An aesthetics of big scale dominates our historical imagination.1 As architectural historians we are seduced by the swagger of Daniel Burnham’s 1910 invitation to think big: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized.” This masculinist call to envision big plans suited the high age of imperialism, when the United States emerged on the global stage as an imperial power.2 The spirit of imperialist Westward expansion was now projected outward, making forcible occupation seem inevitable, necessary, and the “White Man’s burden.”3 The achievements in city planning for which Burnham is lauded were drafted from authoritarian planning scripts well honed in Europe and in the European empires. The neobaroque vistas in Burnham’s 1909 plan for Chicago visually overrode the city’s grid and declared the territorial sublime of imperial ambitions in the manner of Louis XIV’s Versailles and...
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Research Article| March 01 2022
Architectural History or a Geography of Small Spaces?
Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians (2022) 81 (1): 5–20.
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Swati Chattopadhyay; Architectural History or a Geography of Small Spaces?. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 March 2022; 81 (1): 5–20. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsah.2022.81.1.5
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