A new monograph in the RISD Architecture Series edited by John Caserta and Lynnette Widder examines the work of Providence architect Ira Rakatansky. Though less well known in New England than Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer with whom he studied at Harvard in the 1940s, Rakatansky has been one of the few champions of modernism in Rhode Island throughout his career.
The book examines Rakatansky's residential and commercial projects from 1944 to 1964 with archival photography and also revisits some of the homes he designed, showing how they are lived in today. The book's subtitle, As Modern as Tomorrow, came from a 1948 Providence Journal headline announcing the building of Rakatansky's first house and feels apropos today where traditional architecture is still dominant in New England. The monograph includes essays by historian Joan Ockman and Lynnette Widder, a professor of architecture at RISD, and was designed by John Caserta whose desire to bring overdue recognition to Rakatansky, his many Providence-area projects and modernist architecture in Rhode Island brought the book to life.
Images: ©The Design Office/John Caserta