G.E. KIDDER SMITH BUILDS
ANGELO MAGGI, FOREWORD BY MICHELANGELO SABATINO
First comprehensive overview about a talented twentieth-century writer, photographer, and ‘builder’ of books who greatly impacted architecture appreciation in America and beyond.
The volume represents the very first book dedicated to George Everard Kidder Smith, who passed away 25 years ago in New York. It deals with his life and work underlining his ability to document and interpret historical architecture and the great buildings. His books were aimed at the layman, and books such as Brazil Builds, Italy Builds, The New Churches of Europe, Pictorial History of Architecture in America, to mention only a few of them, received tremendous critical and popular acclaim.
As an author, educator, photographer, and “builder” of books and exhibitions, G. E. (George Everard) Kidder Smith (1913–1997) was a multidimensional figure within the wideranging field of North American architectural professionals in the second half of the twentieth century (Fig. 1). From his start during the volatile years leading up to, during, and immediately following the Second World War, Kidder Smith excited the imagination of the general public as well as architecture professionals by publishing photographyrich books about new and old buildings in a range of countries. Although Kidder Smith was propelled in his travels by a powerful wanderlust, he was no flaneur.
His body of photographs consistently conveys an engaging and empathetic approach to framing buildings and the people that use them. Almost always, Kidder Smith captured human figures within his photographs. The photographs aim to reveal intimate relationships between buildings, landscapes, and people. More times than not, Kidder Smith’s framing eschews documentarystyle “completeness” in favor of more nuanced glimpses aimed at enticing the viewer to engage with the rest of the building on their own terms.
“It is difficult to think of any great building in the history of architecture which did not represent a union of the talents of the architect with those of the painter and the sculptor.”
“The Philosophy and know-how of the anonymous builders presents the largest untapped source of architectural inspiration for industrial man. The wisdom to bee derived goes beyond economic and esthetic considerations.”
Because America does not realize the fundamental approach of modern architecture and the great benefits (which we hope to make clear) accompanying it, it neither knows nor cares about it. It does not seek buildings generated by plan instead of façade; it does not look for living beauty and restfulness in its houses; it is horrified at anyone proposing that some responsible and capable authority plan its subdivisions, approaches, and highways in an effort to make its cities and surroundings coherent and beautiful. It seemingly frowns on other than the falsefronted and compromising colonial.—“The Tragedy of American Architecture,” Magazine of Art, November 1945, 255
G. E. KIDDER SMITH BUILDSProject type
Living + Dying INbetweenPeter Zweig
The Landscape ProjectProject type
Environmental Activism by DesignColeman Coker, Sarah Gamble, Katie Swenson , and Thomas Fisher
Source Books in Architecture 15Benjamin Wilke
Landscape ApproachDr. Shelagh McCartney, Samantha Solano, Sonja Vangjeli, Hannes Zander
BLANK: Speculations on CLT FEATUREProject type
Colors of RhetoricMaría Fullaondo
Impossible and Hyper-Real Elements of ArchitectureCarl Lostritto
Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop VLaura Garofalo and Omar Khan
Innovation In PracticeValeria Federighi
FIGMENTS OF THE ARCHITECTURAL IMAGINATIONTodd Gannon
Landscape ApproachDr. Shelagh McCartney, Samantha Solano, Sonja Vangjeli, & Hannes Zander
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