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Light, Air and Openness: Modern Architecture Between the Wars [Hardcover]

Paul Overy

RRP: £24.95
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Book Description

4 Feb 2008
This groundbreaking book examines the relationship between the modernist architecture of the 1920s and 1930s and that eras preoccupations with health, cleanliness, fresh air and sunshine, exploring how utopian notions of the clean machine and the hygienist movement inspired the pure geometric forms and sparkling surfaces of early modernist buildings. Anyone with an interest in architecture and/or modernism will find this original approach to a popular theme both engaging and enlightening.

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'Excellent... a fascinating story, economically and elegantly told. Overy has produced an important alternative history of our towns and cities'
-- The Sunday Times

'Plenty of detail and anecdote... this book and the themes it covers are as relevant today as in 1925'
-- The Financial Times Magazine

About the Author

Paul Overy is Senior Research Fellow in the history and theory of modernism at Middlesex University, London. He has lectured widely and published extensively on 20th-century architecture, art and design. His publications include books on the De Stijl group, Wassily Kandinsky, Norman Foster, and the architecture and furniture of Gerrit Rietveld.

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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Role of Hygene in Early Modernist Architecture 19 Sep 2008
By Marco Antonio Abarca - Published on Amazon.com
It has been nearly a century since the rise of architectural modernism in central Europe. Modern architecture was such a radical break with the past that it continues to fascinate students of architectural history. Today's enthusiasts freely borrow from the early modernist vocabulary to explore contemporary issues. It is the rare architect today who doesn't easily toss around a phrase or two from Mies or Le Corbusier.

In "Light, Air and Openess", Paul Overy is interested in learning how early modernists at the time described their break from tradition. One of crucial themes that Overy develops is the early modernists preocupation with hygene, sunshine, air, healthiness and whiteness. Today, we often forget their visceral reaction to the unhealthy conditions of the industrial revolution and the mass industrial slaughter of the trenches. Today's enthusiasts often times overlook this important driver in the creation of modern architecture.

"Light, Air and Openess" is one of the best books for helping contemporary readers enter the European mindset during the years between the two World Wars. Overy is a gifted writer with a strong command of the European architectural literature of the 1920-30's. The sixty six photographs that illustrate the text are an added pleasure. This is a great book and I highly recommend it.
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