Cover image for The American lawn
The American lawn
Teyssot, Georges, 1946-
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Princeton Architectural Press ; Montréal : Canadian Center for Architecture, [1999]

Physical Description:
x, 203 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
General Note:
Accompanied by 1 steroscopic viewer.

Published in conjunction with an exhibition organized by the Canadian Centre for Architecture.
Added Corporate Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB433 .A45 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



Like so many other aspects of modern life-the interstate highway system, fast food chains, telephones, televisions, and shopping malls-the lawn occupies a central, and often unconsidered, place in America's cultural landscape. In spaces as diverse as city parks, town squares, and suburban backyards, it has played an essential part in the development of our national identity. The site of political demonstrations, sporting events, and barbecues, and the object of loving, if not obsessive,care and attention, the lawn is also symbolically tied to our notions of community and civic responsibility, serving in the process as one of the foundations of democracy.
The American Lawn: Surface of Everyday Life examines the lawn within its historical, artistic, literary, and political contexts, situating it on the boundary between utopian ideal and dystopian nightmare. Contributions from a distinguished group of historians, theorists, and architects cover a variety of topics, ranging from European precedents to the golf course fairway as a model for today's flawless suburban lawn. Illustrations and references are drawn from film and television, horticultural and architectural publications, gardening tools, corporate literature, and the fine arts.

Essays in this collection include "The American Lawn: Surface of Everyday Life" by Georges Teyssot, "The Saga of Grass: From the Heavenly Carpet to Fallow Fields" by Monique Mosser, "The Lawn in Early American Landscape and Garden Design" by Thrse O'Malley, "Professional Pastoralism: The Writing on the Lawn" by Alessandra Ponte, "Fairway Living: Lawncare and Lifestyle from Croquet to Golf Course" by Virginia Scott Jenkins, "The Lawn at War: 1941-61" by Beatriz Colomina, "The Electric Lawn" byMark Wigley, and a text and graphics project by Diller & Scofidio.

Author Notes

Georges Teyssot is Professor of Architecture at Princeton University.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

From carefully manicured golf greens to small patches nurtured in front of row houses, the lawn is a symbol of private and civic pride and personal and community enrichment. This collection of essays by historians, architects, and social theorists identifies the role that "green space" has played in the development of our collective self-image. The enclosure or privatization of the lawn in earlier days has given way to a more politically acceptable idea of shared open spaces, and purely aesthetic value has often taken second place to commercial adaptations. From the backyard barbecue to campus demonstrations and architectural elements, the lawn has provided a background to all our activities. The inclusion of court cases based on "failure to cut grass" and "violation of lawn sign ordinance" emphasizes how passion about lawns influences personal and civic behavior. Published to coincide with an exhibition organized by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, this book offers an interesting look at the encounter between idealism and technology.ÄPaula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.