Town-building in the Great Plains gets a fresh examination in Harris Stone’s final book. Form and consequences of the inhabitation of the plains landscape are explored, from the rural roads and farms to industrial parks. Beautifully hand-lettered and illustrated throughout, this thought-provoking work will appeal to architects, planners, historians, cultural geographers, and anyone interested in the interplay between people and vernacular form.
For all those interested in the relationship between the memories that permeate the built forms of the past and the pressures exerted by modern life, Harris Stone offers a richly illustrated examination of the seemingly irreconcilable opposition between action (hands-on) and scholarship (hands-off) — between those who want to preserve the past as a museum of dead relics and those who want to treat it as a part of contemporary life.
This is a highly original volume of architectural essays. On a base drawing of the art and craft of modern architecture, Harris Stone superimposes various tracings of streets, buildings, and the people who use them. He takes up the compelling issues in modern architecture as a movement, including the relationships of industrial technology to the tradition of handcrafted work, the design to the construction process, and monumental buildings to the architectural vernacular. Throughout he focuses on the dialectic between forward-thrusting and backward-leaning tendencies within the modern movement.
“As a socialist, Mr. Stone explains in terms that architects can understand and with examples which architects know from their own experiences, what it is to be dedicated to the Left in a world dedicated to the Right, to the Centre or to the self. He explains how producers of raw materials and products are able to influence public action in their interests rather than that of the community in the name of progress, renewal, slum clearance, and the American way-of-life… His drawings are a joy. It is clear that Mr. Stone is unsuccessful not in his terms but in ours because he has refused to be a corporate spear-carrier.” — The Canadian Architect