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The lessons of Rome: Architects at the American Academy, 1947--1966

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Denise Rae Costanzo
Abstract:
In 1947, the American Academy in Rome faced a fundamental decision: to either recommit to the Beaux-Arts artistic mission behind its establishment in 1894, or adapt to a drastically changed postwar environment. Although characterized as "a holdout against Modernism," this does not accurately describe its relationship with American architecture between 1947-1966. During these years, the Academy actively welcomed emerging and established modern architects through fellowships, residencies, and administrative roles. Its altered policies were designed to align it with the discipline's mid-century embrace of modernism and redefine the Rome Prize in architecture to serve a new set of professional values. The Academy's attempts to transform its institutional culture and maintain relevance to one of its core constituencies would ultimately succeed, despite entrenched internal opposition and lingering doubts. Forty well-credentialed young graduates from the nation's top architecture schools would come to Rome during these years to enjoy fellowships of unprecedented flexibility. Some, most notably Robert Venturi and Michael Graves, would later rise to considerable prominence, burnishing the Rome Prize's reputation among architects in the late twentieth century. But all the Fellows provided collective, crucial momentum to the modernist Grand Tour. They helped keep Rome on the architect's map, and contributed to ongoing redefinitions of Rome's relevance to contemporary practice. A new American architectural establishment also tied itself to the Academy. The inaugural postwar residency of George Howe announced its dramatic shift in allegiance from classicist to modernist design ideology, and Louis Kahn's career-changing Academy stay would attain mythic status. But a dozen others whose names are seldom associated with Rome--including Max Abramovitz, Edward Larabee Barnes, Pietro Belluschi, Wallace K. Harrison, Eero Saarinen, and Edward Durell Stone--would lend the Academy their time and names in varying capacities, buttressing its claim to professional legitimacy. As architects of the official U.S. presence abroad during the Cold War, their support for an institution struggling to reconcile the rhetoric of cultural power with modernity is utterly appropriate. Ultimately, the Academy's architectural survival during the postwar period contributed a distant but engaged perspective on the American discipline, and helped architects continue to learn new lessons from Rome.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ .... vi

Acknowledgements ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ... ix

Introduction: Why Rome? ................................ ................................ ................................ ......................... 1

Chapter 1: A Modern Academy ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 14

Crisis and the Credo ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 14

War and Renewal ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ . 21

Modern Architecture: George Howe, Philip Johnson and MoMA ................................ .............. 29

Selling the New Acade my ................................ ................................ ................................ ................... 41

The ‘50s Academy from Without ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 58

Chapter 2: Modern Architects as Rome Prize Fellows ................................ ................................ ....... 62

Architecture Schools and the Postwar Rome Prize ................................ ................................ ........ 62

Project Proposals I: Modern Architecture and a New Grand Tour ................................ ............. 81

Project Proposals II: Rome and History at Mid - Century ................................ ............................... 98

Project Proposals III: Rome and Urbanism ................................ ................................ ................... 115

Project Proposals IV: Engineering and the Edges of Architecture ................................ ............ 130

Chapter 3: The Academy and the Profession ................................ ................................ ..................... 136

Rome in New York ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 136

Howe, Kahn, and the Re sidency Program ................................ ................................ ..................... 146

Residents After Kahn: The 1950s ................................ ................................ ................................ .... 172

Monumentality and the Fascist Legacy ................................ ................................ ........................... 197

The ’60s Academy and the New Establishment ................................ ................................ ............ 224

Appendix: Architects at the Academy, 1947 - 1966 ................................ ................................ ............. 280

Bibliography ................................ ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 282

vi

List of Illustrations

Chapter 1

1.1

American Academy in Rome Dining Room, 1948 [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

1.2

Isabel Roberts and Alfred H. Barr, Villa Aurelia, 1948 [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

1.3

Music Room, Villa Aurelia, 1948 [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

1.4

George Howe, 1948 [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

1 .5

Howe and Lescaze, Philadelphia Savings Fund Society Building, Philadelphia, 1929 - 32 [Source: Jordy, “PSFS”]

