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Architecture Books

A representation of the masters of mid century modern architecture:

This is the first book published on Los Angeles architect Archibald Quincy Jones (1913), a pioneer in affordable housing designed with a modern aesthetic. The introductory essay traces Jones's life and career, his post-war planning projects and his long association with Palo Alto building magnate Joseph Eichler. The book contains a catalogue of sixty of Jones's projects illustrated with high-quality black and white period photographs, as well as plans and renderings by Jones. These projects are quintessential examples of mid-twentieth-century American architecture.

Raphael Soriano (1904-1988) was one of the early Case Study architects working in California in the mid-twentieth century, and a talented advocate of the new building materials and construction techniques developed just before and after World War II. Born in Rhodes, Soriano arrived in Los Angeles in 1924 at the age of 20. After graduating from the University of Southern California, he worked in the offices of Rudolph Schindler, Richard Neutra, and for Los Angeles County before starting his own practice in Los Angeles in 1935. His characteristic floating roofs, tranparent exterior walls, and open plan responded to the postwar demand for family-friendly, middle-class housing and an indoor-outdoor lifestyle well suited to the Southern California climate. In 1953, Soriano relocated to Tiburon, near San Francisco, where he designed housing for the maverick developer Joseph Eichler, as well as innovative aluminum structures." Independent-minded and often irascible, Soriano's architectural contribution has been largely overlooked to date. Though he designed 150 buildings and built more than 50 during his career, only a dozen projects remain standing. This book is the first published monograph on Soriano, with a thoroughly researched account of the architect's life and oeuvre, and an essay on the historical and cultural factors influencing the development of postwar housing in Southern California. It includes an examination of 30 key Soriano buildings and a listing of Complete Works that documents, for the first time, every known project in Soriano's archive, with bibliographic references. In addition to previously unpublished original plans and drawings, this volume features approximately 125 photographs by renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman, who was a close friend of Soriano and documented his work over a period of 40 years. 

Joseph Eichler was a pioneering developer who defied conventional wisdom by hiring progressive architects to design Modernist homes for the growing middle class of the 1950s. He was known for his innovations, including "built-ins" for streamlined kitchen work, for introducing a multipurpose room adjacent to the kitchen, and for the classic atrium that melded the indoors with the outdoors. For nearly twenty years, Eichler Homes built thousands of dwellings in California, acquiring national and international acclaim. Eichler: Modernism Rebuilds the American Dream examines Eichler's legacy as seen in his original homes and in the revival of the Modernist movement, which continues to grow today. The homes that Eichler built were modern in concept and expression, and yet comfortable for living. Eichler's work left a legacy of design integrity and set standards for housing developers that remain unparalleled in the history of American building. This book captures and illustrates that legacy with impressive detail, engaging history, firsthand recollections about Eichler and his vision, and 250 photographs of Eichler homes in their prime. 

The work of modern architect Albert Frey (1903-98) is beautifully presented in this volume on his life and work. Frey arrived in the United States in 1930, the first of Le Corbusier's disciples to begin building in America. In 1934 he moved to Palm Springs, California, where he established the style that we now know as desert modernism, and where most of his work still stands. In addition to providing architectural and biographical details on the architect's career, Albert Frey, Architect also contains a list of all structures designed by Frey, bibliography of writings on and by Frey, and reprints of letters between Frey and Le Corbusier. Some of the projects in this collection are the Aluminaire House, Loewy House, Palm Springs City Hall, North Shore Yacht Club, and Frey's own houses. Numerous duotone photographs, many taken by Julius Shulman, as well as plans and sketches are also included. An introduction by David Gebhard discusses Frey's relevance within the Modern Movement and Frey's connection to nature and to historical precedent in his designs. This title is an updated and redesigned edition of a 1990 publication.

A hard to find out of print book. Richard Neutra was the master of West Coast modern. Originally from Vienna, Richard Neutra came to America early in his career, settling in California. His influence on post-war architecture is undisputed, the sunny climate and rich landscape being particularly suited to his cool, sleek modern style.

Neutra had a keen appreciation for the relationship between people and nature; his trademark plate glass walls and ceilings which turn into deep overhangs have the effect of connecting the indoors with the outdoors. Neutra's ability to incorporate technology, aesthetic, science, and nature into his designs brought him to the forefront of Modernist architecture.

For the first time, all of Neutra's works (nearly 300 private homes, schools, and public buildings) are gathered together in one volume, illustrated by over 1000 photographs, including those of Julius Shulman and other prominent photographers.

