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Zinguer, Tamar
Architecture in play : intimations of modernism in architectural toys / Tamar Zinguer.
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2015.
Physical Description:
x, 252 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Reference Library
GV1218.5 .Z56 2015 (LC)
Accessible in the Reference Library [Hours]
Note: Please contact the Reference Library to schedule an appointment [Email ycba.reference@yale.edu]

Based on the author's thesis (Princeton University, 2006).
Includes bibliographical references (pages 213-240) and index.
"Created for children but designed by adults with considerable ingenuity, architectural toys have long offered a window on a much larger world. In Architecture in Play, Tamar Zinguer explores the nearly two-hundred-year period over which such playthings have reflected changing attitudes toward form, structure, and permanence, echoing modernist experiments and stylistic inclinations in fascinating ways while also incorporating technological advances in their systems of construction. Zinguer's history of these toys reveals broader social and economic trends from their respective periods. Used in the intimacy of the domestic environment, a setting that encouraged the eradication of formal habits and a reconceiving of visual orders, architectural toys ultimately intimated notions of the modern. Amply illustrated and engagingly written, this book sheds valuable light on this fascinating relation between household toys and the deeper trends and ideas from which they sprang ... Focusing on four primary building materials (wood, stone, metal, and paper), Tamar Zinguer discusses a series of important architectural toys: Friedrich Froebel's Gifts (1836), cubes, spheres, and cylinders that are gradually broken down to smaller geometrical parts; Anchor Stone Building Blocks (1877), comprising hundreds of miniature stone shapes that yield castles, forts, and churches; Meccano (1901) and Erector Set (1911), including small metal girders to construct bridges and skyscrapers mimetic of contemporary steel structures; and The Toy (1950) and House of Cards (1952), designed by Charles and Ray Eames, which are lightweight cardboard 'kits of parts' based on methods of prefabrication"--Book jacket.
Subject Terms:
Architectural toys.
Architectural toys.
Architecture and recreation.
Architecture and recreation.
Architecture and society.
Architecture and society.
Play (Philosophy)
Play (Philosophy)

  • Kindergarten Gifts, circa 1836
  • Anchor Stone Building Blocks, 1877
  • Meccano, 1901, and Erector Set, 1911
  • The Toy, 1951, and House of Cards, 1952.