PRINT April 1986


The picturesque of the urbanesque.

THE POSTWAR AMERICAN SUBURB was more than the conquest of a continent by the car. It represented, among other shifts, a switch in gratifications from work to leisure. The distance between the two was measured in commuting time, a rite of passage which glorified the new tract houses by separating them from the drudgery of work. In the golf links and curving cul-de-sacs of the suburbs, architects developed picturesque forms appropriate to urban flight, and modeled after the country estate whose squire didn't have to work for a living. The city, meanwhile, was recast in the monolithic image of the central business district, while the architecture of urban leisure—theaters, parks, nightclubs, middle class housing—entered a period of decline. In recent years there's been another shift, brought about in part by the desire to escape suburban conventions. Today, the reach for leisure is apt to

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