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Architecture: Choice or Fate: Travel Size Series Paperback – January 21, 2008

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Travel Size Series
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Papadakis Dist A C (January 21, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1901092755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1901092752
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.7 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,126,356 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Nikos A. Salingaros on October 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Leon Krier is one the two or three greatest architects and urbanists of our time. In this book, he outlines a profound and at the same time sensible approach to the built environment. Krier is the winner of the Richard Driehaus Prize for Classical and Traditional Architecture (the equivalent prize to the Pritzker, but meant for buildings fit for human beings and human sensibilities). I doubt that anyone -- from layperson, to beginning architecture student, to practicing architect hardened by years of practice -- will not be moved by its message, and will not immediately react by a sudden comprehension of what architecture and urbanism are really about.

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.
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Leon Krier is again on the mark in his critique of modern architectural ideology. From its excesses; to its minimalist aesthetic, now internationally ubiquitous; to its fundamental unsustainablity, now increasingly obvious; to its profound unpopularity...Krier dissects the modern architectural movement. It's a failing movement, which sought, and still seeks, to ignore the traditional wisdom in all that went before.

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.
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By R. Miller on September 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is good in some ways (thus three stars): he is attempting a long overdue challenge to Modernism. The myriad of often humorous drawings point out well the concepts he is discussing. However, the strange construction of the book makes it harder to follow. It is like Krier could not focus for a coherent thought and broke everything up into tiny snippets. There is no "essay" longer than one page. More tragic is when he attempt to wade into theory. For example, he suggests that Kant's Categorical Imperatives are some sort of guideline, that by following that notion, that we build as if what we are building is a general principle; but of course that is exactly what the Moderns thought they were doing. FINALLY, I DO NOT AT ALL RECOMMEND THE TINY TRAVEL SIZE. IT IS TOO SMALL AND IMPOSSIBLE TO READ WITHOUT A MAGNIFYING GLASS. WHAT WERE THEY THINKING?
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By 171210 on December 17, 2014
Format: Paperback
His writing & especially the diagrams are efficient at drawing out to the light the ridiculous design decisions our urban centers have become.
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