The Architecture of Barry Byrne

Today marks my first full year in California, but it also marks a week since the publication of my book The Architecture of Barry Byrne: Taking the Prairie School to Europe with Photography by Felicity Rich (University of Illinois Press, 2013). This book was 15 years in the making, and indeed the stunning cover photo was taken by Felicity in 1998 in Cork, Ireland.

Christ the King altar, Cork by Felicity Rich

Christ the King altar, Cork by Felicity Rich

copyright 1998 Felicity Rich

In addition to Felicity and her family, there are many people thanked in the acknowledgements and I can remember endless hours at the Chicago History Museum poring through hundreds of Byrne’s files. Many of my own relatives and colleagues took photos of Byrne’s buildings on their travels, because they tend to be far flung. Without a grade school diploma he learned architecture in Frank Lloyd Wright’s Oak Park Studio between 1902 and 1908. Byrne decided to be a diehard modernist and he ended up focusing on Catholic buildings, including churches. These two decision were somewhat mutually exclusive during the half-century he worked, especially the 1910s, 20s and 30s. Here are examples of how far-flung his great works are:

Cork, Ireland, (1931) 2007 photo by Eiliesh Tuffy

ctk int S
Tulsa, Oklahoma, (1928), 2008 photograph copyright Felicity Rich

fr holy redeemer72
Windsor, Ontario, (1957), 2003 photograph copyright Felicity Rich

Albuquerque, New Mexico, (1916), 2002 photo copyright Katherine Shaughnessy

Park Ridge
Park Ridge, Illinois, (1923), 2007 photograph copyright Felicity Rich

SCSP side ent3
St. Paul, Minnesota, (1951), 2007 photograph copyright Felicity Rich

Seattle, Washington, (1912), 2011 photo copyright Felicity Rich

Pierre, South Dakota, (1942), 2002 photograph copyright Katherine Shaughnessy

St. Thomas roofline75
Chicago, Illinois (1924), 2003 photo copyright Felicity Rich

Franke House
Mason City, Iowa, (1916), 2012 photo by me.

St. Pat's Racine copy
Racine, Wisconsin, (1925), 2003 photo copyright Felicity Rich

rich house garden side2
Keokuk,Iowa, (1919), 2011 photograph by me.

atchison sml
Atchison, Kansas, (1961), period photography by Barry Byrne Family

Glencoe, Illinois (1928), photograph copyright Felicity Rich 2002

Kansas City, Missouri, (1950), 2009 photo copyright Felicity Rich

st. pat's school racine75
Racine, Wisconsin, (1928), 2003 photograph copyright Felicity Rich

st. patrick's choir loft75
London, Ontario, (1952), 2003 photograph copyright Felicity Rich

Chicago, Illinois (1919), 2002 photograph copyright Felicity Rich.

This is the first book on Barry Byrne and it has a hell of a lot of footnotes and enough pictures that you can follow the interesting architectural arc of a modernist artist, commentator and thinker.

You can order the book here.


6 Responses to “The Architecture of Barry Byrne”

  1. adgorn Says:

    Thank you so much for bringing this book to my attention. Looks very interesting. Here is Byrne’s simple final resting place in Calvary Cemetery :

  2. heindesign Says:

    Reblogged this on Heindesign's Blog and commented:
    Since we have basically wrapped up the Napoleon St. house project, I may have a little more time for reading. This looks like a fantastic book with which to start!

  3. Plums and Honey Vintage and Antiques Says:

    Congratulations on the publication of your book! I do see we are kindred spirits. Definitely a lot of research for this project ~ and what an awesome outcome. This post is strikingly beautiful, with photos that made me want to click and go there. Opening with the one of Christ King Altar was a stroke of genius ~ grabbed me right off. Best of luck with the book.

  4. historysouthdakota Says:

    I’ve been asked a question about whether a house in Pierre, South Dakota was designed by Byrne while he was designing the Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church. Do you have any advice on how to find out an answer?

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