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Modern Architecture

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Everyone knows what the distinctive curves and lines of Frank Gehry's buildings look like. But where do they come from? Gehry has described drawing as his way of "thinking aloud"; Gehry Draws traces that thinking through 32 major projects (both built and unbuilt) with more than 500 drawings (many of which have never before been published) and more than 400 additional illustrations—providing a privileged view of the creative practice of a master architect. Horst Bredekamp's introduction relates Gehry's drawing methods to the concept of "disegno," as practiced by Leonardo and Durer—not only the act of drawing and modeling but also the dynamics of creative thinking—and shows how Gehry thinks through the curving movements of his hand on paper. Gehry himself describes for Bredekamp his method in several explanatory sketches, and Bredekamp applies this to a study of drawings made for specific Gehry commissions.

Gehry Draws is produced in collaboration with Frank Gehry and his team at Gehry Partners. Project synopses and commentary by Gehry and two of his Partners and Project Designers, Edwin Chan and Craig Webb, guide us through the full range of Gehry production, from the small details of furniture design to such large-scale undertakings as the Disney Concert Hall and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. The drawings, illustrations, and text in Gehry Draws definitively place drawing at the heart of Frank Gehry's creative process.

This book is published by The MIT Press in association with Violette Editions.

The Design and Construction of Frank O. Gehry's Stata Center at MIT

This stunning, lavishly illustrated book chronicles the entire planning and construction process of the Frank Gehry-designed Ray and Maria Stata Center at MIT. Taking us from the historical background and architectural context at MIT through the interaction of the clients' needs and the architect's vision to the choice of building materials and construction methods, Building Stata offers a uniquely detailed look at the evolution of a major work by a master architect.

The purpose of the Stata Center is to bring the "intelligence sciences"—computer science, artificial intelligence, information and decision systems, linguistics, and philosophy—together into a space that emphasizes research-focused collaboration. Frank Gehry's design integrates flexible and interconnected workspaces and incorporates a series of steps from public to private space, with places for social and intellectual interaction on lower levels giving way to space for study and contemplation on the upper floors; thus a two-level warehouse-like space is topped by two towers. The Center is wrapped around a series of outdoor terraces visible from a central court in both towers. The characteristic Gehry curves are clad in metal, the more block-like elements in brick.

The architectural drawings and photographs—300 of them in color—in Building Stata document the making of the Stata Center from concept to concrete reality. The photographs by Richard Sobol portray a work in progress, evoking the beauty of its architectural form and capturing the telling detail—the building's sculptured shape against a clear blue sky, or construction workers perched on a massive curve of metal.

Selected Essays of Charles W. Moore


Architect Charles Moore (1925-1993) was not only celebrated for his designs; he was also an admired writer and teacher. Though he wrote clearly and passionately about places, he was perhaps unique in avoiding the tone and stance of the personal manifesto. Through his buildings, books, and travels, Moore consistently sought insights into the questions that always underlie architecture and design: What does it mean to make a place, and how do we inhabit those places? How do we continue to build upon but respect the landscape? How do we reconcile democracy and private land ownership? What is original? What is taste? What is the relationship between past and present? How do we involve inhabitants in making places? Finally, what is public life? As the world becomes smaller, and the uniqueness of places and landscapes gives way to sameness, Moore's celebration of the vernacular and of the surprising are more relevant than ever.

The pieces in this book span the years 1952 to 1993 and engage a myriad of topics and movements, such as contextualism, community participation, collaboration, environmentally sensitive design, and historic preservation. The essays in this book reflect as well Moore's scholarship, humanism, urbanity, and great wit.


Built around snatches of discussion overheard in a Beijing design studio, this book explores attitudes toward architecture in China since the opening of the Treaty Ports in the 1840s. Central to the discussion are the concepts of ti and yong, or "essence" and "form," Chinese characters that are used to define the proper arrangement of what should be considered modern and essentially Chinese. Ti and yong have gone through various transformations—for example, from "Chinese learning for essential principles and Western learning for practical application" to "socialist essence and cultural form" and an almost complete reversal to "modern essence and Chinese form."

The book opens with a discussion of cultural developments in China in response to the forced opening to the West in the mid-nineteenth century, efforts to reform the Qing dynasty, and the Nationalist and Communist regimes. It then considers the return of overseas-educated Chinese architects and foreign influences on Chinese architecture, four architectural orientations toward tradition and modernity in the 1920s and 1930s, and the controversy over the use of "big roofs" and other sinicizing aspects of Chinese architecture in the 1950s. The book then moves to the hard economic conditions of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, when architecture was almost abandoned, and the beginning of reform and opening up to the outside world in the late 1970s and 1980s. Finally, it looks at the present socialist market economy and Chinese architecture during the still incomplete process of modernization. It closes with a prognosis for the future.

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.

1928 to 1988

This second volume of The Details of Modern Architecture continues the study of the relationships of the ideals of design and the realities of construction in modern architecture, beginning in the late 1920s and extending to the present day. It contains a wealth of new information on the construction of modern architecture at a variety of scales from minute details to general principles. There are over 500 illustrations, including 130 original photographs and 230 original axonometric drawings, arranged to explain the technical, aesthetic, and historical aspects of the building form.

Most of the modern movements in architecture have identified some paradigm of good construction, arguing that buildings should be built like Gothic cathedrals, like airplanes, like automobiles, like ships, or like primitive dwellings. Ford examines the degree to which these models were followed, either in spirit or in form, and reveals much about both the theories and techniques of modern architecture, including the extent to which the current constructional theories of High Tech and Deconstruction are dependent on the traditional modernist paradigms, as well as the ways in which all of these theories differ from the realities of modern building.

