ARC 331: Legacies of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the United States

week of

February 15-21

introduction

Introductory comment or great big question

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learning objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Identify main modern monuments in the period by name, date, designer/client and location (KNOWLEDGE)
  • Define terminology specific to technique, style and structure (KNOWLEDGE)
  • Describe integration of technology (material and non-material) in individual monuments (KNOWLEDGE)
  • Explain stylistic/technical changes in design as they relate to cultural context (COMPREHENSION)
  • Summarize the main concepts in important works of theory by key writers (COMPREHENSION)
  • Explain the development of the vocation/profession of building designers from (comprehension)
  • Visually analyze buildings from this period to suggest date, place, and designer (ANALYSIS)
  • Recognize change in architectural styles by comparing their formal and technical characteristic (ANALYSIS)
  • Critique the agency of people and technology w/in the process of design (EVALUATE)
  • Evaluate different theoretical and design approaches and defend personal preference for one or more (EVALUATE)

part 1

Arts and Crafts Beyond British Borders

With no geographic limits, the Arts and Crafts Movement spread far and wide, affecting the architecture of other regions as it tended to follow the waves of industrialization that it originally meant to correct. But it did have limits that were even evident in Morris' day; for all its desire to make art available for all, capitalism ensured that mass-produced, industrial goods were always cheaper, and thus handmade goods were relatively expensive. As Arts and Crafts ideals spread, its later practitioners in the United States and Europe deftly absorbed its emphasis on craft, vernacular aesthetics, but within the realities of modern, industrially-based capitalism.

  • Read: Colquhoun: read Intro. & skim chap. 2 (read pp. 49-55)
  • Read: Gelernter, chap. 6; preview chap. 7 (pp. 207-225)

New American Houses

One of the earliest echoes of Arts and Crafts was in two idioms that, conjoined with other influences, represent new styles particular to the United States: the Stick and Shingle Styles. Tour a great Shingle Style house here:

The parallel development of bungalow construction, both as the main unit of mass residential developments and as grand, stand-alone residential monuments, gained great popularity across the country.  For the former, see the "Bungalow Belt" in Chicago and "Bungalow Heaven" in Pasadena. For an example of the Bungalow As Big Kahuna, you need to meet the Greene Brothers.

Public Buildings

Arts and Crafts America also has public monuments, especially with the work of Henry Hobson Richardson, whose "Richardsonian Romanesque" is somewhat akin to Victorian Gothic in being a modern use of medieval principles infused with Arts and Crafts construction and decorative ideals.

Henry Hobson Richardson.  Trinity Church, Boston: 1873-77 (some glass: Edward Burne-Jones, assembled by William Morris & Co; murals: John La Farge)

part 2

American idiom

With no geographic limits, the Arts and Crafts Movement spread far and wide, affecting the architecture of other regions as it tended to follow the waves of industrialization that it originally meant to correct. But it did have limits that were even evident in Morris' day; for all its desire to make art available for all, capitalism ensured that mass-produced, industrial goods were always cheaper, and thus handmade goods were relatively expensive. As Arts and Crafts ideals spread, its later practitioners in the United States and Europe deftly absorbed its emphasis on craft, vernacular aesthetics, but within the realities of modern, industrially-based capitalism.

  • Read: Colquhoun: read Intro. & skim chap. 2 (read pp. 49-55)

One of the earliest echoes of Arts and Crafts was in two idioms that, conjoined with other influences, represent new styles particular to the United States: the Stick and Shingle Styles. Tour a great Shingle Style house here:

part 3

Frank Lloyd Wright

In many ways, the culmination of Arts and Crafts in America is its most famous architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. After cutting his professional teeth in the offie of Lyman Silsbee, noted for many fine Stick and Shingle Style houses, and working for Louis Sullivan, with whom he shared an abiding admiration for H. H. Richardson, Wright struck out on his own, creating a personal style that was indebted to many sources: Arts and Crafts among them. It is not surprising, but still welcome, to have a lengthy, self-conscious rumination on his use of Arts and Crafts ideology in the form of this lecture:

An early work, the Winslow House (1894) shows Wright's highly synthetic approach.

Within about 15 years, Wright had worked through a lot of these different influences and brought them together in the cohesive masterwork that epitomizes his "Prairie House."

As construction progressed on Frederick and Lora Robie's house, Wright faced significant public outrage over his private life. Finding his way to Europe, he spent some time (and made some money) by overseeing the publication of a portfolio of his work to date. Entitled Ausgeführte Bauten und Entwürfe von Frank Lloyd Wright but better known by a nickname after the publishing house, the Wasmuth Portfolio had a curious impact: on the one hand, portraying the mature (to date) work of this 43-year-old architect so embedded in the Arts and Crafts and "organic" architecture; on the other, inspiring a new generation of European architects who would lead the charge in shaping what we now call early European Modernism. The impact of the book was largely carried by its stunning illustrations of Wright's work, about half of them drawn by longtime associate in the office, Marion Mahony (and the other half inspired by her unique style of drawing).

additional resources

Additional Resources

The Auditorium Theatre, Chicago (Adler & Sullivan)

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, Berkeley CA (Maybeck)

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