Shifting Grounds of Architectural Practice: Boundary Conditions and Field Formations in the U.S. Design Professions
Porter, Zachary Tate
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During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the discourses and practices associated with the design of buildings and cities in the United States became increasingly differentiated and segregated according to the formation of distinct disciplinary boundaries. Such a division of expertise ultimately gave rise to four modern professions: civil engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, and city planning. This study contends that the emergence of these four distinct professions had dramatic implications for the treatment of ground. Whereas certain aspects of architectural production can be neatly compartmentalized within one profession or another, the ground extends boundlessly as both a physical and conceptual substructure undergirding any act of design. By closely analyzing the development of educational curricula, professional publications, and legal frameworks, this study highlights the ways in which jurisdictional contests over various manifestations of ground shaped the modern trajectories of architecture, civil engineering, landscape architecture, and city planning in the United States.