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Architectural Forum, 1932-64: A Time Inc. Experiment in American Architecture and Journalism

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Title: Architectural Forum, 1932-64: A Time Inc. Experiment in American Architecture and Journalism
Author(s): Dreller, Sarah M.
Advisor(s): Hales, Peter B.; Bruegmann, Robert
Contributor(s): Akcan, Esra; Dean, Penelope; Schuldenfrei, Robin
Department / Program: Art History
Graduate Major: Art History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago
Degree: PhD, Doctor of Philosophy
Genre: Doctoral
Subject(s): Architectural Forum Time Inc. Henry Luce architectural journalism architectural practice modern American architecture Howard Myers Douglas Haskell George Nelson Jane Jacobs Peter Blake Paul Grotz John Morris Dixon Time Fortune Life Time & Life Building Architectural Record Pencil Points Progressive Architecture The Brickbuilder The American Century House & Home Frank Lloyd Wright Eero Saarinen Richard Neutra Wallace Harrison Edward Durell Stone Archibald MacLeish Buckminster Fuller John F. Kennedy Ruth Goodhue President's Council on Pennsylvania Avenue Ernst Born Herbert Matter
Abstract: This study tells the story of Architectural Forum magazine during the Time Inc. ownership period, 1932-64. Why and how did this episode in American discursive life come about? What were its failures and successes, lessons, potential legacy? In answering these questions I describe the unusual building industry-wide sense of community this magazine’s editors attempted to nurture, and I explore its implications for both the development of American architecture and the aspirational reach of one of the modern world’s most consequential publishers. For 32 years Forum was an object fully embedded in two creative and eminently public practices simultaneously. Reconstituting the relative situation of architecture at Time Inc., opening a place for Time Inc. in our evolving understanding of twentieth-century American architecture and discovering the extent of their interconnectedness are my key aims. The first of this study’s five main chapters offers a chronological overview history of Forum as a Time Inc. publication. The next three thematic chapters work together as a suite exploring the constituencies within and against which the magazine itself operated: the building industry community; the publishing universe of Time Inc.; and American society broadly- defined, especially the so-called “American Century” ideology propagated by Time Inc.’s founder, Henry Luce. The final chapter shifts the dissertation’s focus from the magazine’s creators to the nature of the audience’s interaction with Forum. Here I use independently audited circulation data, just as architectural journalists did historically, to approach what can otherwise be a quite ephemeral aspect of media history. This chapter is crucial to the project because formulating an actual community of enlightened American building professionals and client-owners around the magazine was such an important component of Forum’s Time Inc. editorial personality. Through this research I found that the Forum experiment achieved much of what its creators set out to do. However, I also found that this editorial success did not align with the assumptions about architectural practice on which the typical business model of nationally-circulated architectural journals relied. Time Inc.’s accomplishments with Forum hastened the magazine’s end, in other words, possibly deterring future experimentalism as a result.
Issue Date: 2015-10-21
Genre: thesis
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10027/19815
Rights Information: Copyright 2015 Sarah M. Dreller
Date Available in INDIGO: 2015-10-21
2017-10-22
Date Deposited: 2015-08
 

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