The Aura of 660 Fifth Avenue: Alva Vanderbilt, Richard Morris Hunt, and the Emergence of American Luxury
This project introduces 660 Fifth Avenue as a total work of art and through a multidisciplinary framework, examines its aura, as it was originally completed and displayed to guests and members of the press at the time of the Vanderbilt Ball on March 26, 1883. Once completed, 660 Fifth Avenue was possessed as an act of performative identity by social celebrity, Alva Vanderbilt. Further, this project identifies Richard Morris Hunt as a cultural intermediary and arbiter of taste whose singular brand of academically studied, historically referential style, created a desire for a new mode of domestic architecture, which came to define American luxury. This project seeks to explore the potential of American Gilded Age domestic architecture to define taste, create desire, and shape a cultural zeitgeist
Moran, Catherine, "The Aura of 660 Fifth Avenue: Alva Vanderbilt, Richard Morris Hunt, and the Emergence of American Luxury" (2019). Doctoral Dissertations. AAI27664953.