Modern Architecture


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Representation and Reality

Neil Levine


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An original and absorbing interpretation of the history of modern architecture, focusing on a continuous historical development rather than on issues of style 

In this handsome book, esteemed architectural historian Neil Levine investigates for the first time the complex history of representation—the use and meaning of architectural signifiers—from the 18th through the 20th century. Using the lens of a continuous theoretical argument, Levine provides a detailed survey and critical analysis of major works by a host of modern architects, including Étienne-Louis Boullée, Nicholas Hawksmoor, Louis Kahn, Henri Labrouste, Augustus Welby Pugin, Karl Friedrich Schinkel, John Soane, Louis Sullivan, Mies van der Rohe, Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Levine posits that all modern architects, much like visual artists, have had to grapple with issues of representation in their work. Interweaving influential examples from outside the scope of modern architecture, Levine traces the history of representation in architecture, and in writings on architecture, both within each architect’s oeuvre and throughout the centuries discussed. The book features previously unpublished images, many created for this publication, and it addresses a variety of specific cases while offering an original and panoramic view of the history of architecture. Beautifully written and accessible, Modern Architecture is destined to become a classic.

Neil Levine is the Emmet Blakeney Gleason Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books on architecture, including The Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright.

"No ordinary history. . . . What shines through is [Levine's] attention to the architectural object, its genesis, and its experimental impact. . . . The book sheds light on some of the central debates surrounding Modern architecture, namely the relationship between productive function and form and between structure and decoration. . . . Levine has written a highly relevant account, not only for the discipline of architectural history and theory but also for contemporary architectural practice."—Eeva-Liisa Pelkonen, Constructs

"If modernism has been simplified over 75 years, Levine reveals its true complexities in a book that challenges, fascinates, and rewards."—J. Quinan, CHOICE
ISBN: 9780300145670
Publication Date: May 18, 2010
376 pages, 9 x 11
311 b/w + 30 color illus.