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The Country Houses of John F. Staub (Sara and John Lindsey Series in the Arts and Humanities) Hardcover – September 28, 2007


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Product Details

  • Series: Sara and John Lindsey Series in the Arts and Humanities (Book 11)
  • Hardcover: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press; First Edition edition (September 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1585445959
  • ISBN-13: 978-1585445950
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 9.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #802,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Stephen Fox’s masterful history, The Country Houses of John F. Staub, thoroughly captures the nuances of the architect’s 50-year career. The book is unmatched in scope as Fox describes in detail the great variety of houses for privileged clients drawn to Staub, who with artistic generosity created dwellings of welcome and comfort. Most of the houses still stand handsomely on their sites.”--Frank D. Welch, FAIA
(Frank D. Welch, FAIA )

About the Author

STEPHEN FOX is a Fellow of the Anchorage Foundation of Texas.RICHARD CHEEK is one of the foremost architectural photographers in America. His work has been showcased in more than a dozen volumes published by some of the nation’s most prestigious presses.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jack Wilkerson on December 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a background, I have been collecting the drawings of the greatest American residential architects between 1900 and 1930 for over 8 years to use for inspiration in my architectural practice. This book shows the work of one of the top architects of the period. He is not the greatest in the area of artistic proportions and style, but he far outshines almost all architects living today. Most of the homes listed in this book are large examples where there was no budgetary limitation. The most difficult classical home to design is the small 2 or 3 bedroom home with a limited budget. The floor plans shown in this book give a wide mix of room proportions from square to long and narrow with every ratio in between. My measurements of hundreds of classic homes has turned up an ideal ratio room that should be used when possible. This may be an extreme viewpoint, but it works in practice. If you are in love with neoclassical and romantic homes of the first third of the 20th century, you should buy this book. It should be required reading for every Architectural Student in training for residential design.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 3, 2007
Format: Hardcover
The extent of architect John F. Staub's influence on Houston, Texas is reflected in the fact that today tour companies offer excursions to visit the homes he designed. While many tales surround one of our country's largest cities, his work is sometimes referred to as a "secret" Houston. Or, as it has been described, "Staub's Houston is one of these cities-within-a-city. The dignity, civility and amplitude of Staub's country houses, set in lush, southern, woodland gardens, represent his and his clients' vision of Houston as a garden city. "

With The Country Houses of John F. Staub, architectural historian Stephen Fox takes us on an armchair tour of Staub's work, from neighborhoods such as Shadyside, and Broadacres, to what is perhaps the most famous of all Houston communities, the address of the powerful and wealthy - River Oaks.

Staub's client list included the elite. For instance, the Hogg family for whom he created Bayou Bend, a 28 room mansion built between 1927 and 1928 for Miss Ima Hogg and her two brothers, William and Michael. A study in eighteenth-century Georgian architecture, the mansion is surrounded by magnificent gardens. In 1957 Miss Hogg donated her property to the Museum of fine Arts, Houston. Today it is one of Houston's major attractions.

This beautifully illustrated volume is not only a tribute to Mr. Staub but a mini history of Texas from the turn of the century onward. It will surely be of great interest to architects, Houstonains, and those with an interest in the development of the Lone Star State.

Highly recommended.

- Gail Cooke
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By William E. Bradley on March 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
My objections to 'Country Houses of John F. Staub' begin with the title. Why the Staub works included in the book are defined as "country houses" is quite unclear. The majority of these houses are in fairly dense urban/ suburban neighborhoods. While the architectural ancestry of many of the designs is that of English, American and even French country houses, Staub's works are very much in the mainstream of American suburban house design of the mid-twentieth century.
I lived for many years in a neighborhood rich with Staub houses, and I have always loved them for their understated and impeccable design. The earlier book on Staub by Howard Barnstone has become a collector's item and I am lucky enough to have a copy which I have read and re-read many times.
The current book, I am sorry to say, is virtually unreadable. Stephen Fox's text is laden with impenetrable sociological jargon with the thesis being, as far as I can tell, that the newly rich of Houston wished to reside in tastefully traditional houses. This 'insight' is belabored to the point of comedy. To read passages of this prose aloud will make you roll over laughing at the convoluted language used to explain the obvious.
Sadly, the overwhelming sociological point-making of the text completely dominates the book, rather than discussion of Staub's space-planning, detailing and architectural imagery.
Richard Cheek's photographs, however are positively stunning. For me, the ideal would have been a re-edition of Howard Barnstone's earlier book on Staub with the addition of Cheek's photography.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jon L. Albee TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 23, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What happens? Architectural schizophrenia. Staub was the best neo-classicist practicing in Houston, and in Texas, in the first half of the 20th century. His houses are lovely studies in delicate classical detailing, repeated to reveal truly grand scale. His art reached its full potential because it was generously patronized by wealthy Houstonians. This book tells that story, with gorgeous photography and politically loaded language.

Now, enter the over-the-top deconstructionist archi-speak of the author, who can't decide if Staub was a real genius or just another imperial imitator. Quite annoying, really. This book should have been written by someone with an appropriate appreciation for scale, proportion, massing and form rather than another graduate from Lars Lerup's flake factory. P-L-A-S-T-I-C. Yeah, whatever.

Bottom line: This book is for browsing more than reading, so you're more likely to notice the startling work of the architect than the distracting analysis of the author. It's a shame so few people appreciate the art of building anymore. Staub did, and he was a consummate artist, more disciplined than McKim, Mead and White and more original than, say, Atlanta's Neel Reid.

Buy this book as a catalog and chronicle of the work of one of our country's most talented residential architects, and go to see the houses now before Houston has a chance to demolish them all.
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