1.6

Eliel and Eero Saarinen and Robert Swanson, Smithsonian Gallery of Art, 1939 [Source: Kornwolf, Modernism in America 1937 - 1941 ]

1.7

Walker Ca in in Academy Studio [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

1.8

1947 Alumni Association Flier [Source: Walker O. Cain Papers, Avery]

1.9

1950 Alumni Association Flier [Source: Walker O. Cain Papers, Avery]

1.10

Undated (March 9, 1951?) Alumni Associati on Flier [Source: Walker O. Cain Papers, Avery]

1.11

Concetta Scaravaglione in Academy Studio [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

1.12

Marion Kelleher, Dorothy Swope, Joe Kelleher, Helen Thon, Bill Thon, George Howe, Concetta Scaravglione at Bar Gia nicolo, ca. 1948 [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

1.13

1947 - 48 Rome Prize Fellows (Albert Wein, Henry (?), Walker Cain, Charles Wiley, Concetta Scaravaglione, Patrick J. Kelleher, William Thon, Laurance Roberts, Frederic Coolidge), Villa Capponi, Florence, 17 October 1947 [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

Chapter 2

2.1

Robert Venturi, “Chapel for Episcopal Academy,” MFA Thesis Project, Princeton, 1950 [Source: Brownlee et al., Out of the Ordinary ]

2.2

Jean Labatut with students at Fontai nebleau, France, 19 [Source: Labatut Papers, Princeton]

2.3

Lt. Charles Wiley, “Designs for Postwar Living” [Source: California Arts and Architecture 61, 1944]

2.4

Alfred H. Barr, Philip Johnson, and Margaret Scolari Barr, Cortona, Italy [Source: S. Kantor , Alfred H. Barr ]

2.5

Tatlin, “Monument to the Third International” and Borromini, S. Ivo alla Sapienza, Rome [Source: Giedion, Space, Time and Architecture ]

2.6

Guido Fiorini, Skyscraper designs, 1928 and 1930 [Source: Godoli, Il Futurismo ]

2.7

Experiment al concrete shell structure by Wayne Taylor, 1962 [Source: AAR Archives]

Chapter 3

3.1

Arnold Newman, Architects with Lincoln Center model [Source: Look Magazine , 1960]

3.2

Arnold Newman, Performing Artists with Lincoln Center model [Source: Look Magazine , 1960]

3.3

V. B. Mopurgo, Piazzale Augusto Imperatore, Rome, 1934 - 38 [Source: Curtis, Modern Architecture ]

3.4

Guerini, La Padula and Romano, Palazzo della Civiltà Romana, EUR, Rome, 1938 - 43 [Source: ???]

3.5

McKim, Mead and White, Main Building, American Academy in Rome, 1911 - 1914 [Source: Yegül, Gentlemen of Instinct and Breeding ]

3.6

American Academy Fellows, Assisi, 19 October 1947 [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

3.7

Eero Saarinen, Jefferson Memorial Expansion Monument, Competition rendering by J. H. Barr, 1947 - 48 [Source: Pelkonen and Albrecht, Shaping the Future ]

vii

3.8

Concetta Scaravaglione, George Howe, Laurance Roberts, Monte Circeo, 7 - 8 August 1948 [Source: Roberts Papers, Berenson Library]

3.9

George Howe, Model, U. S. Consulate in Naple s, ca. 1949 [Source: Howe Papers, Avery]

3.10

Louis Kahn, Sketch of Temple of Apollo, Corinth, 1951 [Source: Hochstim, Kahn ]

3.11

Louis Kahn, Sketch of column capitals, Egypt, 1951 [Source: McCarter, Kahn ]

3.12

Joseph and Dorothy Amisano, Spero Daltas, Lou is Kahn, Fritz Sippel [Source: Patton Collection, AAUP]

3.13

Spero Daltas in Greece, 1951 [Source: Patton Collection, AAUP]

