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Publication

  • Photographic Architecture in the Twentieth Century
    Claire Zimmerman
    Author
    University of Minnesota Press, 2014
  • GRANTEE
    Claire Zimmerman
    GRANT YEAR
    2013

H. de Burgh Galwey, Hunstanton School, Alison and Peter Smithson (architects), 1954, Norfolk, UK. Courtesy of Architectural Press Archives, Royal Institute of British Architects.

Photographic Architecture in the Twentieth Century is a “picture anthropology” of twentieth-century architecture. The book describes the synergy between buildings and images of buildings that emerged with modernism, focusing on two interconnections. First, architectural photography as it circulated in printed media sparked debates about truth and representation in commercial marketing. At the same time, photography penetrated into architectural design and practice, creating lively discourse about abstraction, virtual space, and imageability. In the architecture of the post-1933 German diaspora (designed, constructed, or published before and after 1933), the visible appearance of buildings and the modalities of photographic images overlapped in consequential ways. Other books show how architecture depended on media for the circulation of ideas; this book shows how buildings themselves changed irrevocably and substantially as a direct result of interaction with the photographic image. The past conditions narrated here ramify through architecture today, when photographic media are no longer considered purely representational, but are instead understood to be generative.

Claire Zimmerman is a scholar and teacher working on conceptual histories of modern architecture. Her research focuses most recently on photographic representation, mass production in architecture, and functionalism. In her work, broad, systemic history combined with a narrow focus on exemplary case studies allows specific instances to illuminate general conditions. Recent publications include the coedited collection Neo-Avant-Garde and Postmodern: Postwar Architecture in Britain and Beyond (with M. Crinson, 2010); essays in Candide 5 (2012), Art History 35 (2012), and Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970–1990 (2011); and a book chapter on Siegfried Kracauer in Culture in the Anteroom (2012). Like Kracauer, Zimmerman trained first as an architect and then as a historian.