Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons

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9781568982724: Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons

The Hamptons, New York's fashionable summer beach resorts, are well known as weekend havens for city-dwellers who relish their idyllic setting on the Atlantic shore. Once quiet agricultural land, Eastern Long Island first became popular among artists, architects, writers, and society patrons in the 1920s, when it served as a breeding ground for modernism. From the avant-garde influence of luminaries like Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Willem de Kooning, to the high modernism of Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, and Richard Meier, new ideas about art, architecture, and modern living transformed the Hamptons and ultimately made it the destination of choice for those seeking respite from the battles of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. In Weekend Utopia Alastair Gordon traces this fascinating and complicated trajectory, both in architectural terms-looking at modest beach houses and modern mansions alike-and in the life stories of the world-famous artists and designers, whose influence is felt on "The Island" even today. Over 175 photographs and illustrations detail the architecture, interiors, and nuances of these beautiful weekend homes, and provide an intimate portrait of the people who inhabit them. This engrossing book combines architectural history with a broad social perspective and paints a comprehensive picture of an area that in many ways shaped modern American culture.

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Review:

The beach house was "the sonnet form of American architecture," writes Alastair Gordon. "This was where the revolution began." In his gracefully written, stunningly illustrated book, he shows how the evolution of summer housing on the once-rural eastern end of Long Island, New York, heralded key developments in architecture.

By the late 1920s, the sprawling Southampton mansions of Stanford White and others were passé. The new style was a modernist box, raised up on supporting columns for protection and a better view, with a sun deck and floor-to-ceiling windows. (See Palm Springs Weekend: The Architecture and Design of a Midcentury Oasis or Palm Springs Modern: Houses in the California Desert for a West Coast version of modernist vacation home design.)

After World War II, the Hamptons became a favorite destination of New York artists, architects, and writers, who ushered in a period of fanciful experimentation. Then came the deluge. Gordon's own family, who bought their prefab beach home in the '50s, was part of a trend celebrated by Life magazine in 1959, the year Nixon and Khrushchev held their Kitchen Debate at a Leisurama house.

Gordon vividly describes the innovations of the '50s and '60s, from the stunningly pure Blake House (two square, ground-hugging sections with a central breezeway framing the ocean view) to the proud verticals of the Gwathmey House, clad in vertical cedar siding approximating the look of carved concrete. In the '70s, as ocean-view lots became scarce, some architects ignored the natural setting, creating imposing sculptural statements craning to isolate an elusive view. Others, including Robert Venturi and Jack Lenore Larsen, gave vernacular styles a postmodern twist.

Rightly decrying the neotraditional behemoths built in the '80s to satisfy the insecurities of the megarich, Gordon takes the long view. Each wave of newcomers remade this flat land in their own image, yet "something about it resists change." --Cathy Curtis

From Publishers Weekly:

For a good beach read (or a distraction from traffic on the Long Island Expressway) the coffee table-sized Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons chronicles successive waves of refuge seekers and the architectural innovations they spurred on, culminating in New York's beachfront babylon. After a decade as an East Hampton Star columnist and with his current gig as a House & Garden contributing editor, Alistair Gordon has an insider's knowledge of the area, which he supplements with 75 color and 100 b&w illustrations and photos. From the late-19th-century "Tile Club" to Pollock, De Kooning & Co. to today's moguls, Gordon's eye for the convergence of arts, architecture and commerce is unerring.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS, United States, 2001. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Hamptons, New York s fashionable summer beach resorts, are well known as weekend havens for city-dwellers who relish their idyllic setting on the Atlantic shore. Once quiet agricultural land, Eastern Long Island first became popular among artists, architects, writers, and society patrons in the 1920s, when it served as a breeding ground for modernism. From the avant-garde influence of luminaries like Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Willem de Kooning, to the high modernism of Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, and Richard Meier, new ideas about art, architecture, and modern living transformed the Hamptons and ultimately made it the destination of choice for those seeking respite from the battles of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. In Weekend Utopia Alastair Gordon traces this fascinating and complicated trajectory, both in architectural terms-looking at modest beach houses and modern mansions alike-and in the life stories of the world-famous artists and designers, whose influence is felt on The Island even today. Over 175 photographs and illustrations detail the architecture, interiors, and nuances of these beautiful weekend homes, and provide an intimate portrait of the people who inhabit them. This engrossing book combines architectural history with a broad social perspective and paints a comprehensive picture of an area that in many ways shaped modern American culture. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781568982724

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Book Description PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS, United States, 2001. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Hamptons, New York s fashionable summer beach resorts, are well known as weekend havens for city-dwellers who relish their idyllic setting on the Atlantic shore. Once quiet agricultural land, Eastern Long Island first became popular among artists, architects, writers, and society patrons in the 1920s, when it served as a breeding ground for modernism. From the avant-garde influence of luminaries like Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Willem de Kooning, to the high modernism of Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, and Richard Meier, new ideas about art, architecture, and modern living transformed the Hamptons and ultimately made it the destination of choice for those seeking respite from the battles of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. In Weekend Utopia Alastair Gordon traces this fascinating and complicated trajectory, both in architectural terms-looking at modest beach houses and modern mansions alike-and in the life stories of the world-famous artists and designers, whose influence is felt on The Island even today. Over 175 photographs and illustrations detail the architecture, interiors, and nuances of these beautiful weekend homes, and provide an intimate portrait of the people who inhabit them. This engrossing book combines architectural history with a broad social perspective and paints a comprehensive picture of an area that in many ways shaped modern American culture. Bookseller Inventory # AAC9781568982724

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Book Description Princeton Architectural Press May 2001, 2001. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. The Hamptons, New York's fashionable summer beach resorts, are well known as weekend havens for city-dwellers who relish their idyllic setting on the Atlantic shore. Once quiet agricultural land, Eastern Long Island first became popular among artists, architects, writers, and society patrons in the 1920s, when it served as a breeding ground for modernism. From the avant-garde influence of luminaries like Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Willem de Kooning, to the high modernism of Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, and Richard Meier, new ideas about art, architecture, and modern living transformed the Hamptons and ultimately made it the destination of choice for those seeking respite from the battles of Wall Street and Madison Avenue. In Weekend Utopia Alastair Gordon traces this fascinating and complicated trajectory, both in architectural terms-looking at modest beach houses and modern mansions alike-and in the life stories of the world-famous artists and designers, whose influence is felt on 'The Island' even today. Over 175 photographs and illustrations detail the architecture, interiors, and nuances of these beautiful weekend homes, and provide an intimate portrait of the people who inhabit them. This engrossing book combines architectural history with a broad social perspective and paints a comprehensive picture of an area that in many ways shaped modern American culture. The Hamptons are hot. Gordon, who grew up there, traces the invention of the idea of the Hamptons as a resort for the elite of New York City and shows how various forces, including artists, real estate developers, and media professionals transformed what had been a quiet rural place into a modern and worldwide phenomenon. 175 illustrations. Bookseller Inventory # 20101228117311

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