1 There was also, of course, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin Fellowship, founded in 1931, which from its outset was more of a guild than a school, not unlike Paolo Soleri’s later Arcosanti venture.
2 See Alexander Caragonne, The Texas Rangers: Notes from the Architectural Underground, Cambridge: The MIT Press, 1995, for a compelling history of this group.
3 Seligmann, savvy to the nuances of the agendas embedded within a curriculum, here summarizes the attitude toward pedagogy at Cornell as it had evolved into the 1950s. As Christian Ricardo Nielsen-Palacios states in his 2018 dissertation, Architectural Education at Cornell: 1928-1950; Between Modernism and Beaux-Arts, p170, “In spite of the varied, often contrasting, attitudes and backgrounds of Cornell’s faculty and students …, there was throughout a common element: from Bosworth [dean of the College of Architecture 1919-1927] to Mackesey [assistant dean 1944-1951, then dean 1951-1959], there was an awareness of architecture, and the teaching of it, and that the only successful ‘system’ was the lack of one.” One of the first to abandon the studio programs established by the American Beaux-Arts Institute of Design (BAID), Cornell had consistently refused to endorse any singular version of modernism in its curriculum, preferring instead the hiring of individual faculty members representative of various modernist strategies.
4 “American Institute of Architects (AIA): Topaz Medallion Award 5/11/1998 - videotape accompanied by speech transcript (VHS; running time 2:17) (ID#: seligmann_w_001),” Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries, Werner Seligmann Papers, box 96.
5 In his Topaz speech, Seligmann also mentions the ubiquitous copies of Philip Goodwin and G.E. Kidder-Smith’s Brazil Builds: Architecture New and Old, 1642-1942, in the studios of his undergraduate years. Essentially a catalog from the 1943 show at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the book was for many the first introduction to the Brazil’s distinct version of modernism, featuring Niemeyer, Costa, and others. Additionally, given Seligmann’s interests in precedent, the book drew links between Brazil’s modern present and its baroque and colonial past.
6 Or almost free to explore, since it became necessary for the architects to find their own clients, often after the initially published design.
7 For the inevitable economic reasons, advertising in the magazine was dominated by ads related to the building trade, including building materials, finishes, fixtures, and furnishings. With the initiation of the Case Study House program, companies whose products were used had the additional advantage of being able to advertise in the magazine with the benefit of an implicit endorsement, and they typically offered “deep discounts.” See David Travers, “About Arts & Architecture,” <>.
8 Luigi Moretti, “Strutture e sequenze di spazi,” Spazio 7, 1952, pp 9-20.
9 Orsina Simona Pierini, “Continuity and Discontinuity in Casabella and Spazio. The 1950s architecture magazines directed by Luigi Moretti and Ernesto Nathan Rogers,” in Cuadernos de Proyectos Arquitectónicos, vol. 0, no. 6, p 140.
10 Colin Rowe, The Mathematics of the Ideal Villa, and Other Essays (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1976), 15.
11 This, of course, was Rowe and Slutzky’s Transparency, begun in 1955 and finally published in an abridged version in 1964 as ”Transparency: Literal and Phenomenal” in Yale’s Perspecta 8, with some of the revisions published in Perspecta 13/14 in 1973. In 1968, it was published as Transparenz by the ETH in Zurich in a German translation by Bernhard Hoesli, who added additional illustrations to the main text, and added a pedagogical supplement that transformed the text into a teachable strategy. It wasn’t until 1997 that the full and revised text of Transparency, with Hoesli’s “Commentary” and “Addendum,” and an introduction by Werner Oechslin, entitled “’Transparency’: The Search for a Reliable Design Method in Accordance with the Principles of Modern Architecture,” translated from the French, appeared in an English edition.
12 Hoesli, in his “Commentary,” also included a number of examples by Frank Lloyd Wright, of whom he was a fan, an enthusiasm that was not shared by Rowe.
13 See Gyorgy Kepes, The Language of Vision, Chicago: Paul Theobald, 1944, p77, and as cited in Transparency, p23.
14 Another fundamental spatial exercise was developed by Slutzky and Hejduk during this same time at Texas: the nine-square grid exercise. Developed as a combination of an ur-Palladian grid with Mondrian aspirations, the exercise was to be developed primarily in plan and model. After several iterations, the plan might be construed as a section, thereby introducing a third dimension. While continued by Hejduk at the Cooper Union and others around the world (see, for example, Wouter Van Acker, “The Nine-Square Grid: The Surviving Image of an Architecture Without Content,” in Joelho—Journal of Architectural Culture, No. 13, 2022, pp117-135), Seligmann seems to have had less faith in its efficacy in teaching complex spatial contiguities, since it was much more plan-oriented, and less three-dimensional than the cube. This echoes Moretti’s distrust of Le Corbusier’s “plan as the generator,” since the plan is always insufficient in recording spatial complexity. (See Adrian Sheppard, “Luigi Moretti: A Testimony,” at <>, accessed 5/22/22.)
Notes to Introduction
Introduction page 17