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Raphael Soriano

by Wolfgang Wagener
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Product Details

  • Publisher: Phaidon Press
  • Publishing date: 26/09/2002
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-13: 9780714840635
  • ISBN: 0714840637

Synopsis

Raphael Soriano (1907-88) was one of the early Case Study architects working in postwar Los Angeles and a talented advocate of the new building materials and construction techniques developed at the time. Soriano was a significant member of this informal gang of architects that also included Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen, Richard Neutra and Craig Ellwood. Though not as familiar a name now, Soriano was a major influence on his colleagues and was rediscovered by today's practitioners for his innovative use of steel and aluminum and his early interest in low-cost, prefabricated structures. This is the first monograph on Soriano, providing a comprehensive study of the architect's life and oeuvre. It includes detailed descriptions of thirty key Soriano buildings, and a listing of Complete Works that documents for the first time every known project in Soriano's archive. More than twenty of Soriano's buildings have been destroyed and many others remodelled beyond recognition; this book offers the only published record of these important works.Wolfgang Wagener is an architect and has written articles on twentieth-century modern architecture. Since 1997 he has been a visiting professor at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

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  • Raphael Soriano
    From Amazon

    Of all the important pioneers of modern architecture in southern California, Soriano was one of the most inventive and idealistic, but least successful. If he hadn't won the attention of Julius Shulman--as a photographer and client--he would probably be forgotten, so few are the surviving traces of his modest mid-century output. When he died, in 1988, poor and embittered, few took note. This self-inflicted failure (Soriano alienated Entenza, Eichler and several other key clients) challenged Wolfgang Wagener, an architect who practices here and in Germany, to reevaluate his achievement and develop a complete list of buildings and projects. (Michael Webb is the book reviewer for LA Architect magazine.)

  • A Mid-Century Must Have
    From Amazon

    This is a thorough, comprehensive monograph on a talented, yet often forgotten modernist. The book competently chronicles Soriano's career and major projects. However it achieves much more: There is an excellent introductory essay (The Postwar Dream Takes Hold) on the post WWII housing boom and specifically on the typology of the modern California House. This background introduces the reader to the spirit of the era in which Soriano established his practice.

    The second essay, entitle Pioneering Steel Houses 1935-1970 focuses on Soriano's career and his strong convictions of the steel frame used as a vehicle to meet the demand of the housing boom. The photos, mostly by noted photographer Julius Shulman are crisp and clear. While it would be nice to see recent photos of Sauriano's structures, the author is clear to point out that most of Soriano's buildings have sadly been demolished or altered beyond recognition.

    The two essays are followed by a very thorough catalogue with commentary of all Soriano's projects. The book also contains a map of Soriano's projects in Los Angeles, a Chronology of the Architect's life, and finally the typescript of Soriano's unfinished autobiography (all of about 5 typewritten pages).

    I highly recommend this book for the student of mid-century modernism.

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