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Immigrant Architect: Rafael Guastavino and the American Dream

By: Berta de Miguel

Kent Diebolt

Illustrator: Virginia Lorente

Rafael Guastavino Sr. was 39 when he left a successful career as an architect in Barcelona. American cities—densely packed and built largely of wood—were experiencing horrific fires, and Guastavino had the solution: The soaring interior spaces created by his tiled vaults and domes made buildings sturdier, fireproof, and beautiful. What he didn’t have was fluent English. Unable to win design commissions, he transferred control of the company to his American-educated son, whose subsequent half-century of inspired design work resulted in major contributions to the built environment of America.

Four suggested routes to see Guastavino tile in New York City, with map. Biographical notes. Full-color illustrations.

ISBN: 9780884488125

JLG Release: Aug 2020


Sensitive Areas: None
Topics: Rafael Guastavino Moreno (1842–1908) , Rafael Guastavino Expósito (1873–1950) , Spain , Spanish architects , Immigrants and immigration , Architecture , Engineering , Ceramic tile , Tile construction , Vaults (architecture) , History of the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company , New York City

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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal

School Library Journal

Told in first-person narration, the authors chronicle the professional lives of Spanish architects Rafael Guastavino and his son, Rafael Guastavino Expósito Jr. Beginning with the elder Guastavino’s birth in 1842, readers follow the father and son across the Atlantic, grow up with the younger Guastavino, and experience both the struggles and suc Told in first-person narration, the authors chronicle the professional lives of Spanish architects Rafael Guastavino and his son, Rafael Guastavino Expósito Jr. Beginning with the elder Guastavino’s birth in 1842, readers follow the father and son across the Atlantic, grow up with the younger Guastavino, and experience both the struggles and successes of being an immigrant in America in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Lorente’s gorgeous illustrations include frequent time lines, informative diagrams, and emotive scenes. While highly stylized with a tight color palette, the illustrations are true to both the creations of father and son (the younger carries on the elder’s legacy after his death) and will inspire further research. de Miguel and Diebolt skillfully use the narrative of the Guastavinos’ work to highlight the United States’ historical legacy of depending on and benefiting from immigrant knowledge, talent, and labor. A note about our current president having descended from “poor European immigrants” will not go unnoticed by adult readers. Read this as a picture book, to spark discussion, or use it to expand options for biography assignments in elementary schools. There’s great potential in this story. Beautiful, informative, and fascinating, this is a great addition to school and public library biography collections. Recommended.

Book Details

ISBN

9780884488125

First Release

August 2020

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

B

Trim Size

9" x 11"

Page Count

60

Accelerated Reader

N/A

Scholastic Reading Counts

N/A

Lexile

Level 1020L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Hardcover edition

Publisher

Tilbury House

Potentially Sensitive Areas

None

Topics

Rafael Guastavino Moreno (1842–1908), Rafael Guastavino Expósito (1873–1950), Spain, Spanish architects, Immigrants and immigration, Architecture, Engineering, Ceramic tile, Tile construction, Vaults (architecture), History of the Guastavino Fireproof Construction Company, New York City,

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