Bernard Maybeck at Principia College: The Art and Craft of Building
Craig, Robert M. Bernard Maybeck at Principia College: The Art and Craft of Building. Layton, UT: Gibbs Smith, 2004.
This book grew out of Craig’s 1970s dissertation on the Bernard Maybeck architecture at Principia—a college for Christian Scientists in Illinois. Craig contextualizes Maybeck within late-19th– to mid-20th-century architecture and highlights the values Maybeck shared with his client, Frederic E. Morgan. Maybeck wrote “College building should be so spiritual that the student … gets the qualities which we need to make leaders” (75). Morgan “saw the commission as an unfoldment of Principle, one of the seven synonyms of God [Science and Health, 465] and the quintessential quality embodied in the very name of the school” (76). Included are chapters (with glossy photos) detailing the histories and intricacies of each stage of the building project—commission, preliminary sketches, periods of crisis, construction phases, actual campus designs including buildings never executed, and Craig’s final evaluation. “It is not the final product alone, therefore, that offers interest to this inquiry but the process of design, the influences of personality and philosophies (and of finances and material), and the evolution from preliminary conception to final realization that provide the complete story of the commission” (xxii). Craig concludes that Maybeck indeed succeeded in creating “an architectural embodiment of the spirit of Principia” (458).
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