Lewis Crook received the nickname “Buck” during his childhood in Meridian, Mississippi. He went to Atlanta in 1915 to enroll in the Georgia Tech Department of Architecture and in 1919 was graduated from that department with high honors. Afterwards he made Atlanta his permanent home, marrying and rearing a family of three daughters. Buck began his career with the outstanding firm of Atlanta Architects, Hentz, Reid & Adler. He became a Neel Reid protege, accompanying the established architect to Europe on a sketching tour in the spring of 1922. In the following spring Buck joined Ernest Daniel Ivey, another Georgia Tech alumnus and Hentz, Reid & Adler architect, in forming Ivey & Crook, Architects. Buck Crook was the designer and Ed Ivey, the supervisor of construction. They practiced architecture together for nearly a half century, producing so many buildings that the list of their works takes up thirteen pages of this monograph.
Ivey & Crook was commissioned to design and oversee the construction of many types of buildings. In the Beaux-Arts’ tradition, Buck adapted the historical styles for his designs, remaining true to the classics until the partnership ended with the death of both partners a few months apart in late 1966 and early 1967. When Bauhaus modernism seized the day, Crook remained a traditionalist, one of the last of the old Atlanta School of renaissance classicists his mentor Neel Reid had founded before World War I. To the Atlanta tradition Buck Crook added in the mid-1930s a very strong regionalist character, emphasizing Jeffersonian or Southern classicism, especially in his domestic architecture.
This illustrated monograph brings Buck Crook’s traditionalism and regionalism into focus and provides detailed documentation for his works. It reminds us again of the accomplishments of this gifted contributor to the cycle of classicism in the first half of this century. If tradition is returning to architectural design—as modernism wanes—then Buck Crook’s architecture should be especially interesting today as an example of a traditionalism that has already existed in our century.
Lewis Edmund Crook, Jr., Architect, 1898–1967 documents and illustrates the architecture of one who believed that in the cycles of architecture “people always come back to the classics.” And, with this monograph, people will indeed be able to return to the classics—of Buck Crook, a twentieth-century traditionalist in the Deep South.
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