December 19, 2017
'Harrie T. Lindeberg and the American Country House' by Peter Pennoyer and Anne Walker
Harrie Lindeberg was a highly artistic architect who was sought-after for country house designs in the first decades of the 20th century.
by New York Spaces
NYS: Tell us a little about your new book with Anne Walker, Harrie T. Lindeberg and the American Country House.
Peter Pennoyer: Harrie Lindeberg was a highly artistic architect who was sought-after for country house designs in the first decades of the 20th century. His houses, traditional in style, were comfortable and often luxurious yet his designs consistently tended to simplicity and understatement. He made large houses feel smaller and approachable.
NYS: What made you want to explore the work and career of Lindeberg?
Peter Pennoyer: I've always admired Lindeberg's work and was surprised at how few architects were familiar with his career. He doesn't have the kind of contemporary name recognition that his work deserves. My co-author, Anne Walker, and I thought he was a worthy subject for our series of monographs on twentieth-century architecture, and felt that his work would be an inspiration to designers.
NYS: Why do you think his work was so overlooked while his influence remains so vast?
Peter Pennoyer: Like other traditional architects of the period, Lindeberg found that the profession became more interested in emerging modernism. For decades, the work of architects in Lindeberg's circle was ignored—overshadowed by novel architecture.
NYS: Can you describe his style to us? How do you think he most influenced the American country house?
Peter Pennoyer: Lindeberg's style was based on traditional concepts of proportion, harmony and beauty. While he drew influences from a wide range of sources from Edwin Lutyens to McKim Mead and White, he made a style all his own based on his guiding principle that simplicity is a virtue.
NYS: How do you think the architect continues to influence the homes and spaces we live in today?
Peter Pennoyer: Even though he isn't widely known, his deft approach to bringing the English cottage style to America has left a legacy that inspires house designs to this day.
Lindeberg inspired architects to distill history into architecture. The simplicity of the massing of his houses and the tricks he used to make some of the larger houses appear smaller inspired his contemporaries. His thatch-like roofs became so popular that the style was known as the "Lindeberg roof.'
NYS: What was your favorite part about writing this book? Are there any details about him that you came across through your research that are not as well known?
Peter Pennoyer: I am very lucky to work with my co-author, architectural historian Anne Walker. Since I spend
most of my time on my architecture practice, I rely on Anne's brilliant research, which I read and study to prepare for writing the book. She has a knack for uncovering the quirky details that really make a story. For example, we discovered that Lindeberg enjoyed the high life: clubs, parties & etc. and that he mixed a mean Southside. It's those bits of personal history, the context, that make a book more than just beautiful photos and plans.
NYS: Where can we find the book?
Peter Pennoyer: You can find the book at your local bookseller or online wherever books are sold. We recently signed a stash of books at The Corner Bookstore in Manhattan so they may even have a few signed copies left on their shelves.
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