- Hardcover: 366 pages
- Publisher: University of California Press (January 27, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0520088557
- ISBN-13: 978-0520088559
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.2 x 10.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Customer Reviews: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,202,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
A Critic Writes: Selected Essays by Reyner Banham Hardcover – January 27, 1997
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From Library Journal
A leading British architectural critic, Banham wrote for architectural journals as well as more popular media. The more than 50 essays in this collection derive from Banham's 35-year career, from 1955 through a posthumously published work of 1990. The quality of the essays varies from a brilliant work on Frank Lloyd Wright from 1969 to a number of cliched entries in the tired, Britisher-in-Southern-California genre. Though the major sections have brief introductions, the lack of footnotes or contextualization for the essays is a major deficiency. In many instances, particularly those dealing with the influence of Italian Brutalism on British architecture in the Fifties, Banham's references are often obscure or elliptical and the personages mentioned forgotten to the average reader. Recommended only for larger academic collections with an interest in late 20th-century architecture.?Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Institution Libs., Washington D.C.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
"The Banham fan will find much to enjoy, and those unfamiliar with his work will get a good taste of what the man has to offer. . . . Banham's direct, jargon-free, and high-spirited prose marshals a rich variety of information and insight." -- Paul Mattick Jr., Art in America
"This is a well-made book, which would have pleased Banham, who took book design as seriously as all other types of design. . . . Banham is always clear and always readable. Because these essays were such timely commentary when they were published, they will become a more and more useful historical document." -- Architectural Research Quarterly
From the Inside Flap
"Banham's stubborn insistence on the proper terms by which to measure the contemporary predicament reveals the depth and the breadth of his contribution to architectural history and theory. The modern, for Banham and for us, simply refuses to go away."Anthony Vidler, author of The Architectural Uncanny
From the Back Cover
"Reyner Banham's special skill was to take objects that we otherwise might take for granted and to open our eyes and minds to their visual and cultural associates. Unlike many historians he had an 'eye' and this came through in his writings. He was also a popularizer (ahead of his time. These perspectives are every bit as relevant now as they were in the past." (Sir Norman Foster, Foster Associates)
About the Author
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The volume, which includes discussions of Italian Futurism, Adolf Loos, Paul Scneer Dart, among others also generally provides incisive accounts of the contemporary architecture by Frank Gehry, James Stirling, and Norman Foster. It conveys the full range of Banham's belief in industrial and technological development as the motor of architectural evolution. Banham's interests and passions ranged from architecture and the culture of pop art to urban and industrial design. In brilliant analyses of automobile styling, mobile homes, science fiction films, and the American predilection for gadgets, he anticipated many of the preoccupations of contemporary cultural studies. Los Angeles, the city that Banham commemorated in a book and a film, receives extensive attention in essays on the Santa Monica Pier, the Getty Museum, Forest Lawn cemetery, and the ubiquitous freeway system.
Readable, provocative, and entertaining, this book is certain to consolidate Banham's reputation among architects and students of contemporary culture. For those acquainted with his writing, it offers welcome surprises as well as familiar delights. For those encountering Banham for the first time, it comprises the perfect introduction.