Copyright Hyoogen Press Inc. 2009-2012
Irving Kane Pond, and his brother Allen, have long been considered progressive Chicago architects. They occupied offices in Steinway Hall, and were important members of that group of innovative architects that included Frank Lloyd Wright, Dwight Perkins, Myron Hunt, Marion Mahoney, Robert Spencer, Walter Burley Griffin, Adamo Boari, Jules Guerin, and others. Yet their architecture, while departing from traditional architectural styles, did not break radically from such stylistic forms in the manner of the Prairie School architects, led by Frank Lloyd Wright. Instead, the Ponds sought to create a modern American architecture without rejecting architectural stylistic traditions, but simplifying them through the emphasis of geometry and the inherent quality of building materials and construction.
Irving and Allen Pond’s friendships and connections to those active in the great social movements of the day, including pictorial arts, theatre and literature, progressive government and education, are equally well represented in these memoirs, and include such figures as: Jane Addams, Lorado Taft, Hamlin Garland, Anna Morgan, Charles L. Hutchinson, Henry M. Bates, James B. Angell, Fannie Blumfield Zeisler, Governor Frank Lowden, George M. Pullman, Graham Taylor, and many others.
Irving K. Pond was a distinguished Chicago architect, author, gifted
storyteller, and a national president of the American Institute of
Architects. His richly anecdotal autobiography, published here for
the first time, gives us an irreverent account of Chicago architecture
and its architects at the turn of the last century. It should be read
alongside the autobiographies of Sullivan and Wright to remind us
that seminal developments in architecture, like those of the Italian
Renaissance, emerge from a collaborative environment, and are not
the product of an individual genius working alone.
- Stuart Cohen, FAIA
Pond’s autobiography provides an important addition to our understanding
of who else was practicing in Chicago during its zenith in the late
19th century, besides the architects that fit nicely into the sometimes
narrow interpretative categories of architectural historians. A protégé
of Jenney who worked for Beman on the Pullman project, Pond and his
brother also completed significant work of their own during their
long practice together. Pond’s autobiography lends an insider’s view,
often saucy, of the great cultural nexus that was brewing in Chicago
at that time and lays out the priorities of an architect who had a
strong sense of social responsibility while many others were more
interested in feeding their egos, becoming famous and making big bucks.
- Dennis Domer, The University of Kansas
This is a remarkable book about a remarkable pair of architects.
Despite the fact that Allen and Irving K. Pond were, for many decades,
at the very center of a large and highly influential set of architects,
artists and social reformers in Chicago, they have remained relatively
obscure because they didn’t fit in with narratives that wished to
see Chicago architecture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries
as a prelude to European modernism of the 1920s. Chicago architecture
was always a great deal more than that, and we owe David Swan an immense
debt of gratitude for having produced this book which should go a
long way toward bringing back into focus one of America’s most interesting
and important architectural practices.
- Robert Bruegmann, University of Illinois at Chicago
David Swan is a practicing architect in Chicago.
Terry Tatum is the Supervising Historian and Director of Research for the Landmarks Division of the Chicago Department of Planning and Development.
ISBN 978-0-9818330-1-9• Paper • $40.00 • 588 Pages • 350 Photographs and Drawings • Chicago Architectural History
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