Marcus Whiffen

Marcus Whiffen is Professor Emeritus in the School of Architecture at Arizona State University.

  • American Architecture Since 1780, Revised Edition

    American Architecture Since 1780, Revised Edition

    A Guide to the Styles

    Marcus Whiffen

    When Marcus Whiffen's classic introduction to American architectural styles was published in 1969, Reyner Banham called it "one of the most enjoyable general works on American architecture that has ever appeared."This new edition, containing descriptions, histories, and illustrations of more than forty architectural styles, has been revised and updated to include two new entries on late modernism and on post-modernism and a description of "streamline moderne," now recognized as an independent style. The number of illustrations has been increased to 200.

    • Hardcover $25.00
    • Paperback $24.95
  • American Architecture Since 1780

    American Architecture Since 1780

    A Guide to the Styles

    Marcus Whiffen

    The author has designed this guide not for the experienced architect but for the man in the street, for what he calls the “building watcher,” as an aid to his experiencing architecture. It is concerned entirely with the visual characteristics of the various styles as they can be seen from the outside – as the man in the street sees them. From this point of view, plans and interiors are inappropriate to the book's aim, which is to serve as a guide to architectural styles, not as a history or criticism of them. If the book inspires the building watcher to cross the threshold into a deeper understanding of the buildings and their stylistic features, into an inside-out knowledge of architecture, then so much the better.

    Each style is illustrated with several photographs (there are almost 200 in all) arranged so that each group in forms visually to best advantage. The photographs are separated from identifying captions and stylistic descriptions purposely, in order that the reader may form his own intuitive composite sense of a style before being distracted – and perhaps even misled – by the details of date, place, and architect. In the same way, and for the same reasons, the descriptions precede the historical text that recounts the origins, flourishing, and decline of the styles.

    Most large American cities contain examples of many (or most) of these styles, only a few of which are predominantly regional. The guide will thus prove instructive to the man around town as well as to the continental traveler.

    The author (who is Professor of Architecture at Arizona State University) has provided “a glossary to diminish the need to refer to other books, and... a bibliography to facilitate reference to them.”

    • Hardcover $30.00
    • Paperback $10.95
  • The Architect and the City

    Marcus Whiffen

    This seminar was held at Cranbrook Academy, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, in 1962, under the joint auspices of the American Institute of Architects and the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture; the proceedings, which are collected in this important new book, deserve the attention of every working architect.

    The urban areas of the United States will grow by 90 million persons within the next twenty years, and the architect's role in shaping the character of the American scene will expand enormously. But his influence at the policy-making level of urban planning and his social awareness must be broadened. The contributions frankly admit that architectural education as presently constituted is thoroughly inadequate in providing the necessary background in economics, politics, sociology, and modern technology, which are as essential to today's architect as his creative imagination. In the tightly structured urban regions, his responsibilities go beyond the single building to embrace the total environment. Constructive suggestions for updating and liberalizing his professional education are discussed in detail.

    Still, as several contributors point out, for all these other factors which must now be taken into account, the architect's chief concern remains what it has always been” the marriage of usefulness and beauty. As Le Corbusier puts it: “The architect by his arrangement of forms realizes an order which is the pure creation of his spirit.... He determines the various movements of our heart and of our understanding; it is then that we experience the sense of beauty.”

    • Hardcover $9.95
  • The History, Theory, and Criticism of Architecture

    Marcus Whiffen

    A distinguished group of architectural educators—men who have a large responsibility for the form that the architecture of the future will take—address themselves here to architects at large, as well as to their teachers. They are concerned primarily to weigh the relative roles of history, theory and criticism in the teaching—and practice—of architects.

    The architect is a public artist with the largest of “captive audiences”—the total population. As such, he has responsibilities which go beyond pure art—he must concern himself with social, economic and political matters.

    The contributors to this volume emphasize that in order to produce a meaningful and humane environment, he must also develop an acute sense of history.

    They point out that the American architect in particular is so rootless and mobile, has so limited an architectural tradition and is so scantily educated in history—even architectural history—that his buildings by and large tend to be exercises in personal or fashionable whim; however interesting in themselves, they fail over-all to express a sense of place, of time, of continuity. Whether highly individual sculptures, or glass-box copies, they are divorced from local and regional traditions, and from the larger aspects of American life.

    In spurning the eclecticism of the 19th century, which was based on superficial historicizing, the modern architect has gone so far in the opposite direction that his work has been described as “individualistic eclecticism,” resulting from too little historical awareness. In decrying this, the contributors do not, of course, call for a return to the past: they rather feel that today's building should grow from the past, should respect and relate to the environment and should express in a tangible way the continuous unfolding of our civilization.

    Sibyl Moholy-Nagy notes that "The elimination or paralysis of history in architectural schools a generation ago has left a gap that... has not been replaced by a workable method, explaining to the student his place in the continuous phenomenon of man-made environment."

    And Stephen W. Jacobs argues that this educational “gap” must be filled: "Not only must the teachers and graduates of architecture schools attempt to “make” architectural history but they must understand it.... They must see architectural history not a presenting a succession of selected “examples” in an imaginary museum but as one of significant means of gaining insight."

    ContributorsBufors L. Pickens, Peter Collins, Bruno Zevi, Serge Chermayeff, Sibyl Moholy-Nagy, Stephen W. Jacobs, Stanford Anderson, and Reyner Banham.

    • Hardcover $6.95