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  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art — Awards & Prizes
    University Scholarship John Staub Awards The Hannah McCarthy Smith Memorial Scholarship Links to Other Prizes Awards Calendar Publications Bookshop Membership Chapters About Us Press Sponsorship Contact Us Privacy Policy Donate Now Home Join the ICAA Today Classicist Blog E Announcements Twitter Facebook RSS Feed Awards Prizes 2009 Arthur Ross Awards Tickets Cocktails Awards Dinner 6 00 pm Cocktails 7 00 pm Awards Ceremony 8 00 pm Dinner 25 000 SPONSOR Table s for ten This level includes a VIP table for ten your firm or individual listing in printed and online materials acknowledgement in the program as a Sponsor press coverage and special mention at the beginning of the awards ceremony along with your name and logo prominently displayed on the plasma screen s in the room 12 000 BENEFACTOR Table s for ten 6 000 PATRON Table s for ten 5 000 SPECIAL UNDERWRITER This level includes your firm s listing in a special underwriters section in the invitation program and on our awards Web page with special mention at the beginning of the awards ceremony 1 200 BENEFACTOR Ticket s for one 600 PATRON Ticket s for one Please be aware there will be a new format to the dinner this year with the awards ceremony taking place before dinner All but 125 of each ticket listed above is tax deductible Cocktails Awards 6pm Cocktails 7pm Awards Ceremony 175 FRIENDS Ticket s for one The Arthur Ross Awards is the Institute s annual fundraiser with all proceeds going to further our highly sought after educational programs for architects and allied artists and artisans To that end we ask that you support this important event as a Sponsor Benefactor or Patron However we are mindful of severe economic challenges and their current impact on the ICAA community and for

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  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art — Awards & Prizes
    Edward Vason Jones Scholarship The Annual I Grace Scholarship John Russell Pope Awards Julia Morgan Awards Rieger Graham Prize The Hampton University Scholarship John Staub Awards The Hannah McCarthy Smith Memorial Scholarship Links to Other Prizes Awards Calendar Publications Bookshop Membership Chapters About Us Press Sponsorship Contact Us Privacy Policy Donate Now Home Join the ICAA Today Classicist Blog E Announcements Twitter Facebook RSS Feed Awards Prizes This feature requires

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  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art — Awards & Prizes
    Prize Edward Vason Jones Scholarship The Annual I Grace Scholarship John Russell Pope Awards Julia Morgan Awards Rieger Graham Prize The Hampton University Scholarship John Staub Awards The Hannah McCarthy Smith Memorial Scholarship Links to Other Prizes Awards Calendar Publications Bookshop Membership Chapters About Us Press Sponsorship Contact Us Privacy Policy Donate Now Home Join the ICAA Today Classicist Blog E Announcements Twitter Facebook RSS Feed Awards Prizes 2008 Arthur Ross Awards Jury The jurors Allan Greenberg Jury Chairman Architect and Author New York NY Greenwich CT and Alexandria VA Christopher H Browne Investment Banker and Author Treasurer ICAA Board of Directors New York NY Michael Cannell Journalist and Author New York NY Linda Shapiro Collins Author and Philanthropist New York NY Elizabeth Dowling Professor College of Architecture at Georgia Tech and Author Atlanta GA Anne Fairfax Architect and Author Chair ICAA Board of Directors New York NY Suzanne Tucker Interior Designer President of the Northern California Chapter of the ICAA San Francisco CA Foster Reeve Plaster Artisan and Businessman Brooklyn NY Elizabeth Barlow Rogers Author Scholar founding President of The Foundation for Landscape Studies and founding President of the Central Park Conservancy New York NY Phillip James Dodd Jury

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  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art — Awards & Prizes
    J Triefus List information March 10 2008 Special thanks to our sponsors for the evening Benefactors Eleanor M Alger Sarah A Blank Rhett Butler Richard Carbino Elizabeth de Cuevas Richard H Driehaus Ambassador Richard N Gardner Mr Mrs George J Gillespie III Ray Marilyn Gindroz Gail Gregg Arthur Sulzberger Jr Michael Imber Mac White Thomas A Kligerman Dell Mitchell John B Murray Architect LLC Joseph Nye Elizabeth Plater Zyberk Katharine William P Rayner Mary Donald Roberts Gilbert P Schafer III Helen S Tucker Suzanne Tucker William J vanden Heuvel Patrons Kent Barwick William H Bates III Laurie Beckelman Beckelman Capalino Frederick L Bissinger Jr Nancy Boszhardt Richard Cameron Adele Chatfield Taylor Jane Forbes Clark Rodney M Cook Jr Christina R Davis Barbara Eberlein Eleanor Edelman Margaret Halsey Gardiner Steven D Hendricks Sarah Ozey Horton Thomas Jayne Joseph J Kais Clem Labine Elizabeth Lenahan Valerie Paley Leonard Porter Thomas Riley Artisans Guild Frances Schultz Anthony Gerard David M Schwarz Daniela Holt Voith Wadia Associates Susan John Williams Dr Mrs Lawrence A Yannuzzi Council of Advisors Robert Adam Boris Baranovich Michael Bierut John Blatteau Louis Bofferding Gary Brewer Alexander Creswell Stefania de Kennessey Elizabeth Dowling Andres Duany David Anthony Easton Miguel Flores Vianna Nancy W Green Allan Greenberg Mac Griswold Inge Heckel Eve M Kahn George M Kelly Sc Léon Krier Michael Lykoudis Myron Magnet Arthur May Sarah Medford Hugh Petter Carlos A Picón Demetri Porphyrios Foster Reeve Dick Reid Jaquelin Robertson Witold Rybczynski Edward Schmidt Thomas Gordon Smith Robert A M Stern Peter Trippi Simon Verity A Russell Versaci Darren Walker Carroll William Westfall Jean Wiart Fellows Gregory Shue Fellows President Steve Bass William H Bates III Lisa Boudiette Martin Brandwein William Brockschmidt Aimee Buccellato Daron Builta Stephen T Chrisman Courtney Coleman Brian Connolly Melissa Del Vecchio Phillip James Dodd Petra

