Barry Byrne (1883-1967) was a radical architect who sought basic principles as fervently as his mentor Frank Lloyd Wright and his inspiration Louis Sullivan, forging an individual style with taut planar skins enveloping modern space plans. In 1922 he designed the first modern Catholic church building, St. Thomas the Apostle in Chicago, and in 1924 he traveled to Europe where he met Mies, Mendelsohn, Oud, and other modernist architects there. He was the only Prairie School architect to build in Europe, designing the concrete Church of Christ the King, built in 1928-31 in Cork, Ireland. A dedicated modernist and progressive Catholic, Byrne concentrated for much of his career on Catholic churches and schools throughout North America, many of them now considered landmarks. This book charts the entire length of Byrne’s work, highlighting its distinctive features while discussing the cultural conditions that kept Byrne in the shadows of his more famous contemporaries. Illustrated by more than one hundred photographs and drawings, this biography explores the interplay of influences and impulses-individualism and communalism, modernism and tradition, pragmatism and faith-enduring throughout Byrne’s life and work.
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