100 Years, 100 Artworks

100 Years, 100 Artworks: A History of Modern and Contemporary Art
Ágnes Berecz
Prestel, April 2019

Hardcover | 8-1/2 x 10-3/4 inches | 216 pages | 100 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-3791384849 | $34.95

Publisher Description:

Starting with Marcel Duchamp’s 1919 whimsical, brilliant L.H.O.O.Q., this compendium offers a year-by-year tour of iconic paintings, photographs, sculptures, installations, and performance pieces from all over the world. The works are carefully selected to showcase a diverse range of artists. Read from cover to cover, this volume offers an evocative summary of stylistic trends, historic events, and technological innovations that changed art over the past 100 years. Opening the book to any random page will illuminate a singular perspective and aesthetic delight. Each work is impeccably reproduced and presented in double-page spreads alongside informative and engaging texts. From Georgia O’Keeffe and Man Ray to Kara Walker and Ai Weiwei, this unique survey will both satisfy and surprise art lovers everywhere.

dDAB Commentary:

I can’t think of anything more flattering than having a format I developed be appealing enough to have a life beyond my own contributions. Such is the case with 100 Years, 100 Artworks, which follows from my 100 Years, 100 Buildings and 100 Years, 100 Landscape Designs. (Prestel, which published my two books, asked for my permission, something I was glad to give.) While I’ll admit I didn’t invent or beat others to the punch in the one-project-per-year format (C20 has published a few of them, though I didn’t discover them until after pitching my first 100 Years book to Prestel in 2015), I’ll also admit the approach isn’t easy, especially when it comes to curating the selection. Although the format allows for a chronological unfolding of a century — its best trait — it also forces the omission of many projects and requires extensive research, at least with buildings and landscape designs, to nail down sometimes elusive dates. With this in mind, I’m excited to see another author tackle another theme using the 100 Years structure.

Flipping through 100 Years, 100 Artworks by art historian Ágnes Berecz, my first thought is that the format is more suited to art than buildings and landscapes. Most art takes a lot less time to produce than architecture; and given that paintings, sculptures, and other artworks are typically displayed in exhibitions, dates are easier to establish. Although the media of art can vary from two-dimensional canvases to three-dimensional sculptures and fleeting performances, seeing 100 years of art unfold year by year really provides a strong indication of how art has changed in that time and how artists have responded to the world around them. Curiously, 100 Years, 100 Artworks is bookended by a couple readymades: Duchamp’s mustached Mona Lisa and Karin Schneider’s piece that consists of an iPad displaying “SHE” in front of a black canvas, both tucked into a custom sleeve. The former is famous but the latter is unknown to me. This reflects the book as a whole: familiar works by famous artists are loaded at the front, while the years closer to the present are more obscure. In turn, I enjoyed discovering artworks this century, when I’ve spent less time looking at art and more time writing about buildings. Nevertheless, every now and then I came across an artwork I’ve seen in person, such as Christian Marclay’s The Clock. Berecz calls it “a broken monument to the history of cinema” and “a riddle that enchants and frustrates its viewers” — revealing takes on just one of a hundred artworks worth knowing about.

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Author Bio:

Ágnes Berecz is an art historian who has taught courses at Christie’s New York, the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. She completed her Ph.D. at Panthéone–Sorbonne University in Paris.

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Life Takes Place

Life Takes Place: Phenomenology, Lifeworlds, and Place Making
David Seamon
Routledge, May 2018

Paperback | 6 x 9 inches | 230 pages | English | ISBN: 9780815380719 | $47.95

Publisher Description:

Life Takes Place argues that, even in our mobile, hypermodern world, human life is impossible without place. Seamon asks the question: why does life take place? He draws on examples of specific places and place experiences to understand place more broadly. Advocating for a holistic way of understanding that he calls “synergistic relationality,” Seamon defines places as spatial fields that gather, activate, sustain, identify, and interconnect things, human beings, experiences, meanings, and events.