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  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art — Publications & Bookshop
    his time He saw in the past a vision for the future and found nothing contradictory in that premise His recognition of the idea that building must serve a human purpose is as valid today as it was in the fifteenth century despite occasional assertions to the contrary The value of conversing with and learning from our classical antecedents has similarly remained constant in spite of the many changes between Alberti s time arid our own IV One of the buildings from antiquity that Alberti refers to in his treatise is the Pantheon in Rome a building which he knew and admired Alberti along with his contemporaries believed the structure to have been built by the great Roman consul Agrippa minister to Augustus on the evidence of the bronze dedication fixed to the frieze of the portico It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that archaeologists discovered the brick stamps dating the building to the rule of the emperor Hadrian Subsequent research has demonstrated that the emperor and his architects rebuilt and reconceived the Pantheon of Agrippa after it had been destroyed by fire an event of natural rather than man made destruction The great bronze inscription of the portico was left as a testament to the original budder an act of artistic humility never surpassed V In April of 1993 Amtrak announced its intention to rebuild Pennsylvania Station inside the McKim designed Post Office sited to the west of the original station The James A Farley Post Office Building was conceived by McKim as part of a five block urban ensemble which included the terminal and the Hotel Pennsylvania on Seventh Avenue The failure of the space beneath Madison Square Garden to act as a dignified entry to the city the revival of interest in high speed rail transit combined with the public s desire for a building evocative of the former station apparently prompted this idea for reuse Amtrak s announcement was accompanied by architectural renderings of the new station space to be built into the courtyard of the Farley Building Among the features they show is a series of parabolic arches clearly intended to evoke the great glass and steel train shed of McKim s station The tragedy of these drawings is that they are more reminiscent of the images for the new Penn Station of 1963 particularly in their overt commercial aspects than of McKim s concourse and they certainly bear no relation to the humanist values embodied in his great waiting room Rather they Illustrate one of the most egregious follies of modern thinking to blindly assume ourselves to be the cultural as well as technical superiors of our ancestors and so to refuse to emulate them at any cost VI That little opposition to the scheme has been observed in the mainstream press can hardly be surprising to anyone versed in the politics of contemporary architectural culture Like the profession as a whole the design media is generally unsympathetic to the

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  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art — Publications & Bookshop
    public or private This modernist or antinomial thinking has its corollary in another idea borrowed from the empirical sciences dealing with observations revealing the laws of nature namely the idea that it is the nature of things producing observable phenomena to change that there is nothing more enduring than change indeed there is nothing enduring except change and that there is nothing absolute except change These changes are measured against various constants and against the only enduring ground for observing change those of time and place These become the constants the historian uses to measure change in the human condition just as the natural scientist uses them to measure changes of states in the nature he examines The modern condition is to acknowledge this to accept this to work with this Constant change is the modern condition a relentless ongoing enduring change within which we cast our lives and destinies The only way to live at peace with this ongoing change is to confront it with the methods of the natural sciences Thus architecture becomes first of all a technical skill and an extension of the social sciences If it is not that it is the complete opposite the extension of individual genius in which the architect stands outside the forces operating around him and answering no other standards than those he himself sets for himself and which arise in his intuition Either way as technocrat and social scientist or as intuitive genius he is responsible to absolutes those of science and of his own genius and is beyond the reach of the judgment of others There are alternatives to modernist antinomial thinking within dialogic thinking They are classical forms which are still valid the rational basis of the world has not changed The kind of alternative one would find useful depends upon the kinds of pairs he is confronting Dialogic thinking posits pairsâ this and that the one and the other and so on The way we think about pairs today in modernism can be called antinomial thinking The pairs form antinomies that is each part of a pair can be shown to be logically coherent and complete and must therefore stand in contradiction to the other Not only are they contradictory they are irreconcilable even though both claim a common basis of proof namely in empirical observation and its interpretation based on reason A rational person cannot maintain that both parts of the pair are true He has to make a choice center or edge nature or culture public or private This modernist or antinomial thinking has its corollary in another idea borrowed from the empirical sciences dealing with observations revealing the laws of nature namely the idea that it is the nature of things producing observable phenomena to change that there is nothing more enduring