Impressions on New Jersey Architecture Week 2021

April 6, 2021

Impressions on New Jersey Architecture Week 2021

by Jerome Leslie Eben, FAIA

New Jersey’s Governor Philip Murphy has proclaimed that New Jersey Architecture Week will be recognized from April 7 through April 13, 2021. In recognition, even during a pandemic, there are opportunities to learn more about architecture from the comforts of home and, in particular, how architects have been represented in art. Architects Dream, an 1840 painting by Thomas Cole, is a good entry point for many. This painting is part of the collection of the Toledo Museum of Art in Ohio.

 

The Architect’s Dream by Thomas Cole, Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, Ohio

Cole (1801-1848) is regarded as the founder of what is known as the Hudson River School of landscape painting. Nationalism, nature, and property became the focus of the style. Cole used scale, light, and shadow to create the dream-like atmosphere that surrounds an architect, who is sleeping a top of a column in the center of the piece. The painting depicts Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Tuscan, and Gothic architecture that evolved over 4,000-year period. The buildings are positioned adjacent to one another along a busy riverbank.

The painting was a commission from American architect Ithiel Town (1784-1844). Much of Town’s work was in New Haven and the surrounding area, in the Federal, Greek revival, and Gothic styles popular during his lifetime. The dreaming architect in Cole’s painting may be Town, himself, but no one knows this for certain. Town did not like the painting upon completion, so it remained with Cole’s family until the museum purchased it in 1949. 


Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment. Founded in 1857, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) consistently works to create more valuable, healthy, secure, and sustainable buildings, neighborhoods, and communities. Through a dynamic network of more than 250 chapters and more than 95,000 member architects and design professionals, the AIA advocates for public policies that promote economic vitality and public wellbeing. Members adhere to a code of ethics and conduct to ensure the highest professional standards. The AIA provides members with tools and resources to assist them in their careers and business as well as engaging civic and government leaders and the public to find solutions to pressing issues facing our communities, institutions, nation, and world. The organization’s local chapter, AIA New Jersey, has served as the voice of the architectural profession in the Garden State since 1900. Based in Trenton, AIA New Jersey has over 2,000 members across six sections. For more information, please visit http://www.aia-nj.org

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Architects are creative professionals, educated, trained, and experienced in the art and science of building design, and licensed to practice architecture. Their designs respond to client needs, wants and vision, protect public safety, provide economic value, are innovative, inspire and contribute positively to the community and the environment.

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