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The BLDGBLOG Book

5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0811866446
ISBN-10: 0811866440
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Editorial Reviews

Review

SARAH RICH, CO-FOUNDER, INHABITAT
A thousand years from now, looters will comb the rubble of ruined libraries in search of this book to study Manaugh's cubist love stories between humans and the cities they created.

ERROL MORRIS
BLDGBLOG is something new and substantially different from anything else I have seen. Secretly, I had always hoped it would become a book. Geoff Manaugh has provided the reader with an excursion into a new world part digital fantasy, part reality at the intersection of art, architecture, landscape design, and pure ideas. It is personal, idiosyncratic, and, best of all, incredibly interesting.

JEFF GORDINIER, AUTHOR OF X SAVES THE WORLD AND EDITOR-AT-LARGE,
Every now and then you encounter a writer who is so culturally omnivorous and intellectually alert that he enables you to see the world in a whole new way. Consider yourself warned: Geoff Manaugh is that writer. If you re not careful, The BLDGBLOG Book will rewire your brain. How to describe it? Biosecurity, William Burroughs, ominous brown clouds, shards of architecture, sprinkles of experimental fiction, sedimentary layers of geology, photography, ornithology, meteorology let's just say it might be the first book wildly ambitious enough to tell us what the 21st century is about. Drop his name at cocktail parties now before everyone else starts doing it.

JOSEPH GRIMA, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, STOREFRONT FOR ART AND ARCHITE
Part conceptual travelogue, part sci-fi novel, part manifesto, The BLDGBLOG Book is above all a profoundly intelligent and inspiring wake-up call to architects, a plea to rediscover the power of imagination and interdisciplinary inquiry.

JUSTIN MCGUIRK, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, ICON
Reading BLDGBLOG is like pulling a wire from under the wallpaper and following it through a series of rooms you never knew you had. A road trip for the intellectually curious.

LAWRENCE WESCHLER, AUTHOR OF EVERYTHING THAT RISES: A BOOK OF CO
If mankind of the early 21st century finds itself brought up before some Supreme Galactic Court and forced to account for its dubious record, I can think of no better submission for the Defense than this extravagantly gifted and brimmingly generous volume of Mr. Manaugh s.

About the Author

Geoff Manaugh is a senior editor at Dwell magazine and the founder and author of the popular Web site BLDGBLOG.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (June 10, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811866440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811866446
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Geoff Manaugh's BLDGBLOG is one of the most invigorating, subversive, visually engaging, and purely pleasurable outposts on the Net, and those qualities carry over into this beautifully written and designed book. The range of Manaugh's restless intellect is breathtaking, incorporating everything from urban design to climatology, music, astronomy, pop culture, and much more. Under the guise of writing a blog about architecture, Manaugh has crafted a tribute to the world-transforming power of imagination itself. Along the way, he wrestles with some of the most athletic and ambitious minds of our time, including the late novelist J.G. Ballard, classicist Mary Beard, architect Lebbeus Woods, and urban theorist Mike Davis, author of "City of Quartz" and "Planet of Slums."

It's hard not to laugh out loud when reading "The BLDGBLOG Book," because Manaugh's own imagination is so astonishingly fertile and nearly child-like in its refusal to abide in comfortably deadening assumptions. Like a prodigious three-year old armed with a flaneur's comprehensive street-level knowledge of the way things work, Manaugh relentlessly interrogates everything we take for granted about the environments we create. The overall effect is to open new vistas in what appeared solid and settled, as if you'd suddenly discovered a secret passageway to the unknown in your own cramped apartment -- one of Manaugh's pet obsessions.

For example, hearing about a collaboration between architects and sound engineers to create "sonic windows" in a house that bring the outside aural environment indoors, Manaugh imagines the resident of such a house -- built above a glacier -- nearly immobilized by awe and wonder.
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There are a couple passage in Geoff Manaugh's intro to The BLDGBLOG Book that are worth noting here, because they frame the book in a way that's not necessarily obvious just looking at the title & description:

"In other words, forget academic rigor. Never take the appropriate next step. Talk about Chinese urban design, the European space program, the landscape in the films of Alfred Hitchcock in the span of three sentences -- because it's fun, and the juxtapositions might take you somewhere. Most importantly, follow your lines of interest."

And then:

"Finally, I want to reiterate that BLDGBLOG is fundamentally about following, and not being ashamed by, your own enthusiasms, whether or not they are rigorous and appropriate for the academic mores of the day, or even interesting for your family and friends."

So that gives you a hint: this is not just a book about architecture. It's really a book about enthusiasm and imagination. It reads like a catalog of excitement and wondering-what-if. And there's something in here for anyone with a curious mind.
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Format: Paperback
This book does an excellent job of further developing ideas from the blog into a format appropriate for a book while still maintaining the feel of a blog. Great for a long train ride or as a coffee table book. It uses architecture as a lens for delving into related aspects of society and takes enjoyable turns into the stretches of imagination, science fiction, and fantasy, all while still making observations on society. Definitely recommended. You certainly do not need to read the blog to enjoy the book.
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It is hard to overstate how good this book is. Geoff is able to explore a universe invisible to most people simply by virtue of his curiosity, audacity, and willingness to cross-breed anything from the earth and stars in his quest to produce compelling content.

While I thoroughly enjoy the blog, I don't get the same sense of narrative adventure from the online experience that I got from this book. It seems a lot of web-spawned ideas were greatly expanded on, and the print layout is certainly more aesthetically appealing. The blog did certainly built this book's framework and could do the same for another dozen or so volumes.

On that note, the fact that this isn't "The BLDGBLOG Book Volume 1 of 12" or Volume 1 of anything is a bit disheartening. However, Geoff has another book coming out soon (Landscape Futures) and with it I expect I will be able to slake my synapses with another eclectic dose of his unpredictable genius in print form.
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Format: Paperback
This unusual book, a spin-off from an actual blog, is unusually imaginative, creative and stimulating.

The author's topic is architecture, which he defines very broadly. So, he discusses underground structures _ largely sewers in fact, climate control _ as a complement to urban design, sound environments as well as landscapes in the distant future. Literature, music and cinema are inextricably meshed into the «architectural» exposés.

Though he often extrapolates lyrically, the author is convincing when he claims to base his discussions on realities and scientific facts.

The book reads almost like a magazine since throughout the main text, neatly organized in chapters, are interspersed related articles and interviews, some very short, some half a dozen pages long.

The work is abundantly and quite pertinently illustrated with quality colour photographs, many very artistic.

A prior visit to the blog may prove useful to the potential reader although the book is definitely more polished and thus highly recommended to anyone curious and open-minded.
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