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Architecture of the Sun: Los Angeles Modernism, 1900-1970 Hardcover – 13 Apr 2010
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"Los Angeles's modernist architecture is defined by the city's climate, opulence and clash of cultures...Thomas Hine's new Architecture of the Sun: Los Angeles Modernism, 1900-1970 (Rizzoli) is a thorough study of the work of Schindler, Neutra, Wright and the inimitable John Lautner. It is also a study in fine living. Chilled cocktail, anyone?" Playboy
"If you coveted the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House in Los Angeles we wrote about last year, but didn't quite have the $15 million asking price, you should pick up a copy of Architecture of the Sun. The weighty tome, being published later this month by Rizzoli for $95, focuses on Los Angeles' many fine modernist masterworks built from 1900-1970." Luxist.com
-Los Angeles's modernist architecture is defined by the city's climate, opulence and clash of cultures...Thomas Hine's new Architecture of the Sun: Los Angeles Modernism, 1900-1970 (Rizzoli) is a thorough study of the work of Schindler, Neutra, Wright and the inimitable John Lautner. It is also a study in fine living. Chilled cocktail, anyone?- Playboy
-If you coveted the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House in Los Angeles we wrote about last year, but didn't quite have the $15 million asking price, you should pick up a copy of Architecture of the Sun. The weighty tome, being published later this month by Rizzoli for $95, focuses on Los Angeles' many fine modernist masterworks built from 1900-1970.- Luxist.com
About the Author
Thomas S. Hines is Professor Emeritus of History and Architecture at UCLA, where he teaches cultural, urban, and architectural history. His books include Irving Gill and the Architecture of Reform and Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture. Hines has held Guggenheim, Fulbright, NEH, and Getty fellowships. In 1994 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Top customer reviews
The thirteen chapters provide an in-depth look at the architects who created such wonderful houses and in later decade's commercial buildings in the Los Angeles area. The craft style of Green & Green in the first years of the last century kicks off the survey and by 1910 Irving Gill was designing clearly modernist structures and the style was on its way. Southern California with its wealth, climate and a group of progressive architects, in more than four decades, became the world center of the style.
I found the chapters on Irving Gill and Richard Neutra fascinating, both were heavyweight contributors to modernism in LA and get extensive coverage (the author has written books about both) also the Case Study Program as a potential solution to the housing problem of the times is explained in reasonable detail. An intriguing and worthwhile design concept instigated by John Entenza, the editor of Arts & Architecture magazine. I always thought it looked a rather amateurish publication yet it nourished this amazing program of contemporary housing.
The book itself is big, chunky and well printed on a matt art with a 175 screen for the hundreds of photos. Julius Shulman's wonderful work gets a good showing though the author is responsible for the most throughout the book; unfortunately these are no match for the professional Shulman. The title's layout is rather austere with plenty of empty page space (so many photos could have been larger) which could well have been used for the sixteen pages of footnotes in the back pages, using these involves an awful lot of page turning. One thing I definitely think there should have been more of: floor plans. A thing that characterises modernist houses is the fluid use of space and a floor plan is probably the best way to appreciate this. Some are included but mostly they appear too small.
As I said earlier this will probably become the standard book on the subject but this no dry purely academic study. Fortunately the author frequently reveals the background to these architects lives and society at the time. This certainly made the book come alive for me.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Later I started to actually read the book, and my opinion wholly improved! There was a lot I'd not read elsewhere, and the various architects came alive in way they normally don't in more academic-like studies. In particular I enjoyed the chapter on Schindler. I had believed the All-Important Schindler Myth: greater fame had been essentially stolen from him by his former friend/colleague, the nefarious Neutra. But the book makes it clear that it was more complicated than that, and that Schindler himself can be principally blamed for a failure to better understand and coddle important editors and writers. It's fascinating and sad to read Schindler's letters to people who WANTED to publish/exhibit him. He basically insults them.
There's another interesting story of the once great Louis Sullivan at Wright's Taliesin. Wright spoke to his former boss "in tones of such deference and affection [that Sullivan] came out of his somber silence and knew himself to be once more loved, revered" - as noted by Pauline Schindler.
The book is filled with such gems.
I also very much appreciate that the author brings the reader up-to-date on many of the iconic structures in the book. While shocking to learn that a famous building has been demolished, it's uplifting when a famous building has been beautifully restored.
I rate the book five stars but would love to see it in a revised format with gorgeous, large images, a ton-o-plans, but the text unchanged. Now THAT would be a great great book!
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