Date of Award
Thesis and Dissertation
Master of Science (MS)
Department of History
This thesis explores preservation issues regarding modernist architecture in Chicago. As urban and public history research, the project examines the new questions brought to the forefront by recent controversies over the preservation of modernist architecture. Modernism, and an "all concrete" variant known as "Brutalism," popular in the mid-twentieth century, aimed to remove ornament and historical references common in neoclassical, neo-Gothic, Beaux Arts, and Art Deco architecture and replace them with minimal, clean, glass-and-steel buildings. Modernists who, on principle, did not believe in preservation of past forms are now in the unlikely position of making such an argument for their own buildings. Never widely embraced in the first place, Brutalism's concrete faÃ§ades seemed less and less to reflect aesthetic tastes as architects turned back toward historicist styles by the 1980s. As such buildings have grown older, they have become a part of debates within cities across the United States about preservation and the built environment, frequently becoming entangled with city politics and economic interests.
Mitchell, Stephen M., "Modernism on Trial: An Analysis of Historic Preservation Debates in Chicago" (2014). Theses and Dissertations. 163.