than change indeed there is nothing enduring except change and that there is nothing absolute except change These changes are measured against various constants and against the only enduring ground for observing change those of time and place These become the constants the historian uses to measure change in the human condition just as the natural scientist uses them to measure changes of states in the nature he examines The modern condition is to acknowledge this to accept this to work with this Constant change is the modern condition a relentless ongoing enduring change within which we cast our lives and destinies The only way to live at peace with this ongoing change is to confront it with the methods of the natural sciences Thus architecture becomes first of all a technical skill and an extension of the social sciences If it is not that it is the complete oppositeâ the extension of individual genius in which the architect stands outside the forces operating around him and answering no other standards than those he himself sets for himself and which arise in his intuition Either wayâ as technocrat and social scientist or as intuitive genius â he is responsible to absolutes those of science and of his own genius and is beyond the reach of the judgment of others There are alternatives to modernist antinomial thinking within dialogic thinking They are classical forms which are still valid the rational basis of the world has not changed The kind of alternative one would find useful depends upon the kinds of pairs he is confronting One kind of pair can be called complementary For example we recognize that male and female are opposite parts of a pair but we would not call the difference between them antinomial Instead they are complementary because together male and female make up humankind and we recognize humankind to be made up of different kinds Unlike the antinomial claims we make about center versus edge and nature versus culture we do not think of male and female as existing at opposite extremes from one another and incapable of being brought together in some sort of general middle containing them both unless we apply antinomial thinking to complements which is perhaps what we are doing with some of the current extreme forms of feminism and multiculturalism Another kind of pair might be called antithetical for example truth and falsehood courage and cowardice charity and hubris They stand at extremes as black does to white without any intervening grays One part of knowledge is the ability to recognize which extreme provides true happiness and move towards it In doing so one recognizes that what actual people who are imperfect can attain is a proportionate balance between the extremes Antithetical thinking in human affairs requires an understanding of how hope stands in relation to despair and where aspiration is relative to actuality Finally some other pairs are neither complementary nor antithetical for example center and edge nature and culture and public and private Note for example that a person cannot occupy both the center and the edge at the same time and that the natural and the cultural are different as are public and private actions But note also that in these terms the one defines the other There is no center unless there is an edge no world of nature untouched by cultivation as soon as man has trod in the natural world no public without private interests and no private interests independent of a public existence Current thought would take these last two kinds of pairs to be antinomial but a more useful way to treat them is as classic dialogic pairs Classic dialogic thinking is at an antinomial extreme from antinomial thinking It accepts a pair and seeks the mean between them which it does by interposing a mediating term Thus both the intent and method of dialogic thinking is different from antinomial thinking Antinomial thinking explores the extremes of the pairs and takes its pleasure in reveling in the discoveries It makes enemies of the one against the other as for example the new against the old knowledge against inspiration the technocrat social scientist architect against the intuitive genius architect and architecture against the city Classic dialogic thinking is very different It seeks proportionate accommodations between center and edge nature and culture etc Instructive is the origin of our use of the term culture It was coined within a framework of antinomial thinking to designate those things which stood opposed to nature when people began to think of themselves as being in opposition to nature In the older dialogic tradition culture was a special form given to nature Without nature there was no culture and without culture nature was useless to man Mediating between nature and culture was art or more accurately artifice or techne that is a practice guided by knowledge and skill aimed at making nature useful to man The highest form of such artifice the arch techne was architecture The analogue to architecture in the affairs of men is city building or the political life The city is the locale for the exercise of the unique art dealing with another aspect of nature this time the nature of man The city uses the political skill of the statesman and in a democracy such as ours the citizen who is also skillful at something else say at practicing architecture or at making money The city is a special part of nature because among the most natural of the things people enjoy indeed among the most natural things they seek in the world formed by dialogic thinking is the political life lived in both public and private ways in the city The city is a special part of nature because it requires careful cultivation the term cultivation signifying culture put into action The city is the center of nature the center which has become civilized through the efforts of people Something that is civilized is the most like the city and the least like the wilderness which stood opposed to the city Antinomial thinking can deal only with one