Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture

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9780262122689: Form Follows Libido: Architecture and Richard Neutra in a Psychoanalytic Culture

"Eight million Americans a year cool their heels in psychiatric waiting rooms. Design can help lower this nervous overhead."
—Richard Neutra, 1954

Sylvia Lavin's Form Follows Libido argues that by the 1950s, some architects felt an urge to steer the cool abstraction of high modernism away from a neutral formalism toward the production of more erotic, affective environments. Lavin turns to the architecture of Richard Neutra (1892-1970) to explore the genesis of these new mood-inducing environments. In a series of engaging essays weaving through the designs and writings of this Vienna-born, California-based architect, Lavin discovers in Neutra a sustained and poignant psychoanalytic reflection set in the context of a burgeoning psychoanalytic culture in America.

Lavin shows that Neutra's redirection of modernism constituted not a lyrical regression to sentimentality but a deliberate advance of architectural theory and technique to engage the unconscious mind, fueled by the ideas of psychoanalysis that were being rapidly disseminated at the time. In Neutra's responses to a vivid range of issues, from psychoanalysis proper to the popular psychology of tele-evangelical prayer, Lavin uncovers a radical reconstitution of the architectural discipline.

Arguing persuasively that the received historical views of both psychoanalysis and architecture have led to a suppression of their compelling coincidences and unorthodoxies, Lavin sets out to unleash midcentury architecture's hidden libido. Neither Neutra nor psychoanalysis emerges unscathed from her investigation of how architecture came to be saturated by the intrigues of affect, often against its will. If Reyner Banham sought to put architecture "on the couch," then Lavin, through Neutra, leaps beyond Banham's ameliorative aim to lure contemporary architecture into the lush and dangerous liaisons of environmental design.

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From the Inside Flap:

"In 1982, when I published my own book on Neutra and co-curated the Neutra retrospective at MOMA, I eagerly looked forward to subsequent works that would take Neutra studies in new and different directions. Sylvia Lavin's Form Follows Libido is such a book and will be richly controversial -- in the best sense of the term -- in both architectural and psychological circles. Imaginatively theorized, provocatively argued, and drolly written, this polemical yet open-minded work is a stimulating journey into a complex web of intertwined strands in the cultural history of the twentieth century."
--Thomas S. Hines, author of *Richard Neutra and the Search for Modern Architecture*

"What a great teacher Sylvia Lavin is! She follows Richard Neutra from his beginnings in fin-de-siecle Vienna -- caught between Freud's unconscious drives and the puritanical order of Loos's rationalism -- to the sprawling (formless) plains of the American West and the revelation of Wright's buildings, which turn his focus to the libidinal drives that open a transference love between architect and client and raise the problems of separation adumbrated by Otto Rank's 'birth trauma.' To mark separations between inside and outside, even while overcoming them, Neutra pioneers the mitered glass corner, the spider-leg support system, the reflecting pools, and the deep overhanging eaves that make his work the acme of libidinal design. Lavin's argument is as lucid as it is persuasive, a great achievement in architectural history and theory."
--Rosalind E. Krauss, Meyer Schapiro Professor of Modern Art and Theory, Columbia University

About the Author:

Sylvia Lavin is Professor and Chair of the Architecture Department at UCLA.

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Lavin, Sylvia
Verlag: MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London (2004)
ISBN 10: 0262122685 ISBN 13: 9780262122689
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Buchbeschreibung MIT Press, Cambridge, MA and London, 2004. hardcover. Buchzustand: Good. Zustand des Schutzumschlags: No Dust Jacket. Hardcover. No jacket. A few marks on boards. Spine ends are a little bumped. Leading corners are slightly bent. Small pen mark on page block head. Binding is tight, contents are clean and clear throughout. AM. Used. Artikel-Nr. 293338

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