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William H. Jordy
William H. Jordy (1917–1997) was Henry Ledyard Goddard Professor Emeritus of Art History at Brown University.
Jordy, William H.
Jordy, William H.
United States of America
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Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
To the Hong Kong resident it is a silver sword rising abruptly behind and above the dense collection of the city’s downtown skyscrapers, its seventy stories aggrandized by its position on the lower slopes of Victoria Mountain...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
If anyone can be called the father of postmodern architecture in America it is Robert Venturi, however reluctantly he admits his paternity. Some would say that postmodernist architecture has two fathers, Venturi and Charles Moore...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
A museum? A school library? To Louis Kahn our institutions were “on trial”: “When we think of the simple beginnings which inspired our present institutions, it is evident that some drastic changes must be made which will inspire the re-creation of [their] meaning.”
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
A real building: that favorite adjective of nineteenth-century architectural morality comes first to mind when confronting Kahn’s achievement. It is real in its tangibility; real in structure and materials; real in the inevitability with which it unfolds from the basic idea of its conception...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
Perhaps the most significant aspect of the Seagram Building is its visual weight (fig. 78). In this respect the Seagram participates in a widespread reaction against the ideal of weightless transparency, which, until very recently, has provided the impetus for modern architecture...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
In architecture and design the German émigrés who most profoundly influenced American developments were former teachers at the Bauhaus. Their impact on American culture may well be considered to have been the most direct legacy of the Bauhaus—not its continuation, but its postscript...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
Looking back on it from our present perspective, what can one say of Lescaze’s career? History has been cruel to it. Although the skyscraper for the Philadelphia Saving Fund Society of 1932 (fig. 58), designed with George Howe (in a design relationship which is still debated), shared in the grand sweep of history, there is not much else now to point to...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
A suitcase found in a closet in Le Corbusier’s Paris apartment at 24 rue Nungesser-et-Coli after his death contained seventy-three sketchbooks neatly ordered. They include a mélange of sketches and notes: on designs in progress (not only for architecture, but for paintings and sculpture as well), travel observations, rough drafts or outlines for writings or talks...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
Surely the first observation to make about the International Style in the 1930s is that the 1930s saw the Style baptized with the name—and by two who are with us today. If one were to mention the documents of cardinal importance for the International Style during its first phase...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
The typical image of modern European architecture of the twenties—that is, the textureless container of simple shape as the membrane-thin envelope for extravagantly open interiors—has today become the butt of negative commentary among architects, critics, and historians...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
So exciting are the blueprints for Bomber City, the war-housing development planned for Henry Ford’s Willow Run bomber plant, that the restrained editors of Architectural Forum have described it as “the most workable and most human guide to the integrated community produced to date.”
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
The Tennessee Valley Authority is singular in the history of American design and public policy. First there is its vast geographic scale. As may be seen from a map of the river basin, the ground on which TVA planning was wrought is as large as the area of England and Wales combined...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
In the visual arts during the 1930s surely regionalism was a cardinal issue. Publications bracketing the period testify to the pervasiveness of the theme. At the threshold of the decade, there were Benton MacKaye’s The New Exploration (1928), Twelve Southerners’ I’ll Take My Stand (1930), and W. P. Webb’s The Great Plains...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
The years between Philadelphia’s Exposition of 1876 and the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 were a time when, as we have come increasingly to realize, American architecture began to assume an independent national identity...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
“Since [Edward] Gibbon, the spectacle was almost a scandal. History had lost even the sense of shame. It was a hundred years behind the experimental sciences. For all serious purpose, it was less instructive than Walter Scott and Alexandre Dumas.” Thus, in 1905, Adams chided his fellow historians...
Description: "Symbolic Essence" and Other Writings on Modern Architecture and American ...
Historian and architectural critic William H. Jordy (1917–1997) significantly shaped the way we understand the character and meaning of modern architecture and American culture. This collection of his thought-provoking essays encompasses Jordy’s entire career and includes his signature essay, “The Symbolic Essence of Modern Architecture of the Twenties and Its Continuing Influence.” The collection also contains critical writings on works by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Louis Kahn, and Robert Venturi as well as significant but less-well-known pieces and one previously unpublished text.

The book demonstrates the range and depth of Jordy’s thinking. He leads his readers to discover important connections of architecture with art, literature, intellectual history, symbolic structures, social purpose, and community. Mardges Bacon’s insightful introduction to the volume situates Jordy’s essays in historical and architectural context and offers a concise intellectual biography of this original and influential thinker.
Print publication date May 2005 (in print)
Print ISBN 9780300094497
EISBN 9780300238143
Illustrations 106 Illus.
Print Status in print