Author(s): Pierluigi Serraino
An unknown episode in the annals of modern architecture and psychology - a 1950s University of California, Berkeley, evaluation of creativity with subjects including Eero Saarinen, I.M. Pei, Philip Johnson, and 37 other major architects is published for the first time. The story of midcentury architecture in America is dominated by outsized figures Richard Neutra, George Nelson, Louis Kahn who were universally acknowledged as creative geniuses. Yet virtually unheard of is the intensive 1958 59 study, conducted at the Institute of Personality Assessment and Research at the University of California, Berkeley, that scrutinized these and dozens of other famous architects in an effort to map their minds. Deploying an array of tests reflecting current psychological theories, the investigation sought to answer questions that still apply to creative practice today: What makes a person creative? What are the biographical conditions and personality traits necessary to actualize that potential? The study s findings have been gathered through numerous original sources, including questionnaires, aptitude tests, and interview transcripts, revealing how these great architects evaluated their own creativity and that of their peers. In The Creative Architect, Pierluigi Serraino charts the development, implementation, and findings of this historic study, producing the first look at a fascinating and forgotten moment in architecture, psychology, and American history."
When I first became interested in Creativity, a psychologist friend told me to start by reading about Donald MacKinnon s research into creative architects. It was great advice. Now that story is told in full. John Cleese, writer and comedian "The Creative Architect "is a richly textured account of one of the most consequential studies in the field of creativity, and compulsive reading for those of us intrigued by architecture and psychology. Brian Little, author of "Me, Myself, and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being" We now know that childlike wonder, an absence of fear, and strong intuition are key aspects of creativity. "The Creative Architect" is a thought-provoking and inspiring documentation, richly illustrated with mosaic constructions and drawings made by some of the twentieth-century s most important architects. Steven Holl, architect"
Pierluigi Serraino, AIA, is an architect, author, and educator. His work and writings have been published in professional and scholarly journals such as "Architectural Record," "Architecture California," the "Journal of Architectural Education," and "Architectural Design" (UK). He has authored and contributed to several books, among them "Modernism Rediscovered" (Taschen, 2000), "Eero Saarinen" (Taschen, 2005), and "NorCalMod: Icons of Northern California Modernism" (Chronicle Books, 2006).