Book James Steele Architecture Today

ISBN 13: 9780714836171

Architecture Today

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9780714836171: Architecture Today

With the collapse of Modernism in the 1960s, architecture has fragmented and evolved in many different directions, each driven by its own ideologies and theories. This book sets out a clear and comprehensive guide to the prominent styles and movements, tracing the work of the main protagonists of contemporary architecture. Architecture Today is divided thematically into 16 chapters, offering an incisive critique of the predominant trends, stylistic and regional, of the last 25 years. It traces the recent roots of today's architecture with sensitivity and sophistication: from the Los Angeles avant-garde and experimentation in Japan, through the stylistic upheavals of Postmodernism and Deconstructivism, to the global development of ecological architecture and the contemporary vernacular. Biographies are also included to reveal the individual history behind each of the protagonist architects featured. Free from the jargon that often characterizes architectural criticism, Architecture Today is accessible and essential reading for all those interested in architecture, the visual arts and modern culture.

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Review:

This lushly illustrated, 500-page compendium is indispensable for any student of architecture, and many professional architects should find it a handy, although heavy, reference guide. James Steele covers the world of contemporary architecture with style, insight, historical perspective, and--perhaps most helpful--a powerful sense of organization. In his capable hands, a vast amount of information falls neatly into place under sixteen chapter headings: The Modernist Legacy, European Rationalism, High Tech, Minimalism, The Classical Revival, Post-Modernism, Deconstructivism, Contemporary Vernacular, The New Expressionists, Ecological Architecture, The New Moderns, Populist Architecture, Megastructures, The Los Angeles Avant-Garde, Experimentation in Japan, and World Cities. The balanced text is multi-faceted. Steele can list the sources of Post-Modernist architecture (correcting the popular view that the movement was an attempt to do away with Modernism) or suggestively draw a correspondence between the roofscape of Gustav Peichl's Federal Art Gallery in Bonn and the use of nature in David Lynch's film Blue Velvet.

As with so many architecture books from Phaidon Press, the picture editors and book designers have carefully matched the photographs to the text, and have given precisely the right kind of caption information for each one. The back of the book includes brief architect's biographies, chapter notes, a lengthy bibliography, and a chronology from 1945 to 1997. This beautifully produced book is a one-volume course on postwar architecture and the social and political milieu in which it exists. --Peggy Moorman

About the Author:

James Steele is Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. He has written a number of books including Pierre Koenig, Los Angeles Architecture and Queen Mary, all published by Phaidon.

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Steele, James
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