A good basic introduction on the work of the leading proponent of the Case Study House program.  There are few images of 20th century architecture more iconic than the nighttime view of Case Study House #22 set on its eagle?s-nest site high above the lights of Los Angeles. With his two innovative houses for the famous project of the Arts and Architecture magazine, American architect Pierre Koenig (1925-2004) became one of the leading figures of the Modern movement in America. While still a student of architecture, he designed and built his first exposed steel house in 1950, proving that the use of prefabricated materials could allow for spatial freedom in affordable houses. Koenig's houses, like the Johnson House (1962) or the Oberman House (1962), are a direct response to Southern California's extremely warm and dry climate. His work is deeply marked by his commitment to environmentally and socially responsible design. His houses have thus become characteristic of the spirit of a whole generation: they perfectly capture the excitement and optimism of the American postwar society.

Pierre Koenig: by far the most complete monograph documenting the work of the significant Case Study architect.

Pierre Koenig was one of the leading figures of the Modern movement in America, and a guiding influence in the Case Study House Program. This monograph, the first ever to document his pioneering work, provides an unparalleled insight into the evolution of Modernism on the West Coast.
Koenig designed and built his first exposed steel house in 1950. In 1957 he was chosen by Arts and Architecture Magazine to design Case Study Houses #21 and #22. These homes, two of the most innovative buildings in the programme, have since become iconic, and capture the intense excitement and optimism of the period.
This book, a comprehensive study of Pierre Koenig's career, includes both newly commissioned and vintage photographs together with the architect's original drawings of his refined and dramatic architecture.

The Case Study House program (1945-66) was an exceptional, innovative event in the history of American architecture and remains to this day unique. The program, which concentrated on the Los Angeles area and oversaw the design of 36 prototype homes, sought to make available plans for modern residences that could be easily and cheaply constructed during the postwar building boom. The program's chief motivating force was Arts & Architecture editor John Entenza, a champion of modernism who had all the right connections to attract some of architecture's greatest talents, such as Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen. Highly experimental, the program generated houses that were designed to re-define the modern home, and thus had a pronounced influence on architecture. With comprehensive documentation, brilliant photographs from the period and, for the houses still in existence, contemporary photos, floor plans and sketches.

For some reason, Amazon makes this hard to find, perhaps because its shipping costs must be excessive: this book set has a combined weight of 29.4 lbs! So here's how to find the book on Amazon: click on the above link and type the ISBN number in the search box which is 978-3822842874.

This extensive, three-volume heavy weight brings over 400 architectural gems into the spotlight. Not just restricted to the West Coast, the images were taken all across the United States as well as in Mexico, Israel, and Hong Kong.

Each project and photograph in these volumes was personally selected from over 260,000 photographs over a two-year period by publisher Benedikt Taschen, who has enjoyed a close collaboration with the photographer since first publishing Julius Shulman: Architecture and Its Photography (1998). Augmenting the photographs are an introduction by photography critic Owen Edwards, an extensive biography by University of Southern California historian Philip J. Ethington, captions on decorative elements by Los Angeles Modern Auctions founder Peter Loughrey, biographies of key architects, and personal reflections from the photographer himself. Arts writer Hunter Drohojowska-Philp conducted months of interviews with Shulman to construct an informative and lively oral history and portrait of the times.

Julius Shulman's photography was instrumental in crafting the image of the midcentury Southern California lifestyle across the United States and around the world. His work keenly identifies the distinctive structural, functional, and design elements of a building, in the context of both its natural surroundings and the people who occupy the spaces. This sensitivity, combined with his intuitive and brilliant sense of composition and timing, has earned him the reputation as a master of the genre. How fortunate we are that Shulman has once again opened his archives so that we may rediscover his photographs of the world's hidden Modernist treasures. Featured architects and designers include William Beckett, Craig Ellwood, Albert Frey, Frank Gehry, Bruce Goff, Herb Greene, Philip Johnson, Louis I. Kahn, Raymond Kappe, Pierre Koenig, John Lautner, Paul László, Le Corbusier, Charles Luckman, Oscar Niemeyer, Richard J. Neutra, William L. Pereira, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Raphael Soriano, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Welton Becket Associates, Frank Lloyd Wright and plenty more.

Through Julius Shulman’s lens, the architecture of Southern California became iconic images of modernism. His photographs heralded the glamor and casual elegance of a lifestyle and architecture that has become revered worldwide. Focusing on the desert paradise of Palm Springs, which was his seminal crucible, this book presents his masterpieces. Images range from Richard Neutra’s Kaufmann House and Albert Frey’s Raymond Loewy House, to Paul R. Williams’ house for Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Frank Sinatra’s house, John Lautner’s house for Bob Hope, as well as other famous landmarks. The book features more than sixty buildings by fifteen of the most notable mid-twentieth-century architects. With new photography and images culled from his personal collection as well as the Getty Center, this book includes many images never before seen.

