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Art & Architecture Library during COVID-19

 

Library Access

The Art & Architecture Library is open by appointment only. Appointments can be made here: https://calendar.lib.vt.edu/reserve/art-arch

Appointments will be a maximum of two-hours and patrons are allowed to browse the stacks during their appointment time. Gloves will be provided and must be worn while browsing books at all times.

Alternatively, books can be picked up at the front desk by placing a hold on the item in the library catalog.

 

Research Help

A subject librarian is available to assist you with research via phone, email, or Zoom web conference. Click here to schedule an appointment.

Reach all Art & Architecture Library staff for any reason at artarchlibrary-g@vt.edu

 

Online Resources

For an overview of our online resources, review the Online Resource Handout linked below.

 

 

For more information on using the University Libraries during COVID-19 visit https://lib.vt.edu/ready.

 


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For Whom? By Whom? 

The Art & Architecture Library in collaboration with the School of Architecture + Design is embarking upon a set of actions to collectively examine the relationships between design and equity. We are galvanized by the events of Spring and Summer 2020, namely the horrific killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. However, these conversations are long overdue, and will continue past Fall 2020. For Whom? By Whom? will reach across the different disciplines of the School, through actions such as public talks, film nights, reading groups, and exhibits. We welcome every member of the community – students, faculty, and staff – to participate and contribute.

Below are featured resources from the Art & Architecture Library to help us all become more informed.

Gender and Planning

Increasingly, experts recognize that gender has affected urban planning and the design of the spaces where we live and work. Too often, urban and suburban spaces support stereotypically male activities and planning methodologies reflect a male-dominated society. To document and analyze the connection between gender and planning, the editors of this volume have assembled an interdisciplinary collection of influential essays by leading scholars. Contributors point to the ubiquitous single-family home, which prevents women from sharing tasks or pooling services. Similarly, they argue that public transportation routes are usually designed for the (male) worker's commute from home to the central city, and do not help the suburban dweller running errands. In addition to these practical considerations, many contributors offer theoretical perspectives on issues such as planning discourse and the construction of concepts of rationality. While the essays call for an awareness of gender in matters of planning, they do not over-simplify the issue by moving toward a single feminist solution. Contributors realize that not all women gravitate toward communal opportunities, that many women now share the supposedly male commute, and that considerations of race and class need to influence planning as well. Among various recommendations, contributors urge urban planners to provide opportunities that facilitate women's needs, such as childcare on the way to work and jobs that are decentralized so that women can be close to their children. Bringing together the most important writings of the last twenty-five years, this book is essential reading for students and scholars of planning theory as well as anyone concerned with gender and diversity.

The Aesthetics of Equity

Architecture is often thought to be a diary of a society, filled with symbolic representations of specific cultural moments. However, as Craig L. Wilkins observes, that diary includes far too few narratives of the diverse cultures in U.S. society. Wilkins states that the discipline of architecture has a resistance to African Americans at every level, from the startlingly small number of architecture students to the paltry number of registered architects in the United States today. Working to understand how ideologies are formed, transmitted, and embedded in the built environment, Wilkins deconstructs how the marginalization of African Americans is authorized within the field of architecture. He then outlines how activist forms of expression shape and sustain communities, fashioning an architectural theory around the site of environmental conflict constructed by hip-hop culture. Wilkins places his concerns in a historical context, and also offers practical solutions to address them. In doing so, he reveals new possibilities for an architecture that acknowledges its current shortcomings and replies to the needs of multicultural constituencies. Craig L. Wilkins, a registered architect, teaches architecture and urban planning at the University of Michigan.

Race and Modern Architecture

Although race--a concept of human difference that establishes hierarchies of power and domination--has played a critical role in the development of modern architectural discourse and practice since the Enlightenment, its influence on the discipline remains largely underexplored. This volume offers a welcome and long-awaited intervention for the field by shining a spotlight on constructions of race and their impact on architecture and theory in Europe and North America and across various global contexts since the eighteenth century. Challenging us to write race back into architectural history, contributors confront how racial thinking has intimately shaped some of the key concepts of modern architecture and culture over time, including freedom, revolution, character, national and indigenous style, progress, hybridity, climate, representation, and radicalism. By analyzing how architecture has intersected with histories of slavery, colonialism, and inequality--from eighteenth-century neoclassical governmental buildings to present-day housing projects for immigrants--Race and Modern Architecture challenges, complicates, and revises the standard association of modern architecture with a universal project of emancipation and progress.

