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The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and City Planning at Harvard Hardcover – June 17, 2002

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Editorial Reviews


Alofsin does a fine job of introducing readers in the postmodern era to the social and political roots of [the] genre. (Laurel McSherry - Landscape Architecture)

Anyone interested in the...question of what consituted “modern” in the first half of the 20th century, should read this book. (M. Frank, University of Massachusetts, Lowell)

About the Author

Anthony Alofsin is Roland Roessner Centennial Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (June 17, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393730484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393730487
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 1.1 x 10.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,806,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Anthony Alofsin is an architect, artist, art historian, writer, and professor. He was educated at Andover, Harvard, and Columbia University. Alofsin is recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright and as an expert on modern architecture. His research and writing on Wright's first travels to Europe have defined the life and work of the architect in the 1910s. In 2006, Alofsin received the Wright Spirit Award from the Frank Lloyd Wright Building Conservancy. The award honors an individual who, through artistic, architectural, scholarly, professional or other endeavors embodies the spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright. His most recent book is Frank Lloyd Wright, Art Collector (April 2012). He is editor of Prairie Skyscraper: Frank Lloyd Wright's Price Tower and Frank Lloyd Wright: Europe and Beyond, and he has written a new introduction to Frank Lloyd Wright's famous Wasmuth folios, Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe, which appeared in English, German, and Italian editions. His published works include the introduction to Frank Lloyd Wright's Fifty Views of Japan: the 1905 Photograph Album. His pioneering study, Frank Lloyd Wright: the Lost Years, 1910-1922, is acknowledged to be one of the most important books on Wright in the last forty years; the book was a winner in the monograph category in the American Institute of Architects International Book Awards. Alofsin's other publications include the five-volume reference work, Frank Lloyd Wright: An Index to the Taliesin Correspondence, which won the Vasari Award of the Dallas Museum of Art; it has become an invaluable reference tool for Wright scholars and researchers the world over.

His book When Buildings Speak: Architecture as Language in the Habsburg Empire and its Aftermath, 1867-1933 won the Vasari Award from the Dallas Museum of Art; a German language edition appeared in 2011. From 1992-1996 he originated and directed the research project "A Tense Alliance: Architecture in the Habsburg Lands, 1893-1928," an international collaboration among scholars in Central Europe and North America who conducted original field research on modernism and nationalism throughout the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. He is editor of A Modernist Museum in Perspective: The East Building, National Gallery of Art. He is the author The Struggle for Modernism: Architecture, Landscape Architecture, and City Planning at Harvard, the history of the Harvard Graduate School of Design from its beginnings through the 1960s. His book reviews and essays have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The Burlington Magazine, and The New Criterion. His first work of fiction, Halflife was published in January, 2009.

He has been named a Fellow, Helen R. Whiteley Center, Friday Harbor, Washington; Fellow, Bogliasco Foundation, Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities; Ailsa Mellon Bruce Senior Fellow, Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C; Fellow, MacDowell Colony; Fellow, the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Vienna; Visiting Scholar, the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation; Visiting Fellow, Harvard Graduate School of Design; and Fulbright Professor, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna.

Alofsin was ranked internationally "Best of the Best" and in the 90th percentile of research professors, academics, and dons by the Key Centre for Architectural Sociology.

He has also been active as a curator and adviser to several architectural exhibitions. He was consulting curator for the major retrospective "Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect" at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He curated "Prairie Skyscraper" on Wright's Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and the exhibition "Wright's Wasmuth Folios: Representing the Ideal," at the Ross Gallery, Columbia University.

He maintains an architectural practice and his projects, which range in scale and style, have been frequently published. The sites of his projects include New Mexico, New York, and Texas. He also lectures internationally and is the Roland Roessner Centennial Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Austin where he founded and directed the Ph.D. program in architectural history.

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By A Customer on January 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Modernism in architecture is so closely identified with a handful of hero figures (like Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe) that we often forget that the real story behind its development is a complex and contentious one. In this wonderful and much-needed book, Anthony Alofsin deftly illustrates that the arrival of European architects in the U.S. in the 1930s cast a shadow over emerging progressive trends in American architectural design and education. At Harvard in particular, this led to an amnesia that convinced students and professors alike that it was Gropius who brought modern ideas to the Graduate School of Design when he began teaching there in 1937. "The Struggle for Modernism" shows clearly, though, that the kernels of these modern ideas were present in the Harvard design programs from their beginnings in 1900. It was not from the Bauhaus that Harvard developed its interdisciplinary approach to design that insisted on collaboration amongst architects, landscape architects, and city planners. Instead, it was Americans like Herbert Langford Warren, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr., George Harold Edgell, and, most importantly, Joseph Hudnut who over decades created the influential and rigorous design programs. This is a fascinating and most welcome book that sheds much new light on a subject that many have incorrectly assumed was already well-understood. Highly recommended.
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