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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Book Review / Promotion

Summerour: Architecture of Permanence, Scale and Proportion
by William R. Mitchell, Jr.

Well, I guess I am a relative late-comer in my admiration of Keith Summerour. Nevertheless, this monograph is worth a look.

One of the newest in a century-long line of Southern architects who have focused on classical themes is Keith Summerour of Summerour and Associates. This volume includes representations of projects completed between 1998 and 2005 by this young firm, from a cracker-style hunting plantation to a mountain-top Tudor Revival retreat. The four phases of the firm’s design process are illustrated: charrette and esquisse; model; construction drawings, and finally, the finished structure. 
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 charretteand 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.” (from Golden Coast Books )

About Keith Summerour: 
(from  Summerour and Associates website)

Keith Summerour studied architecture at Auburn University. His architectural course of study included a yearlong study abroad, concentrating on the classic architecture in London, Paris, and Florence. Following his graduation from Auburn University in 1987, he went on to win the Ritchie Fellowship, allowing him to dedicate time to developing his distinctive style of architecture. Summerour further developed his talent for design while interning for several architecture firms, including the Ritchie Organization, Robert McAlpine, AIA, Herkommer Architectur and Plannungs Buro in Stuttgart, Germany, and Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart and Stewart Architects. His duties while employed with these companies included regional projects, such as designing Olympic housing at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and international projects for the Ritz Carlton Corporation in Bermuda, Puerto Rico, and Indonesia. Summerour’s work has been featured in many publications, including Architectural Digest, Southern Accents, Metropolitan Home, Veranda, Southern Living, Coastal Living, Trends Magazine, Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, and Atlanta Style and Design.

The firm’s most recent publication, Garden and Gun, features Summerour’s personal dream, a stone tower in rural Georgia. This tower serves as a rural studio where members of the firm can get away to work without interruptions and Summerour can getaway most weekends with his family. The firm has also received recognition as one of the top 100 architecture firms by the Institute of Classical Architecture. In 1991, Summerour founded Summerour and Associates Architects, Inc., a firm that specializes in residential design, boutique commercial projects, mixed use buildings, institutional and resort development.

In December of 2004, he added Summerour Interiors, in his efforts to translate a seamless transition from his unique vision of architecture to interior design. Since that time, Summerour Interiors has become an integral part of Summerour and Associates. While the majority of the firm’s projects are located in the Southeast, you will find the designs of Summerour and Associates are also on the West Coast, the Mid-West and New England.

Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: Golden Coast Publishing Company (October 30, 2006)
Retail: $50.00 Amazon: $35.00

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