21 October 2010

Peter Pennoyer Architects: A Modern Classic

One of the most exciting books to land on my lap this Fall is Peter Pennoyer Architects' new monograph.  If you have ever entertained the thought that Classicism is stodgy or  plain played out, this gorgeously illustrated tome will erase all such judgments.  

a model of the portico of Drumlin Hall
For over twenty-five years Pennoyer has allied himself to the Classical tradition.  And while he has made enormous contributions to the understanding and appreciation of historical iterations (he is the co-athor with Anne Walker of  several books including The Architecture of Grosvenor Atterbury  and serves as chair of the Institute of Classical Architecture's board), his work is very much in the forward-looking, experimental spirit of John Soane and David Adler.

PPA's work confirms without a doubt that Classicism can reflect the modern spirit and accomodate modern life beautifully, all the while remaining impervious to the shifting sands of fashion.  After all, while an interior may survive intact for a handful of years, a building stands for generations.

The book focuses on the firm's residential projects and is arranged by "apartments", "townhouses", and "country houses."  The photography - one of my obsessions - is excellent.  The rooms are lit to perfection, exquisitely illuminating their form and decoration .

The PPA team is incredibly talented and typical of Pennoyer's style, full credit is given to the in-house design team of each project, as well to the associated interior designers and landscape architects, including Jeffrey Bilhuber, Thomas Jayne, and Victoria Hagan.  (Sidenote: it's interesting to consider the architecture of each room separate from the decorative overlay given by each designer.)

Rating: a full five exclamation points  - an absolute must for any serious design library

Join me in line this evening at Archivia Books where Peter will be signing copies from 6 p.m. onwards.

All photographs from Peter Pennoyer Architects: Apartments, Townhouses, and Country Houses by Anne Walker

Join me all week at the International Show Blog.


Dovecote Decor said...

He's grand, and so is his wife, Katie Ridder. I grew up with a Peter Pennoyer on Duck Pond road, but don't think he's one and the same. My book budget is getting out of control.

Toby Worthington said...

Those inlaid doors at the top of the post are vaguely
reminiscent of those in the 1957 apartment of
Pierre Delbée as seen in the Jansen book, are they not?

The Pennoyer book on the work of Delano and Aldrich
is another favourite.
Which means I must add this latest to my list of needs.

Reggie Darling said...

I missed the book signing, but bought the tome at Archivia the next afternoon. Understand that several hundred showed up for the party! Spent several hours pouring over the book this morning, and was--as they say--gobsmacked by it. Incredible projects, incredibly designed, and incredibly well executed. Would that all architects of PP's sensibility and talents had such clients. Marvelous. RD

Anonymous said...

The first time I saw the picture of the stair hall I was just stunned. It affected me like the Sistine Chapel. I found Mr. Pennoyers website and wrote him a short note of praise. He wrote back "Thank you". I was pleased.

I read that he makes all his own moulding. That stair hallway is a show stopper. I can gaze on that picture for a long time trying to figure out how he made something so beautiful out of what otherwise would have gone unnoticed.

Thank you for bringing his work to your blog. Ann