Friday, 15 April 2011

M/M David Adler, Architect (1882-1949)

Review by Nicola Linza

David Adler (1882-1949) was one of the most important architects in the United States, during a period known as that of the 'great American house.' Adler's works--which range in date from 1911 to 1949-- are truly American, offering an enormous range of stylistic expression on the exteriors and a simpler definition of interiors than traditional European models allowed.

This important book features seventeen houses and one private club designed by Adler, all of which are beautifully reproduced in full-color with newly commissioned photographs by the firm of Hedrich Blessing. Highlights of this volume include the Stuart-style country house in the manner of Sir Christopher Wren, built for Mr. and Mrs. Richard T. Crane in Ipswich, Massachusetts; the Celia Tobin Clark residence, in Hillsborough, California, in which Adler used English half-timber construction; and the William McCormick Blair House, built in Lake Bluff, Illinois, a Colonial New England farm house that constituted a new experiment for Adler.

The book also presents examples of Adler's interior designs, that respond to the demands of modern life, by featuring both the use of new materials and historical elements or furniture acquired during his European travels.

This volume is a strong compliment to the original, David Adler: The Architect and His Work by Richard Pratt and Ezra Stoller. I believe I am in a very good position to comment on them as I have both volumes currently in my library. I have referenced the original often for my own research and work. I now find this volume a brilliant addition, creating a full and comprehensive view on David Adler's career. This book adds vivid color to his work, via the images, and a fresh, up-to-date and well researched perspective on his life, career, and impact on timeless American architecture.

As the general public unfortunately have been force-fed the failures of now antique style of Modernism and then have had to endure the hideous Deconstructivist anti-architecture that followed during the end of the 20th century this book is a highly recommended return to intellectual and aesthetic sanity. The traditional architect, the classicist will of course find this volume mandatory. In addition, the serious architectural theorist, academic and student (who has the intelligence and confidence to think independently) interested in history and honest architecture, that lasts, will find it a must have reference.