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Architecture: Choice or Fate: Travel Size Series Paperback – January 21, 2008
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"Reading this book I could 'physically' feel the poison of classicism slowly and gently invading my veins. Is it a theraphy or an addiction?" Bernardo Bertolucci "This book should be on the table of all contemporary architects; but they would go bright red whenever they looked at it." Jean Dutourd, of the Academie Francaise
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
After reading this book, any architect can begin to move towards creating a humane built environment. Krier gives the essentials that everyone can develop further. Once his philosophy (and it is a philosophy of universal respect for human sensibilities) is understood, then its application is straightforward. The only problem is the numerous obstacles that have been put into place by the architectural establishment.
At the same time, Krier's message is bound to bring an almost violent reaction at the massive brainwashing that society has been subjected to in order to promote a small group of anti-architects. How could we have ignored methods of building structures that make our lives more pleasant and more human, in order to support arrogant and unworkable dreams? Furthermore, in something very much akin to a Ponzi pyramid scheme, unworkable buildings have been propped up by increasingly convoluted pseudo-philosophical jargon (not to mention prestigious prizes). Krier cuts through all of that nonsense like VIM cuts through kitchen grease.
There are some indications that we are due for a massive, revolutionary change in architectural paradigm. Like octogenarian dictators due to meet their well-deserved date with the afterworld, the architecture of bizzarre images is overdue for a collapse. Leon Krier's book is one of the pillars of the new architecture that will replace the old and worn-out deceptions.
The second part of the book examines the "prospects for a new urbanism"...as the other profound failure of modernism is the "mega city"/suburban sprawl interaction. The many telling sketches and drawings included, brilliantly accompany Krier's succinct writing. When it comes to urbanism, the many modernist fiascoes have evolved into a, now universal, misunderstanding of the human prospect. Krier's prescriptions to heal the sick child of the contemporary built environment, are filled with wit, wisdom, humility, and a much needed dose of common sense.
For me, "Architecture: Choice or Fate", has served as a preamble to his latest book, "The Architecture of Community". It's hard to choose between them, so why make the attempt? I read both, as one supports and deepens the other. Once again, his ideas are not new ideas. How can they be, considering the centuries old resource of design tradition? Unlike, as within the modernist, hot-house, academic wasteland, Krier does not begin with a "tabula rasa". He clears a path to understanding to allow designers to bring, and re-interpret, the traditional underlying principles of good architecture and urban planning, into today's world.
Krier leaves the door ajar for any architect, planner, or urbanist, dissatisfied with the present state of architecture and urban planning, to enter and discover a new, yet familiar, world of good design.