pair at a time while classic dialogic thinking reconciles a number of terms at once It does this by finding what they have in common and putting them into like classes of things and hence the term classical thought Think for example of the group of man and nature buildings and nature the city and nature and the materials used to form man buildings and the city in their raw form in nature and in their finished form in a design For man and nature we can think antinomially of man versus animals or trees or rocks or some combination of things in nature and separate from man Alternatively in dialogic thinking we can see man as a natural being made of the same things as other things in nature but different from them Similarly we can think of buildings the city and the materials of buildings and cities and the kinds of people as being different or we can see them as a class in which the various members are brought together by the artifice that cultivates them for the uses of mankind the artifice of the architect of the city builder of the statesman of the citizen Antinomial thinking would produce disparate pairs at war with one another Classical and still current dialogic thinking would see human artifice as a means of bringing all of these different things into concord and it would use terms such as goodness truth and beauty not accuracy precision predictability or popularity to judge the success of that artifice The cities towns villages and rural landscapes we value and attempt to learn from whether here or abroad were built within the tradition of classical dialogic thinking And so were the things we most value in the liberal democratic political tradition of the West that is in the tradition we inherited and which we in America have enriched Let me illustrate with a passage demonstrating how language worked when people thought like that When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature s god entitle them a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation This is from a still current political document about the civil life and its cultivation in nature It is a document that explains that there are truths we hold to be self evident that all men are created equal that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and so on It is a document that considers nature to be important to people because of its enduring qualities not because it is constantly changing And it is a document drafted by people who looked at human experience both past and present to discover those truths not at human activities as if they were merely other parts of the physical material universe These people understood that architecture history and political science were parts of the humanities not of the social sciences that is they were part of the curriculum covering the subjects required of a person who is free and who wishes to protect and enjoy his freedom and not the part based on its correspondence to the science Galileo Newton and Einstein made from investigating nature And it was drafted by people who knew that common sense caution and practical political experience were as Alexander Hamilton put it in Federalist No 31 a necessary armor against error and imposition arising from claims supported on reason alone just as they were also a hedge against what he called obstinacy perverseness or disingenuity Edmund Burke would soon use similar terms to decry the excesses of the French Revolution while in today s terms Hamilton and Burke would be referring to pursuing a social agenda to reach a long term social goal no matter the immediate cost on one extreme and on the other extreme to maintaining a political position because it corresponds to a dogmatically held ideological position The city built by the people who wrote that document was to be the enduring city That city is as enduring as the light that makes sunsets and the sunrises that convert the night into day Like that light it cannot be seen unless something reveals it as a beautiful sunset reveals light while portending darkness and as a day seems brightest when it follows them darkest night One of the fundamental tasks of the architect of such a city is to reveal the enduring truths of nature for example the fundamental truth of justice that all people are created equal and are endowed with their creator with certain unalienable rights and that among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness Another fundamental task of the architect is to provide places where those rights can be guaranteed and that happiness can be pursued Doing so is the responsibility of those with the skill and training of architects Chronicling how architects have acquitted themselves in undertaking this responsibility in changing circumstances over time is a noble task for indeed it is the responsibility of historians In exercising their responsibility architects embody enduring universals even as they address the transient and circumstantial and the immediate needs and desires of individuals the ones that make money for builders give pleasure to users and provide fame for architects while facilitating the accomplishment of quite particular tasks Form does follow function and always has but delight does not arise from merely satisfying function nor from merely providing stability and not even from their combination To commodity and firmness must be added design to produce delight Commodity firmness and delight are three cumulative and finally inseparable qualities That is what tradition has taught and the modern condition despite the claims of the modernists to the contrary has not provided a valid civil alternative to that teaching The buildings and open areas embodying the qualities of commodity firmness and delight form the enduring city The enduring city addresses the particular actual and current means needs desires and moments that permeate life and form its immediate stuff and substance but it also does more It brings culture to nature and combines the two into an amalgam taking the form of