Walking through Dumbarton Oaks: Early Twentieth-century Bourgeois Bodily Techniques and Kinesthetic Experience of Landscape places landscape architect Beatrix Farrand’s design for rhythmic steps and landings at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., into the contexts of early twentieth-century practices of walking and notions of aesthetic muscular response. Robin Veder argues that in this period kinesthesia was a recognized sixth sense and a significant aesthetic concern in landscape design and reception. The essay is structured to demonstrate methodologically how the history of the body can be employed to denaturalize and historicize phenomenology, and thus enrich explanations of built environments. Veder explores four frames for understanding the kinesthetic experience of walking through landscape. They are choreographic dictates for how designers wanted bodies to move, individual performances of movement through space, the clothing and muscular habits that constituted bodily techniques for walking, as well as the psychological and physiological aesthetics of kinesthetic empathy.
In Centering the Chārbāgh: The Mughal Garden as Design Module for the Jaipur City Plan, Susan N. Johnson-Roehr argues that the privileging of a Hindu-Vedic worldview has had a significant effect on our understanding of Jaipur City’s history. Current interpretive approaches assume that the city’s patron, Sawai Jai Singh II, relied on the maṇḍala when shaping the city plan in the eighteenth century. The emphasis on the maṇḍala as governing device has encouraged historians to neglect other sources of Jaipur’s city plan. Specifically, scholars have not considered the role of the quadripartite Mughal paradise garden (chahār bāgh, Persian; chārbāgh, Hindi) in the planning of the city. Johnson-Roehr suggests that Jaipur’s spatial organization was defined by the chārbāgh rather than the navagraha or vāstu puruṣa maṇḍala, and demonstrates that the plan was a response to a specific chārbāgh, Jai Niwas Bagh, built by Sawai Jai Singh in 1713. Combining a rereading of eighteenth-century documents with an analysis of the physical characteristics of Jai Niwas Bagh, the author concludes that the chārbāgh was the most important element in the development of the rectilinear boulevards, bazaars, and walls that characterize Jaipur today.
The Palazzo Tolomei (1270–75) was not only the private residence of a prominent Sienese family, but was also the first legislative headquarters of the Guelph commune. In A Case of Double Identity: The Public and Private Faces of the Palazzo Tolomei in Siena, Max Grossman argues that the unusual features and ornament of this building may be linked to the original public function of its ground-level hall and to the city’s allegiance to the papacy and the Angevin monarchy after 1270. As a hybrid civic-private edifice, the Palazzo Tolomei defies traditional categorization and calls into question our current understanding of the typology and function of civic palaces. Grossman suggests that as a new architectural type, the building served as the template for the initial versions of the Palazzo Pubblico in Siena and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
The narrative of Albert Kahn’s rags-to-riches career, as previously told, suggests that his success was a matter of happenstance, augmented by a remarkable work ethic. The happenstance factor turns out to be a distortion resulting from the architect’s innate humility and a need to downplay his relationship with Joseph Boyer for business reasons. Although Boyer did not hire him in 1900 to design a machine shop as widely believed, the industrialist was nonetheless integral to the careers of Albert and Julius Kahn as the brothers developed their respective niches in industrial work. Having experienced numerous setbacks and few triumphs in his first attempt at an architectural practice, Kahn specialized in industrial work as a determined act of reinvention made possible by Boyer. Chris Meister offers a fresh examination of the architect’s work in the first years of the twentieth century and the role that his business partners played in shaping his career in Albert Kahn’s Partners in Industrial Architecture.