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From the Library: Grega and Leo A. Daly III Fund for Architectural Books

The Grega and Leo A. Daly III Fund for Architectural Books allows the National Gallery of Art Library to expand its holdings of books in all areas of architectural studies. One of our main areas of focus is public architecture. Public construction projects have a long history dating back to the earliest human civilizations, and such buildings have often been a focus of critics as well as architects and designers. The publications in this field cover a wide range of topics and approaches, and often provide valuable information that survives only in printed form. Some books survey a variety of architectural works, while others focus on a specific building. Many simply describe structures and their architectural details, and others provide in-depth analysis of design elements or theoretical treatises. Some are focused on marketing building materials or even promoting a particular building project, while others are more concerned with offering practical facts about construction.

Assembled in this exhibition are books centered on four main themes. City Planning and Improvements explores ways in which architects approach urban infrastructure, and demonstrates how changing political climates and historical events can alter the course of a building’s design as well as its place within the larger urban environment. Studying the Masterspresents surveys of architectural designs and scholarly analyses of the work of Renaissance architects. Both types of books provide insight into the ways that architects must respond to and work around the extant designs of their predecessors. Purpose Built includes books devoted to specific buildings. Whether providing details about a proposed project, describing a building under construction, or surveying and analyzing an existing building, the authors of these works provide valuable information that often survives only in this published form. And finally, Architectural Details showcases a selection of works focused on the styles and details that can both individualize a structure and place it within a larger context.

We would like to thank Mr. and Mrs. Daly for their generous support. Through their philanthropy, the library has been able to add more than 100 titles to its collection. From trade manuals and pattern books aimed at carpenters and builders (featured in our 2009 exhibition of acquisitions purchased through the fund), to books about public architecture such as those shown here, the collection has been greatly enhanced across the field of architectural studies.

Organization: The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington.