Paul Rudolph once proclaimed, “There are no details,” a death knell since echoed by Rem Koolhass and Zaha Hadid. Edward R. Ford questions that verdict in The Architectural Detail
, his new study that seeks to define structural details at their very essence. Are they mere ornamentation—vestiges of Victorianism to be eradicated from today’s architecture? Are they motifs? Microcosms? Paradigms of larger designs writ small in the arm of a chair, the angle of an eave? Starting with an examination of Thomas Jefferson’s Palladian lawn at the University of Virginia, his alma mater, Ford journeys from the writings of Transcendentalists to the furniture of Fallingwater to the debating chamber of the Scottish Parliament to show that, as Mies van der Rohe once said, “God is in the details.” • $40.00; Princeton Architectural Press, November 2011.