Throughout his phenomenological explication, Seamon recognizes that places are multivalent in their constitution and sophisticated in their dynamics. Drawing on British philosopher J. G. Bennett’s method of progressive approximation, he considers place and place experience in terms of their holistic, dialectical, and processual dimensions. Recognizing that places always change over time, Seamon examines their processual dimension by identifying six generative processes that he labels interaction, identity, release, realization, intensification, and creation.

Drawing on practical examples from architecture, planning, and urban design, he argues that an understanding of these six place processes might contribute to a more rigorous place making that produces robust places and propels vibrant environmental experiences. This book is a significant contribution to the growing research literature in “place and place making studies.”

dDAB Commentary:

The phrase “life takes place” hints at the fact that all of our lives happen…somewhere. Even when we browse in the supposedly placeless world of the internet and partake in other acts across virtual networks, we are doing those things in a place: in an office, in bed, in a cafe, even on the toilet. That “life takes place” is just obvious. But like many things that are obvious it ends up not being explored as much as it should. When it is, at least in the realm of architecture and the built environment, place is something to be created, designed for people in a way that enables for different actions to take place. People sleep at home, work at the office, relax in the park, dance in the nightclub, and so forth. Of course, reality is a lot more complex and a lot less regimented. But how do we portray the interactions of people and places? This is an important question, especially if we want to move beyond any direct causal connections between the designed environment and people’s actions and well-being. David Seamon, a professor at Kansas State University (where I attended architecture school a couple decades ago), tackles this provocative topic in his latest book of architectural phenomenology.

First off, I’ll admit this is not an easy book to get into and then tackle. Its language and point of view are specialized, making it more suited to academics interested in philosophy and phenomenology rather than architects concerned with place making. Regardless, Seamon walks the reader step-by-step through his almost mathematical definitions of understanding place, making complex concepts understandable. He starts with “analytic relationality” vs. “synergistic relationality,” in which the first “is understood conceptually as a collection of parts which are arbitrarily identified as a series of linkages then measured and correlated to demonstrate stronger and weaker connections and relationships” and the second “assumes a phenomenological perspective and works to interpret place conceptually as an integrated, generative field that shapes and is shaped by parts integrally interconnected in a physical and experiential whole.” (See what I mean by specialized?) He then moves on to monads, dyads, and triads of place: The monad simply defines a place as a thing, such as a school, while a dyad sets up a place as consisting of opposites (e.g. within and without), and triads see affirming (active) and receptive (passive) impulses interacting with a third, reconciling impulse.

Basing much of his thesis on the philosophical texts of J.G. Bennett, Seamon defines each of the triads’ impulses as 1 (affirming), 2 (receptive) and 3 (receptive) and breaks down their interactions in six ways: 1-3-2, 2-3-1, 3-2-1, 3-1-2, 2-1-3, and 1-2-3. Furthermore, he links these numbered impulses more directly to place, making them sequentially People-in-Place (PP), Environmental Ensemble (EE), and Common Presence (CP), in turn yielding: PP-CP-EE, EE-CP-PP, CP-EE-PP, CP-PP-EE, EE-PP-CP, and PP-EE-CP. Trust me, this makes a bit more sense reading the book than seeing it here, but Seamon does simplify these six triads even more as, respectively, Place Interaction, Place Identity, Place Release, Place Realization, Place Intensification, and Place Creation. More difficult than following the logic in these interactions is seeing them in the world around us; so Seamon uses stories from newspapers and short examples to create narrative linkages between the triads and our understanding of them. It takes some effort, but I think Seamon’s book is an important addition to the libraries of people who are versed in space syntax and who, more importantly, care deeply about how places are shaped and lived in.

Spreads:
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Author Bio:

David Seamon is a Professor of Architecture at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, USA. Trained in geography and environment-behavior research, he is interested in a phenomenological approach to place, architecture, and environmental design as place making.