3.14

Daltas, Sippel, Amisano and Kahn in Greece, 1951 [Source: Patton Collection, AAUP]

3.15

Louis Kahn at the Temple of Apollo, Cor inth, 1951 [Source: Patton Collection, AAUP]

3.16

Louis Kahn, Sketch of Temple of Apollo, Corinth, 1951 [Source: Patton Collection, AAUP]

3.17

Louis Kahn, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, 1966 - 1972 [Source: Brownlee and De Long, Kahn ]

3.18

BBPR, Torre Velasca, Milan, Italy, 1952 - 57 [Source: Piva, BBPR a Milano ]

3.19

SOM, Crown Zellerbach Building, San Francisco 1957 - 59 [Source: Owings, Spaces in Between ]

3.20

Marcello Mascherini, Woman in Bronze [Source: photo: Jeremy Brooks, 2007 ]

3.21

Boris Iofan, USS R Pavilion and Albert Speer, German Pavilion, 1937 Worlds Fair, Paris [Source: Curtis, Modern Architecture ]

3.22

Jean Labatut, “Fountain Spectacles,” 1939 Worlds’ Fair, New York [Source: Labatut Papers, Princeton]

3.23

George Howe, Model, U.S. Consulate in Naples, ca. 1949 [Source: Howe Papers, Avery]

3.24

George Howe, Model, U.S. Consulate in Naples, ca. 1949 [Source: Howe Papers, Avery]

3.25

George Howe, Model, U.S. Consulate in Naples, ca. 1949 [Source: Howe Papers, Avery]

3.26

Mario De Renzi, U.S. Consu late, Naples, 1953 [Source: U.S. Dept. of State, OBO]

3.27

Mario De Renzi, U.S. Consulate, Naples, 1953 [photo: author]

3.28

Harrison & Abramovitz, U.S. Embassy, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1948 - 52 [Source: Loeffler, Architecture of Diplomacy ]

3.29

Harrison & Abramovitz, U.S. Embassy, Havana, Cuba, 1950 - 52 [Source: Loeffler, Architecture of Diplomacy ]

3.30

“U.S. Architecture Abroad” [Source: Architectural Forum 98 (March 1953): 102]

3.31

George Howe, Fortune Rock, Maine, 1937 - 39 [Source: Stern, George Howe ]

3.3 2

George Howe, Office of War Information [Source: Architectural Forum 77 (1942): 64]

3.33

George Howe, Women’s Dormitories, Washington, D.C. [Source: Architectural Record 92 (July 1942): 42]

3.34

Libera and De Renzi, Mostra della Rivoluzione Fascista, Rome , 1932 [Source: Kirk, Visions of Utopia ]

3.35

Libera and De Renzi, Italian Pavilion, Century of Progress Exhibition, Chicago, 1933 [Source: Etlin, Modernism in Italian Architecture ]

3.36

Libera and De Renzi, Italian Pavilion, World’s Exhibition, Brussels, 1933 [Source: Adalberto Libera ]

3.37

Libera and De Renzi, Post Office on via Marmorata, Rome, 1933 - 35 [Source: Etlin, Modernism in Italian Architecture ]

3.38

De Renzi, Apartments on via Venturi - via Tommasini, Rome, 1949 - 51 [Source: Neri, De Renzi ]

3.39

De Renzi, Office on Largo Toniolo, Rome, 1950 - 52 [Source: Neri, De Renzi ]

3.40

Interior, Post Office on via Marmorata, Rome, 1933 - 35 [Source: Garofalo and Veresane, Libera ]

3.41

Project Model, Esposizione Universale di Roma, 1938 [Source: Kirk, Visions of Uto pia ]

3.42

Piacentini et al., Città Universitaria, Rome, 1932 - 35 [Source: Etlin, Modernism in Italian Architecture ]

3.43

Terragni, Casa del Fascio, Como, 1933 - 36 [Source: Etlin, Modernism in Italian Architecture ]

