This hip, well-designed, picture-packed book on Los Angeles architecture opens with a chapter called, tellingly, "Confronting Autopia." Author James Steele traces the evolution of the freeway city's notable buildings and styles, from arts-and-crafts bungalows to the Museum of Contemporary Art, "the cultural capital of the West Coast." Steele is tremendously knowledgeable about both individual buildings and their meaning in the larger contexts of the history of design, cultural and economic pressures, and civic life. In this book, he ably discusses such important phases as Arts & Architecture
publisher John Entenza's "Case Study House" program, which showcased modern, postwar homes, as well as recent efforts to establish a "downtown" for this far-flung, disparate community. There are strange omissions in his text, however. Nowhere does he mention the "architectural commission of the century," Richard Meier's new Getty Center, for example. His focus is instead on central Los Angeles, but it seems eccentric not to give the Getty even a footnote. And Steele's penchant for long sentences is unchecked by the editors of this volume: "Issues, in this admittedly selective sectional slice through the L.A. corpus civicus at the moment, seem to revolve around the shifting perceptions of the growing multitudes who live there about the character of their city, and the reaction of the established residents among that group (who seem to qualify as such in an amazingly short period of time) about changes that are out of their control," is but one example. That aside, this book offers a particularly thoughtful appreciation of the City of Angels, which has so often been shortchanged by authors of less vision and erudition. --Peggy Moorman
From Publishers Weekly
Countering the customary image of Los Angeles as a city of vast freeways, nondescript towers and amorphous urban sprawl, this snazzy survey showcases some of the most inventive and influential modern American architecture. Beginning with the Spanish Mission style developed in the 1880s, the book discusses the projects of Frank Lloyd Wright, who adapted Mayan and Spanish designs; the ecologically attuned work of his successors, Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra; the controversial postmodernist buildings of Frank Gehry; and the intuitive, individualistic approach of the Sci-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) avant-garde. Steele, an architect and associate professor at the University of Southern California, also looks at urban improvement projects designed to restore a "common meeting ground" in the public realm. The houses, libraries, apartments, civic centers, office buildings, museums and restaurants featured in the 200 color plates embody imaginative solutions to architectural and urban planning challenges.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.