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2G Books: Craig Ellwood.: 15 Houses (2G Libros) (Inglés) Tapa dura – nov 2004

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Tapa dura, nov 2004
EUR 369,21
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With Craig Ellwood 15 Houses we start reprinting in hardcover book format the issues of the 2G Architecture Review that have been out of print. Craig Ellwood´s career was extensive, including over one hundred documented buildings. Houses were Ellwood`s beginning and the origin of his experimentation. And since he designed domestic architecture up to the later years, the houses provide a comprehensive view of his career. Ellwood´s residential work also benefited from the experimentation in his commercial architecture. The selection has been marked by the state of conservation of the houses. Fortunately, the number of them in good shape represent the breadth of Ellwood´s career. The publication of all this material, rather than undermining the tale that Ellwood told of himself, demonstrates the high standard he maintained throughout his production.
Craig Ellwood (Clarenden, Texas, 1922) was one of the architects who during the 50s took part (alongside Charles Eames, Pierre Koenig and Rafael Soriano, among others) in the celebrated Case Study Houses programme organized by the Arts & Architecture magazine with the aim of promoting modern architecture and experimentation with new industrial materials in domestic architecture. Ellwood’s relatively short professional career spanned the years from 1948 to 1977, when he retired at the age of 55.

Extracto. © Reimpreso con autorización. Reservados todos los derechos.

Text from the nexus section:
Craig Ellwood
by Livio Vacchini

My professional life started the day that, after graduating, I decided to build my own house. I had no option, I had to choose a master. I had seen a 1959 photograph of Mies (link al 16079)., with his back to the camera, looking at the Acropolis. And I had heard him saying "Modernity can be understood as a rehabilitation of Classicism." Mies built by using a tripartite system similar to the Greeks. And I, who by nature did not feel a builder, was able to understand well such clear and elemental constructions. Mies spoke of clarity as a permanent principle. All other published architecture seemed rootless and without direction. He would be my master.
I bought the book that Werner Blaser dedicated to him and I chose the Farnsworth House for an adaptation to my personal needs. It was impossible. I tried with the Caine House, with the Four-Column House, with the Three-Courtyard House. There was no way.

One day a friend of mine put under my nose the second issue (1959) of Bauen + Wohnen. lt was dedicated to a California house in Beverly Hilis (CSH # 16); the architects name was Craig Eliwood. Who was he? I carefully studied the plans. That man had been able to tame the beast! There was a parallelism with Mies' idea for the ground-floor house, but he was freer in opening and closing the perimeter walls, his construction systems were simpler, and he had solved with brilliant ease the practical problems I was also confronting.
The thought of him living in such a house, feeling like a pope, struck me, and I decided to copy it. This house became my personal laboratory for twenty years of continuous transformation. During this exercise I learned a million things.
Some years later and with great anticipation I travelled to Hollywood to finally see my 'real house'.
I could not get access to it and I simply looked from outside. I didn't recognise it. I turned to the city and rang at Eilwood's door. He was not there. I was attended by an extraordinarily beautifui Afro-American secretary; I have never seen such beauty again. I would have wanted to tell him that I was living in one of his houses, that I liked it, and that I was thankful. In one corner, near a pair of shoes, there was a tennis racket.
It was a kind of farewell, because from that moment on I started to look ahead. With effort, I accumulated new experiences that led to critical personal decisions about Ellwood and even about people bigger than him. I saw Mies again, looking down at me with a smiling face and saying, "Now you know that the attempt to adapt ideas into forms that are not yours is bound to fail".
I bear witness to the truthfulness of this statement.

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