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The Look of Architecture by Witold Rybczynski Hardback Book

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The Look of Architecture by Witold Rybczynski - Used Books - Hardcover - from Better World Books and Biblio.com Celebrated architecture critic Rybczynski writes about the relationship between buildings and clothes, including the role of details, the difficulty of categorizing, and the way certain buildings in midtown Manhattan support his theses.
With his refusal to hide behind the jargon and hype endemic to the profession, and his ability to puncture its pretensions without mean-spiritedness, Rybczynski (Home: A Short History of an Idea) has become a leading writer on architecture. This concise survey of style in architecture is derived from three lectures the author gave in the New York Public Library, and the intimate, conversational tone he adopts manages to convey a lot of information in a very agreeable way. Indeed, Rybczynski's emphasis on style is itself provocative in a profession that has traditionally given such considerations short shrift. ("Style is like a feather in a woman's cap, nothing more," he finds Le Corbusier observing.) Add to this Rybczynski's referencing of interior design and fashion, and one has a book as iconoclastic as it is readable. Another great strength of the book is its delightfully discursive set pieces, including one on the buildings around Bryant Park this will have visitors to New York clutching this trim and portable book as they peer upwards at the rich mosaic of buildings so beautifully contextualized within. The range of the book is impressively wide, with many less familiar buildings (the Canadian Parliament buildings, the solidly elegant cottages of Alan Greenberg) given due consideration, and recent superstars such as Frank Gehry's Bilbao Guggenheim crisply observed. The author's deeply informed enthusiasm is infectious, and his removal of architectural writing from an airily theoretical discourse to the realm of practical experience is empowering for the lay reader. We all have to live in buildings, after all. (July)
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal
In his introduction, New Yorker and Time magazine contributor Rybczynski (urbanism, Univ. of Pennsylvania; Home) acknowledges that this book began with a series of three extemporaneous talks at the New York Public Library in fall 2001. Yet he still offers keenly observed and cogent commentary on the significance of style and fashion in architecture. Using anecdote, historical data, and descriptive prose to comment on Western architecture during the modern era, Rybczynski shows how the often dismissed discipline of apparel design finds its correlative in architectural fashion. An examination of three stair railings from Le Corbusier's Shodhan House, I.M. Pei's East Building at the National Gallery of Art, and Bernard Tschumi's new Lerner Center at Columbia University interweaves a deep appreciation for how the materials of architecture are assembled with references to their diverse theoretical foundations. Illustrations are regrettably small and low in resolution. Even so, this book serves more ably as an architectural primer than James O'Gorman's ABC of Architecture (LJ 12/97) and should become a companion, if not a worthy successor, to Steen Eiler Rasmussen's Experiencing Architecture (1964). For all architecture collections. Paul Glassman, New York Sch. of Interior Design Lib.


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