Building Character: The Racial Politics of Modern Architectural Style

In the nineteenth-century paradigm of architectural organicism, the notion that buildings possessed character provided architects with a lens for relating the buildings they designed to the populations they served. Advances in scientific race theory enabled designers to think of "race" and "style" as manifestations of natural law: just as biological processes seemed to inherently regulate the racial characters that made humans a perfect fit for their geographical contexts, architectural characters became a rational product of design. Parallels between racial and architectural characters provided a rationalist model of design that fashioned some of the most influential national building styles of the past, from the pioneering concepts of French structural rationalism and German tectonic theory to the nationalist associations of the Chicago Style, the Prairie Style, and the International Style. In Building Character, Charles Davis traces the racial charge of the architectural writings of five modern theorists--Eugene Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc, Gottfried Semper, Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and William Lescaze--to highlight the social, political, and historical significance of the spatial, structural, and ornamental elements of modern architectural styles.

The Black Skyscraper

With the development of the first skyscrapers in the 1880s, urban built environments could expand vertically as well as horizontally. Tall buildings emerged in growing cities to house and manage the large and racially diverse populations of migrants and immigrants flocking to their centers following Reconstruction. Beginning with Chicago's early 10-story towers and concluding with the 1931 erection of the 102-story Empire State Building, Adrienne Brown's The Black Skyscraper provides a detailed account of how scale and proximity shape our understanding of race. Over the next half-century, as city skylines grew, American writers imagined the new urban backdrop as an obstacle to racial differentiation. Examining works produced by writers, painters, architects, and laborers who grappled with the early skyscraper's outsized and disorienting dimensions, Brown explores this architecture's effects on how race was seen, read, and sensed at the turn of the twentieth century. In lesser-known works of apocalyptic science fiction, light romance, and Jazz Age melodrama, as well as in more canonical works by W. E. B. Du Bois, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Aaron Douglas, and Nella Larsen, the skyscraper mediates the process of seeing and being seen as a racialized subject. From its distancing apex--reducing bodies to specks--to the shadowy mega-blocks it formed at street level, the skyscraper called attention, Brown argues, to the malleable nature of perception. A highly interdisciplinary work, The Black Skyscraper reclaims the influence of race on modern architectural design as well as the less-well-understood effects these designs had on the experience and perception of race.

Little White Houses

A rare exploration of the racial and class politics of architecture, Little White Houses examines how postwar media representations associated the ordinary single-family house with middle-class whites to the exclusion of others, creating a powerful and invidious cultural iconography that continues to resonate today. Drawing from popular and trade magazines, floor plans and architectural drawings, television programs, advertisements, and beyond, Dianne Harris shows how the depiction of houses and their interiors, furnishings, and landscapes shaped and reinforced the ways in which Americans perceived white, middle-class identities and helped support a housing market already defined by racial segregation and deep economic inequalities. After describing the ordinary postwar house and its orderly, prescribed layout, Harris analyzes how cultural iconography associated these houses with middle-class whites and an ideal of white domesticity. She traces how homeowners were urged to buy specific kinds of furniture and other domestic objects and how the appropriate storage and display of these possessions was linked to race and class by designers, tastemakers, and publishers. Harris also investigates lawns, fences, indoor-outdoor spaces, and other aspects of the postwar home and analyzes their contribution to the assumption that the rightful owners of ordinary houses were white. Richly detailed, Little White Houses adds a new dimension to our understanding of race in America and the inequalities that persist in the U.S. housing market.

Architecture in Black

Based on analysis of historical, philosophical, and semiotic texts, Architecture in Black presents a systematic examination of the theoretical relationship between architecture and blackness. Now updated, this original study draws on a wider range of case studies, highlighting the racial techniques that can legitimize modern historicity, philosophy and architectural theory. Arguing that architecture, as an aesthetic practice, and blackness, as a linguistic practice, operate within the same semiotic paradigm, Darell Fields employs a technique whereby works are related through the repetition and revision of their semiotic structures. Fields reconstructs the genealogy of a black racial subject, represented by the simultaneous reading of a range of canonical texts from Hegel to Saussure to Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Combining an historical survey of racial discourse with new readings resulting from advanced semiotic techniques doubling as spatial arrangements, Architecture in Black is an important contribution to studies of the racial in Western thought and its impact on architecture, space and time.

