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: Gentlemen Revolutionaries by Tom Cutterham

Updated 20 October 2020

What We Are Reading Today: Gentlemen Revolutionaries by Tom Cutterham

In the years between the Revolutionary War and the drafting of the Constitution, American gentlemen—the merchants, lawyers, planters, and landowners who comprised the independent republic’s elite—worked hard to maintain their positions of power. Gentlemen Revolutionaries shows how their struggles over status, hierarchy, property, and control shaped the ideologies and institutions of the fledgling nation.

Tom Cutterham examines how, facing pressure from populist movements as well as the threat of foreign empires, these gentlemen argued among themselves to find new ways of justifying economic and political inequality in a republican society. At the heart of their ideology was a regime of property and contract rights derived from the norms of international commerce and 18th-century jurisprudence. But these gentlemen were not concerned with property alone. They also sought personal prestige and cultural preeminence. Cutterham describes how, painting the egalitarian freedom of the republic’s “lower sort” as dangerous licentiousness, they constructed a vision of proper social order around their own fantasies of power and justice.

 In pamphlets, speeches, letters, and poetry, they argued that the survival of the republican experiment in the US depended on the leadership of worthy gentlemen and the obedience of everyone else.

Lively and elegantly written, Gentlemen Revolutionaries demonstrates how these elites, far from giving up their attachment to gentility and privilege, recast the new republic in their own image.