Edited by Rosemarie Haag Bletter and Joan Ockman, with Nancy Eklund Later. Yale University Press, February 2015, 348 pages, $80. Thirty years after the legendary show Modern Architecture: An International Exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), its curators, Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson, launched a series of symposia assessing the development of this new architecture. Whereas the MoMA show was accompanied by a book, the symposia had to wait almost 50 years for the proceedings to be published. It is like opening a time capsule—and a compelling one. The three Modern Architecture Symposia (MAS) took place at Columbia
By David Ross Scheer. Routledge, August 2014, 258 pages, $40. In The Death of Drawing, David Ross Scheer, an architect and teacher specializing in digital technologies, lays out the contemporary practices of design that have pushed aside architectural drawing as the dominant means of architectural expression. The author crafts his sentences precisely, illustrating ideas that explain concepts clearly. If one wants to know what is going on in the profession and schools of architecture, this book is a must read. As a professor of architecture who teaches drawing, I was fascinated by this contemporary analysis of the act of creating.
By Deyan Sudjic. Rizzoli ex libris, February 2015, 488 pages, $25. This book begins, somewhat unpromisingly, with the author's disavowing the format he has chosen. About eight years ago, around the time he became the director of London's Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic agreed to write two books—The Language of Things (published in 2008), and this one, initially conceived as a “massive 250,000-word conventional dictionary of design.” The task seemed daunting, and Sudjic had not made much progress when his publisher relieved him of the problem—in the age of Wikipedia, people had stopped buying dictionaries. He could keep his advance, but
These two new books provide strong and timely messages for people concerned with the present and future of cities. Both of them look at the dense, often chaotic conditions of big cities and find solutions where others have seen mostly problems. Click the image above for details about each book mentioned in this review. Focused on Latin America, McGuirk's book is carefully constructed, striking a balance between reportage and interpretation. A writer and curator who has worked as the design columnist for The Guardian, McGuirk describes what activist architects and politicians are doing to improve informal settlements in cities such
The City As Interface: How New Media Are Changing the City, by Martijn de Waal. nai010 Publishers, August 2014, 224 pages, $33. Smart About Cities: Visualizing the Challenges for 21st Century Urbanism, edited by Maarten Hajer and Ton Dassen. nai010 Publishers/pbl Publishers, June 2014, 250 pages, $33. Predicting the future of the city is a lot like predicting the future of human society. Urban areas embody the physical infrastructure of our cultures and economies, and will house 70 percent of the world's population by 2050. They are too complex for detailed extrapolations, yet we can make insightful observations about their
Ezra Stoller, Photographer, by Nina Rappaport and Erica Stoller. Introduction by Andy Grundberg; contributions by Akiko Busch and John Morris Dixon. Yale University Press, 2012, 288 pages, $65. Balthazar Korab, Architect of Photography, by John Comazzi. Princeton Architectural Press, 2012, 192 pages, $40. Click the image above to see more photographs from the book. Click the image above to see more photographs from the book. Photography not only helped to define Modern architecture, it also created its celebrities. It is difficult to imagine mid-20th-century American design without recollecting Ezra Stoller's iconic image of SOM's Lever House or Balthazar Korab's shots
by Tracy Metz and Maartje van den Heuvel. Rotterdam: NAi Publishers (distributed in the U.S. by D.A.P.), 2012, 296 pages, $45. As cleanup from Hurricane Sandy segues to rebuilding, Sweet & Salt could have been ripped from newspaper headlines. The not-sounderlying theme is of the Dutch as canaries in the global-warming coal mine. Much of Holland’s most productive land is below sea level, so the Dutch are acutely aware of subtle changes in the rivers, seas, and weather that get lost in all the background noise masking the climate-change debate in America. After all, Holland has built its culture, social
by Naomi Pollock. Foreword by Reiko Sudo. London and New York: Merrell Publishers, 2012, 240 pages, $49.95. The latest book from architect and journalist Naomi Pollock highlights 100 objects—from kitchen gadgets to furnishings—that illustrate why products that are “made in Japan” continue to be revered in the international design community. Renowned designers featured in the book include Naoto Fukasawa, Toyo Ito, and Nendo, a multidisciplinary firm founded by Oki Sato that has become a headliner at design shows like Milan’s annual Salone del Mobile. Made in Japan: 100 New Products, by Naomi Pollock. Foreword by Reiko Sudo. London and New
Architecture School: Three Centuries of Educating Architects in North America, edited by Joan Ockman with Rebecca Williamson. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012, 400 pages, $50. Academic Discourse Photo courtesy Associat ion of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Architecture students hard at work at drafting tables at MIT in 1898. Photo courtesy Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture Architecture students hard at work at drafting tables at Kent State in 1967. What is the status of the “big book” today? The editors of Architecture School, along with the board of advisers of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture—which initiated the book
The Eyes of the Skin is the "gentle manifesto" that grew out of the Finnish architect, teacher, philosopher, and designer Juhani Pallasmaa's concern about the "dominance of vision and the suppression of other senses in the way architecture was taught, conceived and critiqued."