Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume 1

Front Cover
New York Review Books, 2007 - Architecture - 323 pages
Everyone knows what modern architecture looks like, but few understand how this revolutionary new form of building emerged little more than a century ago or what its aesthetic, social, even spiritual aspirations were. Through illuminating studies of the leading men and women who forever changed our built environment, veteran architecture critic Martin Filler offers fresh insights into this unprecedented cultural transformation. From Louis Sullivan, father of the skyscraper, to Frank Gehry, magician of post-millennial museum, Filler emphasizes how their force of personality has had a decisive effect on everything from how we inhabit our homes to how we shape our cities.

Why was the sudden shift in architectural fashion that wrecked the career of the Scottish designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh not enough to destroy the indomitable spirit of Frank Lloyd Wright, who rose from adversity to become America’s greatest architect? Why was Philip Johnson, “dean of American architecture” during the 1980s, so haunted by the superior talent of this less-fortunate contemporary Louis Kahn that he could barely utter his name even at the peak of his own success? How did Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s dictum “Less is more” give way to Robert Venturi’s “Less is a bore”?

Surveying such current urban design sagas as the reconstruction of Ground Zero and the reunification of Berlin, Filler also trains his sharp eye on some of the biggest names in architecture today, puncturing more than one overinflated reputation while identifying the true masters who are now building for the ages.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Makers of Modern Architecture: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Frank Gehry (New York Review Books)

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Most of these 17 short essays by Filler (architecture critic,House & Garden ) originally appeared in theNew York Review of Books ; some have been expanded and updated. They touch on aspects of the ... Read full review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Good overview of 20th century architects. Extensive bashing of Richard Meier's Getty Museum and everything ever done by Philip Johnson. A bit repetitive because this is a compilation of many separate articles for the New York Review of Books.


Louis Sullivan i
Frank Lloyd Wright
Charles Rennie Mackintosh

16 other sections not shown

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

Martin Filler was born in 1948 and received degrees in Art History from Columbia. His writings have been published in more than thirty journals, magazines, and newspapers in the US, Europe, and Japan. Since 1985 his essays on modern architecture have appeared in The New York Review of Books, and he is now architecture critic of House & Garden. Filler was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He and his wife, the architectural historian Rosemarie Haag Bletter, were guest curators for the Whitney Museum exhibition “High Styles: Twentieth Century American Design” (1985), and wrote the documentary film Beyond Utopia: Changing Attitudes in American Architecture (1983). They live in New York and Southampton, and have one son, Nathaniel.

Bibliographic information