There is a distinct, century-long line of Southern architects whose careers have centered in Georgia and whose talents have focused on classical themes. Author and architectural historian William R. Mitchell, Jr., has referred to them as the “Georgia school of classicists,” and he traces their beginnings to J. Neel Reid and the firm of Hentz, Reid & Adler, which was formed in Atlanta in 1909. The lineage of Georgia classicists following Reid through the twentieth century includes such recognizable names as Shutze, Crook, Ivey, Jones, Means, Ford, Dunwody, Cooper, and McCall. Midway through the first decade of our new century there are several architects whose names now deserve to be added to this distinguished list, and one, according to Mitchell, is Keith Summerour, founder and principal architect of Summerour and Associates, Architects. This practice is notable not only for the talent Summerour possesses, but also for the methods his firm employs.
Mitchell states: “Time-honored artistic terms and design ideas, such as atelier (studio/workshop), charrette (consultation) and esquisse (free-hand sketching), are normal in its practice. . . . As our new century evolves, this firm enlarges and enhances the practice of architecture for which Beaux-Arts classicists in the past set high creative standards of ‘well-building.’”
Remarkably, this is still a young and growing firm; this volume includes representations of projects between 1998 and 2005, from a cracker-style hunting plantation in coastal Georgia, to a mountain-top Tudor Revival retreat in North Carolina. Illustrated are the four phases of the firm's design process, from charrette and esquisse, to the model, then to construction drawings, and finally to the finished structure. Examples are shown from the mountains to the sea, from cities and suburbs to the country. Within the pages of this monograph one can clearly see why Lewis Crook, one of Summerour’s architectural ancestors, once proclaimed: “There are cycles in architecture, but people always return to the classics.”
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