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Brings to life the masters of twentieth-century architecture and art, sharing anecdotes and memories of Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, Le Corbusier, Jackson Pollock, and others.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780393315035
ISBN-10: 0393315037
Format: Paperback
(236mm x 173mm x 25mm)
Pages: 368
Imprint: WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Publish Date: 12-Mar-1997
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » In a personal tour of modern architecture and the colorful, eccentric, clannish men (all men) - mostly displaced Europeans - responsible for it, Blake (Curator for Architecture and Industrial Design/Museum of Modern Art; Form Follows Fiasco, 1977, etc. - not reviewed) recovers the energy, vision, and dedication that he says characterized the profession in the decades following WW II. Born in Germany, educated in England, Blake acquired his credentials in the conservative tradition of the University of Pennsylvania, under the tutelage of the puckish Louis Kahn. Sent on tour by Architectural Forum after WW II, he met the century's moat influential architectural and design talents: Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Buckminster Fuller, Philip Johnson, et al. Living in Manhattan, Blake also met artists and photographers, including Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Hans Hofmann, Pier Mondrian, and Alexey Brodovitch, art director for Harper's Bazaar. The author conveys the creative heat, high temperament, and inevitable politics that prevailed at luncheons with these artists and in their experimental houses on Long Island and in Connecticut, where the best and brightest argued that architects could offer social solutions to poverty, overpopulation, and fascism, and that architecture was responsible for the quality of the environment, even the future of mankind. But in 1963, laments Blake, idealism turned to careerism when, in order to satisfy a client, the redesigned Pan Am building was allowed to deface the Manhattan skyline. Gradually, says the author, more and more good people began to do bad work for the people who would pay the bills, and - in place of the silent, unassuming purity of the past - there arose a generation of"postmodern poseurs" and "massive outpourings of gobbledygook." Blake's writing, like the architecture he admires, is simple, functional, humane, and profound, restoring with clarity and conviction the "First Principles" of modernism - which he celebrates in the conclusion of this powerful and outspoken book. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Peter Blake

The late Peter Blake, an architect, once served as head of the architecture and design department of the Museum of Modern Art, editor in chief of Architectural Forum, and chairman of the department of architecture at Catholic University.

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