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The Architecture of Harry Weese Hardcover – October 18, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

[T]his wonderful book by Robert Bruegmann illustrates [that Weese] was an inventive and thoughtful humanist, concerned as much with how people used and perceived his spaces as their aesthetic implications for other architects. . . . The book is candid in its discussion of this tremendously talented man and both his successes and shortcomings. (Life of an Architect)

[P]rovides a thorough and insightful account of the wide-range career of an amazingly multifaceted architect, which is long overdue. (DOCOMOMO)

[T]his is not the usual hagiographic posthumous monograph. But it does reveal Weese’s protean talent for manipulating forms, angling views and windows in unpredictable ways, and respecting and reinterpreting the past. (Architect)

This book is worth reading for any architecture buff who is not only intrigued with large public projects…but also with innovative modern residential design. (DC by Design)

This book paints an astonishingly full picture of a very gifted, extremely prolific, but, until recently largely unknown American architect. Bruegmann has carefully researched Weese's life and he tells a story which could be regarded as essential reading for anyone setting out on a life in architecture.... [T]he sheer amount and quality of work produced by Weese is extraordinary and his contribution to the built environment in America and beyond is very significant. Time spent reading Bruegmann's sensitive story and pouring over Skolnik's beautiful catalogue will be time well spent. (RIAS Quarterly)

About the Author

Robert Bruegmann, an historian of architecture, landscape, and the built environment, is University Distinguished Professor of Art History, Architecture and Urban Planning at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (October 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393731936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393731934
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 0.8 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Scott J. Tilden on October 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Harry Weese was a great modern architect and a restorer of masterworks like Burnham's Union Station in Washington, D.C. and Sullivan's Auditorium Building in Chicago. Weese's work ranged widely from designing cutting-edge structures to restoring pivotal buildings in American architectural history and from creating the much-loved METRO transit system in Washington, D.C. to championing the design of college-student, Maya Lin, in the competition for the VietNam War Memorial. No wonder Harry Weese was known as the "Conscience of Chicago."

For the first time, this book tells the story of the life and designs of this architect who was trained at MIT and Cranbrook. Its author Robert Bruegmann is the foremost historian on Chicago architecture, having written The Architects and the City: Holabird & Roche of Chicago, 1880-1918. Unlike many other illustrated architecture books, the story is the central focus with a vivid account of the complex artist Harry Weese and the buildings he loved to create.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Michael Overstreet on January 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always admired Harry Weese's work ever since I rode the Washington DC metro to the Smithsonian Campus.Hard to imagine a grand space underground.Growing up in Chicago,there are many examples of his work.This books gives great detail and tells warts and all about his struggles and victories.Anyone insterested in American architecture of any style or period,should own this work.Great photographs and catalog of built/unbuilt structures. After meeting author mthe dedication of Weese shines through,Chicago's unsung modern architect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gary T. Johnson on October 25, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Was there a major twentieth-century architect who had a wider range than Chicago's Harry Weese? Many architects did offices and apartments, schools and churches, businesses and cultural institutions. Weese also did transit systems, embassies, and a correctional center. He enthusiastically worked on historical renovations, with the restoration of Chicago's Auditorium Theatre as his crown jewel. The author is modest in describing the scope of this book, but I suspect that scholars and architecture enthusiasts alike will turn to this book for many years to come. The photographs selected for this book are gorgeous and the curating that accompanies the photographs is impressive.
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Format: Hardcover
Robert Bruegmann’s long overdue book, The Architecture of Harry Weese, (which includes individual building descriptions by Kathleen Skolnik), addresses an imbalance in architectural writing and history. Perhaps this imbalance itself is owing to the way architecture is so often practiced. Bruegmann highlights this when he writes, “The architecture of Harry Weese was something relatively rare in the late twentieth century—an architecture that had wide appeal both to the architectural elite and to ordinary citizens. It probably had this appeal because it was experimental and innovative on the one hand, and intensely pragmatic and attentive to psychological and physical human comfort on the other.”

Weese exuberantly embraced the built environment. He loved vernacular architecture, learning more from it than most of his contemporaries. He even said that once built, a structure should be considered a landmark until proven otherwise. A pioneering preservationist, Weese planned the restoration of Chicago’s Auditorium Theater evem before he arrived in Chicago to set up his practice. He later picketed the demolition of Adler and Sullivan’s Garrick Theater, refused to provide architectural service for the site of the demolished Stock Exchange, and recognized the historic significance of the “L”, calling it Chicago’s “Eiffel Tower”. “The things we own in common,” Weese wrote, “are the measure of civilization and what we preserve of these is the civilization.” Contrast all this with Frank Gehry’s recent pronouncement that “98 percent of what gets built today is s***” and you have two very different architectural viewpoints.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a gift item. The photos are clear and detailed enough to see what the man was trying for and how well he accomplished his tgoal.
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