Individual chapters treat the work of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Eric Gunnar Asplund, Richard Neutra, Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, and Louis Kahn, as well as the Case Study, High Tech, Postmodern, and Deconstructivist architects. Among the individual buildings documented are Eliel Saarinen's Cranbrook School, Asplund's Woodland Cemetery, Fuller's Dymaxion house, the Venturi house, the Eames and other Case Study houses, the concrete buildings of Le Corbusier, Aalto's Saynatsalo Town Hall, and Kahn's Exeter Library and Salk Institute—with many details published for the first time.

Historian of the Immediate Future

Reyner Banham (1922-88) was one of the most influential writers on architecture, design, and popular culture from the mid-1950s to the late 1980s. Trained in mechanical engineering and art history, he was convinced that technology was making society not only more exciting but more democratic. His combination of academic rigor and pop culture sensibility put him in opposition to both traditionalists and orthodox Modernists, but placed him in a unique position to understand the cultural, social, and political implications of the visual arts in the postwar period. His first book, Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (still in print with The MIT Press after forty years), was central to the overhaul of Modernism, and it gave Futurism and Expressionism credibility amid the dynamism and change of the 1960s.

This intellectual biography is the first comprehensive critical examination of Banham’s theories and ideas, not only on architecture but also on the wide variety of subjects that interested him. It covers the full range of his oeuvre and discusses the values, enthusiasms, and influences that formed his thinking.

The Elusive Margins of Belgrade Architecture, 1919–1941

Modernism in Serbia is the first comprehensive account of an almost forgotten body of work that once defined regional modernism at its best. The book reconstructs the story of Serbian modernism as a local history within a major movement and views the buildings designed in Belgrade in the 1920s and 1930s as part of a larger cultural phenomenon. Because so many of the buildings discussed are disintegrating or have been destroyed or altered beyond recognition, the book serves not only as a documentary and critical study but also as a preservation resource. Most of the photographs and plans have never been published outside of Serbia, if at all.

In restoring this work to its rightful place in the history of modern architecture, the book also sheds new light on a number of other stories. These include the influence of Le Corbusier and of the Yugoslav avant-garde movement Zenitism and the impact of international modern movements on the theoretical underpinnings of Serbian modernism. One of the subplots follows the story of the Group of Architects of the Modern Movement in Belgrade and its four founding members, Milan Zlokovic, Branislav Kojic, Jan Dubovy, and Dusan Babic. Through an examination of their work and that of other modern architects, most notably Dragisa Brasovan and Nikola Dobrovic, the book discusses the identity of Serbian modernism as it was established in the period from 1925 to 1940. The book also identifies those buildings that represent the purest examples of Serbian modernism and analyzes the qualities that make them quintessentially local forms while part of the larger modernist movement.

Modernism in Serbia is a copublication of the Harvard Design School and MIT Press.

Travels in the Land of the Timid

Le Corbusier's first trip to the United States in 1935 is generally considered a failure because it produced no commissions. The experience nevertheless had a profound effect on him, both personally and professionally. Sponsored by the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Le Corbusier promoted his ideas through a lecture tour, exhibition, and press conferences, as well as in meetings with industrialists, housing reformers, New Deal technocrats, and editors. His lectures were watershed events that advanced the cause of European modernism. Yet he returned to France empty-handed and published a bittersweet account, Quand les cath餲ales 鴡ient blanches: voyage au pays des timides (When the Cathedrals Were White: Journey to the Country of Timid People), which faulted America for lacking the courage to adopt his ideas.

In this first major study of Le Corbusier's American tour, Mardges Bacon reconstructs his encounter with America in all its fascinating detail. Through extensive archival research and interviews, she presents a critical history of the tour as well as a nuanced and intimate portrait of the architect. Drawing on the methods of microhistory, she also considers how small ordinary events affect larger biographical, architectural, and cultural developments.

Bacon notes that Le Corbusier's dialogue with America was drafted within a spirited European discourse on am鲩canisme. She contends that the trip validated his concept of a "second machine age" that would unite standardized industrial methods with a new humanism. Le Corbusier's subsequent work, she suggests, reflected an "Americanization," evidenced by the introduction of tension structures and the textured skyscraper conceived as an integrated system with functions articulated. She also defines Le Corbusier's role in the debate over New York City high-rise public housing.

Appearing here in print for the first time are color reproductions of the pastel drawings that illustrated Le Corbusier's American lectures.

Bernd and Hilla Becher have profoundly influenced the international photography world over the past several decades. Their unique genre, which falls somewhere between topological documentation and conceptual art, is in line with the aesthetics of such early-twentieth-century masters of German photography as Karl Blossfeldt, Germaine Krull, Albert Renger-Patzsch, and August Sander.

Industrial Landscapes introduces a new aspect to the Bechers' photography, one that will surprise connoisseurs of their work. Whereas their previously published works concentrated on isolated industrial objects, they now show huge industrial sites amid their natural surroundings. They move away from the objective, severe image to present slightly more narrative, interpretive images of the industrial environment as a whole. Although the photographs in Industrial Landscapes were taken over the past forty years, they are published here for the first time.

The industrial structures shown include a wide range of coal mines, iron ore mines, steel mills, power stations with cooling towers, lime kilns, grain elevators, and so on. They represent industrial regions in Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and the United States (Alabama, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania).

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