One of the visionary architects of the twentieth century, John Lautner designed dramatically innovative buildings with a rare sensitivity to site, vista, and structure. Accompanying a full-scale exhibition on Lautner at Los Angeles’s Hammer Museum, this is the first publication to comprehensively explore his work, including his apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright and the cultural and geographical context of Los Angeles, through an intensive examination of the archives of the John Lautner Foundation. Although Lautner’s dramatic houses are well-known, this is the first time his work has been seriously examined by scholars. Historian Nicholas Olsberg contributes an analysis of Lautner’s evolution, providing social and cultural context. Architect Frank Escher covers the relationship between his experiments in structure and poetics of space, and Jean-Louis Cohen discusses Lautner’s place in new design tendencies.This richly illustrated monograph includes previously unpublished sketches, drawings, construction images, and Lautner’s own photographs to unveil the evolution, originality, and logic of his designs, focusing on the atmospheres and vistas they establish and the connections to landscape and sensory fluidity that mark their innovative spatial arguments.

John Lautner is recognized as one of the foremost architects who practiced at the height of the modern movement. In The Architecture of John Lautner, stunning photography and insightful text illuminate the work of this modern master. This revised and condensed reprint of the Rizzoli title of the same name outlines all of Lautner's residential projects and details his career from his apprenticeship with Frank Lloyd Wright to his status as one of the preeminent practitioners of mid-century modernism. The book includes extensive photographs of Lautner's spacious residential interiors that have never appeared in other publications.

Lautner's highly personal designs for homes are known for their poignant originality as well as their ties to Frank Lloyd Wright's theories of organic architecture. As a student of Wright's, Lautner continued his tradition but branched out-many of his designs, such as the Chemosphere and the Monsanto House, have become icons of southern Californian architecture in their own right.

At age 100, Oscar Niemeyer is universally acknowledged as a master of form, color, and light—the last living Modern master. Niemeyer is known primarily for his large-scale institutional and civic designs throughout Brazil and Europe—daringly conceptual works that challenged twentieth-century orthodoxy about Modernism, materials, and structure. This comprehensive book, a companion to Rizzoli’s Oscar Niemeyer Houses, presents a reevaluation of his greatest buildings, in all new color photography specially commissioned for this book. Featured are the architect’s most seminal work, including: Ministry of Education and Health, Rio de Janeiro; Brasilia; New Pampulha Yacht Club, Belo Horizonte, Brazil; Mondadori Headquarters, Milan; Le Havre Central Cultural Center, France; Niteroi Museum of Contemporary Art, Brazil; and the Oscar Niemeyer Museum. A periodic resident of Rio de Janeiro, photographer Alan Weintraub has been granted unprecedented access to these remarkable structures—from Brazil to North Africa to Italy. As a result, Oscar Niemeyer Buildings reveals the master’s brilliant artistry, and his eloquent, sinuous, utterly livable Modernism.

Oscar Niemeyer is one of the greatest architects of our time. Hugely influential, his work has added a new dimension to modern architecture in the twentieth century. The designer of Brasilia showed that the rhythmic, sensuous lines of Brazilian Modernism were as legitimately modern as the rectilinear lines of the Bauhaus. Oscar Niemeyer Houses showcases the houses built by this seminal modern master in a lavish format that finally does justice to his extraordinary work. Viewed as a collection, these houses serve to demonstrate the wide range of Niemeyer's prodigious genius. The designs show a personal and eclectic facet to Niemeyer's creative imagination, a side of the master little known and under-appreciated. Often built for family members or major clients, they show a wealth of solutions that respond to a wide range of sites: the steep hillsides of Rio, the Atlantic beach shore, the rain forest, and the residential neighborhoods of Rio and Sao Paulo. This celebrated work stands as an enduring and notable tribute to one of the last of the international masters of Modernism. 

Mid-century Modern Houses by Marcel Breuer, Landis Gores, John Johansen, Philip Johnson, Eliot Noyes, and Others.  New Canaan was “the place to see in the East” for modern architecture.  Since the fifties, “the Harvard Five” has been the catchphrase for the five architects featured in this book, who all built houses for themselves and for clients in New Canaan, Connecticut. Other architects, well known (Frank Lloyd Wright, for example) and not so well known, also contributed significant modern houses that elicited strong reactions from nearly everyone who saw them and are still astonishing today. An introductory essay by Jean Ely, “New Canaan Modern” (reprinted by permission of the New Canaan Historical Society), recounts the history of the area and how New Canaan came to be the locus of the modern movement’s experimentation in materials, construction methods, space, and form. The book is done as a “house tour” in chronological order, with photographs and floor plans.