African American Architects

African-American architects have been designing and building houses and public buildings since 1865. Although many of these structures survive today, the architects themselves are virtually unknown. This unique reference work brings their lives and work to light for the first time. Written by 100 experts ranging from architectural historians to archivists, this book contains 160 biographical, A-Z entries on African-American architects from the era of Emancipation to the end of World War II. Articles provide biographical facts about each architect, and commentary on his or her work. Practical and accessible, this reference is complemented by over 200 photographs and includes an appendix containing a list of buildings by geographic location and by architect.

Colored Property

Shows how federal intervention spurred a dramatic shift in the language and logic of racial integration in residential neighborhoods after World War II - away from invocations of a mythical racial hierarchy and toward talk of markets, property, and citizenship.

On Decoloniality

In On Decoloniality Walter D. Mignolo and Catherine E. Walsh explore the hidden forces of the colonial matrix of power, its origination, transformation, and current presence, while asking the crucial questions of decoloniality's how, what, why, with whom, and what for. Interweaving theory-praxis with local histories and perspectives of struggle, they illustrate the conceptual and analytic dynamism of decolonial ways of living and thinking, as well as the creative force of resistance and re-existence. This book speaks to the urgency of these times, encourages delinkings from the colonial matrix of power and its "universals" of Western modernity and global capitalism, and engages with arguments and struggles for dignity and life against death, destruction, and civilizational despair.

Spatializing Blackness

Over 277,000 African Americans migrated to Chicago between 1900 and 1940, an influx unsurpassed in any other northern city. From the start, carceral powers literally and figuratively created a prison-like environment to contain these African Americans within the so-called Black Belt on the city's South Side. A geographic study of race and gender, Spatializing Blackness casts light upon the ubiquitous--and ordinary--ways carceral power functions in places where African Americans live. Moving from the kitchenette to the prison cell, and mining forgotten facts from sources as diverse as maps and memoirs, Rashad Shabazz explores the myriad architectures of confinement, policing, surveillance, urban planning, and incarceration. In particular, he investigates how the ongoing carceral effort oriented and imbued black male bodies and gender performance from the Progressive Era to the present. The result is an essential interdisciplinary study that highlights the racialization of space, the role of containment in subordinating African Americans, the politics of mobility under conditions of alleged freedom, and the ways black men cope with--and resist--spacial containment. A timely response to the massive upswing in carceral forms within society, Spatializing Blackness examines how these mechanisms came to exist, why society aimed them against African Americans, and the consequences for black communities and black masculinity both historically and today.

Black Built

While Black architects produce extraordinary works, they account for only two percent of the profession in the United States. Many of their works exist in the Black community and have helped preserve and restore history and culture. Though architecture is often not associated with Black Culture, it is an integral aspect in defining a community and requires careful consideration of design, context, and resident relationships. This book explores over forty works by Black architects and their impact in the Black community. A wide variety of projects are featured, from residences of affluent African Americans, to historic churches, to memorials and museums of Black culture and history. Each work, through brief examination of its history and architecture, exhibits the magnificent work of Black architects from past to present, and provides inspiration to architects of current and future generations.

Dark Space

This collection of essays by architect Mario Gooden investigates the construction of African American identity and representation through the medium of architecture. These five texts move between history, theory, and criticism to explore a discourse of critical spatial practice engaged in the constant reshaping of the African Diaspora. African American cultural institutions designed and constructed in recent years often rely on cultural stereotypes, metaphors, and clichés to communicate significance, demonstrating "Africanisms" through form and symbolism--but there is a far richer and more complex heritage to be explored. Presented here is a series of questions that interrogate and illuminate other narratives of "African American architecture," and reveal compelling ways of translating the philosophical idea of the African Diaspora's experience into space.

Virtual New Book Cart

The Art & Architecture Library temporarily removed the new book cart for the Fall Semester to prevent the additional spread of germs.  Instead, we've created a Virtual New Book Cart on Worldcat lists.  Check back weekly for an updated list.

https://virginiatech.on.worldcat.org:443/list/17085165