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General Theory of Urbanization 1867

General Theory of Urbanization 1867
Ildefons Cerdà
Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) & Actar, March 2018

Hardcover | 7-3/4 x 10-1/2 inches | 720 pages | English | ISBN: 978-1945150906 | $49.95

Publisher Description:

First translation into English on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the publication of the General Theory of Urbanization by Ildefons Cerdà, an essential work on urban development.

In 1867 Ildefons Cerdà published his “Teoria general de la urbanització.” In this text, the “science of building cities”, understood as a phenomenon, became a new discipline with a broad economic, social and cultural impact on the life of the people of the city. Coinciding with 150 years since its publication, its first translation into English is being presented along with the publishing online urbanization.org with the statistics transformed into interactive graphics and open data, with the aim of expanding the knowledge of Cerdà’s work and encouraging debate on the process of “urbanization” in the future.

dDAB Commentary:

Don’t let the spreads below fool you. This book has very few illustrations (less than 10), and they are ancillary to the main 700-page text, the first English translation of Ildefons Cerdà’s General Theory of Urbanization, which recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. This isn’t to say the project of translating and celebrating Cerdà’s influential publication on the “science of making cities” did not yield visual materials: these are collected at urbanization.org, which is “publishing [the Theory‘s] statistical and analyses in graphs and interactive maps as an open data platform.” Produced by IAAC, the online platform also includes the translation of the second volume of Cerdà’s Theory, with the first volume printed and bound in book form by Actar and IAAC. Yet without illustrations, and being full of anachronistic writing*, this book by the planner of Barcelona’s Eixample is a historical artifact for planning scholars and others strongly interested in 19th century urbanism, not for the general reader.

*One example, from §-VII The Laws of Urban Function / 2A On urban function, from the standpoint of roads / B On urban functions and roads in the longitudinal sense / C On the function in the longitudinal sense of the road on the part of pedestrians: “The extraordinary volume of petticoats that fashion has imposed on ladies in our times greatly increases the difficulties of walking on our sidewalks – all the more so because certain considerations involving the weaker sex impose certain sacrifices on the stronger that not everyone performs with spontaneous generosity.”

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Author Bio:

Ildefons Cerdà was the progressive Catalan Spanish urban planner who designed the 19th-century “extension” of Barcelona called the Eixample.

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Labics – Structures

Labics – Structures
Maria Claudia Clemente, Francesco Isidori
Park Books, March 2019

Hardcover | 9 x 12 inches | 420 pages | 660 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-3038601289 | $69.00

Publisher Description:

Labics is a rising Rome-based architectural firm that has gained great international acclaim in recent years for both its projects and its submissions to major competitions. Its guiding principle is the idea of “structure.” Each of the firm’s projects—which range from housing and office buildings to museums, cultural centers, schools, subway stations, and public spaces—is intended to exemplify the importance of the respective type of structure.

Labics—Structures is the first book on Labics’s remarkable and rapidly growing body of work. It is arranged in four chapters that explore the idea of structure in different contexts: Geometric, Bearing, Circulation, and Public Space Structures. Alongside topical essays, it features twenty projects selected by the firm’s founding directors, Maria Claudia Clemente and Francesco Isidori, to represent the diversity of the firm’s work, as well as its wide geographic reach—with buildings in Italy, Finland, Switzerland, England, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Each project is documented with atmospheric photographs and a wealth of plans and diagrams to illustrate concepts and details.

dDAB Commentary:

The most high-profile commission for Labics, the Italian architecture and planning firm founded in 2002, is Citta’ del Sole. The mixed-use project in Rome squeezes office, retail, and residential uses on to an irregular site it shares with older buildings. A dramatic cantilever expresses how some of the functions are lifted high into the air, a decision that preserves existing buildings but also creates a zone between the base buildings and the raised buildings: an interstitial public space the complex “gives back” to the public equivalent to the area it “takes away” at grade. The project, completed in 2016 following a 2007 competition, makes it clear that Labics — the practice of Maria Claudia Clemente and Francesco Isidori — concerns itself with the city and its occupants as well as individual buildings and their own occupants. Clemente actually spells out in “Public Space,” one of four essays inserted between 22 Labics projects, how the duo sees architecture and the city as “no longer separate and often opposing entities, each defending their own position, but both parts of a wider, common system.” Fittingly, Citta’ del Sole follows immediately after this essay, occupying a prominent place in the middle of the book, and is given 30 pages, more than most projects in the book. (It also graces the book’s cover.)

