Florida Book Awards Richard E. Rice Gold Medal for Visual Arts
“Shieldhouse emphasizes the people, experiences, and circumstances that influenced Morgan. . . . Recommended.”—Choice
“Richard Shieldhouse’s entertaining look at Jacksonville’s most important architect, William Morgan, is a story that all Jacksonville can share. . . . The historical and contemporary photographs by several photographers, including the author, are spectacular.”—Florida Times-Union
"Elegantly written and based upon Shieldhouse's extensive interviews with the architect, William Morgan is indispensable, opening new avenues of understanding why and how Morgan's research about earth and pre-Columbian architecture enabled an extraordinary oeuvre of humanist architecture in the globalizing world, achieving the embodiment of his democratic and pioneering multicultural, environmental, and ethical agenda."—Jean-François Lejeune, coeditor of Modern Architecture and the Mediterranean: Vernacular Dialogues and Contested Identities
"The first book to thoroughly explore the personal story of William Morgan's life journey and his development as an architect, offering a better understanding of the meaning and basis behind his significant and beautiful architecture."—Guy W. Peterson, FAIA, founder and principal, Guy Peterson Office for Architecture
"This book presents personal and useful insight into the life and work of William Morgan, a most remarkable architect who was able to combine the creed of modern architecture, the built lessons from ancient civilizations, and the spirit of place in its broadest sense." —Fernando Vegas López-Manzanares, coauthor of Centro histórico de Valencia: Ocho siglos de arquitectura residencial
"Shieldhouse introduces us to William Morgan, who, inspired by archaeology and the architecture of ancient and indigenous civilizations, brought a unique perspective to his modernist designs of the postwar decades." —Theodore H. M. Prudon, author of Preservation of Modern Architecture
"A rich tour of postwar American architectural culture."—Ben Koush, architect, Ben Koush Associates
William Morgan (1930–2016) was a bold, innovative, and highly imaginative architect known internationally for fusing ancient and modern styles and for his early championing of green design principles. This extensively illustrated book traces Morgan’s life story and the development of his singular design vision.
Exploring Morgan's early influences, Richard Shieldhouse reveals the architect's childhood familiarity with pre-Columbian village sites and introduces college mentors who encouraged his interest in both architecture and archaeology. During navy service in the Pacific, Morgan studied ancient structures in Guam as well as Frank Lloyd Wright's design work in Japan. Later, his drive and discipline brought him into contact with leading architects including Paul Rudolph at Harvard's Graduate School of Design, a hotbed of modernism at the time. From there, Morgan struck out on his own in Jacksonville, Florida, to shape the course of architectural history.
This book tracks the evolution of Morgan's guiding ideas—economy, efficiency, visual delight, imaginative use of everyday materials, and environmental sensitivity. His most famous designs are featured with photographs, drawings, and the architect's own commentary. Structures such as the Dunehouses, an underground beachfront duplex, represent Morgan's commitment to earth architecture. His plans for police headquarters and other public buildings incorporate green roofs, stepped terraces, pyramid forms, and other elements inspired by aspects of prehistoric design.
Morgan was unique among architects for his interest in ancient North America and for blending a modern style characterized by its rejection of history with the design language of prehistory. Highlighting how his work has impacted many areas of architecture, including urban design, this book celebrates Morgan’s continuing legacy.
Richard Shieldhouse is a city planner, preservationist, and tourism expert based in Jacksonville, Florida.
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