Historiographical Views of Great Depression Era Architecture: Analytical Essay

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Historiographical Views of Depression-Era Architecture
  3. References

Introduction

The Modernism movement began in the 20th Century. It is seen as being a more logical approach to the purpose of the building as well as using new materials (History.com, 2019) ,(UKEssays.com, 2019).

I aim, to investigate into the Architectural response of the Great Depression. As well as comparing what Architecture was like prior to The Great Depressions and the Architectural response because of it. As well as understanding how such large skyscrapers such as the Empire State and Chrysler Building were able to be built within such a dark period.

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The Great Depression happened between 1929-1930 when the stock market crashed. This was the worst every economic downfall in America causing 15 million people jobless by 1933. Compared to the start of the twenties when everyone from the rich to the average citizen were buying stocks making the stock market rapidly grow. But because of the large number of redundancies in 1929, not as many people had the spare money to buy stocks creating inflation in stock prices is worth more than they actually were.

Historiographical Views of Depression-Era Architecture

“Architecture does not appear to enter into the main arguments of most historians who deal with the Great Depression. Of course, this is understandable. If you look just at the raw numbers, they tell you that much less was being built during the Great Depression than was being built during the 1920s. In his thorough study of American from 1929 to 1945, David Kennedy barely mentions architecture, lumping the building industry in with other moribund indicators of the economy like auto sales.[1] Robert S. McElvaine’s discussion of architecture and building in his book, The Great Depression, is also narrow. Like Kennedy, McElvaine emphasizes the limitations of building-related measures like the Federal Housing Authority and the Wagner-Stegall Housing Act.[2] But it would be hard to discuss the New Deal without talking about the work programs. While literature published at the time highlights the architectural achievements of the public agencies, [3] more recent literature fails to go into such detail. In his nearly 1,000-page book, Kennedy tells us only that the Works Progress Administration (WPA) spent $11 billion, put 8.5 million Americans to work, and built roads, parks, and “many public buildings.”[4] In his look at North Carolina during the New Deal, Douglas Abrams says that “from 1935 to 1940, North Carolina WPA projects touched the lives of virtually all citizens in the state,” and he summaries this work in just one sentence: “The Public Works Division constructed schools, housing for teachers called teacherages, armories, stadiums, swimming pools, gyms, and community halls.”[5] McElvaine’s discussion of the Public Works Administration (PWA) architecture is equally short. In Making a New Deal, Lizabeth Cohen looks at the building-related agencies like the WPA, but she examines only how the work and the relief changed the people. None of these scholarly works goes into any substantive detail about how the buildings themselves, or how the social and governmental changes brought about by the Depression may have changed the forms and styles of the buildings. I argue that a closer look at the buildings, and the building trends from the Great Depression and the New Deal, can be helpful in understanding the larger social and economic issues.”(Cmhpf.org, 2019).

References

  1. History.com.(2019).Great Depression History.[online]Available at: https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/great-depression-history [Accessed 22 May 2019].
  2. UKEssays. November 2018. Great Depression Impact on US. [online]. Available from: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/history/how-the-great-depression-affected-us-history-essay.php?vref=1 [Accessed 23 May 2019].
  3. Cmhpf.org. (2019). cmhpf.org. [online] Available at: http://www.cmhpf.org/CharlotteArchInGreatDepression.htm#_edn1 [Accessed 24 May 2019].
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Historiographical Views of Great Depression Era Architecture: Analytical Essay. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 18, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/historiographical-views-of-great-depression-era-architecture-analytical-essay/
“Historiographical Views of Great Depression Era Architecture: Analytical Essay.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/historiographical-views-of-great-depression-era-architecture-analytical-essay/
Historiographical Views of Great Depression Era Architecture: Analytical Essay. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/historiographical-views-of-great-depression-era-architecture-analytical-essay/> [Accessed 18 Apr. 2024].
Historiographical Views of Great Depression Era Architecture: Analytical Essay [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2024 Apr 18]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/historiographical-views-of-great-depression-era-architecture-analytical-essay/
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