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Working Papers

American Architecture, 1975 – 2000

Working paper #427
David G. De Long

A discussion of design trends in American architecture from 1975 to 2000 includes two general tendencies that have influenced designers during this period: far sources and near sources. Far sources include both pre-modern, or historicizing, images, and popular, or commercial, images. Near sources include various architectural movements of the early twentieth century such as Modernism, Expressionism, and Constructivism. Whereas far sources make use of decoration and traditional ornament, near sources are essentially abstract. The work of a variety of architects is discussed under four general headings: “Inventing Tradition” (for example, the work of Robert A. M. Stern); “Celebrating the Everyday” (for example, the work of Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown); “Redefining Expressionism”(for example, the work of Frank Gehry); and “Expanding Modernism” (for example, the work of Richard Meier). The future direction of American architecture is seen as a fusion of various Modernist sources.

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