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Long Island Modernism 1930-1980 Hardcover – September 10, 2012

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (September 10, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393733157
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393733150
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“[N]ot only highlights what the island offers in terms of modern architecture, it is an excellent primer on modernism itself.” (Regional Planning Association)

“[S]tunningly illustrates how modernism is alive and well on Long Island.” (ON: A Global Lighting Publication)

“Comprehensive, exhaustively researched, and carefully detailed . . . . [T]his is a book that enriches our understanding of an important component of twentieth-century culture and belongs in the library of anyone interested in the history of Modern architecture in America.” (APT Bulletin: Journal of Preservation Technology)

“With eye-opening photographs and surprising discoveries from a forgotten past, the new book Long Island Modernism: 1930-1980 surveys a wealth of pioneering architecture produced locally by famous builders from around the world.” (The Wall Street Journal)

“A sweeping and authoritative new book, Long Island Modernism 1930-1980, by Caroline Rob Zaleski thoughtfully covers the astonishing architectural and landscape architectural achievements in the area.” (Huffington Post)

“The book is more than a field study. Zaleski weaves extensive archival research, interviews and miles on the byways into a social and cultural history of Modernism on Long Island. . . . The book’s images surprise at every page turn and their large size pulls you into the design particulars. . . . When Zaleski writes that Rudolph’s houses have stood the test of time because they ‘never lost the sense of being from the future,’ she could be talking about much of Long Island’s Modern architecture. It’s there and this book will help you discover it.” (DOCOMOMO)

“The book is an erudite tour from Great Neck to Montauk through a vibrant half-century of architectural experiment. . . . Zaleski does an excellent job of explaining both the cultural and design background in detail.” (Metropolis)

“Zaleski rises to the occasion, as architectural writers so often don’t, when pressed into play to give social context to builders and their buildings. The book is a fascinating history as well as field study.” (Architects Newspaper)

“As one of the most representative regions of the great suburbanization of the American landscape in the twentieth century, Long Island was a veritable laboratory of modern architecture and town planning. Caroline Zaleski has not only discovered countless forgotten works of major importance by some of the leading practitioners of modernism—some even the émigrés who briefly thought to bring the Bauhaus to Huntington—but also traced whole new networks of influence. Extraordinary research and period images open up new paths of interpretation: on the impact of Marcel Breuer’s work on two generations up to the early work of Richard Meier, on the modernist initial idea of Levittown, on the role of landscape designers, on the experimental forms of postwar synagogues. A tour of Long Island is a tour of modernism with the right guide!” (Barry Bergdoll, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art)

About the Author

Caroline Rob Zaleski received her Master of Science degree in architectural preservation from Columbia University’s School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and soon after became a leading advocate for the preservation of important modern architecture in New York City and on Long Island. Since 2006 she has been chair of the Preservation League of New York State Seven to Save Endangered Sites program, where she has worked to encourage the inclusion of applications relating to twentieth-century modernism and recent New York State history. A former medical journalist, Zaleski turned to preservation advocacy and the study of architectural history and preservation while she served on the Certificate of Appropriateness Committee for Landmark West! in Manhattan. She is the director of the Modern Long Island Survey for SPLIA. Her proudest “Save” was working with SPLIA to place the Edward Durell Stone–designed Conger Goodyear house in Old Westbury, Long Island, on the State and National Register and World Monuments Watch. She also led a successful campaign to raise awareness of and civic involvement in the preservation and repurposing of Eero Saarinen’s TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport. When not working on preservation projects or touring the state for Preservation League initiatives, she spends as much time as she can with her family in an unwinterized cottage near Montauk.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Killian HALL OF FAME on March 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I grabbed this book for a reason: I'm from Long Island myself and as an adult in California I'm haunted by the memories of the houses I saw and visited as a child, a teen, a young adult on the North Shore of Suffolk County. I wonder whose house I was in; I wonder if they're still standing, and the evocative cover of Long Island Modernism 1930-1980 promised the exact answers to many of my idlest daydreams. Caroline Rob Zaleski's history is, for the most part, exceedingly well researched and imaginative; she has a huge sympathy for modernism in this era in which it has been reviled and, we see in the text, continually defaced and overbuilt. In some cases, like the famous Frank Lloyd Wright houses, the owners came to realize they were living more in a cathedral setting than anything homey, and covertly added toilets and the like, and central heating. The earliest house in the book had only a water pump outside the main structure to provide water for all of its residents. And we see that some modernist architects called for vast rooms impossible to heat in Long Island's frigid winters, though they must have been lovely in early October and mid-to-late April.

Long Island in this period was a strange combination of farm and beach land, and growing suburban kitsch and sprawl. Wealthy people came to live right next to the poor settlers, and often the latter turned to serving the former, like the society pictured in the 1960s sitcom Green Acres. (Or its converse, The Pruitts of Southampton with Phyllis Diller.) As Rob Zaleski shows, the great architects came and saw and conquered, more or less, though neighborhood associations and the like sometimes vetoed innovative plans because they were just too weird.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By katharine zaleski on November 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Packed with info about so many iconic houses that most people never knew existed... until now.
If you're into design, about to embark on a design project or just like to have wonderful books in your house, then this is the one to buy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William McCaffrey on July 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Gorgeous book. I am a born and raiser Long Islander and love Modernism. The architects that built these homes are amazing and awe inspiring......
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3 of 15 people found the following review helpful By j conathan on January 20, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The product was defective. several pages were miss printed and folded. A poor printing publication. The content was not reviewed as it was immediately returned.
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