MODERN ARCHITECTURE in Color by Wernner & Ugo Kultermann Hofmann


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Self-limited to buildings that could be photographed in color -- i.e. to ""extant buildings in their present form"" -- this chronological, cross-sectional survey cannot represent, for instance, two of the three designated ""prototypes,"" Bogardus' 1848 cast-iron factory and Paxton's Crystal Palace, but it does include equivalents; likewise the omission of some significant architects does not exclude any important trends. The basic question is what color brings, positively and negatively, to a book that might supplement but not supplant Hitchcock's Architecture, Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries and Pevsner's Pioneers of Modern Design: notwithstanding Ugo Kultermann's suggestive introductory essay, this is by design an album of 112 separate examples/photographs, each annotated on the facing page by Werner Hofmann and provided with floor plan and (usually) elevation. The gain in visual excitement is undeniable as is, sometimes, the loss of structural definition, the ascendancy of atmosphere; but what tips the balance are such vivid interiors as Wright's Mondrian-blocked Unity Church altar and Loos' luxuriantly simple American Bar -- also the structures to which color is either integral (Corbusier, Villanueva) or decisively applied (Wagner). For delectation certainly, and some emendation -- the aridity frequently ascribed to modern architecture is effectively refuted in natural situ.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1971
Publisher: Viking