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What Is Architecture? An Essay on Landscapes, Buildings, and Machines
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2001
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I give it four stars although if judged strictly by its content alone, it's worth maybe three and a half. But given the sheer volume of intolerable turgidity, confusion and pretentiousness in architectural writing out there, this book is like a breath of fresh air in its regular-bloke-rambling style of writing. The author is British and there is some Brit slang as well as references to British examples and geography. This may hinder understanding somewhat if one is not familiar with places and life in the UK. The content does ramble a bit, and the intensity of focus is not quite there. Topics raised are never quite pursued to the depth the author seems to be capable of. Nonetheles, the author does everyone in the field of architecture a favor by reminding one that architecture is not about buildings alone, but about the structuring of three things, all strangely intangible and formless: landscapes, buildings, machines. Desires, really, rather than things. He cites Vitruvius as evidence that that's the way architecture was conceived from the beginning. The book is a teaser of sorts, and does have moments of real poetic insights about the subject matter. The book has spurred me to think about certain things that the author himself does not mention. For example, the consequence of Vitruvius's definiton of machine as 'cyclice kinesis', circular motion. Chatty, yes, but still not really for the layman. Which is just as well, since only architects read architecture books. Very British in the framing of the issue and very AA in presentation. On the whole, the book reads like a document of the author's speculations about things and questions concerning that bloody thing called architecture. I just wonder if he should not have titled the book, What WAS Architecture? Well, do ya now?!Roight,then. Cheers, mate!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
An absolutely brilliant book. Highly recommended for those who see architecture as hobbby as well as those who have been in the profession for years. Truly refreshing and innovative.
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