3.44

G. Michelucci, S. Maria Novella Statio n, Florence, Italy, 1933 - 35 [Source: Kirk, Visions of Utopia ]

3.45

Poster showing Adalberto Libera’s proposed EUR Arch, ca. 1938 [Source: Garofalo and Veresane, Libera ]

viii

Conclusions

4.1

Robert Venturi, Guild House, Philadelphia, 1961 - 66 [Source: Complexity and Contradiction ]

4.2

Robert Venturi, Vanna Venturi House, Chestnut Hill, PA, 1959 - 64 [Source: Complexity and Contradiction ]

4.3

Robert Venturi in Piazza Navona, ca. 1955 [Source: VSBA, AAUP]

4.4

Robert Venturi, Photo on top of Pantheon, Rome, 11 June 19 55 [Source: VSBA, AAUP]

4.5

Robert Venturi, Photo on top of Pantheon, Rome, 11 June 1955 [Source: VSBA, AAUP]

4.6

Robert Venturi, sketch of Pantheon dome, letter, 12 June 1955 [Source: VSBA, AAUP]

4.7

Plan, Robert Venturi, Design for studios in Academy Gar den, 1955 [Source: VSBA, AAUP]

4.8

Section, Robert Venturi, Design for studios in Academy Garden, 1955 [Source: VSBA, AAUP]

4.9

Brasini, EUR Forestry Building [Source: Complexity and Contradiction ]

4.10

Robert Venturi, page with illustrations [Source: Comp lexity and Contradiction ]

4.11

Robert Venturi, page with illustrations [Source: Complexity and Contradiction ]

4 .12

Michael Graves, Hanselmann House, Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1967 [Source: Michael Graves, 1966 - 81 ]

4.13

Michael Graves drawing in streets of Rome, 1961 [Source: Ambroziak, Images of a Grand Tour ]

4.14

Michael Graves, “SS Nome di Maria, Rome, 1961” [Source: Ambroziak, Images of a Grand Tour ]

4.15

Michael Graves, “Superga, Turin, 1961” [Source: Ambroziak, Images of a Grand Tour ]

4.16

Michael Graves, “ Rome from Jane’s Apartment, 25 July 1961” [Source: Ambroziak, Images of a Grand Tour ]

4.17

Michael Graves, “Tempietto,” [Source: Ambroziak, Images of a Grand Tour ]

4.18

Le Corbusier, sketch of the Baths of Caracalla [Source: Cahiers ]

4.19

Michael Graves, “ Archaic Landscape,” 1993 [Source: Ambroziak, Images of a Grand Tour ]

4.20

Michael Graves, Denver Public Library, 1990 - 96 [Source: Michael Graves: Selected and Current Works ]

4.21

Robert Mittelstadt, Mittelstadt Duplex, 1979 [Source: GA Houses ]

ix

Acknowled gements

This project has been realized only through the assistance and support of dozens of people and institutions. Chief among these is my academic advisor, Craig Zabel, who has been a true mentor since I began my graduate studies in Art History at Penn State. His incisive mind, keen eye, and constancy have been instrumental to its development and completion. Working with Dr. Zabel has been a privilege and a pleasure, and he sets a standard of quality and humanity in teaching and advising to which I shal l always aspire. My entire doctoral committee has been similarly crucial and supportive. Brian Curran has cheerfully nurtured my interests in Rome and the architecture of Renaissance Italy, sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of the city and his personal fa miliarity with the American Academy. Sarah Rich has shaped my awareness of the creative and intellectual frameworks uniting art and architecture during the postwar era, and kept me attuned to the artistic issues buried within my heavily historical research . Along with his expertise in Baroque architecture and its historiography, Robin Thomas has helped me to think more clearly and deeply about this project’s relevance to much broader issues in architectural history. James Kalsbeek of the Department of Archi tecture has contributed his insights and direct experience with using Rome to teach architecture, and long guided and encouraged my interrogation of the implications of this practice.

