Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Architecture of the Absurd: How "Genius" Disfigured a Practical Art 1St Edition Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Silber believes that buildings of this sort are non-functional, aesthetically disastrous and frequently too expensive. The architects no longer serve their clients or the public at large, preferring to build absurd houses to inflate their "genial" egos. Silber's main examples include the MIT Stata Center, the Peabody Terrace, the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the Simmons Hall. A surprisingly large amount of bad buildings seem to be concentrated in Cambridge, Massachusetts! My personal "favourite" is the Stata Center (pictured on the book cover), where scientists are carrying out sensitive research for the US military...inside offices with transparent walls made of glass! The building leaks constantly, and several strange details of the interior design has been covered by large wall papers, since nobody could stand them. Indeed, the Stata Center looks like a cross between a chaotic building site and a modern art gallery. The Peabody Terrace looks like something that could have worked in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. And Simmons Hall? Silber has a point that it looks like one of Saddam Hussein's prisons!Read more ›
The tragedy here is that there is a point to be made about some architects, and the people that give them free reign, whose work shows more concern for a page in their portfolio than respect for the function of a building, the people who will use it, and others affected by its aesthetic. But how much "absurd" design results from such a disdain for public utility versus simply different perspectives on form and function? Maybe Silber could have researched that. Instead, this opinionated polemic erects a monument to Silber's ego as egregious as the Stata Center.
For a pointed criticism of Silber's architectural acumen, see Mark Lamster's review in the Los Angeles Times online ([...]) Schadenfreude, indeed.
There was a part in the book where he criticizes how the new Denver Art Museum by Libeskind was inappropriately designed for displaying art. After a page or two of this criticism I was expecting an interview with or at least a comment or two from the curator of the Denver Art Museum backing up the author's claim, but there was no confirmation from a legitimate source.
The book is a hundred pages of why the author dislikes a handful of contemporary architects. I just wish that he had spent another hundred pages confirming his claims and proving why I should dislike these same contemporary architects.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Dear Mr. Silber, please give us more. Loved your no-nonsense approach to design & it's pros/flaws. My husband is a skilled builder with boss integrity. Read morePublished 12 months ago by SHEILA OP
Excellent book. Well written, well-argued. Often quite funny. I think those who seem not to like it are just part of the "architectural industrial complex" and can't... Read morePublished 16 months ago by LE
Silber uses his experience in academia to show some obvious excesses where universities get ripped off by fancy architects who oversell their designs in a context that only other... Read morePublished 22 months ago by Craig Schelter
While I share many of Mr. Silber's attitudes towards contemporary architecture, this is a pretty worthless screed. Read morePublished on October 6, 2012 by Chris Gargan
I can't comprehend that so many readers were caught of guard given the apparent tone of the subtitle; "how Genius" disfigured a practical art... Read morePublished on August 17, 2009 by A. Thomas
We here in Massachusetts have a long relationship with John Silber. You all know that he unsuccessfully ran for governor here about 20 years ago, right? Read morePublished on March 9, 2009 by Boston Lover
I concur with a previous reviewer. There is, arguably, some high profile architecture today that ventures into the realm of the absurd. Read morePublished on June 4, 2008 by K. Colombo
Silber clearly demonstrates one of the internal discussions of the profession of architecture: is it a "practical science" or is it more akin to "fine art"? Read morePublished on March 27, 2008 by A. Whitacre