All posts tagged: Book review

Office US Atlas

OfficeUS, the U.S. Pavilion at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale, was conceived as a working architecture office that explored the ways in which U.S. architectural practice has influenced the discipline around the world over the past 100 years. OfficeUS Atlas is a new book that compiles and interprets the research assembled in the exhibition’s OfficeUS Repository, an archive of nearly 1,000 projects produced by U.S. offices abroad between 1914-2014. The publication is the second in the four-volume OfficeUS book series, following Office US Agenda,  published last year. A massive, 1,232-page compendium, Atlas is structured around a highly organized mix of firm profiles, project data, press records, and infographics that detail the transformations of the U.S. architectural office and its international impact over the past century. At the U.S. Pavilion, the Repository was presented as a system of 1,000 binders that lined the walls of the installation. Rather than preserve this material as an unchanging collection of data, the editors wanted Atlas to bring it to life and expand on the goals of the exhibition—to present an untold …

Modernism Rediscovered: Julius Shulman

TASCHEN’s Modernism Rediscovered brought to light for the first time some 300 forgotten architectural masterpieces, drawn from photographer Julius Shulman’s personal archives. Paying tribute to houses and buildings that had slipped from public view, Shulman’s stunning photographs uncovered a rarely seen side of California Modernism. This extensive volume brings hundreds more architectural gems into the spotlight. The photographs, most of which are published here for the first time in a book, depict buildings by Albert Frey, Louis Kahn, John Lautner, Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, and more, as well as the work of many lesser known architects. Not just restricted to the West Coast this time, the images were taken all across the United States as well as in Mexico, Israel, and Hong Kong. Widely considered the greatest architectural photographer of our time, Julius Shulman has once again opened his archives so that we may rediscover the world’s hidden Modernist treasures. The buildings burned in our memories, which to us represent the spirit of the fifties and sixties architectural design, were …

Carlo Scarpa

In Robert McCarter’s Carlo Scarpa monograph, Austrian architect Peter Noever tells an astonishing tale. In 1974, he and Scarpa toured the Adolf Loos made American Bar in Vienna. The moment they entered Scarpa started evaluating the space. He ordered champagne for the ladies…… who were present and a measuring tape for himself. Scarpa then continued to measure everything down to the exact millimeter. When completed he announced the space to be of “singular spiritual and emotional quality.” This is precisely how I envision McCarter analyze the work of the Venetian architect Carlo Scarpa—measuring tape in hand.  In this substantial volume, McCarter leads us by the hand through Scarpa’s achievements. He gives us a survey that is both vast, and in the spirit of Scarpa, meticulously detailed. Carlo Scarpa is a mystery. He has never achieved the iconic status in this country reserved for Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, or Louis Kahn, yet Scarpa was revered by all of them. McCarter’s comprehensive tome has the capacity to change this. With over 350 drawings, photos and plans …

Beyond Bawa

All too often, the architecture books you see on other people’s coffee tables allow you to wallow self-indulgently in the pure sensuousness of the pictures, and the thinly worded script might as well not exist. Don’t get me wrong. I like to immerse just as much as the next man, but this is something Robson does not allow you to do. This is not to say the pictures in the book are bad. On the contrary they are extremely beautiful – and beautifully laid out – but they are very much a supporting act to Robson’s detailed analysis of where modern Sri Lankan architecture came from, and where it seems to be going. As you would expect, Geoffrey Bawa is presented in a big way. But Robson does something far more complicated here than just list Bawa’s achievements: he traces the bloodlines of Bawa’s architectural descendants all over Monsoon Asia, defined by him as stretching from India’s Malabar coast in the west to Irian Jaya in the east, right across the Indian Ocean. Descendants there …

