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A New Era of American Architectural Concrete

From Wright to SOM

The most significant research conducted on concrete architecture in the United States from 1940 to 1970.

The affirmation of reinforced concrete and the kinds of space generated by its structures is one of the most fascinating and revolutionary chapters in the history of twentieth-century architecture and engineering. This richly illustrated, three-volume essay offers the first complete overview of all the most significant research conducted in concrete in the United States from 1940 to 1970. It includes the greatest architects of the time, from Frank Lloyd Wright to I.M. Pei, Louis Kahn, Emery Roth & Sons, and others.

The analysis of the works presented on the pages of the three books reconstructs the most important inventions in the use of concrete, whether reinforced or not, prefabricated or cast in place, used in the form of skeleton, walls, columns, blocks, or panels. The book also includes a chapter on a new kind of ornament, permitted by special plastic products applied to formwork, and other chapters dedicated to the different processing techniques used to obtain various surface textures. It enters the complex theoretical universe of truths and lies, upon which the greatest architects have debated through the manipulation of concrete. Finally, it guides readers up to the decline of the creative force of structures. A New Era of American Architectural Concrete not only offers the first exhaustive history of an architectural technique that was decisive in the United States, but also a new vision of twentieth-century American architecture.

890 pages | 3 Volumes | 6 3/4 x 9 1/2

Architecture: American Architecture

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Table of Contents

Surface Finishes by the Book: The Accomplishments of Architectural Concrete
chapter one. The Self-Built Construction of Wright and Residential Fabrication Systems
Wright’s Desert Concrete: Toward a Constructional Primitivism
Textile and Concrete Blocks for the Usonian Houses The Experimental Residential Construction
of Rudolph and Goldberg
The Monolithic Houses of Le Tourneau and IBEC The Lift Slab Method by Youtz & Slick and by the Vagtborg Corporation
chapter two. The Primitive Frame of Mies
Beauty is the Splendor of Truth: Mies’s Chicago Debut Belluschi’s Equitable Building: The Copy
The Promontory Apartments: The Degree Zero
of the New Chicago Frame
Prototype Variations
Affordable Housing in Chicago, or the Miesian Aesthetic
chapter three. Prestressing and New Structures
for Concrete
Prestressed Girders and the Walnut Lane Bridge Wright’s Butterfly Bridge and Soleri’s Tubular Bridge The Helio-Laboratory Tower in Racine
Pei and Severud’s Structure for the Helix Apartment Tower
chapter four. Kahn’s Space Frame
The Tetrahedron Floor System and Béton Brut
of the Yale Art Gallery
Growth, Stratification, and Groove: The Impossible Monolith
A Space Frame for the City Hall Building
chapter five. Effects of Scale and Prestressing: Works by SOM and Mies
Goldsmith: Superstructure and Bracing Learning from Nervi
SOM’s Quest for an Expressive Structure
The Bridges and Prestressed Girders of SOM and Khan New Paths of Gravity: Goldsmith and Lin
Mies’s Reinforced Trilith
chapter six. The Skyscrapers of Mies, Kahn, and Wright
The Unclear Structure of Mies and Severud for the Seagram Building
Johnson and the Enigma of Diagonal Bracing Kahn’s Tower of Triangular Concrete Frames The Richards Laboratories: Prefabrication and Post-Tensioning
Wright’s Tripod Frame Construction and Molded Ornament
The Illinois Mile-High Cantilever Sky-City
chapter seven. Architectural Concrete Variations, from Breuer to Saarinen
Mo-Sai Precast Concrete Cladding Panels
The Bush-Hammered Concrete of Breuer
and the Sandblasting of Anshen & Allen
The Ineffable Material Substance of Saarinen’s Concrete
SOM’s Experiments for a Concrete Skyscraper Rudolph, Pei, Harrison & Abramovitz,
and Prefabricated Panels
Saarinen’s rubble aggregate concrete
Applied ornament versus texture: plastic and transfers

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