Many Penn State Art History faculty have shaped my development as a sch olar, especially Anthony Cutler, an enduring source of encouragement and challenging questions. I thank him and Helmut Hager, Charlotte Houghton, Nancy Locke, Elizabeth Smith, and Elizabeth Walters. I have also received departmental votes of confidence and support for travel and research through several grants and awards: two Art History Dissertation Fellowships, a

x

Creative Achievement Award, the Francis E. Hyslop Memorial Fellowship, and the Susan and Thomas Schwartz Research Grant. Further thanks go to Ma rica Tacconi for a Graduate Student Summer Residency at the Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities, which allowed years of research, notes, and short presentations to congeal into my first two chapters. Alissa Walls Mazow, my colleague and offi ce - mate, made that summer an even more productive and collegial time.

The research process has relied upon many individuals and institutions. Of these, the most significant is the American Academy in Rome itself. I thank the Academy’s President, Adele Cha tfield - Taylor, for permission to access all relevant documentation from this period in its own history. Consulting Archivists Michael Vitale and Jed Winokur provided expert assistance at its New York headquarters, as did Christina Huemer at its library in Rome. The many others who have aided this research include William Whitaker of the Architectural Archives of the University of Pennsylvania, who directed me to the unpublished images of Louis Kahn’s trip in the Patton Collection. Janet Parks of Columbia Un iversity’s Avery Architecture and Fine Arts Library and Ilaria Della Monica at the Villa I Tatti’s Berenson Library provided assistance before, during and after my research visits, and Laura Tatum of Yale University Library’s Department of Manuscripts and Archives found and sent key documents for me long - distance. Jonathan Blyth and Kevin Sarring of the State Department’s Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations kindly made available crucial archival information about the U.S. Consulate in Naples.

I have al so enjoyed the privilege of direct contact with several of the actors in this history. The chance to meet with and interview James Lamantia and Astra Zarina, converse with Spero Daltas, and correspond with Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, James Gresham, Cha rles

xi

Brickbauer, David Jacob, Ronald Dirsmith, Wayne Taylor, Robert Mittelstadt, Duane Thorbeck, and Milo Thompson, has enriched this project immeasurably.

Other support bridged the personal and the professional. Randy and Gillian Greenhill Hannum and Kat harine Bentz provided kind and generous hospitality during research trips. I have leaned heavily on a circle of dear friends, especially Ruth Silber Belmonte, Lauren Gluckman, Leah Iwinski, and Molly Mann Ziegler, along with Stefano and Alessandra Costanzo , my siblings by marriage. My sister Melinda Lamera provided much - needed long - distance support and perspective. I am especially grateful to my mother, Janice Ohnstad, for her unwavering encouragement. Her years of sacrificial efforts opened doors for me th rough which she had less opportunity, though just as much ability, to pass.

Finally, my husband Francesco Costanzo and sons Gabriel and Gregory provide the beautiful architecture of my daily life. Were it not for my boys, this dissertation might have been

completed years sooner, but those years would have been far less joyful. To Francesco, my most constant of friends, most faithful of supporters, and true partner in all endeavors, I offer my thanks and a full share in the credit for completion of this, an other of our life’s many overwhelming projects.

In loving memory of my father, Lawrence Dale Ohnstad,

and our Saturdays at the library

1

Introduction: Why Rome?

Why Rome? Because all this uncounted wealth, this endless store heaped up by the ha nds, the passions and the minds of all that long procession of the generations; this still undiminished fountain men call Italy — all this belongs to no one people, to no group nor class nor nation. It is yours and it is mine; it is there for all who would s eek. But it will not, may not, come to us; it must be sought, sought in the land of its making. 1

— C. Grant LaFarge, Secretary of the American Academy in Rome, 1919

When asked to assess the long - term effects of his fellowship from the American Academy in Rome, architect Thomas N. Larson’s response was enthusiastic and effusive: “My Rome experience has given me an ‘edge’ on my associates in the profession. My design sense has been given greater meaning, and I feel is expressed in my present work more now th an ever before…” To the question “Why Rome?” he replied simply, “where else! …its [sic] obvious.” 2 In light of the city’s perpetual, magnetic appeal to millennia of travelers, it might indeed appear obvious that any opportunity, any excuse to go to Rome — fo r architects as much as anyone else — is sufficient cause and justification to bask in the glories of the Eternal City.