Labics – Structures carefully presents Citta’ del Sole and the other 21 projects through drawings and photographs; the former are consistently drawn (though unfortunately not keyed) and the latter alternate between photos of completed buildings and photos of models, both for buildings and projects. All of the photos are done with the washed-out look that is so popular these days. Although I’m not a huge fan of this style of photography that don’t embrace shadows, it’s great to see so many model shots, especially given how well-crafted their models are. It’s apparent they take pride in them too: the table of contents and first images for each project feature photos of models in Labics’ studio space. If this monograph were only the 22 projects as documented, I would like it but not love it. But with the addition of the four essays (“Geometry,” “Tectonic,” and “Circulation” accompanying “Public Space”) the book is that much better. The essays amplify the considerations that drive Labics and show how their designs reach back into history (esp. in Italy, from Ancient Rome and the Renaissance to Aldo Rossi and Giancarlo de Carlo last century) to acknowledge the past while always looking forward.

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Author Bio:

Maria Claudia Clemente and Francesco Isidori are founding directors of Labics and served as visiting critics at Cornell University’s Department of Architecture in Rome and Ithaca, NY.

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The Augusta National Golf Club

The Augusta National Golf Club: Alister MacKenzie’s Masterpiece
Stan Byrdy
Sports Media Group, March 2005

Hardcover | 10-1/2 x 10-1/2 inches | 224 pages | b/w & duotone illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1587262586 | $35.00

Publisher Description:

This book reveals the true genius of the Augusta National Golf Club like no other-documenting its original design, chronicling the architectural and design changes over time, and analyzing the philosophies of its creators, Alister MacKenzie and Bobby Jones. The Augusta National Golf Club will help you understand why the course has a reputation of legendary proportion and how MacKenzie single-handedly changed forever the way courses are built.

dDAB Commentary:

Golf courses, like any designed landscapes, change over time: contours erode, trees grow and they die. And just like parks and gardens, human uses and desires reshape landscapes. For golf courses, such changes often relate to technological developments in clubs and balls, which have increased the length of accuracy of shots, particularly with professionals in the last few decades. Those developments are dramatic for a course as old as Augusta National, created by golfer Bobby Jones and golf course architect Alister MacKenzie in the early 1930s. The Masters, the annual tournament held annually at Augusta since 1934, has been tweaked numerous times since to keep the course challenging, while at the same time retaining the original design’s intentions and character. Put another way, if Jones and Mackenzie were to magically rise from the dead and wander over to Augusta, would they still recognize their creation? (I’d say yes.)

I’m featuring this book and pondering such thoughts since the Masters is being played this weekend. While most of the attention today is squarely on a potential fifth green jacket for Tiger Woods, who starts Sunday in a tie for second place, much of the pre-tournament coverage had focused on changes to one hole: the fifth. The long par-4 features new bunker locations, new trees, and an extra 40 yards, pushing it to 490 yards. The changes are dramatic but indicative of what the course has been subject to at numerous times since the 1930s. Stan Byrdy’s The Augusta National Golf Club presents a history of the famous design by Jones and MacKenzie, but it is most valuable for its hole-by-hole account of design changes that many Masters watchers might not have been aware of. Illustrations by William Lanier III give side-by-side comparisons of the original and ca. 2003 layouts of each hole. What about changes within the last 15 years? There’s David Sowell’s third edition of The Masters: A Hole-by-Hole History of America’s Golf Classic, published just last month, though it is more interested in how pros have played the course over time rather than how keepers of the course have modified it in response to them.

