Top positive review
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Essential book for architecture students and teachers
on June 11, 2006
The English title might be misleading--this book is not about 'construction', but rather about what the Germans call Baukunst, the art of construction, or the art of 'putting buildings together' (com-posing buildings), considering the spatial and cultural orders as inseparable parts of that putting things together.
The book provides a structured approach to the basics of contemporary architectural composition, several essays introducing fundamental concepts and giving you the bibliography to go into them in detail (the key part is making them all fit into an overall framework, and pointing at the sources that normally take years to discover), and illustrate several remarkable buildings in remarkable detail, with excellent descriptions reaching a depth and quality of analysis unfortunately missing in typical architectural publications.
Andrea Deplazes, the editor and author or co-author of many of the articles, teaches at the Zurich ETH (and I would guess the same must be true for the authors of most of the other articles), which for well over a hundred years has been one of the few true schools of architecture in the world. The book glows with the power of this accumulated knowledge developed in a true academic environment since the times of Semper. It also gives a glimpse at how the ETH consistently produces first class ordinary architecture, and for that matter first class extraordinary architecture too.
This book will be of huge value to every architecture student, teacher, and architectural designer. I bought it by a fortunate mistake --I thought a construction book from the ETH was sure to be an excellent reference book on technology, and the mail delivered a treasure trove of architectural knowledge instead.