design and construction or art and material and drawing on both knowledge and intuition or science and genius or technology and invention if those are the terms of choice to produce something that serves what design construction art and material serve namely the task of living happily by living with others in the political life In doing so the enduring city joins the present with the past so that the past can provide experience to draw upon in reconciling seeming antinomies through dialectic and it joins it to the future where the fruits of the concord and reconciliation can be enjoyed Per force the center is the most important place in such a design The center is where people come together in the public life In the enduring city the center has priority over the edge where people disperse into the wilderness of their private concerns In the enduring city politics i e the art of living well together is more important than architecture The citizen is more important than the architect or to be more precise the architect as citizen is more important than the architect as technocrat as social scientist or as genius artist It is political need and service that brings buildings into existence and it is therefore the political purpose of a people rather than the artistic preferences of architects that must establish the primary character of a building s design Certainly without the art of the architect there is no architecture there is instead mere building But just as certainly without the dominance of the public role of the building there is mere private expression For private expression to become architecture there must be public content Recall that among the ancient Greeks who taught us how to live well the term for the public person was politicos while that for the private person was idiotos To put these ideas in their shortest aphoristic form the enduring city serves the most important art the art of being a citizen None of this is the dominant current doctrine Current doctrine puts the other nature of the city in the dominant position The name of this nature is change The city of change is composed of buildings built on particular sites at particular times with particular materials using the latest technologies and presenting the most current styles and it does nothing more The buildings of current doctrine are the works of architects who as architects are first of all artists rather than citizens They address immediate needs and satisfy particular desires usually

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  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art — Publications & Bookshop
    was a nineteenth century innovation in the south and midwest but then only in county seats where the courthouse was More usually American towns reiterated the mechanistic national grid unrelieved by the devices of civic art A few years ago I was doing a story about the over development crisis in Vermont for The New York Times Sunday Magazine The state had convened a Panel of prestigious citizens to figure out a remedy for their disappearing farms belabored towns and burgeoning highway crudscape The panel settled on the term traditional settlement pattern as a sort of panacea By this they meant a compact village designed around some central village green You could practically whiff the scented candles from the little gift shops The truth was they had no intention of changing their idiotic zoning laws or any of the other mechanisms encoded in their building practices that made it impossible to create places worth caring about and hence they had no chance of solving the spiritual problems engendered by the creeping crudscape More than once I was directed to Stratton Mountain the ski resort to see a really horrible case of bad development So I went to Stratton And what I found oddly enough was the only case of a traditional settlement pattern executed in new construction anywhere in the state They had in essence built a little village at the foot of the mountain The construction was kind of cheesy and the details were saccharin but the basic elements of good urbanism were there They had apartments condos really over the shops The buildings were arranged so as to define a central public space And the whole thing was scaled to pedestrians There was a large multi level parking structure below the village an arrangement nearly identical to that of Perugia Italy They had apparently been able to build it under the pretense that they were building a sort of mall But the final result was a good deal better than a mall And all the well intentioned Vermonters hated it This proved to me that even educated Americans can not think clearly about these issues Last year I sat in on a meeting of another group of well intentioned citizens in my own town Saratoga Springs New York The group calls itself the Open Space Committee its members dedicated to improving the townscape of Saratoga But it soon became evident that the very name of their organization had completed sabotaged their ability to think clearly about the issue They d gotten it into their heads that their proper mission was to create and preserve open space in town As it happens our problem in Saratoga as in most American towns is quite the opposite We have dozens of acres of flattened urban renewal land downtown in the form of parking lots while the surrounding countryside is being blighted by veterinary clinics convenience stores and raised ranch houses in short the functions of town life are being smeared all

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  • Institute of Classical Architecture & Art — Publications & Bookshop