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Author Bio:

Stan Byrdy was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, and is a graduate of Youngstown State University. Beginning with Jack Nicklaus’ historic win in 1986, he served as golf analyst for WJBF-TV in Augusta, Georgia, for “Masters Reports,” an award-winning local program featuring daily Masters Tournament coverage.

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Your Guide to Downtown Denise Scott Brown

Your Guide to Downtown Denise Scott Brown: Hintergrund 56
Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum with Denise Scott Brown
Architekturzentrum Wien & Park Books, March 2019

Paperback | 6-1/2 x 9-1/2 inches | 176 pages | 332 illustrations | English | ISBN: 9783038601272 | $39.00

Publisher Description:

Denise Scott Brown has shaped the course of contemporary architecture since the 1960s. She is particularly well known for Learning from Las Vegas, an enormously successful research project with her companion in life and work, Robert Venturi, and Steven Izenour, which challenged the way many architects saw the city. Widely cited and sometimes misunderstood, Scott Brown’s insistence that we cast a critical eye on modernism ignorant of context, history, and joint creativity remains impactful today. As a new generation of architects and urban planners face a new set of environments and challenges, the time has never been more ripe to rediscover her undogmatic formal language and careful urban interventions.

The first book to focus exclusively on Denise Scott Brown, Your Guide to Downtown Denise Scott Brown reaches beyond that foundational part of her work. It offers an entirely new way to view her achievements more broadly as an architect, urban planner, theorist, and educator. The book takes readers through her childhood in 1930s South Africa and her education in 1950s England, to her well-known work in photography, her writings and studies, and her work as an architect and urban planner on four continents. Lavishly illustrated, the book features a wealth of previously unpublished material, most of it in full color.

dDAB Commentary:

From November 22, 2018, to March 24, 2019, the Architekturzentrum Wien (AzW) hosted Downtown Denise Scott Brown, “the world’s first extensive solo exhibition on the work of this today 87-year-old architect, urban planner, educator and writer.” I didn’t see the exhibition in person, but the companion catalog, “Your Guide to” the exhibition, does a great job of putting people like me inside the exhibition — much better than anything I’ve ever encountered. It starts with a plan (first spread below) of the “piazza” with a “fountain” at its center (really an “I AM A MONUMENT” sign topped by an electronic display) and “shops, cafes, markets, and signs” at the perimeter. The exhibition and design, by Jeremy Tenenbaum with Denise Scott Brown and AzW curators Angelika Fitz and Katharina Ritter, strove to create a place, with the displays acting like shop windows giving peeks into the life of Scott Brown — both alone and with Robert Venturi. To me it sounds and looks like a highly accessible way of telling a life’s story, one fitting to a famous but also overlooked and misunderstood architect.

The book is equally accessible. It is organized into five color-coded sections: Your Quick Guide (orange), Welcome Downtown (green), Up and Down Downtown (red), DSB A to Z (light green), and Beyond Downtown (pink). The bulk of the book, about 100 pages of it, is Up and Down Downtown, which goes one by one through the parts labeled on the exhibition floor plan. Each part includes the words of Scott Brown, as interviewed by Tenenbaum. Her words are accompanied by lots of color photos (meaning, in turn, very little white space) that include not only those of Denise and her buildings, but also the exhibition’s shop windows. The last provide the only literal views inside the exhibition, but if we go Beyond Downtown (to #denisescottbrown_azw and #uglyinstagram_azw on Instagram) we can see how visitors saw the exhibition — and saw themselves as “monuments” in the center of an exhibition devoted to an icon.

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Author Bio:

Jeremy Eric Tenenbaum is a writer, visual artist, and graphic designer and has been working for both Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates and its successor, VSBA Architects & Planners for nearly two decades.

