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The Cutting Edge Defined and Epitomized by Robin Williams

May 13, 2010

In a rousing conclusion to the 2009-2010 Architectural History lecture series, Robin Williams, Chair of the Department of Architectural History, spoke on “A History of Savannah at the Cutting Edge.” From its early 18th-century founding ideals to its 21st-century new-suburbanist and Green-tinged LEED-accredited shopping center and McDonalds, Williams whisked us from one star-studded architectural and historical gem to another.  No one of the many architects, civic leaders, faculty or students in the packed Arnold auditorium was as proud to be a Savannahian as during this talk.  It was a cutting edge talk on a cutting edge topic.

Professor Williams, who founded the Department of Architectural History in part to provide focus for study of Savannah as an urban laboratory, readily admitted that he had more questions than answers.  Did Savannah’s plan contain more public space than other cities?  And how does one define public space?  Was Savannah’s monument to Tomochichi the first of its sort?  And what about Native American monumental building itself?  Was Savannah the first to protect trees?  Was Forsyth Park the first of its kind in the nation?  Was the Forsyth fountain the first large sculptural fountain?

These were just some of the many provocative points addressed.

In all, it was a delightful and inciteful intellectual frolic.

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