Shaker Built: The Form and Function of Shaker Architecture

Front Cover
David Larkin
Monacelli Press, 1994 - Architecture - 272 pages
In the nineteenth century, the Shakers were famous as the most successful utopian communal society in America. Social reformers from Emerson to Tolstoy hailed their progressiveness in issues including equality of the sexes, care of children and the aged, and pacifism. The Shakers loved God and each other and worked devotedly to build a physical and spiritual haven apart from the complications and competitions of "the World". With astonishing energy and simple goodness, they created a network of eighteen principal villages from Maine to Kentucky and established America's only truly national utopian effort. Today, the Shakers are nearly gone. Only a few members remain in a single community at Sabbathday Lake, Maine. But their buildings and villages survive to reveal their dedication to their founder's instruction, "Put your hands to work and your hearts to God and a blessing will attend you". They shunned what they judged wasteful and unnecessary, including ornament, devoting their creativity instead to what was useful and well made. Within the discipline of simplicity, Shaker artisans expressed genius in proportion, line, pattern, form, and color. In stone and wood and brick, Shaker buildings embody an amazing grace and are one of America's design treasures. Today, Shaker design is a source of inspiration in America, Europe, and Japan. Paul Rocheleau has photographed Shaker places and things for more than twenty years. He brings his special sensitivity to Shaker Built, the first book on Shaker architecture in many years and the only book on the subject in full color. Together with writer and Shaker authority June Sprigg, Rocheleau has explored what remains of the Shakers' quietlymagnificent "cities of peace, love, and union" to present a visually stunning portrait of Shaker meeting houses, dwellings, workshops, and barns. Sprigg's lyrical essays and informative captions combine with David Larkin's masterful design to produce a photographic book as elegantly simple as Shaker buildings themselves.

From inside the book

What people are saying - Write a review

Shaker Built: The Form and Function of Shaker Architecture

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

With over 100 books about the Shakers in print, the obvious question is, Why one more? Simply put, this is a lavishly illustrated book that adds little to scholarship but would make a splashy gift. It ... Read full review


The Builders
The Family

4 other sections not shown

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1994)

June Sprigg has written extensively about the Shakers since 1972, when she began to live and work with the Shakers in Canterbury, New Hampshire. Her major works include By Shaker Hands, Shaker: Life, Work, and Art, and Shaker Design. She has curated exhibitions on Shaker design in the United States and in Japan.

Among Paul Rocheleau's books are American Colonial: Puritan Simplicity to Georgian Grace; Farm: The Vernacular Tradition of Working Buildings; Harlem: Lost and Found; and Henry Hobson Richardson: A Genius for Architecture.

Bibliographic information