But is it obvious? Faith in the architectural relevance of Rome maps easily onto both the romantic, classicizing historicism of the late n ineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and the discipline’s patterns of educational tourism since the late twentieth century. However, Larson’s Rome Prize fellowship belongs to neither period. Larson went to Rome from 1962 -

1

“Why Rome?” American Academy in Rome: Twenty - fifth Anniversary (1919), pp. 14 - 19. American Academy in Rome Records, 1855 - circa 1981 (bulk 1894 - 1946). Archi ves of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (hereafter “AAR Records, AAA”) [Reel ITRO 13: 288]

2 Survey form [n.d., 1982?], Fellows Files: Larson, Thomas N. 1962 - 64; American Academy in Rome Archives, New York, New York (hereafter “AAR A rchives”).

2

1964, immediately following his graduation from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). He would spend most of his professional career as a partner in the design firm founded by Walter Gropius with other GSD graduates, The Architects Collaborative (TAC). 3 His biography thereby conjoi ns two opposing architectural value systems: the collectivist functionalism promoted by Gropius at the Deutsches Werkbund, the Bauhaus, and Harvard; and the academic traditionalism and individual artistic inspiration, which Rome has symbolized for centurie s, and that venerable institutions like the American Academy were founded to promote. I find this disjunctive association to be jarring, confusing, and intriguing. Despite Larson’s blithe confidence, it is far from apparent that modern architects like him do in fact belong in Rome, or at an “academy” of any sort.

Architect and critic Joseph Giovannini posed this very question in a Progressive Architecture essay of 1994, a year when numerous celebrations marked the American Academy in Rome’s centennial. 4 Gio vannini had no qualms with the Rome Prize’s provision of unstructured time since “a year off is, of course, a godsend for architects too busy working to think.” However, he was deeply skeptical of the host institution’s architectural influence, describing the Academy as “a holdout against Modernism” that had long been “quietly controversial.” Furthermore, he found the location of those tempting, much - needed sabbaticals troubling, since “during fellowships Rome is a pervasive and demanding presence rather th an a transparent one.” In Giovannini’s view, the Academy and its setting would thus tend to hinder, rather than further, the creative formation of a modern architect.

This concern with Rome’s opacity implicitly posits its opposite: the positive notion of a hypothetically “transparent” place where young architects could enjoy a much - needed

3 See Thomas N Larson, s.v., in B. Kohl, W. Linker and B. S. Kavelman, eds., The Centennial Directory of the American Academy in Rome (New York and Rome: The American Academy in Rome, 1995).

4 Joseph Giovannini, “The Academy,” Progressive Archit ecture 75, no. 10 (Oct. 1994): 45 - 46.

3

year of professional development free of the insidious effects of the caput mundi . Giovannini’s adjective also, appropriately, invokes an image of the glass box, modern ar chitecture’s most pervasive aesthetic trope. Yet what real location could ever provide such an ideal, perfectly neutral study environment? Even an undetermined location simply transfers the burden of choice onto the young architect and would ultimately ref lect each individual’s own biases, knowledge, and preferences.

Clearly, Giovannini’s objection to Rome was not intended to propose alternative sites of perfect neutrality, but to warn against that city’s unique dangers. In so doing he echoed the authorita tive voice of Le Corbusier, who wrote so memorably in 1923 that “ to send architectural students to Rome is to cripple them for life ,” and described the French Academy in Rome as “the cancer of French architecture.” 5 During both the 1920s and the 1990s, Rom e and the academies founded to codify and perpetuate its cultural legacy appeared to oppose two fundamental tenets of the Modern Movement: an aesthetic grounded in the cultural and technical realities of the present moment rather than eternally valid tradi tions, and a progressive commitment to extending the benefits of good architectural design to society as a whole, not just the elite. Rome conflicts with the Zeitgeist

because it embodies the cycles and span of time itself, on the scale of millennia, the g reat historical foil against which the “modern” (as opposed to the merely “contemporary”) defined itself. After centuries of use and artistic contemplation, a Roman building such as the Pantheon has become far more than an embodiment of the Hadrianic momen t of its conception and construction. In addition, for most of its history Rome has been

