Synopses & Reviews
Situated in Chicago's famed Gold Coast, just north of the Magnificent Mile, the Charnley house is one of the finest dwellings in the city and considered worldwide to be a stunning example of avant-garde architecture. Now the headquarters of the Society of Architectural Historians and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, the house was built in 1892 at a critical moment in urban and architectural history. The Charnley House
is the first authoritative publication on the building, which has long been discussed in surveys but never before examined in detail.
In this collection of original essays, six well-known architectural historians illuminate various aspects of the house, both inside and out, as they consider its remarkable formal and spatial qualities, its historical significance in the development of Chicago's elite residential neighborhood, and its place in the context of American domestic architecture. Equally important, the contributors tackle the knotty, decades-old issue concerning the building's designer. While many have ascribed the scheme to Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan's chief assistant at the time, this book sheds new light on how the house relates significantly to the work of both master and apprentice.
The continuing debate over the house's "authorship" highlights the importance of the Charnley house in the history of modern architecture as the seminal work of residential design in the United States. These thoroughly researched interpretations, supplemented by an abundance of never before published illustrations, analyze this house of distinction with the care and detail it deserves. Beautifully restored in late 1980s, the Charnley house now has a book worthy of it.
"The six essays collected here offer fresh perspectives on the house's relationship to both its physical and social environment as well as to wider architectural trends, and on the functional use of its still intact domestic spaces."
About the Author
Richard Longstreth is professor of American studies and director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at George Washington University. His recent book, City Center to Regional Mall: Architecture, the Automobile, and Retailing in Los Angeles, 1920-1950, won three national awards in architecture and urban history.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
1. The Elusive Charnley House
2. Charnleys by the Lake: Houses, Apartments, and Fashion on Chicago's Gold Coast
3. The Charnley House in Its Architectural Context
4. At Home on Astor Street: Uses of Interior Space at the Charnley House
Elizabeth Collins Cromley
5. Who Designed the Charnley House: Louis Sullivan or Frank Lloyd Wright?
6. The Charnley House as an Architectural Embryo
Afterword: A Case for Collaboration