Cover image for The architecture of Howard Van Doren Shaw
The architecture of Howard Van Doren Shaw
Greene, Virginia A., 1959-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago, Ill. : Chicago Review Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
xv, 175 pages : illustrations, maps ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
NA737.S46 G74 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



This first ever comprehensive treatment of Shaw's work contains more than 200 historic photographs along with original architectural plans that reveal the diverse talents of an architect whose commissions throughout the Midwest included residential, commercial, and civic architecture. Shaw's career from 1869-1926 was largely overshadowed by his colleague Frank Lloyd Wright, partly due to his untimely death in 1926 and also to the perception of Shaw as a society architect. This book invites readers to discover an aspect of the Chicago school seldom explored -- how European influences and eclecticism transformed Midwestern prairie and the Arts and crafts movement in America.

Author Notes

Virginia A. Greene is an architect in private practice

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Although less recognizable than Daniel Burnham or Frank Lloyd Wright, Shaw came out of the same late-nineteenth-century, creative Chicago milieu as did they. Greene presents a comprehensive album of Shaw's dozens of buildings in Chicago, which if less iconic than those of Burnham and Wright celebrated in the Prestel book, still dot the city's neighborhoods, contributing an overlooked elegance to Chicago's renowned architectural history. Shaw's practice catered to the wealthy classes; he built their homes, churches, and, in the city's adjacent hinterlands, their country houses. Shaw met their undaring tastes for "conservative freshness," as one critic eulogized him. He delivered Gothic and English country designs, and for such designs his reputation has suffered. Greene (herself an architect) believes it timely to reassess Shaw's work and underscores his more adventuresome factory and office buildings. Dozens of photographs with commentary make this the comprehensive guide to Shaw. World-famous designs by Shaw's competitors, the Flatiron building by Burnham and Fallingwater by Wright, are among 85 buildings of the century according to the Prestel album, which forcefully showcases how modernism radically reshaped architecture. Inevitably buildings truly iconic are presented (Bauhaus), but the title is happily belied by the inclusion of numerous less-celebrated but no less startling edifices. Spanning the century, these discharged industrial functions (Ford's River Rouge complex) or social ones (a worker's club in Moscow) reflected currents up to 1950; since then, cultural institutions and transportation terminals have attracted the architectural avant-garde. Designed to convey essential biographical and critical information, this album is consummately compatible with a public-library collection. --Gilbert Taylor

Choice Review

The triumph of architectural modernism in the 20th century cast many traditionalist architects into historical oblivion. Only gradually are their lives and careers being recovered. This book rescues Shaw (1869-1926), a Chicago architect esteemed in his day but mostly forgotten since, although his Market Square shopping complex in Lake Forest has retained the admiration of historians of urbanism. Greene gives us Shaw the architect of extraordinary range--of office buildings, churches, and houses in every conceivable historical style. A brief biographical account leads into the heart of the book, a catalog of some (but not all) of Shaw's buildings, each illustrated with period photographs. A complete building list and useful maps appear at the end. A practicing architect herself, Greene does a good job of stylistic analysis but does not develop the deeper scholarly themes. How does Shaw's work compare to that of contemporary eclectics in Chicago and elsewhere? Shaw was a contemporary of Frank Lloyd Wright, who hovers just offstage. Are their careers unrelated, Wright soaring high above the benighted traditionalists? Or were Wright and Shaw two beneficiaries of a remarkable, shared climate of aesthetic innovation and stylistic pluralism? General readers; graduate students; faculty. W. B. Maynard; Delaware College of Art and Design

Table of Contents

Stuart Cohen, FAIA
Forewordp. viii
Acknowledgmentsp. xii
Introductionp. xiv
Part 1 Shaw's Life and Work
1 Childhood and Educationp. 2
2 The Early Years of Shaw's Career, 1894-1904p. 7
3 Mid-Career, 1905-1915p. 20
4 The Golden Years, 1916-1926p. 29
Part 2 Shaw's Buildings and Projects
5 Hyde Park-Kenwoodp. 38
6 Lake Forestp. 58
7 Chicagop. 86
8 Other Areas of Illinoisp. 111
9 Outside of Illinoisp. 127
10 A Look at Shaw's Interiorsp. 143
Notesp. 152
Bibliographyp. 156
Appendix A Complete List of Shaw's Buildingsp. 161
Appendix B Mapsp. 166
Indexp. 172