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Hardcover | Out of Print | 451 pp. | 11 x 11 in | 522 illus. | August 1990 | ISBN: 9780262061216
Paperback | $50.95 Trade | £37.95 | 451 pp. | 11 x 11 in | 522 illus. | November 2003 | ISBN: 9780262562010

The Details of Modern Architecture, Volume 1


How did the great architects of this century reconcile their vision of architecture with the realities of building? This is a crucial question that every student of architecture must confront. The Details of Modern Architecture, the first comprehensive analysis of both the technical and the aesthetic importance of details in the development of architecture, provides not one answer but many.The more than 500 illustrations are a major contribution in their own right. Providing a valuable collective resource, they present the details of notable architectural works drawn in similar styles and formats, allowing comparisons between works of different scales, periods, and styles.

Covering the period 1890-1932, Ford focuses on various recognized masters, explaining the detailing and construction techniques that distort, camouflage, or enhance a building. He looks at the source of each architect's ideas, the translation of those ideas into practice, and the success or failure of the technical execution. Ford examines Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and Fallingwater Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, and buildings by McKim, Mead & White, Lutyens, Mies van der Rohe, and Schindler from a point of view that acknowledges the importance of tradition, precedent, style, and ideology in architectural construction. He discusses critical details from a technical and contextual standpoint, considering how they perform how they add to or detract from the building as a whole, and how some have persisted and been adapted through time.

About the Author

Edward R. Ford is a practicing architect in Charlottesville, Virginia, and Associate Professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia.


“An exceptional book.”—Witold Rybczynski, New York Review of Books


“Mr. Ford is to be congratulated for having pursued God into the details. These details fascinate, not because they're of practical use—many of them are—but because they embody fantasy as surely as the brushwork of a master painter.”
Robert Maxwell, Professor of Architecture, Princeton University
“Until now no account of the evolution of modern architecture has been willing to scrutinize the precise manner in which the canonical works have been built. Lucidly written and drawn, this critical study examines the ‘gap’ that invariably arises between the means of construction and the ends of form. Despite the underlying late modern polemic this is an indispensable work for all those involved with the tectonics of the discipline.”
Kenneth Frampton, Professor of Architecture, Columbia University
“This is a highly unorthodox book on detailing in architecture….This book belongs in the hands of every student of architecture—literally and figuratively.”
Klaus Herdeg, Professor of Architecture, Columbia University