    physical means of support Thus the classical attitude s frequent preference for the formal language of classicism since not only did it originate as a system of actual structural order but it also remains today as the most complete finely tuned expressive and culturally durable of such systems Thirdly perfection meaning an ideal which is approached through evolutionary rather than revolutionary change The classical can be justified enduringly since it disdains the ephemerality and easy excitement of fashion seeking instead to connect itself to and endure within the longest possible temporal context It discriminates and defers to those standards that seem as if they will endure This explains how such an attitude has produced the major share of classic works even though we now also recognize as classics the benchmark works of non classical periods like Chartres Cathedral for the Gothic or the Villa Savoye for romantic modernism But though the latter is unquestionably a classic that it fails in classical terms is evident from Le Corbusier s own substantial abandonment of its visual and technical vocabulary the year after its construction 15 Fourthly continuity meaning a respect for the traditional past of place and context of building type and of the enduring techniques and principles of the discipline as a whole The classical can be justified historically since although it disdains mimicry and mere stylistic conformance it adapts precedents respectfully and knowledgeably yet creatively and critically in light of changing situations This accounts for the powerful evolutionary traditions in French architecture between 1500 and 1790 despite the waves of fashion engulfing Italy and Germany during this period judgments of propriety and decorum essential and central to classical thinking are based in the continuities of place type and discipline brought into carefully reasoned equilibrium with the specific aspects of a design situation Fifth and finally appreciation meaning the capacity of the work to be enjoyed on many levels of taste despite or should we say because of its high and conscious standards of quality perfection harmony detail and resolution The classical can be justified publicly since it relies for its validation neither on knowledge of the individual artist s private expressive intentions nor on esoteric constructs techniques or speculations within the field Being broad and durable the horizon of environmental experience on which the designer draws is also known and shared by the public at large From the vague but widespread sense that classical buildings are beautiful to the most esoteric discriminations of moldings and proportions there is room for and an invitation to appreciation at all levels Like classical music it rewards repeated encounters and many different degrees of attentiveness or prior knowledge It was a commonplace in classical literary theory that the purpose of art was to give pleasure to the reader and this was folly intertwined with any other moral or social purpose the work might serve Of course it will be realized that to talk intelligently about this frame of mind in modern English requires using the term classicism but it is perhaps only safe to do so in full recognition of the differences between classicism as a way of thinking and classicism as a category of objects For Mansart and Gabriel as for our fullest understanding of them I would suggest that it was the nature of the creative act of design and a sense of the breadth duration and authority of the cultural and artistic contexts in which they were working at least as much as the visual attributes of the language employed which might best be regarded as classical That the French architects exemplified classical thought as much as they did the classical language could be illustrated by numerous examples Critical of superimposed orders as found in the Colosseum or the Palazzo Rucellai they reasoned that a single dominant order should surmount a strong base better to portray its inherent sacredness and to give its designated Vitruvian character coherently to the building as a whole On the garden front at Versailles a vividly embellished Ionic order can thus unequivocally set the tone for the Sun King and his court FIGURE 2 This technique contrasts with the Palais du Luxembourg designed by Salomon de Brosse a half century earlier but characterizes nearly all subsequent French classical work 16 The French architects also realized that the orders were in their essence a vocabulary of structural frames not just a decorative grid to be laid across wall surfaces as they were so often used by the Italians In sympathy with already durable French principles derived from generations of experience with carpentry framing and structural masonry the orders were articulated as open frames with vertical continuities and large French windows thereby minimizing the wall surface FIGURE 3 Thus the columns and entablatures themselves approach the reality of physical as well as visual structure Masonry techniques having been developed with an astonishing virtuosity over generations of French practice were to present themselves directly the Italian convention of painted stucco being anathema 17 Yet the high roof an equally French tradition rational for the climate was jettisoned in the interests of harmony restraint and elegance Emmanuel Héré de Corny in the Place Stanislas at Nancy FIGURE 4 varied only incrementally the essential truths established at Versailles and at Jules Hardouin Mansart s Place Vôndome despite the passage of the better part of a century To a classicist such continuity of form and principle does nothing to diminish appreciation of Héré s achievement On the contrary it reveals his commitment to durable ideals that had already been in the main perfected but were yet open to infinite refinement Such principled continuity draws the appreciative eye to the nuances the elegant spatial transitions and gradations of character the flourishes and embellishments that evoke Nancy s especially festive exuberance FIGURE 4 Place Stanislas Nancy France by Emmanuel Héré de Corny 1751 75 Façade of the Hôtel de Ville Classical reasoning also meant situational specificity thus the character of each space at Nancy is tuned to its function whether civic mercantile residential or royal Even the Petite Trianon at Versailles widely regarded as