Building a New Europe Portraits of Modern Architects, Essays by George Nelson, 1935-1936 George Nelson, Kurt W. Forster, Robert A. M. Stern

Publication date:
26 Jul 2007
Yale University Press
192 pages: 254 x 203mm
126 b-w illus.
Sales territories:


Fascinating profiles of the leading architects of the 1930s during a crucial period in the evolution of modernism

Architect, designer, and architectural critic, George Nelson (1908–1986) was a young and impressionable architect when he wrote a series of articles in 1935 and 1936 that eloquently introduced astonishing buildings and fascinating personalities from across the Atlantic to wider American audiences. Building a New Europe presents this important collection of writings together for the first time. The subjects of Nelson’s essays include figures both major (Mies van Der Rohe and Le Corbusier) and minor (Helweg-Moeller and Ivar Tengbom). All of these architects would soon be affected by World War II—they would be put out of work or seek new careers abroad. Nelson’s essays spark fascinating questions about the canon of modernism: how would circumstances in the pre-war years cause some architects to rise and others to fall? Accompanied by a comprehensive introduction and a wide selection of archival photographs, many never before published, this unique study is a significant contribution to the history of modern architecture.

George Nelson served as the design director of Herman Miller from 1946 to 1972. His books include Chairs: 20th Century Landmarks in Design and Tomorrow’s House. Kurt W. Forster is the Vincent Scully Professor of Architectural History at the Yale School of Architecture. He is co-author of Frank O. Gehry: The Complete Works. Robert A. M. Stern is Dean and J. M. Hoppin Professor of Architecture at the Yale School of Architecture.

'Nelson's essays, republished here with an informative and entertaining introduction by Kurt W Foster, are a valuable addition to what we know about those difficult years.' - Tom Muirhead, Building Design