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Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age Hardcover – November 28, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, has constructed an elegant and thought-provoking book out of 51 of his timely yet timeless columns. He begins not with the creation of structures but, rather, with their destruction: the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers and Katrina’s assault on New Orleans. In the wake of each catastrophe, Kamin examines reactions predictable and counterintuitive. There’s the ugly and dampening impact of clumsy security measures on architecture, travel, and public life, and the reckless building boom, which stoked the foreclosure epidemic and a plague of generic, bloated commercial and residential buildings, and left two massive skyscraper projects, the Spire and the Waterview Tower, in limbo in Chicago (“the first city of American architecture”). But he also writes of such buoyant successes as Santiago Calatrava’s winged addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Jeanne Gang’s “singular” Aqua Tower and celebrates the “blooming of green architecture.” Crisp and colorful, expert and witty, Kamin’s involving essays address the complexities of architecture and how the built world affects every aspect of life. --Donna Seaman

Review

"Kamin...has constructed an elegant and thought-provoking book out of 51 of his timely yet timeless columns...Crisp and colorful, expert and witty."  Donna Seaman, Booklist

"Kamin threads a thoughtfully curated selection of his columns with meaningful introductions and satisfying postscripts that...present a compelling and unsettling exploration of...our last decade."  --Zurich Esposito, Chicago Architect

Kamin "urges us to grasp fully the state of design since 9/11...He has done so masterfully, in language that is at once understandable and gracefully written." --J. Michael Welton, Architects+Artisans

"Kamin's prescient reflection...isn't just about the new buildings that went up here...[the] book gives his columns...greater meaning through their ability to pinpoint what went well, and what didn't, under Daley."

 
--Ella Christoph, Newcity

"Chicago is lucky to have Kamin, whose architectural criticism in that city's Tribune continues the spirited tradition of Allan Temko and Ada Louise Huxtable." --John King, San Francisco Chronicle

"Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, has constructed an elegant and thought-provoking book out of 51 of his timely yet timeless columns. He begins not with the creation of structures but, rather, with their destruction: the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers and Katrina’s assault on New Orleans. In the wake of each catastrophe, Kamin examines reactions predictable and counterintuitive. There’s the ugly and dampening impact of clumsy security measures on architecture, travel, and public life, and the reckless building boom, which stoked the foreclosure epidemic and a plague of generic, bloated commercial and residential buildings, and left two massive skyscraper projects, the Spire and the Waterview Tower, in limbo in Chicago (“the first city of American architecture”). But he also writes of such buoyant successes as Santiago Calatrava’s winged addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Jeanne Gang’s “singular” Aqua Tower and celebrates the “blooming of green architecture.” Crisp and colorful, expert and witty, Kamin’s involving essays address the complexities of architecture and how the built world affects every aspect of life."


(Booklist)

"In the time Blair Kamin has served as the Chicago Tribune’s architectural critic, building has gone bananas. The Twin Towers fell and the Trump Tower rose, historic preservationists have had to fight tooth and nail for significant buildings, Dubai has gone mile high and the Chicago Spire became the Chicago Pit. His new book, Terror and Wonder, collects his writing from the Trib and elsewhere . . . about everything from McDonald’s to Mies."—TimeOut Chicago
 


(TimeOut Chicago)

"Kamin, the Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, has constructed an elegant and thought-provoking book out of 51 of his timely yet timeless columns. . . . Crisp and colorful, expert and witty, Kamin’s involving essays address the complexities of architecture and how the built world affects every aspect of life."

(Booklist)

"In the time Blair Kamin has served as the Chicago Tribune’s architectural critic, building has gone bananas. The Twin Towers fell and the Trump Tower rose, historic preservationists have had to fight tooth and nail for significant buildings, Dubai has gone mile high and the Chicago Spire became the Chicago Pit. His new book, Terror and Wonder, collects his writing from the Trib and elsewhere . . . about everything from McDonald’s to Mies."

(TimeOut Chicago)

“Blair Kamin, Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune, thoughtfully and provocatively defines the emotional and cultural dimensions of architecture. He is one of the nation's leading voices for design that uplifts and enhances life as well as the environment. His new book, Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age, assembles some of his best writing from the past ten years.”

(Huffington Post)

Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age, a collection of [Kamin’s] essays and reviews from 2001 to 2010, takes on subjects as fraught as the rebuilding effort at Ground Zero and the architecture of public housing. But it does so in a style that is approachable, clear-eyed and—perhaps above all—eminently reasonable. If the age was tumultuous, in other words, Kamin’s prose never is.”

