Edward R. Ford
This second volume of The Details of Modern Architecture continues the study of the relationships of the ideals of design and the realities of construction in modern architecture, beginning in the late 1920s and extending to the present day. It contains a wealth of new information on the construction of modern architecture at a variety of scales from minute details to general principles. There are over 500 illustrations, including 130 original photographs and 230 original axonometric drawings, arranged to explain the technical, aesthetic, and historical aspects of the building form.Most of the modern movements in architecture have identified some paradigm of good construction, arguing that buildings should be built like Gothic cathedrals, like airplanes, like automobiles, like ships, or like primitive dwellings.
Ford examines the degree to which these models were followed, either in spirit or in form, and reveals much about both the theories and techniques of modern architecture, including the extent to which the current constructional theories of High Tech and Deconstruction are dependent on the traditional modernist paradigms, as well as the ways in which all of these theories differ from the realities of modern building.Individual chapters treat the work of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, Eric Gunnar Asplund, Richard Neutra, Alvar Aalto, Le Corbusier, and Louis Kahn, as well as the Case Study, High Tech, Postmodern, and Deconstructivist architects. Among the individual buildings documented are Eliel Saarinen's Cranbrook School, Asplund's Woodland Cemetery, Fuller's Dymaxion house, the Venturi house, the Eames and other Case Study houses, the concrete buildings of Le Corbusier, Aalto's Saynatsalo Town Hall, and Kahn's Exeter Library and Salk Institute -- with many details published for the first time.
How did the great architects of this century reconcile their vision of architecture with the realities of building? This is a crucial question that every student of architecture must confront. The Details of Modern Architecture, the first comprehensive analysis of both the technical and the aesthetic importance of details in the development of architecture, provides not one answer but many.The more than 500 illustrations are a major contribution in their own right. Providing a valuable collective resource, they present the details of notable architectural works drawn in similar styles and formats, allowing comparisons between works of different scales, periods, and styles.Covering the period 1890-1932, Ford focuses on various recognized masters, explaining the detailing and construction techniques that distort, camouflage, or enhance a building. He looks at the source of each architect's ideas, the translation of those ideas into practice, and the success or failure of the technical execution.Ford examines Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House and Fallingwater Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, and buildings by McKim, Mead & White, Lutyens, Mies van der Rohe, and Schindler from a point of view that acknowledges the importance of tradition, precedent, style, and ideology in architectural construction.
He discusses critical details from a technical and contextual standpoint, considering how they perform how they add to or detract from the building as a whole, and how some have persisted and been adapted through time.