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Possible Mediums

Possible Mediums
Kelly Bair, Kristy Balliet, Adam Fure, Kyle Miller (Editors)
Actar, November 2018

Paperback | 7 x 9 inches | 200 pages | English | ISBN: 978-1940291963 | $34.95

Publisher Description:

Possible Mediums presents a collection of sixteen speculative design mediums by emerging architects. Each chapter defines an active medium in contemporary architecture through descriptions, drawings, and objects. Possible Mediums arranges projects according to shared technical and aesthetic traits, creating a vibrant taxonomy of design. Descriptive texts explain the working principles behind each medium and introduce design concepts intended to inspire students and professionals alike. Through its many contributors, Possible Mediums establishes design as a collective endeavor propelled by the open exchange of ideas and techniques. Possible Mediums is not a systematic theory, a manifesto, or a banal survey; it is a projection of architecture and knowledge to come.

dDAB Commentary:

The second Chicago Architecture Biennial took place in late 2017 under the theme “Make New History.” The exhibition, which I covered for World-Architects, was curated by Sharon Johnston and Mark Lee, who observed that “a generation of architects has noted a renewed interest in precedents of architecture” and are “producing innovative and subversive works grounded in the fundamentals of the discipline.” I used the shorthand of Postmodern(ism) to describe the contributions in this ilk, though I’ll admit that’s a bit disingenuous: less nuanced than the curators’ description and a severe simplification of what some young American architects (many Midwestern, refreshingly) are doing today. Deciphering the common tactics and design theories embedded within the work of such studios as Bittertang, Bureau Spectacular, Design With Company, Norman Kelley, and WOJR is not something I’ve tried, to be honest, but the best resource to be had is definitely Possible Mediums, which began as a summit at Ohio State University in 2013, continued as a traveling exhibition the following year, and recently made its way into book form.

The lovely, visually rich Possible Mediums book presents the projects of around 40 young architects as a sort of taxonomy: the cover lays out the formal terms that categorize their work, from artifacts (“man-made objects gathered and reused in the composition of new constructions”) to volumes (“sequences of contained spaces resulting from the articulation and accumulation of surfaces”). The drawings, renderings, and models are presented exclusively in b/w images (outside of 16 color pages inside the front and back covers), giving them all almost equal stature — fitting considering how the editors accentuate how the contributors to the six-year-old Possible Mediums project are more a collective than a group of individuals. Formally, the installations, speculations, pieces of furniture, and so forth come across as goofy, grotesque, and playful — all un-self-conscious. Even so, it’s clear the work is all serious and well-considered. If, like me, you were intrigued by some of the contributions to the second Chicago Architecture Biennial or other these-kids-really-like-PoMo installations and projects in recent years, Possible Mediums is the book for you.

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Author Bio:

Kelly Bair is Partner of BairBalliet, Principal of Central Standard Office of Design, and Assistant Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago School of Architecture. Kristy Baillet is is Partner of BairBalliet, Principal of Balliet Studio, Faculty at SCI-Arc, and Associate Professor at The Ohio State University Knowlton School of Architecture. Adam Fure is Principal o T+E+A+M and Assistant Professor at University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning. Kyle Miller is Architecture Program Director at Syracuse University in Florence and Assistant Professor at Syracuse University School of Architecture.

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Radical Suburbs

Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City
Amanda Kolson Hurley
Belt Publishing, April 2019

Paperback | 5 x 7 inches | 160 pages | No illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-1948742368 | $16.95

Publisher Description:

America’s suburbs are not the homogenous places we sometimes take them for. Today’s suburbs are racially, ethnically, and economically diverse, with as many Democratic as Republican voters, a growing population of renters, and rising poverty. The cliche of white picket fences is well past its expiration date.

The history of suburbia is equally surprising: American suburbs were once fertile ground for utopian planning, communal living, socially-conscious design, and integrated housing. We have forgotten that we built suburbs like these, such as the co-housing commune of Old Economy, Pennsylvania; a tiny-house anarchist community in Piscataway, New Jersey; a government-planned garden city in Greenbelt, Maryland; a racially integrated subdivision (before the Fair Housing Act) in Trevose, Pennsylvania; experimental Modernist enclaves in Lexington, Massachusetts; and the mixed-use, architecturally daring Reston, Virginia.

