An analysis of the New York professional milieu between the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the aftermath of WWII reveals an unexpected scenario, in which diverse branches of technical culture and professional and institutional spheres often overlap, and initiatives in the field of architecture are characterised by tensions between designers and technicians, which pave the way for issues of architects’ autonomy, responsibility and social roles in the New Deal.From an initial portrayal of William Lescaze (1896–1969) as an unconventional figure “straddling two continents,” this book challenges a long-established interpretation that sees Lescaze exclusively as promoter of the International Style canons in the United States. Moving beyond it, this book focuses on the role that the Swiss architect played in defining the main features of New York social housing and in the evolution that marks the encounter between European modernity and an American federal scene still profoundly tied to local conventions. From an initially difficult status as an émigré to his involvement in decisional processes and bureaucratic organisations, Lescaze’s professional progress coincides with the gradual acceptance of European forms and models, which, little by little, became part of the institutional language related to public housing which would remain prevalent in New York City until the end of WWII. Drawing from yet-unpublished archival sources pertaining to two fields – housing and architecture – which have traditionally been separate in American historiography, this book sheds light on many crucial issues in a branch of architecture that is particularly relevant today.

Europe Meets America. William Lescaze, Architect of Modern Housing

CARAMELLINO, GAIA
2016

Abstract

An analysis of the New York professional milieu between the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the aftermath of WWII reveals an unexpected scenario, in which diverse branches of technical culture and professional and institutional spheres often overlap, and initiatives in the field of architecture are characterised by tensions between designers and technicians, which pave the way for issues of architects’ autonomy, responsibility and social roles in the New Deal.From an initial portrayal of William Lescaze (1896–1969) as an unconventional figure “straddling two continents,” this book challenges a long-established interpretation that sees Lescaze exclusively as promoter of the International Style canons in the United States. Moving beyond it, this book focuses on the role that the Swiss architect played in defining the main features of New York social housing and in the evolution that marks the encounter between European modernity and an American federal scene still profoundly tied to local conventions. From an initially difficult status as an émigré to his involvement in decisional processes and bureaucratic organisations, Lescaze’s professional progress coincides with the gradual acceptance of European forms and models, which, little by little, became part of the institutional language related to public housing which would remain prevalent in New York City until the end of WWII. Drawing from yet-unpublished archival sources pertaining to two fields – housing and architecture – which have traditionally been separate in American historiography, this book sheds light on many crucial issues in a branch of architecture that is particularly relevant today.
Cambridge Scholars Publishing
9781443888226
Housing, New Deal, European Modernism, Lescaze
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/997682
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