New book offers an assessment of 50 years of design by architect Barton Myers

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New book offers an assessment of 50 years of design by architect Barton Myers
The Museum’s Architecture and Design Collection documents the history of the built environment in Southern California from the 19th through the 21st centuries.

SANTA BARBARA, CA.- Barton Myers: Works of Architecture and Urbanism, edited by Kris Miller-Fisher and Jocelyn Gibbs, with essays by: Natalie Shivers, Howard Shubert, Luis Hoyos, Lauren Bricker, and Charles Oakley is published by The Art, Design & Architecture Museum, UC Santa Barbara and punctum books, July 2019. This monograph is available in digital and printed editions.

Drawing on the vast archival resources of its Architecture and Design Collection, the Art, Design & Architecture Museum and punctum books have published an assessment of 50 years of design by architect Barton Myers, beginning with his work in the Toronto firm A. J. Diamond and Barton Myers (1967-1975) to his own office in Toronto, Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara, Barton Myers Associates (1975-present).

Five essays —on urban planning, civic structures, reuse of historic buildings, single- and multi-family housing, and theaters—investigate Myers’s commitment to urbanism and reveal his flexibility with modes of modernism.

Natalie Shivers introduces Diamond and Myers early planning work in Toronto and traces the “vacant lottery” idea of neighborhood infill to the influential, un-built Grand Avenue proposal for “A Grand Avenue” in Los Angeles, 1980. Howard Shubert examines the architectural and planning strategies, and political complexities, of civic structures in Canada and the United States. Luis Hoyos explores Myers’ additions and adaptations to historic buildings in diverse urban contexts. Lauren Bricker focuses on the use of steel and other industrial materials in Myers’ houses and analyses the neighborhood-based designs of his multi-family housing. Charles Oakley describes the technical innovations, site planning, and historical underpinnings of Myers’ theaters and performance complexes.

Myers’s strongest architectural ideas come out of the planning strategies of his early neighborhood activism in 1970s Toronto, his grounding in history, and his training in the classical traditions of site and space planning. Barton Myers is an avowed urbanist — a self-described radical in his early advocacy of old-fashioned qualities like density, mixed-use of new and re-purposed materials, and contextual planning in the late 1960s and 1970s, when that fundamentally conservative position was considered counter-culture. Myers’s urban manifesto was codified in “Vacant Lottery,” the title of the Design Quarterly issue co-edited by Myers and Canadian architect and educator George Baird in 1978 and which led to a renewal of interest in urban planning and offered a strategy for increasing population densities within cities.

The Art, Design & Architecture Museum at UC Santa Barbara supports teaching, learning, and research through its collections, exhibitions, and publications.

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