Critics, and particularly foreign critics, often profess themselves as being unable to discover any guiding principle back of the various transformations that have brought American architecture from its crude beginnings along the Atlantic seaboard to a present position of world leadership. They pretend to find only a meaningless and sometimes indiscriminate aping of European forms1 —as though this country were not European, as much a part of European civilization as (let us say) Austria or Greece, and a far more important factor in European art, commerce, and finance today than any of the so-called powers. Why should they cry “thief” or “copy-cat” when Howells and Cram borrow from the Gothic—and lavish unstinted praise upon Sir Christopher Wren and Norman Shaw? As a matter of fact, we have made better use of our borrowings. In Europe, since Lebrouste and Viollet-le-Duc, there have been few architects to compare with Richardson, Hunt, McKim, Burnham, Root, Sullivan, Gilbert, Goodhue, Cram, Kendall, Hastings, Harmon, White, Frank Lloyd Wright and a half dozen others.
KeywordsClassic Architecture Atlantic Seaboard Cash Account Perfect Expression Antique Temple
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- 1.How they can pretend to greater originality passes my comprehension, for they have contributed little or nothing to the advancement of architecture since the settlement of this country—except in so far as they have been inspired by the work of American architects. In fact, the recent renaissance in European architecture is directly traceable to the influence of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.Google Scholar