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The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture Hardcover – May 11, 2004


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Hardcover, May 11, 2004
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 824 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; Pck Com edition (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714843121
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714843124
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 16.1 x 3.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 16.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,788 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture--so massive that it comes in its own plastic carrying case--is one of the rare publishing events that lives up to its hype. The book showcases 1,052 buildings completed since January 1998 with thousands of well-chosen color photographs plans, elevations, and cross-sections. Major elements of each project are described in elegantly succinct texts. Rather than simply pay lip service to the concept of "world" architecture, this book ranges throughout 75 countries on six continents. And although the big names in the field are here--Rafael Moneo and Herzog & De Meuron are each represented by nine projects; Tadeo Ando with eight, Frank Gehry with six--the focus is on the ingenuity and diversity of contemporary architecture, regardless of the fame of its creator.

The book's global view embraces many approaches, including experimental construction, neo-modernism, postmodernism, reinterpreted vernacular architecture and lingering traces of the International Style. While virtually every building type is included, from factories to museums, from lookout towers to train stations, the largest and most creative category is single family housing. Selected (as were all the projects) by a panel of leading architects, critics, scholars and others, these homes offer a tantalizing sense of what is possible, even on a modest budget. Grouped by country, the residences establish a sense of local context--from the elegant use of Scandinavian wood to the imaginative use of narrow plots of land in Tokyo. Fully indexed, with an array of maps and world data charts, The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture is destined to serve as a unique reference tool. But the geographic organization encourages you to just open the book anywhere and make a discovery--perhaps the surreal vision of Ake Larsson's Icehotel (carved from ice and snow), or the forest of Cor-ten steel pipes Jose ABP Forjaz used in the Mbuzini Memorial, or the startling shed forms of Rick Joy’s Tubac House. --Cathy Curtis

Review

'An encyclopedia in one giant volume - five, even ten books in one. Breathtakingly illustrated...a thrill a page...All the buildings included date from 1998 or later so it is a genuine survey of contemporary architecture ... For anyone wishing to see modern wonders on his travels as well as ancient ones this book is a brilliant guide, including many places that are destinations in their own right.' (The Times) 'The modern wonders of the building world...Think of it as a Lonely Planet guide with more 3D elevations and less crap about taxi scams and bilharzia. Impressive...' (Arena) 'An extraordinarily thorough 'best of' exercise...What makes it different from dozens of other books offering the same thing is its ambition and its details...This is the biggest of big picture books...packed with interesting stuff. I could rifle through it for days. Full marks for having drawings that explain the pictures...the scale of this work, and the accessibility of its design, is such that is deserves a wider audience.' (The Sunday Times) 'The only global look at cutting-edge building that's available between two covers...[a] compendium of cool.' (Newsweek) 'For architects, students and the general enthusiast, this titanic tome is an essential source of reference.' (V&A) 'An event of a book, so big it could be the eighth wonder of the world...an unparalleled resource for anyone interested in the cutting edge of architecture. At GBP100, it is quite a bargain too. A must for every bookshelf.' (IDFX) 'So vast it practically needs planning permission...the perfect source book.' (Wallpaper*) 'Wonderful' (Elle Decoration) 'The new Phaidon Atlas is an amazing adventure. Never have I seen more works of architecture from around the world so extensively documented. This Atlas which covers the globe is a must-have for architecture students and professionals alike, as it documents work built from Iceland to New Zealand.' (Richard Meier, architect) 'Move over Bannister Fletcher, there's a new book in town.' (Aaron Betsky, Director of Netherlands Architecture Institute) 'It's a fascinating education for those of us who build or care about making architecture.' (Hani Rashid, Architect and Designer, Asymptote) 'Now we need to reinforce the shelving!'(Zaha Hadid, architect) 'What a brilliant resource.' (David Adjaye, architect) 'Unique, definitive and authoritative, the Atlas demonstrates that architecture is a truly global phenomenon.' (Deyan Sudjic, Curator and Critic) 'A wonderful resource on architecture.' (Bob Emmerson, Chairman, Arup Group) 'A first-class ticket.' (Will Alsop, architect) 'Heavy-weight champion of architecture reference books.' (Architect's Newspaper)

Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to any architect or student of architecture.
Andre Q
Anyone interested in architecture and design will thoroughly enjoy this fantastic book.
Symbiat
This book is one of the most beautiful things I have ever bought! :)
Hans Christian Berge

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

49 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Rings fan on December 8, 2004
I bought this book recently (not at amazon)primarily to bring myself up to date on what's out there in the latest trends. I hadn't seen the book, other than the publisher's web site. I was astounded when it arrived at my place of employment to see how much detail on the various projects has been worked into half page arrangements. It's a giant of a book, so the format works. This is one of the finest collections of contemporary architecture I have seen. (I am a practicing architect.)For the price, i believe it to be unique and unrivalled in scope. What especially impressed me was how much work from non-marquee architects was included.