THE BUILDINGS THAT REVOLUTIONIZED ARCHITECTURE by Isabel Kuhl & Florian Heine

THE BUILDINGS THAT REVOLUTIONIZED ARCHITECTURE by Isabel Kuhl & Florian Heine is a great source book which showcases 100 buildings around the world. It ranges from Taj Mahal of India to Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, from Brunelleschi’s Ospedale Degli Innocenti in Florence, to Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion. Fitting to this chronological order, 100th building is David Child’s One World Trade Centre. With full bleed great pictures and sharp story that surround each architectural marvel this book will go a great length space to arrive at any reader curious about architecture. This record is not just intended for architecture students or professionals, but general readers also will be equally attracted to the marvels of this book. Glamourous photographs of each building are featured in full bleed spreads, which also contain brief texts offering fascinating histories and contextual information, as well as biographies of the architects. The book also includes a glossary at the back of the book that elucidates vital terms, a must for any non-architect readers. A priceless overview to the world of …

Compositions in Architecture by Dan Hanlon

Compositions in Architecture provides students and educators a unique opportunity to grasp architectural problems and create exclusive solutions. The book is intertwined with architectural design process as well as necessary theory but not overburdening creative nascent minds. Author Dan Hanlon explains architectural compositions through lucid diagrams and elucidate concepts which are rooted in different cultures and traditional beliefs. The interesting point here to be noted is that the author doesn’t simply illustrate the problem with only one kind of example but he brings back compositions from different cultures to solve a problem and thereby making it a very unique method to see what options different civilizations and some brilliant minds of their time has tried upon. The book focuses on vernacular traditions as well as doesn’t compromise to elucidate the designs of most contemporary architects of our age which makes it very special. It will surely go a great length in kindling interest in architecture to this young generation. More details can be found here: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-047005364X.html Photo Courtesy: Wiley

A Global History of Architecture by Francis D. K. Ching, Mark M. Jarzombek, Vikramaditya Prakash

The first textbook on the history of architecture to expand beyond architecture of the western world, A Global History of Architecture transcends older models of architectural history that had been organized around national or regional units. Instead of focusing on Egypt, Greece, Rome in that order, the book asks, for example, what was happening globally around the year 1000 AD and engages in a discussion of the connections, exchanges, contrasts, and influences in the architecture and cultures of that time across the globe. Its organizing principle is a continuous timeline that runs from the pre-history to the present.  Written by a glamorous team of architectural educators, this richly illustrated reference features the unique drawings of Francis D.K. Ching as well as detailed photographs.  This book is sure to change how architectural history is studied and appreciated. More details are to be found here: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-1118216962.html Photo Courtesy: Wiley

A TRADITION OF SERENITY: The Tropical Houses of Ong-Ard Satrabhandhu

The Ong-Ard Satrabandhu’s book on tropical housing in Thailand takes one into traditional Thai architecture of Lanna style. Lanna is a concept of being down to earth, coming directly from mother nature, which originated in Thailand some centuries back. Originally called “Lan Na Thai,” the name means “a million rice fields.” The Lanna way of life and its architecture are inseparable for centuries. The spatial proportions, balance and rhythm of same Lanna style are to be found in the work of Ong-Ard Satrabandhu. In this sense he is a disciple of Geoffrey Bawa and his open space concept. Usage of raw materials, intertwined with landscape and verdant greenery almost blends with surroundings peacefully. Maybe his generous usage of up lighters in the trees should be given a thought considering the habitat of birds at night. The drawings showcased in a book takes one back to medieval period of Rajputana miniature paintings in India where plans,elevations and sections are shown in the same drawing with great care.  These drawings are not only meant for architects, the subtle way of …

Siteless: 1001 Building Forms

To claim this book just adds to the general tendency of contemporary architecture seeking the immediately shocking, superficial and easily publishable is perhaps a sign of precisely this tendency: people losing the ability to dwell on things long enough for their imagination to come out. Once applied on actual architecture these concepts would need to be closely linked to program, scale and site to be interesting. However in the initial program-, scale- and siteless condition they are presented in this book, they evoke intense imagination in me. The sketches being hand drawn also adds to this. You can be impatient and flip through it in five minutes, or you can focus your attention and find the potential and depth these forms have. More details about this book can be found here: https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/siteless