Sunday, December 21, 2014

Favorite Books of 2014

This list of notable books for 2014 is broken into three sections of seven books each, listed in alphabetical order by title. Note that books reviewed or noted were not necessarily released in 2014. Covers link to Amazon, with links to reviews and my other blog included when appropriate.


Seven favorites from the 50 books I read and reviewed in 2014 (titles are linked to reviews):


Chicagoisms: The City as Catalyst for Architectural Speculation Alexander Eisenschmidt with Jonathan Mekinda (Editors)
Park Books, 2013


Manhattan Atmospheres: Architecture, the Interior Environment, and Urban Crisis
David Gissen
University of Minnesota Press, 2014


The Nature of Urban Design: A New York Perspective on Resilience
Alexandros Washburn
Island Press, 2013


OASE #91: Building Atmosphere
Klaske Havik, Hans Teerds, Gus Tielens (Editors)
nai010 Publishers, 2013


Torre David: Informal Vertical Communities
Alfredo Brillembourg and Hubert Klumpner, Urban-Think Tank Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, ETH Zürich (Editors); Iwan Baan (Photographer)
Lars Müller Publishers, 2013


Venice Architectural Guide: Buildings and Projects After 1950
Clemens F. Kusch and Anabel Gelhaar
DOM Publishers, 2014


The Wrong House: The Architecture of Alfred Hitchcock
Steven Jacobs
nai010 publishers, 2013 (second edition)


Seven favorites from the books I read in 2014 but didn't review; these are books I read for pleasure or research, but not for review (where applicable, titles are linked to my "Unpacking My Library" blog):


The Anatomy of a Golf Course: The Art of Golf Architecture
Tom Doak
Burford Books, 1998


Disenchanted Night: The Industrialization of Light in the Nineteenth Century
Wolfgang Schivelbusch, translated by Angela Davies
University of California Press, 1988


Hollow Land: Israel's Architecture of Occupation
Eyal Weizman
Verso, 2012


Kissing Architecture
Sylvia Lavin
Princeton University Press, 2011


Over: The American Landscape at the Tipping Point
Alex MacLean
Abrams, 2008


Planning Chicago
D. Bradford Hunt, Jon B. DeVries (Editors)
APA Planners Press, 2013


The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream
Thomas L. Dyja
Penguin, 2013


Seven most promising books I received from publishers in 2014, but have yet to review; look for them in 2015:


The Architecture of Paul Rudolph
Timothy M. Rohan
Yale University Press, 2014


The Death of Drawing: Architecture in the Age of Simulation
David Ross Scheer
Routledge, 2014


Landscape and Energy: Designing Transition
Dirk Sijmons
nai010 Publishers, 2014


Mies
Detlef Martins
Phaidon, 2014


Shape of Sound
Victoria Meyers
Artifice Books on Architecture, 2014


Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment
Henri Lefebvre, edited by Lukasz Stanek, translated by Robert Bononno
University of Minnesota Press, 2014


Urban Literacy: Reading and Writing Architecture
Klaske Havik
nai010 Publishers, 2015

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Book Review: CLOG: World Trade Center

CLOG: World Trade Center
CLOG, 2014
Paperback, 168 pages



No one needs to be reminded the the Twin Towers were destroyed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, so the latest issue of CLOG is a welcoming thing, since it focuses on the pre-2001 existence of the towers and the other parts of the World Trade Center development in Lower Manhattan. Yet the fact they collapsed after being hit by jumbo jets appears to dictate a good deal of the issue's content, as structure is a major theme throughout. In addition to interviews with architects from Minoru Yamasaki's office, the editors of CLOG spoke with the structural engineers at LERA and they include numerous architectural and engineering drawings and construction photos of the project under construction, all pointing to the way architecture and structure melded in the design. Structure is not the only concern of the editors and the numerous contributors to the issue, but it is never far removed from whatever the content may be.


[Photo by Beija/Flickr, via WFUV.org]

Like other recent issues of CLOG (Rem in particular), the issue has many pages devoted to content generated by the editors rather than external contributors. These pieces, like the interviews with the architects and engineers, are often highlighted with yellow pages that match the cover. In addition to the interviews, drawings and photographs already mentioned, some highlights include a charting of the selection process (what the WTC might have become), a seven-page letter from Minoru Yamasaki to Ada Louise Huxtable after the latter's negative review in the New York Times in 1973 (Huxtable's one-page reply to Yamasaki is also reprinted), and visual analyses of the towers relative to recent skyscrapers and how the towers stood for New York City in films.


[Philippe Petit's walk on a wire between the Twin Towers in 1974, photo via screening the past]

Some highlights from external contributors include QR-code links to videos on YouTube, more discussions of structure (especially how the external columns looked identical, but were anything but, in terms of steel grade and thickness), and talk of their "twinness" and the space in-between the towers. If I would have gotten my act together and written something for the issue, I would have had a hard time getting away from writing about Philippe Petit's one-hour walk between the towers in 1974. But what could be written about this feat that hasn't already been said in articles, books and films? If the issue's deadline were a few months later, I would have compared Petit's walk to that of Nik Wallenda's two high-wire walks from and between Bertrand Goldberg's Marina City towers in Chicago in November. Petit's illegal walk (he was arrested after he finished his walk, but charges were later dropped) is the antithesis of Wallenda's high-publicity, live-televised walks, which says a little something about architecture, but a lot more about how things have changed since the Twin Towers were destroyed. But that would have been a digression from the pre-2001 existence of the World Trade Center, whose portrait is thoroughly portrayed in these pages.

Purchase at Amazon: Buy from Amazon.com

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Graphic Novel of the Moment

Walking past Greenlight Bookstore at lunchtime today a certain book called out to me:



Robert Moses: The Master Builder of New York City is a graphic novel by Pierre Christin and Olivier Balez, published by Nobrow. Here's a description of the book from the publisher, though I'd argue with the statement that Moses is "the architect who designed it all":
A new graphic biography by Pierre Christin and Olivier Balez recounts the achievements of one man who changed the the face of an entire city. Robert Moses: the mastermind of New York.

From the subway to the skyscraper, from Manhattan’s Financial District to the Long Island suburbs, every inch of New York tells the story of one man’s mind: Robert Moses, the architect who designed it all. Now, in Christin and Balez’s graphic biography, the rest of Robert’s story will be told.

[Photos inside book from Nobrow]







Available at Buy from Amazon.com