Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Howard Van Doren Shaw: The Radical Conservative

One of the better known American architects  of the early 20th century is Howard Van Doren Shaw, best known for English-inspired houses like Ragdale, or The House of The Four Winds, in Lake Forest, IL. Many of his houses are reminiscent of works by Voysey or Baillie Scott, though some examples – like a large Tudor-inspired home here in Akron on Merriman Rd.—are just slightly more traditional in their approach.

Chicago Magazine has a great article by Whet Moser on  Van Doren Shaw’s legacy, from his approach to residential architecture to his commercial work, like Market Square, in Lake Forest:
“Market Square was built as what we now refer to as mixed-use, transit-oriented development, with stores on the first floor and apartments on the second, across a narrow street from what’s now the Lake Forest stop on the Union Pacific North Metra line.”
Strangely enough, Market Square feels like some of today’s newer, “walkable” retail developments (Think of Easton Town Center in Columbus or Legacy Village, near Cleveland) – the scale, mixed bag of architectural styles, and overall approach are strikingly similar.

The article goes on to highlight a new book, Inventing the New American House: Howard Van Doren Shaw, Architect, by architect Stuart Cohen, who  makes the case for Shaw as an innovator, drawing out that argument from Shaw’s reticent buildings. Take a look at the article, and check out the book, if you can.

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