*A video of Mary Anne Hunting’s October 3 lecture is available here.
“Colossus, visionary, giant”—these are just some of the superlatives used to describe modernist architect Edward Durell Stone in his prime in the late 1950s when he emerged as one of the first “celebrity architects,” said architectural historian Mary Anne Hunting in a recent interview about her book, Edward Durell Stone: Modernism’s Populist Architect (W. W. Norton & Company, 2012).
Hunting, a 1980 graduate of Vanderbilt, will present a lecture entitled “Edward Durell Stone, Modernist Architect: From Vanderbilt to Kennedy Center” on Thursday, October 3, at 4 pm in 203 Cohen Hall on the Peabody campus. Her talk will be followed by a book signing in the atrium.
“The diversity and scope of his architecture knew no bounds—from master plans for entire university campuses, urban revitalizations, and foreign government complexes to hospitals, cultural centers, museums, airports, and banks, not to mention extensive residential work,” wrote Hunting. “At his peak, Stone was acknowledged as one of the most distinguished and progressive American architects with a huge and prestigious workload.”
A close friend of Frank Lloyd Wright, Stone was selected by Vanderbilt Chancellor Harvie Branscomb in 1946 to devise a master plan to guide all future development of the university’s 79-acre campus. “Stone’s boldly conceived plan was enthusiastically received and led to his appointment as the university’s consulting and supervising architect for the next ten years, with varying degrees of involvement in site improvements as well as with design and construction, for such buildings as the student union, gymnasium, engineering building, and various dormitories,” wrote Hunting.
Hunting received her doctorate from the City University of New York’s Graduate Center where Kevin Murphy, the new chair of Vanderbilt’s history of art department, was her advisor and “devoted mentor,” said Hunting. She earned a master’s degree in the history of decorative arts and design from the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum/Parsons School of Design. She is now an independent scholar living in New York City.
“First in her dissertation, which was highly praised by readers, and then in her beautifully produced book, Mary Anne Hunting shows how Edward Durell Stone invented himself as one of America’s greatest architects, then fell from grace as his popular brand of modernism fell out of critical favor,” said Murphy. “Her work has helped us appreciate Stone in a new way: as a figure who embodied both the potential and the major issues of his time.”