By Andrew M. Shanken

During the second one international battle, American structure used to be in a kingdom of problem. The rationing of establishing fabrics and regulations on nonmilitary building persisted the privations that the career had continued throughout the nice melancholy. while, the dramatic occasions of the Nineteen Thirties and Forties led many architects to think that their profession—and society itself—would endure a profound shift as soon as the battle ended, with inner most commissions giving technique to centrally deliberate tasks. The journal Architectural Forum coined the time period “194X” to encapsulate this wartime imaginative and prescient of postwar structure and urbanism.

In a big learn of yank structure in the course of global warfare II, Andrew M. Shanken specializes in the tradition of anticipation that arose during this interval, as out-of-work architects became their energies from the equipped to the unbuilt, redefining themselves as planners and developing unique designs to excite the general public approximately postwar structure. Shanken recasts the wartime period as a crucible for the intermingling of modernist structure and shopper culture.

difficult the pervasive concept that company capitalism corrupted the idealism of modernist structure within the postwar period, 194X exhibits as an alternative that architecture’s wartime partnership with company American used to be based on shared anxieties and beliefs. enterprise and structure have been introduced jointly in cutting edge methods, as proven by way of Shanken’s persuasive analyzing of journal ads for Revere Copper and Brass, U.S. Gypsum, common electrical, and different businesses that prominently featured the paintings of major revolutionary architects, together with Louis I. Kahn, Eero Saarinen, and Walter Gropius.

even if the unforeseen prosperity of the postwar period made the structure of 194X out of date prior to it may be outfitted and resulted in its exclusion from the tale of twentieth-century American structure, Shanken makes transparent that its anticipatory rhetoric and designs performed an important position within the common acceptance

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Extra info for 194X: Architecture, Planning, and Consumer Culture on the American Home Front

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39 In other words, to Hudnut, this morgue of master plans that collected dust in libraries was as unconvincing as the overwrought architectural styles of the eighteenth century had become for modernists. By contrast, the NRPB’s demonstrations reached for a contemporary visual language that would enhance popular support by distilling planning down to a few broad strokes. 40 Such close-up “mug shots” of failing buildings endowed the slum with the picturesque morbidity of social realism and found its complement in the organic purism of the NRPB’s abstract diagrams, which represent the whole city.

New Buildings for 194X,” Architectural Forum 78 (May 1943): 71. 82 Between his work for the NRPB, his ties to Hansen, his lecturing, and his experience at Harvard, he had intimate knowledge of the state of planning and knew most of the key planners of the day. Greer made little effort at objectivity, pressing an apology for progressive planning. 5. City hall by Charles Eames. “New Buildings for 194X,” Architectural Forum 78 (May 1943): 88. 6. Site plan. “New Buildings for 194X,” Architectural Forum 78 (May 1943): 71.

86 Greer let history discredit the laissez-faire tradition, launching into a crash course on the history of planning from Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities (the “most important single contribution . . 87 He used history to Americanize planning, representing it as a tradition threatened by laissez-faire capitalism and the poverty of imagination of “realistic” planners like Moses. Greer thus condensed a history of modern planning, capped by the work of the NRPB, into a pithy essay for Fortune readers.

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