Friday, May 25, 2012

At Large in the Library: 194X

In October 1942, New Orleans surveyor Guy Seghers received this advertisement from The Architectural Forum. Months after the United States had entered World War II, AF was recognizing the need for postwar building initiatives and expressed this future as "194X".
Andrew M. Shanken's recent 194X: Architecture, Planning and Consumer Culture on the American Home Front tackles the subject of revolutionary architecture conceived during a period of austerity:

In a major study of American architecture during World War II, Andrew M. Shanken focuses on the culture of anticipation that arose in this period, as out-of-work architects turned their energies from the built to the unbuilt, redefining themselves as planners and creating original designs to excite the public about postwar architecture. Shanken recasts the wartime era as a crucible for the intermingling of modernist architecture and consumer culture.(1)

Shanken's book is available at Tulane University's School of Architecture Library.  

(1) Publisher summary, University of Minnesota Press.  URL:

Image above: The Architectural Forum, letter to Guy Seghers, 9 October 1942, "Guy Seghers Office Records, "District 6, Square 482," Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries. Note: page 2 lacking.

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