austin summer heat. (Or is that just me?)

This Friday, we’re once again shedding light on a unique subset of books at the Architecture & Planning Library: city guides. These range from self-guided architecture tours to city overviews that delve into historic facts and figures. Though many of these titles may come up in research, they’re also great to turn to when planning a visit to a new city.

Sure, Google and travel-assisting websites like Yelp and Foursquare may have overtaken print as the modern technological “guidebooks,” but there’s something both comforting and convenient about having a complete tour guide in written word. Personally, nothing will top being able to easily flip through a few pages, scour various custom maps, and decide on my next destination – all without worrying about draining my phone’s battery!

The Architecture & Planning Library holds an extensive amount of titles for both present-day tours and ones that reveal the past. I absolutely love finding guidebooks from a decade ago or older for cities that I’ve been to many times and comparing my internal map to what was there before. For example, when I added provenance notes to the Karl Kamrath Collection in late 2013, I came across an architectural walking tour of Chicago from 1969, complete with illustrations and maps. I was enthralled with photographs that depicted ornate skyscrapers that had been sacrificed over the years for towering glass symbols of prestige, the very symbols that define Chicago’s skyline today. By studying the tour book intently, I feel like I now have a greater depth and understanding of the city’s timeline and urban development, and now picture the ghosts of former buildings when passing their replacements. There’s something both beautiful and haunting about reading a first-hand account of a tour through a city so many years ago – only to realize how vastly different our present-day experience of the same city is.

Historical treasures stud our stacks, but so do more modern titles of guidebooks, which may surprise some readers. For example, The American Institute of Architects Guide to Dallas Architecture from 1999 is a great example of more recent efforts to present an American city clearly, cohesively, and comprehensively in one book.

This differs from the tour books you may find on a bookstore’s shelf in that its primary focus is architectural – in its descriptions, tour arrangements, photography, and significant features. Where most off-the-shelf guidebooks might direct you towards the latest restaurants or nightlife, this book details parks, key structures, historic neighborhoods and districts, as well as sculptures and gardens. The maps are tailored to custom walking tours and guide you through one of Texas’ and America’s great cities to places even Dallas natives may have overlooked. And although this publication is much more modern than the 1969 Chicago tour, 1999 is still well over a decade ago – and the comparisons to the present city are likely staggering!

The next time you plan a visit to a new city, I highly recommend searching for a tour or guidebook in our catalog beforehand to see if you have the opportunity to check out one of the myriad architecturally-centric ones in our stacks. If coupled with a bookstore guidebook, your trip will likely be full of surprises – ranging from off-the-beaten-path monuments or neighborhoods to ghosts of city’s past.

Happy exploring!

Manuel d’Archéologie Française depuis les Temps Mérovingiens jusqu’à la Renaissance: Costume

Enlart, Camille. Manuel d’Archéologie Française depuis les Temps Mérovingiens jusqu’à la Renaissance: Costume. V. 3. Paris: Picard, 1916.

Collection: Cret

In his final installment of Manuel d’Archéologie Française, Camille Enlart relies heavily upon visual sources including paintings, drawings, sculptures and artifacts to produce a chronological analysis of medieval dress and style. In the introduction, Enlart establishes himself within the contemporary academic milieu, citing contributors to the study of French dress while distinguishing himself as a more deliberate scholar. He expands the traditional chronological framework and fastidiously collects and cites sources, exemplifying the turn-of-the-century trend toward positivism. He also constructs a detailed index that not only links significant terms to relevant discussion within the book, but also assists the reader in organizing these terms, understanding their meaning, and situating them in their historical context. For Enlart, the scientific method affords a greater opportunity to effectively discern and communicate new meaning from familiar material.

Library of Congress call number: NA 1043 E6 1919

L’Architecture Francaise

Dormoy, Marie. L’Architecture Française. Boulogne (Siene) Éditions de “L’Architecture d’aujourd’hui” [1938]

Marie Dormoy explores the history of French architecture in L’Architecture Française, examining construction practices and materials to locate what is most essentially and consistently French about French architecture over time. By reducing space to its integral parts and the systems used to assemble those components, Dormoy performs a deconstructive analysis that functions to collapse all of French architectural history into itself, where essence becomes the thread of definition, signifying a relationship not only to practice but also to the projection of Frenchness in the built environment. Writing in French, Dormoy analyzes the full scope of French architectural history, and, while she provides little of substance about the varying shifts in the history of French design, she produces an excellent example of a scholar (and a woman!) attempting to locate broader meanings in space and across time.

Collection: Cret
Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 D67

Versailles

Arizzoli-Clémentel, Pierre, ed. Versailles. 2 vols. Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 2009.

A recent acquisition to the Architecture & Planning Library Special Collection, Versailles is a compendium documenting the rich architectural, art and cultural histories of the 17th century palace. This two-volume work juxtaposes plans, sections, and other drawing that express the palace’s design with high-resolution photographs of its resplendent interior and exterior spaces, and a number of essays that explore its art, sculpture, and landscape and architectural design. Versailles includes additional essays that examine the cultural and political activities that took place within the palace.

 

The Vernacular and Academic Nostalgia

Farm Houses, Manor Houses, Minor Chateaux and Small Churches: From the Eleventh to the Sixteenth Centuries, in Normandy, Brittany and other parts of France. New York: The Architectural Book Publishing Company, P. Wenzel and M. Krakow, 1917.

Another selection from the Paul Philippe Cret collection, Farm Houses, Manor Houses, Minor Chateaux and Small Churches is a collection of nearly 100 pages of images documenting vernacular architecture throughout Normandy, Brittany and other parts of France. While there is no index or table of contents, the book’s preface provides some unique insight into the function of this assembly. Written by AIA Fellow Ralph Adams Cram, we once again hear from a scholar seeking to return to a simpler moment, a time when architecture possessed “human scale.” Whether this response reflects the broader attitude toward the social and cultural activities that precipitated the First World War, or a more individual perspective, Cram suggests that the images compiled in the pages of this book are rooted in nostalgia, a time gone by and yet a moment his contemporaries should return to.

Collection: Cret
Library of Congress call number: NA 1041 F3