- Series: MIT Press
- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: The MIT Press (September 28, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0262622130
- ISBN-13: 978-0262622134
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.4 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #373,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture (MIT Press)
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With a sensibility conditioned by current design culture and an erudition leavened by wit and style, sylvia Lavin's account of Neutra will convince a broad audience that architecture history really does matter. Like a skillful remix of an already good song, Form Follows Libido gives us Richard Neutra again for the first time. In Lavin's compelling story, the formerly minor modernist is rejuvenated as a psychospatial therapist who fills environments with psychic energies, affective atmospheres, and shifting moods. And her history of his work becomes a genealogy for much of what is interesting about current design practice.(K. Michael Hays, Eliot Noyes Professor of Architecture Theory, Harvard University)
What a great teacher Sylvia Lavin is! She follows Richard Neutra from his beginnings in fin-de-siecle Vienna―caught between Freud's unconscious drives and the puritanical order of Loss's rationalism―to the sprawling (formless) plains of the American West and the revelation of Wright's buildings, which turn his focus to the libidinal drives that open a transference love between architect and client and raise the problems of speration adumbrated by Otto Rank's 'birth trauma.' To mark separations between inside and outside, even while overcoming them, Neutra pioneers the mitered glass corner, the spider-leg support system, the reflecting pools, and the deep overhanging eaves that make his work the acme of libidinal design. Lavin's argument is as lucid as it is persuasive, a great achievement in architectural history and theory.(Rosalind E. Krauss, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory, Columbia University)
In 1982, when I published my own book on Neutra and co-curated the Neutra retrospective at MOMA, I eagerly looked forward to subsequent works that would take Neutra studies in new and different directions. Sylvia Lavin's Form Follows Libido is such a book and will be richly controversial―in the best sense of the term―in both architectural and psychological circles. Imaginatively theorized, provocatively argued, and drolly written, this polemical yet open-minded work is a stimulating journey into a complex web of intertwined strands in the cultural history of the twentieth century.(Thomas S. Hines, author of Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture)
Form Follows Libido is a singular achievement in architectural history, remarkable for its seductive and adventurous prose as much as the revelatory force of its arguments. It provides the clearest, and most stimulating, recent example I know of architectural history as intellectual and cultural history, and should provide scholars in all areas of the discipline with an exemplary model of how to write the history of architecture today.(Keith Bresnahan RACAR)
Provocative and readable, her study offers a fresh approach to architectural criticism...(LA Architect)
As alluring in its conjectural syncopations as it is impressive its intellectual focus, Form Follows Libido heats up the straitlaced rhythms of foursquare architectural scholarship. Lavin's account of the shaping of Neutra's architectural modernism by psychoanalytic pop culture is an invaluable study, to be sure. But even better, it's a scintillating read. If, until now, picking up a book of architectural history meant bracing oneself for yet another minuet or dirge, get ready to read a tango.(Jeffrey Kipnis, Knowlton School of Architecture, The Ohio State University)
About the Author
Sylvia Lavin is Professor and Chair of the Architecture Department at UCLA.