The Dissonance Between Overwhelming American Landscape and Bland Architecture

The Editors


Daniel Kaven is an American artist working in architecture, painting, film and photography and a cofounder of the multidisciplinary design studio William / Kaven Architecture.


In Kaven’s new book, Architecture of Normal, he explores the dissonance between the overwhelming American landscape and the underwhelming architecture of its strip malls, fast food chains, motels and tract housing. Part travelogue, art book and architectural survey, the book charts the patterns created by reigning modes of transportation and examines how we came to accept the bland, branded boxes lining America’s streets and freeways.


Beginning with a portrait of ambulatory Native American societies and the introduction of horses by the Spanish, Kaven discusses the built environment as it has been shaped by trains, cars, planes and rockets, and looks toward a future architecture defined by autonomous cars and air taxis. This highly visual narrative includes extensive historical photography and Kaven’s own art.


Kaven’s architecture has won a number of honors, including an Architecture MasterPrize; an International Architecture Award from the European Center for Architecture, Art, Design, and Urban Studies; and several distinctions from the American Institute of Architects (AIA).





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Photos courtesy of Daniel Kaven
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