• Interior Urbanism: Architecture, John Portman and Downtown America
    Charles Rice
    Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016
    Charles Rice

John Portman and Associates, Peachtree Center, 1961, Atlanta. Photo: Charles Rice.

Vast urban interiors define an increasingly normal experience of being “inside” in a city. This project explores the roots of this condition in the 1960s and ’70s, looking in particular at the work of architect and developer John Portman in Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. These urban developments, and the signature hotel atria at their core, signal a sustained and literal turning inward of the city in the context of the social, spatial, and economic fracturing of downtown. These developments, little studied in their own right, give a particular insight into this period in American architecture and urbanism, drawing together debates about the large-scale commercialization of architectural practice, shifts in city governance and planning in response to complex urban contexts, the significance of the street in urban social life, and the effect on urban design of new spatial forms. To aid its arguments, the project uses specially commissioned drawings and the author's own photography to draw out the spatial properties and architectural effects of these developments.

Educated in Australia and the UK, Charles Rice is professor of architecture at the University of Technology Sydney. From 2010 to 2014, he was head of the School of Art and Design History at Kingston University London. He has also taught at the University of New South Wales and the Architectural Association. Rice's research considers questions of the interior across art, architecture, and design. His first book, The Emergence of the Interior: Architecture, Modernity, Domesticity (Routledge, 2007) discussed the domestic interior as a category of the nineteenth century, charting its impact on key developments in architecture and design into the twentieth century. Rice is editor-in-chief of the Journal of Architecture (Routledge and RIBA), and his own essays have appeared in a range of journals and anthologies.