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The Architecture of Ralph Adams Cram and His Office Hardcover – April 30, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0393731040 ISBN-10: 0393731049 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (April 30, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393731049
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393731040
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,652,021 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


One splendid book. (Denver Catholic Record, George Weigel) REVIEW: Handsomely illustrated....Anthony's unparalleled access to the firm's records accounts for the insightful quality of the writing. (Ecclesiology Today, Hilary Grainger) REVIEW: Profusely illustrated volume...bequeaths the whole of the man's kaleidoscopic output to a new generation of architects. (First Things, Matthew Alderman)

Handsomely illustrated....Anthony's unparalleled access to the firm's records accounts for the insightful quality of the writing.


Handsomely illustrated....Anthony's unparalleled access to the firm's records accounts for the insightful quality of the writing.

Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 24 people found the following review helpful By B. Smith on May 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
From the front cover of a building at Rice University not even by Cram, well the foreground arch is, to the many factual errors this book is rather a disappointment. The rather short Cram biography which opens the book adds not much to our understanding of Cram, and the errors begin here, from Cram being received into the "Anglican Communion of the Catholic Church" to the description of the Oxford Movement as a renwal movement in the Catholic Church after the Catholic Emancipation in England. The author dismisses previous works by Shand-Tucci, which at least gave us a three-dimensional person, even if controversial, and Shand-Tucci certainly understood the religious aspect of Cram's art. This intro biography is rather like an encyclopedia article. What makes the book worthwhile is the chronological review of the firm's work through presentation drawings and archival photos. There are some missing buildings which it would have been nice to see covered, and St John the Divine doesn't actually merit any photographs, just a few drawings. The captions to the photos are cursory and some are labeled incorrectly i.e. a photo of Bodley's model for Washington Cathedral identified as a model of Cram's for a DC Presbyterian Church. The chapel for Holy Cross in West Park as being for the Society of St John the Evangelist. Really fundamental things which should have been caught in editing. None of Cram's decorative works are really covered, and there seems to be little understanding of Cram's deep faith being the underpinning of all his art. There are errors in the projects list as well which don't warrant discussing here. It would have been nice to see some color photos, of which there are none. I would recommend buying this book only for the coverage of some lesser known works, as it's not terribly expensive, but all in all it is not a book which adds to our understanding of Cram and being by the President of Cram's firm it is rather lacking.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Milliner on March 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"When I was wandering through North Italy, I had come to Assisi, and there... before the tomb of St. Francis, by some unaccountable impulse I had found myself on my knees and trying to say something in the way of prayers." This is how a gifted young man from a family of New England Unitarians described his first step towards classical Christian faith. He continues, "I did not make out very well, for it was actually the first time in my life when anything of the sort had happened. With a mystical philosopher for a father and a mother of keen rationalistic convictions (albeit a poet), prayer, or indeed, anything approaching formal religious action, was out of the question..." The year was 1887, and the young man, then 24, was Ralph Adams Cram, soon to be one of the 20th century's most prodigious American architects. Following the Assisi experience came Christmas Mass in Rome, an event powerful enough to result in his conversion.

Just as Cram sought more traditional fiber in matters of the spirit, so did he in his chosen profession. "Gothic is less a method of construction," he suggested, "than it is a mental attitude, the visualizing of a spiritual impulse." It was an impulse that resonated deeply in early 20th-century America. After Cram won his first major design competition--a robust Gothic makeover of the Academy at West Point--commissions followed nationwide. As a result, Cram's fresh interpretations of the Gothic tradition continue to shape daily life in Boston, Chicago, Washington, Detroit, Houston, Princeton, South Bend, and dozens more American towns. His crowning achievements were saved for Manhattan: St. Thomas' Fifth Avenue and St. John the Divine. The latter, like so many of the European Gothic cathedrals that inspired it, remains incomplete.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David W. Scudder on May 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book concentrates on the architecture of Cram, a neo-gothic master who at one time was ranked among our most important architects. Responsible for the campuses of much of Princeton and Rice, as well as the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in NY, Cram was a crucial exponent of the gothic tradition. While the book is somewhat short on its subject's life, it does full justice--both in words and pictures--to the architecture.
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More About the Author

Biography: Ethan Anthony

Ethan Anthony was born October 14, 1950 in Iowa City, Iowa. He spent his youth in Stow, Massachusetts where he attended Stow public schools through eighth grade. He graduated from Xavier High School (Jesuit) in Concord, Massachusetts in 1968, studied at the Boston Architectural College 70-77, and received his architectural degree from the University of Oregon at Eugene in 1980. There, Mr. Anthony studied architecture with Professor Gary Moye, and studied painting under Frank Okada and Brian Kaslov.

Mr. Anthony then was employed in the firm of Payette Associates 1980-83 where he was a project architect in John L. Wilson's studio. He was lead designer under Mr. Wilson for hospitals and medical office buildings in Maine and Georgia and a hotel in Egypt.

Mr. Anthony founded Anthony Associates in 1983 where he practiced until 1990. During that time he designed a program of additions to the Springfield, Vermont Hospital and numerous residential and educational projects. In 1991 Anthony Associates merged with the firm of Hoyle, Doran and Berry, Inc. (successor firm to Cram and Ferguson) where Mr Anthony practiced until 2010.

In 2010 Mr. Anthony founded a new studio in Concord, Massachusetts, Cram and Ferguson Architects LLC to focus on his core interest, new classic American architecture.

The studio concentrates on planning and design and innovation in New classic American religious and academic buildings. Recent work includes a new 90,000 Square Foot Monastery for the Cistercian foundation of Valley of Our Lady in Wisconsin, a new 350 seat American Gothic church for St. Kateri Tekakwitha Catholic Church in Illinois and consulting on restoration of the Day Memorial Chapel in Norwood, Massachusetts and on the Notre Dame Chapel at Trinity University of Washington DC. To see examples of current work visit the firm website at http://www.cramandferguson.com or at www.facebook.com/pages/Cram-and-Ferguson-Architects-LLC.

Mr. Anthony and his wife Luz travel extensively in England, France, Germany, Spain and Italy where they photograph remote historic religious monuments creating a photographic archive for use in his architectural work.


Mr Anthony has written numerous articles and Book reviews for magazines such as Sacred Architecture and Traditional Building.

In 2007 he published the history of the architectural work of the original Cram firm and its founder Ralph Adams Cram (WW Norton April 2007). In 2009 he contributed a chapter to an anthology on the Venice Charter and in 2011 another to an anthology on the importance of Beauty in modern religious architecture.

Mr. Anthony lectures on Ralph Adams Cram and on his current religious and academic architecture. Contact information is available at www.cramandferguson.com.

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