a paradigm of classical perfection has four distinctly varied elevations in response to its site and orientation functions access and other constraints Yet each is composed harmoniously within itself and with the others resolving with the utmost decorum both classical idealism and its specific tasks It could be argued that these French architects were because of a rigorously theoretical approach and a confidently critical relationship with both their historical precedents and the cultural and physical specifics of their design situations more free as designers than either the avant garde who like the early Le Corbusier and other modernists were artificially constrained by an excessive self consciousness about the Zeitgeist or the archaeologists who like James Stuart and other revivalists were excessively constrained by the artificially reconstituted authority of the ancients The measure of their talent was in the use of their freedom to solve specific situated and often difficult problems well and to evince in the results decorum sensible reasoning and the dissimulation of effort Le classique was thus mainly a sensibility a way of thinking much as described by Kenyon Cox in 1911 as the disinterested search for perfection it is the love of clearness and reasonableness and self control it is above all the love of permanence and of continuity It asks of a work of art not that it shall be novel or effective but that it shall be fine and noble 18 Of course such a benchmark version of architectural classicism raises the fundamental question as to whether it is possible to still produce or to think in this way under present conditions and even whether it is appropriate or authentic to do so Of what value is such self restraint and traditional continuity in our fast paced media driven society Of what value is such reasoned technical and compositional maturity in our fashion conscious architectural star system Of what value are order serenity and simplicity in our jaded culture Who has resources for the painstaking care and demanding subtleties of such design either to conceive and produce it or to appreciate it fully And most fundamentally what semblance of authority could be invoked to stand behind to be claimed as a ground for all the kinds of theoretical justifications described in these five points Does any consensual discourse exist either in the design fields or the general culture Judgment reason and continuity in all definitions of the classical inevitably rely on solid authority or criteria of some kind Comparing ourselves to the seventeenth century French we see with some considerable relief I am sure a major discrepancy between what was then an obvious pervasive and natural cultural authority crystallized in the absolutist state of Louis XIV and the fragmentary and artificial semblances of authority which we might be able to discern in our present situation After all it is clear that the rise of le classique in France coincided precisely and importantly with the period of consolidation of the French monarchy With its uniquely absolutist orientation it is hardly a cultural or political climate to which most of us would choose to return This contrast in the nature and type of operative authority is the basic issue we confront in trying to come to terms with the cultural significance that more recent versions of the classical might have Yet we were already on our way to this disjuncture by the early nineteenth century The invention of classicism by name coincided exactly with indeed was caused by the fresh realization that the only authorities from then on would be fragmented and artificial Thus when it was named as a doctrine an ism classical authority was only one of the available stylistic and cultural orientations It therefore changed from a still living authority to a revived and hyper rigid one from a critically evolving sensibility to a formulaic one from a way of thinking to a style This is why we have the application of the prefix neo revival renewal at the same time we have the application of the suffix Ism and why there are so many neo classicisms 19 This is also why St Pancras Church in London FIGURE 5 for example is based not on carefully reasoned criticism of various wholly assimilated esteemed precedents with criteria derived from the long term continuity of the classic sensibility but instead on exact uncritical archaeologically faithful adherence to a particular ancient monument the Erechtheum simply chosen from among many In order to constitute itself as a doctrine in a newly relativistic age it needed to grasp a ready made body of authority obligingly provided by the concurrent proliferation of archaeological data Thus from early neo classicism we have much to learn among our own present neo classicisms about how the sense of authority works fragmentary and artificial though it may seem at times and about what to kind of classical design it is able to sustain To conclude and in light of the issues I have raised I will describe three basic approaches to the classical in recent design work One approach plays the classical language straight asserting that the language itself is validated for our age as much as for any other by its durability Here from within as it were the tradition seems not to be in another revival but rather never to have died its elegance refinement and world of gracious and powerful associations is claimed to be as relevant to our time as to any other With the second approach the works suggest to us ways of referring allusively to the classical language without using the forms literally or claiming any absolute durability Sometimes thinness and ephemerality are even virtues and the success of this allusive genre in the commercial vernacular over the past decade indicates a resonance with our cultural values Conversely a third approach reaches for the classical virtues of perfection harmony and order and seeks ways to connect convincingly to a classical timelessness but without employing any recognizable