John Andrews's Laconic Legacy
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CitationLiu, Kevin. 2021. John Andrews's Laconic Legacy. Master's thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractJohn Hamilton Andrews (1933–) is the quintessential knockabout Australian; terse and straight-forward, his affable personality won him the respect of his American peers and mentors, but his laconic sensibility would ultimately prove a liability later in his career. His brevity in publication as well as a reluctance to theorize or historicize his work would frustrate later attempts to situate his career and projects within American modernist or brutalist narratives.
This thesis places the importance of communication—how design is spoken, drawn, performed, and published—at its core: how does a given architect communicate her/his work and how do those efforts impact the reception of the architect and the architect’s oeuvre? The thesis examines Andrews’s work through several modes of communication by cataloging and analyzing diagrams and drawings, published writings, interviews, and audiovisual recordings produced by Andrews’s practice between 1962 and 1982. These materials serve as valuable evidence in understanding the rapid early success of the practice and the practice’s transition, between the years 1964 and 1969, from elaborately rendered sections to easily comprehensible sectional diagrams—an innovation in visual communication which prefigured a later trend towards diagram architecture.
The legible section diagram, in the built form of Gund Hall (1968–1972), is Andrews’s most important contribution to the Harvard Graduate School of Design; a contribution that has since been overlooked in part because of its poor reception upon completion, but also due to Andrews’s reluctance to engage in the forms of communication necessary to sustain an understanding and reception of his work. Communication explains both his early success and his difficult legacy.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367890