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Albert Mayer, architect and town planner : the case for a total professional

Click to view the dissertation via Digital dissertation consortium
Author Serdari, Thomai.
ISBN/ISSN 9780542072628
Broad Subject Architecture
Fine Arts
Summary In presenting the career of American architect and town planner, Albert Mayer, this dissertation brings to light a previously unstudied phase of New York City apartment house building and its relationship to the idea of community design. From his early years in the family real estate business, the J. H. Taylor Company, Mayer studied and implemented the concept of "neighborhood unit." Mayer's activities in commercial real estate and architectural practice before the Second World War consisted of collaborations with other prominent architects,whose work was shaped according to Mayer's recommendations in terms of optimal air and light, generous courtyards, communal facilities for the residents' recreational needs, and commercial spaces.

Striving to create conditions of humane living within the city rather than to increase his profits, Mayer dedicated large part of his career as an architect and writer improving public housing and strengthening the position of the urban poor. Along with Lewis Mumford, Clarence Stein, and Henry Wright, Mayer founded the Housing Study Guild, whose mission was to improve housing by educating professionals and the public. Mayer's experience in commercial building and his theoretical work on "neighborhood unit" housing types culminated in the communities he built for the United States military during the Second Word War with the assistance of his partner Julian H. Whittlesey. As an Army Engineer stationed in Asia, Mayer implemented the first rural development project in Etawah, Uttar Pradesh in India where his role was seminal. In spite of demands stemming from his firm's engagements with several residential projects in the United States after the Second World War, Mayer, with his partners' assistance, completed a few of the most interesting buildings in New York City and at the same time provided the Indian government with master plans for several cities. They all attest to Mayer's dedication to creating humane environments in a variety of scales (from the apartment to the new city) and they provide the context to understanding Mayer's post-War North American full-scale neighborhood unit community, Kitimat, British Columbia, which he designed with his colleagues Clarence Stein and Julian H. Whittlesey.

Language English
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