5 This is the best - knows English translation by Frederick Etchells of 1932; Le Corbusier, Towards a New Architecture (New York: Dover, 1986), p. 173. A recent retranslation reads: “ to put architectural students in Rome is to wound them for life;” Le Corbusier, Towards an Architecture , trans. John Goodman (Los Angeles: Getty Research Institute, 2007), p. 212. The verb used in the French original, “meutrir,” might be better translated as “scar” rather than either “wound” or “cripple.”

4

synonymous with various forms of temporal, spiritual, and cultural power, while Le Corbusier and the Modern Movement associated themselves with the aesthetic avant - gar de’s opposition to political and artistic establishments . To invoke Rome, whether in a façade or a dissertation title, generally appears more like a reactionary attempt to capitalize on its glory and authority than any sort of revolutionary act.

To Le Co rbusier’s initial fears that the sensitive young artist will be blinded by the city’s pervasive “horrors,” Giovannini added concerns specific to his own moment in the mid - 1990s. Rome’s historical and symbolic imbrication with occidentalist imperialism made

it an epicenter of the “eternal verities” sustaining Western cultural self - consciousness which postmodern and multicultural critiques fought to destabilize. Giovannini’s skeptical view of the Academy was undoubtedly informed by this apparent distance betw een Rome’s traditional cultural role and modern architecture’s ideological and aesthetic orientation. Given how the city’s sensuous appeal, its quick and readily invoked authority, and its insinuating combination of familiarity and unknowability naturalize and camouflage its oppressive origins, can Rome teach values that are consistent with modernism’s cultural aims? Furthermore, is it possible for an academy, particularly in such a location, to avoid being “academic”? How can any academy be relevant to a p rofession committed to an anti - academic paradigm?

Giovannini concedes that the Academy had been a significant actor in American architecture during two distinct periods. In the earliest decades of its history it buttressed the fin de siècle academic classi cism it was founded to promote. In the late 1960s it would serve as “a staging platform for the Post - Modernist counter - reformation,” when its isolation and independence allowed it to help launch corrective critiques of an exhausted establishment

5

modernism. 6 This account dovetails with that provided by Fikret K. Yegül in Gentlemen of Instinct and Breeding: Architecture at the American Academy , 1894 - 1940 . 7 Published only three years before Giovannini’s article, its well - documented history of the early Academy ’s elitism and antagonism towards modern architecture may have influenced his views. Yegül tempers his book’s scathing critique somewhat by pointing out the flawed Academy’s eventual return to architectural relevance: “beginning with Louis I. Kahn in 1951, many of the creative names in architecture in the 1960s and 1970s made their peace with history through the Academy and through Rome.” 8 He presents the primary importance of the altered institution that emerged after the war as a bridge to postmodern hist oricism:

Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, the Academy gradually became the center for a revival of interest in a new, broadly interpreted classicism and intellectual historicism. It provided the facilities as well as the inspiration to study historical a rchitecture to a new generation of architects, including Louis I. Kahn, Robert Venturi, Romaldo Giurgola, Michael Graves, Richard Meier, Charles Moore, and Stanley Tigerman. 9

Yegül’s list of participating luminaries does illustrate the Academy’s renewed di sciplinary relevance of the 1970s and 1980s, when Rome was unquestionably an important point of reference for ambitious American architects. 10 Giovannini saw this moment, arguably the Academy’s architectural zenith, as a brief exception to its typical dista nce from a discipline dominated by modernism since the 1940s. Certainly a chasm divided the confident faith in

6 Giovannini, “The Academy,” pp. 45 - 46.

7

Oxford and London: Oxford University Press, 1991. Yegül’s book set the stage for my own research, which is to a great extent my attempt to continue a similar sort of disciplinary and institutional ana lysis into a later, less - familiar period in the Academy’s history.

