194X: Architecture, Planning, and Consumer Culture on the by Andrew M. Shanken PDF

By Andrew M. Shanken

During the second one international conflict, American structure used to be in a nation of obstacle. The rationing of establishing fabrics and regulations on nonmilitary building persisted the privations that the occupation had persisted in the course of the nice melancholy. while, the dramatic occasions of the Thirties and Forties led many architects to think that their profession—and society itself—would suffer a profound shift as soon as the conflict ended, with inner most commissions giving method to centrally deliberate tasks. The journal Architectural Forum coined the time period “194X” to encapsulate this wartime imaginative and prescient of postwar structure and urbanism.

In an incredible research of yank structure in the course of global battle II, Andrew M. Shanken specializes in the tradition of anticipation that arose during this interval, as out-of-work architects became their energies from the outfitted to the unbuilt, redefining themselves as planners and growing unique designs to excite the general public approximately postwar structure. Shanken recasts the wartime period as a crucible for the intermingling of modernist structure and purchaser culture.

not easy the pervasive concept that company capitalism corrupted the idealism of modernist structure within the postwar period, 194X indicates as a substitute that architecture’s wartime partnership with company American used to be based on shared anxieties and beliefs. enterprise and structure have been introduced jointly in cutting edge methods, as proven by way of Shanken’s persuasive studying of journal ads for Revere Copper and Brass, U.S. Gypsum, normal electrical, and different businesses that prominently featured the paintings of top revolutionary architects, together with Louis I. Kahn, Eero Saarinen, and Walter Gropius.

even supposing the unforeseen prosperity of the postwar period made the structure of 194X out of date prior to it can be equipped and ended in its exclusion from the tale of twentieth-century American structure, Shanken makes transparent that its anticipatory rhetoric and designs performed an important position within the frequent acceptance

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Extra info for 194X: Architecture, Planning, and Consumer Culture on the American Home Front

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Urban Redevelopment and Housing insisted on liberal legislation and federal The Culture of Planning 31 aid that would allow local agencies to assemble enough land in order to carry out comprehensive plans, calling for “square-mile” planning. 66 The pitch would have played well among progressive architects, many of whom had been arguing a similar cause since the 1920s, Le Corbusier being the most famous example. 67 Both authors understood the importance of finding allies in industry and the planning professions and in creating a swell of public support.

Far from an inert visual mode, or fashion, abstraction seemed to possess force in and of itself, to be endowed with the power of erasure, the ability to sweep out the old and usher in new modes of communication and behavior. In some sense, this is the nature of any new paradigm. ”59 The promise of abstraction for planning would have been seductive, especially where the clutter of slums and the intractable problem of weak eminent domain laws made pure form, and therefore pure design, virtually impossible.

This would have resonated strongly with Americans scarcely four years removed from the Great Depression. 52 Government-induced full employment, some economists theorized, would forestall a postwar depression much in the way that the war ended the Depression by putting every able-bodied person to work. The connection to city planning was implicit: after the war, publicly sponsored urban reconstruction would offer intensive and sustained employment. One more visual cue reinforced this reading: the planners placed the word “training” in the exit corner, where the eye leaves the page, another appeal to the labor dislocations of depression and war and an important part of reconversion and the assimilation of returning veterans.

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