Oculus - Winter 2011/2012 - (Page 36)
Raves + Reviews
Edward Durell Stone: A Son’s Untold Story of a Legendary Architect By Hicks Stone
REVIEWS BY S TA N LEY S TA RK , FA IA Architectural Conservation in Europe and the Americas: National Experiences and Practice By John H. Stubbs and Emily G. Makaš
Edward Durell Stone, FAIA, one of the most famous and prolific Modern architects of the 1950s and 1960s, is hardly thought of, studied, or emulated in 21st-century America. If he is remembered at all, it is as the designer of the reviled Huntington New York: Rizzoli, 2011, 336 Hartford Gallery of Art on Columbus Circle and pp. $85 the much disrespected, though phenomenally successful, Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, DC. This biography by Stone’s son, architect Hicks Stone, AIA, is an attempt at a more positive reconsideration of Stone’s career and his impact as an architect. It is a valiant effort, but only partially successful. Remarkably talented and productive, E.D. Stone designed the interior of Radio City Music Hall, was co-designer of the Museum of Modern Art, and planned and designed some influential modern hospitals, hotels, and residences. He also created two of America’s most elegant foreign structures as symbols of the United States – the serenely beautiful U.S. Embassy in New Delhi and the U.S. pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. In 1958 he was on the cover of Time. Despite his success, however, his career became uneven as he got older and more prominent. It illuminates the precarious arc that even the most talented architect may follow, especially one as prodigiously talented and haunted by demons as Stone. His life story is rich with themes of accomplishment and ascendency, coupled with those of decline and diminishment (he was tagged as an apostate Modernist who became a kitsch historicist). This biography is more about Stone’s life than his career. The author reaches for critical recognition after decades of dismissal. The perspective is unbalanced, lacking distance and insight about Stone’s role and impact as a mid-century architect who transitioned from the heroic sole proprietorship to a large corporate practice. But this sumptuously illustrated book is a fascinating document of both an era and a career worthy of our attention.
This is a book about the protection of architectural heritage. It is a reference guide to architectur- Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011, al conservation practices, 752 pp. $99 legislation, funding mechanisms, design regulation, and political and cultural support throughout Europe and North, Central, and South America. The authors’ interests are quite wide in scope, and they address both the conservation of historic structures as well as Modernist architecture. Stubbs and Makaš examine the architectural heritages and legacies of the regions, identifying the best conservation practices employed in each. There are many overlapping themes, but three major principles stand out: · Cultural and environmental heritages vary by region, and the architectural heritage is a direct response. · The conservation movement is a worldwide phenomenon. It is broadly supported in most societies and represents the post-war consensus that heritage must be conserved and shared. · NGOs and philanthropic and activist advocacy organizations play as vital a role as governments in the conservation of the historic fabric. While it is less lavish than other architectural surveys (all the photography, of uneven quality, is black and white), this hefty volume is amply illustrated with photographs, drawings, and maps. Abundantly supplied with references and bibliographic sources, the book is a convenient resource for any design, planning, preservation, or policy professional involved in conservation, restoration, rehabilitation, or preservation – which at some point can mean any of us.
Stanley Stark, FAIA, is a frequent contributor to Oculus and previously served as chair of the Oculus Committee.
Up, Down, and Sideways
Noted but Not Reviewed
America’s Mayor: John V. Lindsay and the Reinvention of New York Edited by Sam Roberts
This collection of essays and evaluations of Lindsay’s eight years as mayor was published in conjunction with the Museum of the City of New York’s 2010 exhibition with the same title. It may be of interest to our readers because it includes Hilary Ballon’s essay on the origins, formation, and early activity of the Urban Design Group within the NYC Department of City Planning.
New York: Columbia University Press, 2010, 256 pp. $49.95
Oculus Winter 2011
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Winter 2011/2012
A Word from the Editor
Center for Architecture
One Block Over
From NIMBY to YIMBY
Complete Streets: If Only Mumford Had Lived to See This
Regional Transit: The Next Generation
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Winter 2011/2012