Art and Design: Architecture

Joseph Urban

Architecture, Theatre, Opera, Film

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The long-awaited major biography of an important architect who was equally famous in his day for opera, stage, and film designs.

Joseph Urban already enjoyed an enviable reputation in Vienna for architecture, stage design, and book illustration before coming to America in 1911 to design productions for the Boston Opera. Soon his sets and innovative lighting caught the eye of both Florenz Ziegfeld, who lured him away to design the Follies in the 1920s, and William Randolph Hearst, who hired him as artistic director of his movie studio.Urban's lush stagecraft revolutionized American theatre design. In 1917 he was named artistic director of the Metropolitan Opera, and many of his original settings were used into the 1950s.

As an architect, Urban made memorable additions to New York's cityscape. Many have vanished, including the original Ziegfeld Theatre, but the Hearst Building and the New School for Social Research, the city's first International Style building, remain. Several of his works in Palm Beach still stand, including his most extravagant, Mar-a-Lago, the former Post estate now owned by Donald Trump. A study of this scope has long been overdue.

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Versailles

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Exhaustively researched and opulently illustrated, this lavish volume is certain to become the standard work on the fabulous chateau of the French monarchy.

In this opulently illustrated volume, the eminent French architectural historian Jean-Marie Pérouse de Montclos traces the transformation of Louis XIII's modest hunting lodge into the fabulous château we know today as the extravagant height of the French monarchy. Robert Polidori's sublime photographs show Versailles' architecture, interiors, and gardens, from sweeping aerial views, to grandiose views of the elaborately decorated palace ceilings, to intimate photographs of the paintings and sculptures that grace the walls and gardens. The exquisite artistry of each carefully considered decorative detail reveals Versailles in all its magnificence.

The photographs show all the beauty and ornate decoration of Versailles, in every season and from every possible perspective. Polidori presents quiet, warmly-lit landscapes of the gardens and pools, dramatic visions of the colonnades, and expansive views of the vast, airy, luxurious salons. The text is a scholarly study of the history of the evolving aesthetic of this remarkable palace, attesting not only to its importance as the ultimate expression of European absolutism but also to its significance as an experimental design workshop that was to become widely influential.

 

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Manhattan Lightscape

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This luminous photographic collection highlights New York City's most breathtaking views and grandest buildings.

Master architectural photographer Nathaniel Lieberman sees New York City in terms of light: the light of dawn casting a honey-colored glow over the East River; the light of dusk soothing the stately structures on Central Park West; artificial light setting midtown Manhattan ablaze at night; the sharp light of day delineating the incomparable Manhattan skyline. His vistas, taken from high atop New York's skyscrapers and from its bridges and boroughs, portray the world's most powerful city as we have only imagined it in our dreams.

For the first time, fifty-seven of these photographs, representing a decade of Lieberman's work, have been collected in this sumptuously produced volume. They feature the city's most breathtaking views and grandest buildings. The entire length of Central Park is captured in each of the seasons; the Brooklyn Bridge is illuminated by a burst of fireworks during the celebration of its centenary; the twin towers of the World Trade Center soar majestically above the deserted lanes of the old West Side Highway; the glass-and-steel grid of the Jacob Javits Convention Center twinkles futuristically; the dramatic Citicorp Building forms part of a strikingly geometric composition.

With an introduction by Mark Helprin, author of Winter's Tale--a novel acclaimed for its magical evocation of New York City--and quotes about New York by a host of residents and visitors past and present, Manhattan Lightscape is certain to be irresistible to anyone who has ever romanced the stones of this remarkable city.

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Jefferson's Monticello

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The fascinating history and development of Monticello — home of its designer and architect, Thomas Jefferson.

The ideals that guided Jefferson's career as a statesman and political thinker also inspired his work as the architect and designer of his home at Monticello. Indeed, no great house in America more closely reflects the intellectual and aesthetic vision of its builder. Here, in this copiously illustrated and thoroughly researched book, Howard Adams traces Monticello's fascinating history and development from the first plans through the 40 years of building and rebuilding that continued right up to Jefferson's death in 1826.

In four major sections, the author deals with Jefferson the man and Jefferson the designer/builder; explores in detail the designing and building of the first as well as the final Monticello; examines the furnishings Jefferson designed and acquired for the house; and discusses the development of the grounds as well, for Jefferson was one of the first Americans to give serious thought to landscape architecture. Mr. Adams also relates the varying fortunes of the house from Jefferson's death to the current undertakings which shall finally restore Monticello to the way Jefferson knew and planned it.

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Fallingwater

A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House

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Considered Frank Lloyd Wright's domestic masterpiece, Fallingwater is recognized worldwide as the paradigm of organic architecture. Here, in beautiful photographs, the first as-built measured plans, and an intimate narrative by the only key figure still alive, is the fascinating story of this masterwork.

Fallingwater is the most famous modern house in America. Indeed, readers of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects voted it the best American building of the last 125 years! Annually, more than 128,000 visitors seek out Fallingwater in its remote mountain site in southwestern Pennsylvania. Considered Frank Lloyd Wright's domestic masterpiece, the house is recognized worldwide as the paradigm of organic architecture, where a building becomes an integral part of its natural setting.

This charming and provocative book is the work of the man best qualified to undertake it, who was both apprentice to Wright and son of the man who commissioned the house. Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., closely followed the planning and construction of Fallingwater, and lived in the house on weekends and vacations for twenty-seven years-until, following the deaths of his parents, he gave the house in 1963 to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to hold for public enjoyment and appreciation.

This is a personal, almost intimate record of one man's fifty-year relationship to a work of genius that only gradually revealed its complexities and originality. With full appreciation of the intentions of both architect and client, Mr. Kaufmann described this remarkable building in detail, telling of its extraordinary virtues but not failing to reveal its faults. One section of the book focuses on the realities of Fallingwater as architecture. A famous building right from its beginnings (only partly because it was Wright's first significant commission in more than a decade), Fallingwater has accumulated considerable publicity and analysis-much of it off the mark. Mr. Kaufmann outlined and dealt with the common misunderstandings that have obscured the building's true values and supplied accurate information and interpretations. In another section Mr. Kaufmann provided an in-depth essay on the subtleties of Fallingwater, the ideology underlying its esthetics. A key element of this is the close interweaving of the house and its rugged, challenging setting, which he explicated in fascinating detail.

The author maintained throughout the direct approach of one who knew and loved Fallingwater. As an apprentice and loyal admirer of the architect, Mr. Kaufmann was well attuned to the architecture. And as a retired professor of architectural history and frequent lecturer and panelist, he had considerable experience in presenting and interpreting Wright's ideas. Thoroughly versed in the books, articles, drawings, and buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright, Mr. Kaufmann was eminently situated to place Fallingwater in that context. This unique record was presented in celebration of Fallingwater's fiftieth anniversary.

Special features of this volume include: numerous never-before published photographs of the house under construction, during its entire history, and of the family in residence; a room-by-room pictorial survey in full color taken especially for this volume; isometric architectural perspectives that explain visually how the house was constructed; and the first accurate, measured plans of the house as built.

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