The Tender Detail: Ornament and Sentimentality in the Architecture of Louis H. Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright (Paperback)
The Tender Detail tells a story about repression, sentimentality, sexuality, and ornament in architecture. The protagonists are Louis H. Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, two of the most important architects and designers in American history.Interweaving close readings of their buildings and writings with wide-ranging discussions across the fields of architecture, sexuality, gender, and philosophy, the book explores how both men worked to solve the problem of ornamentation. It shows how their solutions, while widely different, were both intimately rooted in the tender emotions of sentimentality. Viewing ornament in this way sheds new light on Sullivan and Wright's artistic intentions, and reveals much about the role of affect, the value of beauty in architecture, and the agency and ontology of objects. Illuminated by personal stories from their respective autobiographies, which add a level of human interest unusual in an academic work, The Tender Detail is a readable and rigorous architectural history which sheds fresh light on Sullivan and Wright's relationship, their work, and on the nature of ornament itself.
Daniel Snyder is an independent scholar and Principal in Daniel E. Snyder Architect, P.C.