Inside Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City you will find blueprints for affordable, walkable, and integrated communities, filled with a range of environmentally sound residential options. Radical Suburbs is a history that will help us remake the future and rethink our assumptions of suburbia.

dDAB Commentary:

Early in the introduction to this, Amanda Kolson Hurley’s first book, she mentions NUMTOTs, a Facebook group that stands for New Urbanist Memes for Transit-Oriented Teens. I’m not a member of the group so not familiar with its content, but Hurley mines it for a discussion on “What bothers you the most about suburban life in general?” Having grown up in a suburb but lived all my adult, post-collegiate life in cities, I’m probably as critical of the ‘burbs as many NUMTOT members — and just as guilty at painting the suburbs (in my mind at least) as a singular condition: white, middle-to-upper-class, cul-de-saced, remote, monotonous, etc. But I know in my heart — having read a few books and many articles on the suburbs beyond Kenneth Jackson’s classic Crabgrass Frontier and, more importantly, seen my fair share of them — that the suburbs are just as diverse as the cities they border. Yet what I thought to be a contemporary condition, born from demographic and geographic shifts in recent decades, is also a historical one, assuming that Hurley’s six case studies of “radical suburbs” are just the tip of the iceberg.

The six examples she explores span more than a hundred years, from the mid-1800s to the 1960s. Each suburb or suburban area fits into a theme, increasing the range of radicalness even as the examples are limited to the East Coast. There’s the anarchist Stelton Colony in New Jersey, for instance, as well as the Garden City in Maryland and a couple Modernist subdivisions near Boston. In each case Hurley delves into the history of the place, with research derived from visiting specialized archives (e.g. the Modern School Collection at Rutgers, with its documents on Stelton), in-person visits, and talks with residents. It’s a short and highly readable book that, even without illustrations, vividly paints pictures of places that further disrupt the view of suburbs in my mind’s eye. Furthermore, the case studies benefit from Hurley wrapping up each chapter with contemporary examples that, often to lesser degrees, embrace or continue the themes of those historical places. So while we don’t have anarchist subdivisions like Stelton, we do have more and more jurisdictions embracing ADUs (accessory dwelling units), which are linked to the secondary cottages or shacks that Hurley describes as a Stelton staple. If Radical Suburbs leads to anything, hopefully it’s a loosening of the norms (the codes, covenants, and restrictions) that limit too many suburbs to the clichés we carry around in our heads.

Spreads:
N/A

Author Bio:

Amanda Kolson Hurley is a writer who specializes in architecture and urban planning and a senior editor at CityLab. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Architect magazine, The American Scholar, and many other publications. She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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Architecture and Model Building

Architecture and Model Building: Concepts, Methods, Materials
Alexander Schilling
Birkhäuser, September 2018

Flexicover | 7 x 9-1/2 inches | 250 pages | 176 illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-3035614794 | $45.99

Publisher Description:

Architectural models are used at various stages of a project. As working models they support the design process: they are made up from time to time using simple materials, such as cardboard, without any attempt at accuracy, and continue to be adjusted and added to as the ideas and the design progress. The point here is to swiftly check a design idea, to allow it to be continued or dismissed. Presentational models are more involved; at this stage the design has been completed and the purpose of the model is to convey the ideas to the potential user in a clear and easy-to-understand way.

The book Architecture and Model Building includes outstanding examples explaining the possibilities of this medium and, at the same time, provides comprehensive information on materials and techniques.

dDAB Commentary:

Like most architects, I’m a big fan of architectural models. While I’m not very good at making them, I appreciate well-made models and gravitate to them in exhibitions, when on a design jury, or in any presentation by an architect. In person they are particularly powerful, enabling one to grasp a project’s scale, massing, materials, sense of space, and other qualities. Models can do so much more than drawings (without replacing them, obviously), though books on the second tend to greatly outnumber books on the first. Recently I reviewed a couple books on drawings, but it’s been eight years ago since I reviewed a book — a few books, actually — about models and modelmaking. So I was excited to see Alexander Schilling’s Architecture and Model Building, which provides a thorough introduction for first-year architecture students to the various types of models (site, building, facade, detail, mock-up) and covers techniques for selecting materials and building models (both handmade and digital).

