Father of Brownstone Revival Has Died

04/03/2012 12:46 PM |


Charles Lockwood, author of 1972’s Bricks and Brownstone, regarded as kindling the brownstone revival sweeping the city at the time, died last week from cancer, the Times reports.

The architecture critic Paul Goldberger… said [the book] gave the row-house revival “a kind of moral impetus, making it clear how much genuine architectural and urban history lay within these buildings, and how much the row houses of New York are, in fact, the underlying threads of the city’s urban fabric.”

When the book came out, many row houses, once signifiers of “middle-class stability and affluence,” had long ago been converted into boarding houses and become symbols of urban decay; people had just recently started buying them up and renovating them. (See L.J. DavisA Meaningful Life from 1971.) Lockwood’s book “placed the houses in historical context and sorted them by style and era, explaining how architectural features can give away a building’s provenance.”

One Brownstoner commenter notes the book’s effect on our own borough:

When our house hunting turned to Brooklyn, the book came alive, as there was so much more variety of styles here, and many of the neighborhoods he speaks of were easily accessible for walks.

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