allusion to the language Here we turn to a certain strain in modernity that eschewed the twentieth century s more trivial avant garde fashions and that came to fruition in the late works of Le Corbusier and even more so in the work of Louis 1 Kahn 20 The first approach is exemplified in the works of Allan Greenberg In his designs for the Diplomatic Reception Rooms at the U S State Department 21 we find he has advanced his skill with the classical language to quite a remarkable degree well beyond the tentative thinness and meager budgets of earlier works like the Manchester Connecticut Courthouse 22 and probably far beyond what even an educated clientele is likely to discern There is a powerful sense that the whole of the classical tradition is at his disposal for FIGURE 5 St Pancras Church London by W and H W Inwood 1818 22 View of the Caryatid Portico critical elaboration and extension With similar grandeur and self assurance his design for a farmhouse in Connecticut confidently transcends the provinciality of its colonial precedent by playing out a witty regularized version of Mount Vernon s irregular fenestration through the window placements on its front facade and by invoking a more erudite and powerfully baroque sense in its interior detailing A clear hierarchy of ornamental devices is used to differentiate various doors axes and rooms within the center hall plan As at the State Department there is a depth and integrity in the use of the language and hence the confidence to vary it knowingly for witty or refining effects as when the wallpaper slides in to help make the china cabinet or when cornice modillions sit at 45 degree angles to help turn corners But such convincing works as these notwithstanding how do we read the claims of orthodox classicism as a group against the background of our fragmented pluralistic cultural world Why do we tend to find this approach associated with conspicuous consumption Does it depend on wealth and position for its authority much as it did in the seventeenth century Isn t our cultural world saturated with Hollywood and advertising pop culture and MTV utterly and irretrievably at odds with the venerable serious timeless themes that a classical architecture wishes to advance Is such architecture thus left stranded as but another fragment in our collaged existence its ultimate message left as an ironic juxtaposition and its ground of authority no matter with what consummate finesse it is executed fragmentary as well as ostentatious Because of their overwhelming rarity in our time do new classical works now tend to mean mainly these things before and beneath any of the other messages or virtues the language might normally convey Has the classical now lost its authentic cultural ground that authority which could make it speak to us of anything beyond merely its own formal logic These dilemmas were largely avoided by the kind of classical architecture which became the mainstay of postmodern design practice throughout the1980 s 23 This style received its greatest impetus from the rise to prominence of Michael Graves whose Portland Building and SUNAR furniture showrooms of 1979 to 1981 were widely publicized These works clearly referred to the classical language although stopped far short of using it straight There were allusions in varying degrees of literalness to Schinkel Ledoux Pompeiian villas or Palladio but the whole was managed with a sufficient mix of cubist painting and intuitive artistry so that it could emerge as vividly Gravesian 24 Graves emphasizes classicism s capacity to create strong spatial order clearly defining room passage sequence and hierarchy The SUNAR showrooms were usually placed in awkward given configurations inside existing buildings and their spatial arrangements needed somehow to be resolved with the greatest amount of grace and clarity In the first New York Showroom of 1979 a pair of tetrastyles marked thresholds of passage while a slanted floor grid shifted the axis from the entry to the main display space The columns presented the traditional foot body and head but exaggerated the heavy earthbound foot and the ethereal head Indeed the common denominator of all Graves interiors is the allegorical representation of earth and sky with humanity nature and architecture in between Hence the tetrastyle is also a garden pergola having only an open frame on top In the Chicago Showroom of the same year the hierarchies of orders marched through with an extremely clear message about the directing and subdividing of space Cross axes were denoted by tetrastyles over green marble flooring Side aisles were marked off from a nave by smaller orders set in under square arches in turn under cornice up lights which washed the metaphorical sky No doubt Graves did more than any other recent architect to bring back an allusive form of classicism for space defining elements to rediscover the symbolic and emotional capacities of color and to suggest that architecture and interior design ought to again have an allegorical narrative content When they were designed it was interesting and important that the SUNAR showrooms were polemical about the need to re enrich the blank abstractions of most ubiquitous commonplace modernism It was a delight that these forms presented their colorful imagery and quirky proportions as vividly as they did the physical ephemerality of the gypsum board surfaces from which they were made was not really of concern Graves belief in the primacy of surface was evident not only in his writings where he discussed the architectonic capacities of paint but also in his characteristic method of plan drawing with only hollow outlines of the poché 25 Yet strictly speaking the classical is by nature not ephemeral and not polemical and certainly not thinly artificial The postmodern approach to classicism nevertheless helps reveal our present dilemma how can we act classically in a world where superficiality and the consumption of

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