What We Are Reading Today: The Alchemy of Architecture

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Updated 09 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Alchemy of Architecture

Author: KEN TATE

The Alchemy of Architecture: Memoirs and Insights is celebrated architect Ken Tate’s creative memoir about his life in houses. Beginning with his days growing up in Columbus, Mississippi where he was surrounded by beautiful Greek Revival houses, the book journeys through Tate’s upbringing as a creative adolescent to his early days at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta where he started his collegiate architectural career, according to a review published on goodreads.com.
There Tate struggled to keep up with the hard-edged modernism that was being taught in school and longed to design beautiful buildings with soul. Thus, his quest began leading him to Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama where he found what he was looking for in two professors, Jim Jones and Lewis Lanter, who began mentoring him. That tutelage led him to write his thesis Architecture in Search of a Soul. Following graduation from Auburn, Ken journeyed to work for the eccentric talent Bruce Goff in Texas and afterwards for Sambo Mockbee in Jackson, Mississippi.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Forging Global Fordism by Stefan J. Link

Updated 30 September 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Forging Global Fordism by Stefan J. Link

As the US rose to ascendancy in the first decades of the 20th century, observers abroad associated American economic power most directly with its burgeoning automobile industry. In the 1930s, in a bid to emulate and challenge America, engineers from across the world flocked to Detroit. Chief among them were Nazi and Soviet specialists who sought to study, copy, and sometimes steal the techniques of American automotive mass production, or Fordism. Forging Global Fordism traces how Germany and the Soviet Union embraced Fordism amid widespread economic crisis and ideological turmoil. 

This incisive book recovers the crucial role of activist states in global industrial transformations and reconceives the global thirties as an era of intense competitive development, providing a new genealogy of the postwar industrial order.

Stefan Link uncovers the forgotten origins of Fordism in Midwestern populism, and shows how Henry Ford’s antiliberal vision of society appealed to both the Soviet and Nazi regimes.

He explores how they positioned themselves as America’s antagonists in reaction to growing American hegemony and seismic shifts in the global economy during the interwar years, and shows how Detroit visitors like William Werner, Ferdinand Porsche, and Stepan Dybets helped spread versions of Fordism abroad and mobilize them in total war.

Forging Global Fordism challenges the notion that global mass production was a product of post–World War II liberal internationalism, demonstrating how it first began in the global thirties, and how the spread of Fordism had a distinctly illiberal trajectory.