I would heartilly recommend this to anyone, in the profession or not, for an in-depth survey of buildings worldwide. I only hope that this is the start of a series and not a one shot deal.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By ArchiZona on April 22, 2005
It is hard to review or even to critique good books, especially this one. Simply say "great" or "must have" does not help potential readers decide whether they need to invest in this volume. I have been struggling as well due to the fact that this book costs money (considering that I am still a poor student) and time (for reading). I was unable to finalize my choice untill this afternoon; and I would like to share my thoughts with all of you.

If you are an architecture professional, then the decision is easy to make. Just buy it! Owning this book to you is similar to getting a good dictionary or thesaurus to a professional writer.

The hard part comes if you are only a layperson or causal connoisseur to modern architecture (like me). To me, the cons to the investiment is twofold: 1)Information overload and redundancy. The information contained in this book is just massive. Honestly speaking, if you have already read quite a few books about modern architecture, nearly 70-80% of these projects (especially residentail buildings) are similar conceptually. What I (and probably you) need now is thought-provoking ideas and eye-catching images, which pop up among the mediocre. As a reference book, this Atlas includes both the ingenious ones and the boring ones. I have been wondering the necessity of reading all these projects. At least, I don't plan to get a PhD in architecture. 2)Size of the book. This point is peripheral comparing with the above, but still important (at least to me). The book is so large and so heavy that I cannot lie in my sofa or bed, holding and reading it comfortably. I have to get a desk and sit tight and straight. Architecture is my hobby and I really don't want to infuse a research-like mood when reading the book.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Symbiat on September 14, 2004
Comes in a briefcase-style transparent case, which you will definately need to carry this huge tome home (the book measures around 12"x18" and weighs almost 18 pounds!). This is a beautiful book covering a fairly comprehensive range of architecture and is well organized (the material is broken down by regions/sub-regions and the pages are color-coded). Anyone interested in architecture and design will thoroughly enjoy this fantastic book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By M. Chan on August 30, 2005
Absolutely wonderful, delightful book... As an architecture student, this is the ultimate sourcebook for modern buildings all over the world, and some of which I've never seen before. The only downside I would say is that there isn't enough technical drawings and it would have been helpful if there were more. However, the book is already huge and I can't imagine how much bigger and heavier it would be if more technical drawings were in there. Besides, now that I know that what the building is called and the architect who designed it, it's easier for me to source out info...

Conclusion? No complaints! It's really good as is... I'm a happy customer!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Grant Naylor on February 2, 2005
What can you say about this book other than the fact that it is magnificent!

It certainly lives up to it's name as an atlas of 'world' architecture and the areas covered are very comprehensive - from the unbelievably quaint and desirable house for 'one lady and a horse' to a toilet block in Sydney!

The technical data provided is excellent and it is amazing to see the different costings in different parts of the world.

Appealing both to professionals and those with a casual inteest in architecture, this book is more than worth the cost.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ben P on April 19, 2006
Verified Purchase
As you can gather from the other reviews the book is as big as everyone says it is. However, the title really describes what it is. An atlas which is a collection of glimpses of some of the most impressive projects over the last 8-10 years. It is useful as a reference and as a starting point for investigating projects of recent times as most are in there.

For an Australian point of view it was great to see some of the impressive works being created in this country - even though they tend to be skewed towards private residences.

Overall well worth adding to the collection, as a source of inspiration. It even encourages me to design as I was forced to design a new bookshelf to store it in.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Brand on March 14, 2006
This is a must have. Absolutely brilliant. Very impressed with the way the book was packaged. Thanks Amazon
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Stefano on April 24, 2005
First of all, yes, this book is large and heavy by normal standards.

Putting those obvious issues aside, I'll focus on its strengths.

The Phaidon Atlas is simply the only book of its kind. It packs a lot of recently built, high quality modern architecture into a single volume that is elegantly designed, and actually a lot of fun to view, because of the division of projects into regions of the globe. Anyone who enjoyed flipping through large world atlases at their school library will enjoy this book too, and if you are also a fan of modern architecture, the book is well worth buying.

There are many beautifully drawn maps, and useful, intriguing statistics, as any "world" atlas would feature. A careful reader will see architectural relations of style, approach, materials, etc. unique to regions such as the Netherlands, Israel, China, or Australia. Only a book of such depth can achieve this. Yes, many of the projects are featured elsewhere, but the majority of projects in the book I hadn't seen before, and I'm both a modern architecture enthusiast and an architecture book designer.

Speaking of design, the book is gorgeous. I've heard some refer to the layout as boring. I strongly disagree. It is well conceived, with careful placement of all visual elements and text. I find it quite refreshing to be able to view a whole architectural profile on a single spread or a single page. The layouts are done with precision, and an attractive and useful global color-coding scheme is employed throughout.

I applaud Phaidon for taking on such an ambitious book project, and for succeeding. The only other publisher of architecture (that I know of) that attempts such large-scale projects is Taschen (see Case Study Houses, Neutra, etc.).

To sum up, the Phaidon Atlas may not be for everyone--some will argue about the selection of projects--but for the price, it delivers a lot, in an entertaining and beautifully designed package.
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