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S, M, L, XL: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large Hardcover – December 1, 1995

ISBN-13: 978-1885254016 ISBN-10: 1885254016 Edition: First

4 New from $236.26 24 Used from $90.00 7 Collectible from $223.50
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Hardcover, December 1, 1995
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S M L XL
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1376 pages
  • Publisher: The Monacelli Press; First edition (December 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885254016
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885254016
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 2.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,918,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This extraordinary, massive, and mind-boggling 1,300-page book combines essays, manifestos, diaries, fairy tales, travelogues, a cycle of meditations on the contemporary city--and complex illustration--with work produced by Koolhaas' Office for Metropolitan Architecture over the past twenty years. This almost overwhelming accumulation of words and images illuminates the condition of architecture today--its splendors and miseries--exploring and revealing the corrosive effects of politics, context, the economy, and globalization. In some ways, this is the "Medium is the Message" of 1990s architectural discourse: guaranteed to be hugely influential in the coming decades, but grossly misunderstood by those who have not read it. The core arguments it makes about metropolitan architecture--accepting complexity and lack of centralized control--are similar to those of Kevin Kelly's Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World. Very highly recommended.

From Publishers Weekly

Koolhaas, Dutch architect, author (Delirious New York) and cult figure, wants architecture to be "a chaotic adventure," and this massive tome certainly is. Created with Toronto-based designer Mau, it's a huge collage splicing freewheeling essays, diary excerpts, photographs, architectural plans, sketches, cartoons and surreal montages of images. There's also a running glossary of Zen-like definitions, plus fables and parables intended to shake modern architects out of conventional thinking and to dispel urban despair. In one essay, Koolhaas admires Japan's metabolist movement, which fuses organic, scientific, mechanistic and romantic vocabularies. That approach seems compatible with his own innovative, eclectic vision as head of the Dutch firm Office of Metropolitan Architecture (O.M.A.), whose houses, villas, office towers, libraries, colleges, cultural complexes and other projects are showcased here. While some readers may be mystified by a nonlinear hodgepodge, architects, planners and designers will find this frequently outrageous assemblage a provocative repository of ideas. Author tour.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The book's designer, Bruce Mau, has as much to do with its impact as the famed architect author, Rem Koolhaas. This is a "drop-in-anytime" book. Open any page, and let yourself go on the main story, squint at the working drawings, cruise the side margins gleaned from a multitude of literary and professional sources.
I compare it to a rich Web site... you enter anywhere and link to new topics and images in a surprising and stimulating way. As a personal challenge, I attacked the book in the most plebeian fashion- from cover to cover, an effort spanning several months, hence true desert island satisfaction.
Certain of the stories have been reviewed by others as fairy tales, and I did read them as such. Imagine my surprise reading other architectural histories to find they were virtually true! The graphically-assisted view of project relationships is welcome to any project planner.
After a dose of Koolhaas' generic city, you will see your world through new eyes. Despite its uncomfortable bulk, S M L XL contains enormous energy and insights, and is not for the architect or urban planner only. Also, despite its enormous bulk, it is well bound and will not disintegrate as you lug it all over in the significant amount of time it will take you to finish it! Compliments to Monacelli for publishing it, and risking our tolerance for a behemoth edition.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 1996
Format: Hardcover
Not having actually read the book, but merely a chore just to browse thru it, i believe that this book is compiled as it was meant to be used. the swishy graphics are seductive and the essays are short enough to appeal to the short attention spans of the mtv generation of young architects (to which i belong, lest anyone critique this critique on that basis).i do agree that for content rem will not be able to surpass his manifesto delirious new york- but have you met anyone who has actually read that? all in all, i recommend pooling resources and buying this tome as a group read, or perusing it at the local library, if it is actually available
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5 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 27, 1996
Format: Hardcover
When I heard of S,M,L,XL, I was ready to be amazed. I was
expecting an incisive analysis of modern architecture on
different scales, filled with examples of projects, both
dreams and real buildings. Instead, the book is a chaotic
assortment of rubbish -- excerpts of floor-plans, littered
with photos which are hopefully intended to create a mood
rather than convey a
sense of the building. All in all, innovative typography
and an overtly abstract approach take the place of real
content. For me it was a great disappointment, and after a
first read, its silver spine is all of it I'm likely ever
to see.
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3 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Patrick on July 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The bible of architecture, S.M.L.XL seems to be reprinted in fall 2002, at least this is the information I have from Monacelli:
"Monacelli are planning to reprint it and it should be availed in the fall."
Greetings from Austria,
Patrick
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8 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 30, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Quite simply, the Bible of architecture.
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