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The Pan Am Building and the Shattering of the Modernist Dream 9780262033244

The Pan Am Building and the Shattering of the Modernist Dream

ISBN-10: 0262033240
ISBN-13: 9780262033244
AUTHOR:
PUBLISHER: MIT Press
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Note: Not guaranteed to come with supplemental materials (access codes, CDs, DVDs)
Product Description:

The Pan Am Building and the reaction to it signaled the end of an era. Begun when themodernist aesthetic and the architectural star system ruled architectural theory and practice, thecompleted building became a symbol of modernism's fall from grace. In The Pan Am Building and theShattering of the Modernist Dream, Meredith Clausen tells the story as both history and cautionarytale -- a case study of how not to plan and execute a large-scale urban project that seemsespecially relevant in light of the World Trade Center and the ongoing discussions over what shouldbe built in its place.The Pan Am Building was despised by many as soon as the plans were announcedin 1958. The star power of the celebrity architects -- those deans of modernism, Walter Gropius andPietro Belluschi -- overrode critics' objections. When construction was completed in 1963, it becamemore than an architectural question; this "mute, massive, overscaled octagonal slab," as Clausendescribes it, built over Grand Central Terminal, blocked the view down Park Avenue, created deepshadows where there had been sunlight, and poured 25,000 office workers on the sidewalks eachmorning and evening. As Clausen tells it, the story of the building -- which was undistinguishedarchitecturally but important because of its location and its moment in history -- encompasses theend of modernism's social idealism, the decline of Gropius's and Belluschi's reputations, thevictory of private interests over public good, the revival of architectural criticism in the press(both Ada Louise Huxtable and Jane Jacobs emerged as prominent and influential critics), the birthof the historic preservation movement, and the changing culture and politics of New YorkCity.

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PUBLICATION DATE:
416
CATEGORY: Architecture, Travel
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