(Christopher Hawthorne Urban Design Review)

"[Kamin] spotlights architecture’s central role in the decade’s main events and trends. . . . [He] is, in the end, our most deeply-humane critic.”
(Architectural Record)

“When it comes to architecture criticism in the United States, no one does it better than Blair Kamin of the Chicago Tribune. A 1999 winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Kamin has written eloquently, intelligently and passionately about everything from the Chicago lakefront to the National September 11 Memorial in Manhattan. . . . [Terror and Wonder] is an excellent overview of Kamin's recent work, and of the state of architecture worldwide.”
(Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“Prescient. . . . colourful. . . . Kamin’s criticism is sharp and readable, more so because he places ordinary people before architects, planners or developers in his appraisal of the changes he has witnessed to the urban environment over the last 10 years.”

(Rakesh Ramchurn The Architects ’ Journal)

"[The book's] organisational format, combined with Kamin's addition of a postscript for most columns, provides a sense of depth and continuity to what might otherwise appear to be a collection of brief snapshots. . . . Kamin's text enacts its own form of historical contextualization and it is one with considerable explanatory power."
(Oxford Art Journal)
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; First Edition edition (November 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226423115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226423111
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,203,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a foreigner and Architect in MI.
There were many opportunities to visit Chicago,
so I really wanted to know about many history & even behind stories, too...
Because I'd need to teach in my country.
This book is exactly that I wanted..
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Blair Kamin is the architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune. While he writes mainly about Chicago architecture, he also looks at building projects in other parts of the country and the world. After all, architects today - particularly those "starchitects" so famous for their spectacular designs - are doing projects world-wide. Frank Gehry, for example, while based in Los Angeles, is famous for buildings from Bilbao, Spain to Miami to Los Angeles to Prague.These architects are citizens-of-world, and they, along with other, lesser-known architects are building unique and "green" and, sometimes horrific, buildings in most of the world's cities. But the world-city with the strongest architectural reputation is Chicago. And that's mostly what Blair Kamin concentrates on in his book, "Terror and Wonder: Architecture in a Tumultuous Age". The book is a collection of his articles in the years 2001 to 2008, with "afterwords" bringing the readers up-to-date on projects he talks about.

The "terror" that Kamin refers to are the 9/11 attacks, which brought down two of the world's most famous buildings. "Famous", yes, but not particularly architecturally significant. Terror also refers to the natural kind; Hurricane Katrina which wrecked much (but not all) of New Orleans and areas along the Gulf Coast. But, terror could also refer to an economic downturn that occurred in the years from 2007 to 2012. Kamin gives plenty of examples of projects started and then let go when financing has fallen through on a project. One of the main examples of this was the Spanish architect, Santiago Calatrava's, "Chicago Spire", he was commissioned to build for an Irish developer.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Continuing his first book, "Why Architecture Matters", current edition is a compilation of the
architecture writings of Blair Kamin, who is an architecture critic of the Chicago Tribune
and has won the Pulitzer Prize.

This book is not organized in a choronological order, but rather in a thematic order.
The book has five chapters; beginning with the 911 and Katrina, the book tells the readers how
the sense of security and the rebuilding energy has reshaped the airports and public areas; then the book
talks about architecturally significant high-rise buildings in Chicago; the third chapter is
about museums and campus buildings; the fourth chapter is about preservation issues; and the
book ends with the rise of President Obama and future predictions.

The time frame of the book is more or less a decade, the destruction of WTC (2001) and
the opening of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai (2010, the world's tallest building), which gives
the title of the book "Terror and Wonder." It is in this decade that the world was under immense
construction boom.

In Chicago, during this era, major high-rise commissions were executed by the star architects;
the Milennium Park (Gehry and Piano), the Trump Tower (Adrian Smith), the Aqua Tower (Gang),
and the contentiously unbuilt Spiral Tower Calatrava, and the campus buildings of IIT (OMA, Jahn, Mies)
is covered in the book. The major works of Mid-West, Milwaukee Art Museum by Calatrava,
Denver Art Museum by Libeskind, Kansas Nelson-Atkins Museum by Holl, etc is covered in the book.
The major preservation issues and urban design issues are also covered in the book.

I personally enjoyed reading his writings on Chicago high-rise buildings.
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really kamin knows his stuff . a good book on design and architecture and the new buildings planned for chicago . and the burj khalifa too in dubai has a special chapter.
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Outstanding. This book is a must read for anyone interested in modern architecture and design.
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