The African-American house as a vehicle of discovery for an African-American architecture
Author(s)Clarke, Charles E. (Charles Edward)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
William L. Porter.
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The purpose of this research is three-fold: (1) This thesis seeks to uncover evidence of a distinctly African-American architectural form. The primary building type observed will be the house, or the housing of African-Americans that was built by and for African-Americans. Because the greatest numbers of black people have resided in the southern United States throughout American history, most of the study will deal with the houses of blacks in that region. The position taken is that the house is a form of physical and spiritual self-expression. Simply stated, the study seeks to discover what it is about these houses that are of and by black folk that renders them peculiarly African-American. (2) This paper will document the works of some lesser known black builders of the American past, particularly in the Southeast following the Civil War. The objective will be to look for the possible visible signs of the transmittal of material culture in order to find if there is a uniquely African-American built form in existence today, or if, in fact, one has ever existed. It will look primarily at the houses executed by these people, and develop what is hoped will be a significant body of knowledge that will aid in the future study of this and other similar subjects. (3) This thesis seeks to answer a question very basic to my own personal and continuing involvement in the study of architecture, urban design, historic preservation, and African-American history: What are the determinants of an African-American architecture? In order to make a case for a truly African-American architectural form, those factors that could bear directly upon its formulation must be known and described. A major portion of this argument is devoted to just such knowledge and description.
Thesis (M.S.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, February 1996.Includes bibliographical references (leaves 66-68).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture
Massachusetts Institute of Technology