cover of book

Mediterranean Crossroads: Marseille and Modern Architecture
by Sheila Crane
University of Minnesota Press, 2010
Paper: 978-0-8166-5362-1 | Cloth: 978-0-8166-5361-4
Library of Congress Classification NA2543.S6C73 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 720.9449120904

In the first decades of the twentieth century, Marseille was a booming Mediterranean port. Positioned at the very edge of France, the city functioned as a critical fulcrum between the metropolitan center and its overseas empire. A notoriously dangerous and cosmopolitan city, Marseille became the focus of the extraordinary energies of some of the most remarkable architects and theorists of urban modernity.

Drawing together a cast of both world-renowned and less familiar architects, photographers, and cultural theorists, including Le Corbusier, Sigfried Giedion, Walter Benjamin, and László Moholy-Nagy, Mediterranean Crossroads examines how mythic ideas about Marseille helped to shape its urban landscape. Tracing successive planning proposals in tandem with shifting representations of the city in photographs, film, guidebooks, and postcards, Sheila Crane reconstructs the history and politics of architecture in Marseille from the 1920s through the years of rebuilding after World War II.

By exploring how architects and planners negotiated highly localized pressures, evolving imperial visions, and transnational aspirations at the borders of Europe and the Mediterranean region, Mediterranean Crossroads brings to life a lost chapter in the history of modern architecture.
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