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Function and decoration, tradition and invention: Carnegie Libraries and their architectural messages

Prizeman, Oriel Elizabeth Clare ORCID: 2013. Function and decoration, tradition and invention: Carnegie Libraries and their architectural messages. Library and Information History 29 (4) , pp. 239-257. 10.1179/1758348913Z.00000000046

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This study explores the changing value attached to historical references in modern public library design through examples cast in an era of transition. Pittsburgh was the crucible of Carnegie Library design; the city in which Andrew Carnegie manufactured his fortune making steel and where his philanthropic transaction with working people was most obvious. The last two of the eight branch libraries he built in Pittsburgh, South Side (1909) and Homewood (1910), illustrate apparently divergent approaches to library identity. Their decorative language can be misrepresented and misinter- preted and it is important to recognize the functional role that architectural ornament played in the context of modernity. Historic architectural references were used to invent new narratives for public interaction. The places in which these appear to be most conventional therefore often reveal themselves conversely, to be the most radical.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NA Architecture
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z719 Libraries (General)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
ISSN: 1758-3489
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 7 April 2016
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 18:37

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