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All Over the Map: Writing on Buildings and Cities Hardcover – July 25, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Sorkin is one of the most intelligent writers on architecture today.”—Library Journal

“Sorkin is a formidable opponent of the banal, the ugly, the stupid and the vapidly posturing which, he argues, are all around us.”—Publishers Weekly

“Easily one of the best architecture critics around ... Sorkin is a flâneur with a sense of public purpose.”—Chris Hall, Guardian

About the Author

Michael Sorkin is an award-winning architect and Distinguished Professor of Architecture and Director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at the City College of New York. His books include The Next Jerusalem, After the World Trade Center, Twenty Minutes in Manhattan and All Over the Map.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Edition edition (July 25, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844673235
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844673230
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 0.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
This is an interesting, beautifully-written, and thought-provoking set of articles about architecture and its relationship to the public life of cities from a left-wing perspective. If you're interested in those topics, I highly recommend it.

Michael Sorkin is an influential architect, urban planner, architecture critic, and general public intellectual writer, and this book is his latest collected set of essays. It compiles articles from 2000-2009 that appeared in a variety of publications, especially Architectural Record and Harvard Design Magazine. Most of the articles are short -- there is a total of 76 articles in 390 pages or about 5 pages each -- and read easily; they are for general readers, not academics. Overall, the articles are similar in style to something that one might find in the New York Review of Books. He is happy to dwell on small observations, on grand themes, and to call out those he believes are ruining our cities, our politics, our civil liberties, and of course our architecture.

Some of the essays are relatively time-bound, e.g., those about deliberations of the planning commissions in rebuilding after the 9/11 attacks. Some of those are purely of limited and historical interest, but others help flesh out the themes about power and money and their operation in city planning. Even the uninteresting ones are short enough that I don't find them to detract from the overall value.

Two dominant themes in the articles are that architecture is an expression and reflection of politics, and that the design of our buildings and cities affects how we are able to come together in our societies and lives. He decries trends such as the mall-ification of our cities (especially his home of New York).
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