8 Yegül, Gentlemen , p. 120.

9 Yegül, Gentlemen , p. 4. The involvement of Kahn, Venturi and Graves will be discussed in further detail herein. Giugola served on the 1966 Rome Prize jury, was a Resident in 1978 and a Trustee from 1978 - 90; Moore a juror in 1966 and 1974, and Resident in 1975 and 1981; Meier was a Resident in 1973, Tigerman in 1980. See their respective entries in Kohl, et al., Centennial Directory .

10 It may also overstate the c ase somewhat; it remains to be demonstrated that Moore, Meier, and Tigerman studied historic architecture in detail or were otherwise creatively influenced by their respective Academy residencies, which were typically quite brief.

6

classicism that drove the Academy’s establishment in 1894 from the cultural sphere in which it would operate after World War II. As Yegül notes:

The sensibilities of postwar America into which the Academy stepped were fundamentally different than those of the interwar years. It was a world of optimism but also of hard realism and technology, which, gradually and at its intellectual best, developed into a questioning and analytic spirit. It was also a world of emerging new nations; of acute social, political, and ethnic consciousness; and of the affirmation of basic human rights and egalitarianism. A person or an institution would feel uncomfortable making broad, sweeping, and unsupportable generalizations on culture, art, and human nature. And, perhaps, it was a world destined for occasional intellectual migraine because the innocence – or the simple nescience – required to maintain such beliefs had been lost forever.

There was no more talk among the Academy’s upper echelon of aesthetic superiority or the preeminence of pure styles or the opiate loveliness of Quattrocento Italy in twentieth - century America. There were no more sincere but self - righteo us efforts to cloister and protect the fellows against the “vulgarizing and puerile effects” of unsanctioned styles in art, especially the modern, which had clearly emerged triumphant. Rome no longer seemed to occupy a key position in the study of art and architecture. 11

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Abstract: In 1947, the American Academy in Rome faced a fundamental decision: to either recommit to the Beaux-Arts artistic mission behind its establishment in 1894, or adapt to a drastically changed postwar environment. Although characterized as "a holdout against Modernism," this does not accurately describe its relationship with American architecture between 1947-1966. During these years, the Academy actively welcomed emerging and established modern architects through fellowships, residencies, and administrative roles. Its altered policies were designed to align it with the discipline's mid-century embrace of modernism and redefine the Rome Prize in architecture to serve a new set of professional values. The Academy's attempts to transform its institutional culture and maintain relevance to one of its core constituencies would ultimately succeed, despite entrenched internal opposition and lingering doubts. Forty well-credentialed young graduates from the nation's top architecture schools would come to Rome during these years to enjoy fellowships of unprecedented flexibility. Some, most notably Robert Venturi and Michael Graves, would later rise to considerable prominence, burnishing the Rome Prize's reputation among architects in the late twentieth century. But all the Fellows provided collective, crucial momentum to the modernist Grand Tour. They helped keep Rome on the architect's map, and contributed to ongoing redefinitions of Rome's relevance to contemporary practice. A new American architectural establishment also tied itself to the Academy. The inaugural postwar residency of George Howe announced its dramatic shift in allegiance from classicist to modernist design ideology, and Louis Kahn's career-changing Academy stay would attain mythic status. But a dozen others whose names are seldom associated with Rome--including Max Abramovitz, Edward Larabee Barnes, Pietro Belluschi, Wallace K. Harrison, Eero Saarinen, and Edward Durell Stone--would lend the Academy their time and names in varying capacities, buttressing its claim to professional legitimacy. As architects of the official U.S. presence abroad during the Cold War, their support for an institution struggling to reconcile the rhetoric of cultural power with modernity is utterly appropriate. Ultimately, the Academy's architectural survival during the postwar period contributed a distant but engaged perspective on the American discipline, and helped architects continue to learn new lessons from Rome.