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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory Reading
I originally read the first edition of this book when it came out in the 70s. It completely transformed (or formed) my thinking about the city, the processes by which a city develops and grows, and the innate playfulness of the city as a form. Despite its deceptive simplicity, I believe that this book will emerge as one of the essential texts of the twentieth century...
Published on March 6, 2000

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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars euro-trash
an artsy fartsy, overly pretentious SNORE of a read, I believe some of the words used in this book don't even really exist at all, but the author simply wanted us to believe he knows a lot of things that other people dont know, like ALL overly pretentious, artsy fartsy BORES like to do. I would so rather read about a history of REAL New York and New Yorkers, the Bowrey...
Published 5 months ago by Douglas B. Barr


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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mandatory Reading, March 6, 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
I originally read the first edition of this book when it came out in the 70s. It completely transformed (or formed) my thinking about the city, the processes by which a city develops and grows, and the innate playfulness of the city as a form. Despite its deceptive simplicity, I believe that this book will emerge as one of the essential texts of the twentieth century on urban design. Read it!
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling History of Manhattan, February 23, 1998
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This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
A romp through New York's sometimes jaded history with a view to uncover the roots of the modern metropolis and the singular element devised by architects to inspire (amuse?) the masses - the Skyscraper. The book looks at Coney Island as the testing ground of the Skyscaper, Manhatten as further exploration of the Skyscaper which is trialed in the name of symbols of a propserous future, economic rationale and pushing the envelope to its limits and finishes with Office of Metropolitian Architecture's own experimental projects in New York. A very compelling history of a complex city.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great starting point., November 18, 2000
By 
Witold Riedel (Brooklyn, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
An easily digestible read filled with delicious facts about the big apple. This book can change the way one sees New York forever. Be it from a street level, or from an intellectual level. "Delirious New York" helps to rediscover Manhattan, and it helps to discover the idea of Manhattan in places far away from "The City".
This publication is a perfect starting point for any exploration into the past or the future of urbanism, architecture, and of course New York City and the people who helped to shape this ever growing marvel.
A must read, and a perfect gift for anyone who is even remotely touched by New York.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant despite some annoyances, April 30, 2008
This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
While "Delirious" has its fair share of archispeak, Mr. Koolhaas pulls off an intelligent, fun and thought-provoking take on the early 20th century building culture of New York.

One of the quirkier (and frankly, awesome/bravadoish) aspects of "Delirious" is Mr. Koolhaas's analysis of Coney Island: an "incubator for Manhattan's incipient themes." As a reader, one initially questions the inclusion of such a trashy place in such a lofty manifesto. However, as the chapter progresses, you start to see Mr. Koolhaas's iconoclastic brilliance. He pays an amazing homage to "the laboratory" that was Coney Island, illuminating the vital role it played in the building philosophies that would emerge later in Manhattan.

Scattered throughout "Delirious," also, are compelling supporting images that Mr. Koolhaas clearly spent a lot of time digging up. In fact, flipping through the book for the images alone makes for a near-equivalent, and fun, learning experience.

However, unlike his tasteful use of images, Mr. Koolhaaas's flamboyant use of scholarly English makes his writing difficult to digest at times:

"It is probably inevitable that a doctrine based on the continual simulation of pragmatism, on a self-imposed amnesia that allows the continuous reenactment of the same subconscious themes in ever new reincarnations and on inarticulateness systematically cultivated in order to operate more effectively..."

Given Mr. Koolhaas's journalism background (and assumed mastery of writing), I suspect he made the conscious decision to remain somewhat inaccessible to preserve his "lofty" image. While such a decision may be understandable, his brilliance as a writer often gets overshadowed by the sheer irritation of trying to understand him.

Ultimately, "Delirious" proves itself to be a very intelligent synopsis---just as delirious and congested the themes Mr. Koolhaas puts forth. For the most part, it's a pleasure to read, and it also reflects the exhaustive research on Mr. Koolhaas's end. Much like Mr. Koolhaas's buildings, "Delirious" is on the cusp of being as grand as it intends to be.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the culture of congestion, December 23, 2002
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S. Nardi (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
This is by far Koolhaas's most accessible work, as it is rooted so clearly in detail from the city's past. Further, the book is simply brilliant. His take on urban history is to Jane Jacobs what Socrates is to common sense. New York is a special case of modernism that sprang from a special constellation of poltiical and technological forces that collectively create a cultural "big-bang" at the turn of the century. Read it. Blow your mind.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll never look at NY the same way, April 28, 2011
By 
T. Peterson (San Luis Obispo, CA USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
Here's an undergraduate architecture student's perspective: I really enjoyed this book! It's not difficult to get into but be prepared to venture into some pretty fantastical theories about New York. I couldn't help but think that some of the explanations and narrative were a bit forced to fit into some very memorable lines and titles. Just go with it though and you'll be glad you did; it's a captivating interpretation of New York that is certainly at least as valuable as whatever you'll find in a history book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars New York descript by a big thinker., February 11, 2012
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This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
Koolhas doesn't need to the presentation. He is a genius of the American and global architecture. THe importance of this book is related to consider the history of the development of Manhattan.
What is the function of the skyscraper? During the economic boom of Reagan cycle, it is the symbol of the financial subcess, next the last crisis every skyscraper must give us a proper value. That is true, but it can mean a return to the original sense of the City, and to an architectural function of the open spaces.
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5.0 out of 5 stars In a word brilliant., December 29, 2014
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This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
Fascinating from start to finish. This is a gripping history of the city of New York, tracing its architectural evolution from the Dutch's rational plotting the grid of Manhattan to Coney Island's early extravagance as a showcase for the bizarre to the manical explosion of sky scrapers. Intriguing is the story of Coney Island serving as an incubator for Manhattan's themes and personality of forms. Koolhaas, now a starchitect, wrote this goregous work decades before he would create his own masterpieces of architecture such as the Seattle Library or Casa de Musica. In a word brilliant.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Master of architecture, February 16, 2014
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This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
Reem Koolhaas wrote this text as an final degree work. His analysis about NY and Mannhatan are great in importance.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite books, December 31, 2013
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This review is from: Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan (Paperback)
He goes into rigorous detail in describing the evidence for his "manifesto" but without losing the reader. If you have ever read any art theory style writing then this will be understandable. It's not a totally normal style of writing but it's still very interesting and understandable if you can pay attention. One of my favorite reads. There are moments of wonder (did that really happen in New York?), moments of enlightenment, and plenty of humor and irony, and even some heroes and villains (Le Corbusier as the tyrant who seeks to destroy New York, Dali as the out of place European in America). Very enjoyable, I have read this more than once. Highly recommend to anyone interested in architecture, design, or art history (and New York of course).
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Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan
Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan by Rem Koolhaas (Paperback - December 1, 1997)
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