The book presents 176 images of models in b/w and orange duotone, which is a stylish but sometimes distracting choice, especially in the case of the hard-to-read orange images. The models, most coming from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, are described with captions and work in parallel to the text. Although I noticed a few errors in the coordination of the captions with the numbered images, and sometimes the numerous pages of models break up the text to such a large extent I would have liked some “text continues on page X” notes, the model photos do a very good job in helping to explain how models work and how they are built, as well as conveying how they are powerful and appealing (not just necessary) parts of the design process. With its clear and concise text, I hope Architecture and Model Building turns architecture students on to the benefits and joys of models, at a time when computer modeling and renderings grab so much of their attention.

Spreads:

Author Bio:

Alexander Schilling is an architect, engineer, and research associate at the Department of Architecture, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

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Patterson

Patterson: Houses of Aotearoa
Andrew Patterson, Herbert Ypma (Foreword)
Thames & Hudson, January 2019

Hardcover | 12-1/4 x 10-1/2 inches | 252 pages | 200+ illustrations | English | ISBN: 978-0500022191 | $75.00

Publisher Description:

In Maori culture, architecture is approached as a construction of beliefs: a building must emulate and amplify personalities, hopes, and aspirations, becoming a physical expression of those who inhabit it. These ideas and others are the inspirations behind the design projects of New Zealand architect Andrew Patterson, who has been designing houses and civic projects in the country for over thirty years.

This book showcases fourteen of Patterson’s recent houses, offering both an overview of the spectacular homes and a photographic journey through New Zealand from stunning seascape retreats to mountain cabins. Each house reveals how Patterson’s architecture responds to the region’s breathtaking landscape—telling the story of the country’s cultural history and creating a sense of place and belonging. This volume is interspersed with thematic sections that present Patterson’s key influences, such as the culture and lifestyles of New Zealand, and Maori architecture, art, and mythology.

dDAB Commentary:

While I know it’s impossible to be aware of and keep up with every good architect/firm practicing around the world, I’m still amazed when I come across one that I was completely unaware of beforehand but has been around for years doing great work. Such is the case with the Pattersons Associates Architects, the New Zealand firm started by Andrew Patterson in 1986. (For reasons I can only speculate on, Patterson goes by Pattersons on its website, perhaps to acknowledge the two directors that work alongside Andrew Patterson.) When their recently published monograph came in the mail I didn’t know the who or the where of Pattersons; how many people beyond Oceania know that Aotearoa is the Māori name for New Zealand? But taking a quick look through the book, I saw some familiar images (the reflective, undulating wall of the Len Lye Centre) as well as page after page of stunning house in equally stunning settings. The cover photo (the Seascape Retreat in Banks Peninsula) readies readers for the beauty inside.

Try as I must to find something to criticize in any book a publisher sends me, I wish the book was not limited to residential projects. Actually, the book does include a couple buildings that fall into the commercial category on the Pattersons website, but one could argue that Kinloch Lodge is basically a bunch of houses for transients, and the Michael Hill Clubhouse is a clubhouse for an individual with his own private golf course, just one signal of the wealth that pervades the firm’s clients. Still, I would have appreciated seeing more of their non-residential buildings, which are just as good as the houses but more urban than remote. As is, Houses of Aotearoa is a lovely coffee table book for fans of shelter mags. That’s not a bad thing; with a solid portfolio, I just want to see more of Pattersons.

Spreads (via Pattersons):

Author Bio:

Andrew Patterson is the director of Patterson Associates Architects. He is the winner of the 2017 NZIA (New Zealand Institute of Architects) Gold Medal and was named by World Architecture News as one of five architects “whose directional ideas are helping to shape the future of world architecture.” Herbert Ypma is a bestselling author and photographer whose groundbreaking HIP Hotels series inspired an entirely new genre of travel publishing.

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