Purcell and Elmslie, Architects
Firm active: 1907-1921
Minneapolis, Minnesota :: Chicago, Illinois
Temporarily, this page will accumulate the notes and fragmentia intended to form the ultimate product of my writing on P&E and organic understanding. I promise to keep it tidy, but this is a kind of living organism. There will be the occasional hairball.
There were two streams of concern. First, the issue of integrity toward one's own time and place; the declaration against the copying of historical styles and the honest expression of the character and values of the people who built. The second, deeper level of articulation centered around understanding the universal forces at play that generated the results.
Organic understanding is an act of consciousness. Many people of the Progressive era, including architects, artists, craftspeople, and writers, were deeply and profoundly engaged in the attempt to present a rational and cogent system of explanation to explicate in words the argument that was presented innately in their designs.
Among other things, read the pseudononymously published essay submitted by Bragdon in a contest sponsored by Scientific American in 1910 to explain the rational basis for cognizing "The Fourth Dimension Simply Explained." From this seed beginning would arise the "cosmic consciousness" that Bragdon posited in Tertium Organum.