Category Archives: book

New Museums in China

New Museums in China by Clare Jacobson
Princeton Architectural Press, 2013
Hardcover, 241 pages

As of 2013 there are supposedly 3,500 museums in China. This is about 1,000 more than two years before that, but still only roughly 20% of the number of museums in the United States. Of course, quantity is not the same as quality (both in terms of architecture and exhibitions), but Clare Jacobson's book on new museums in China shows that the country can boast of some of the best new architecture for museums anywhere on the planet. Jacobson highlights 51 museums in 31 cities, a smattering relative to the thousand museums supposedly completed in just the last two years, but enough to illustrate the variety of approaches to museum commissions in China, from quasi-vernacular designs to alien forms that call attention to the buildings more than their contents.

Jacobson, an architecture and design writer based in Shanghai, discusses the view from her windows of the construction of the Shanghai Nature Museum, acknowledging that elsewhere the museum's sheer size and architectural ambition would be news, but in Shanghai it's just one of many museums underway, a blip on the radar. Elsewhere in the introduction she lays out why so many museums are being built in China (investments in art, a rising interest in philanthropy, etc.) as well as the fact many of them are private collections and what all this means for the architecture created to house art. Like the descriptions of the 51 buildings, the introduction says a lot in a few words, giving the book a focus on providing context and telling stories.

Each building is presented with color photographs and drawings. Such is the norm these days, but the descriptions benefit from featuring quotes from the architects, revealing how Jacobson searched for stories (as well as her reporting for Architectural Record) by talking with architects rather than relying on press releases and information available online. Nevertheless, it would have been beneficial (if difficult or unrealistic) to also include snippets from the clients that are exhibiting the art and commissioning architects to make strong statements. Regardless, Jacobson's book is an important and essential one covering an aspect of China's building boom this century. The country may be criticized for the unsubtle ways of demolishing traditional architecture in favor of predominantly ugly, large-scale housing (something of a cliche now), but the museums collected in the book show there is still room for well considered architecture in China by foreign and local architects alike.

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S AM 11 / Lookout

S AM 11 / Lookout. Architecture with a View by Hubertus Adam
Christoph Merian Verlag, 2013
Paperback, 120 pages

A lookout, as defined in the 2013 exhibition and catalog of the same name at the Swiss Architecture Museum in Basel, is a particular archetype that provides a "purpose-free view of the surroundings." Thereby not associated with military or other functions, lookouts didn't really come about until the late 18th century, undergoing something of a boom as towers in the following century, at least per the introductory and historical essay by Hubertus Adam. Lookouts in the 21st century are booming as well, often giving views of particular landscapes or urban sections, rather than of one's property as was the case over 100 years ago. Of course, there are precedents for today's predilection for embracing a natural or urban view, most notably the Eiffel Tower. But the 34 projects (32 of them built) assembled in these pages are not nearly as grand, selected for their architectural merits and how they are inserted into their respective landscapes.

Mill Race Park Observation Tower (1990) in Columbus, Indiana, by Stanley Saitowitz

Mill Race Park Observation Tower (1990) in Columbus, Indiana, by Stanley Saitowitz

Of the 32 projects completed, I've been up in zilch of them. Regardless, I can attest to the power of lookouts, both in the views they give of the surroundings and the journey that it takes to reach them. One such lookout that springs to mind is the tower that is part of Mill Race Park in Columbus, Indiana. Designed by Stanley Saitowitz above a landscape by Michael van Valkenburgh, the tower is quite inelegant, resembling a structure a local fire department would use for training rather than something at home in the one of the most notable places in America for the quality of its modern architecture. Situated just west of downtown, the tower is on axis with 5th Street, giving a view of Eliel Saarinen's First Christian Church (1942) and other town structures dotting the flat Midwestern landscape. The journey to the top is either via a hoistway-like external elevator or a stair that gives screened views at each landing; an unencumbered view is not gained until reaching the cantilevered top platform.

The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago (2009) by SOM

The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago (2009) by SOM

Saitowitz's tower, at nearly 25 years old, is not recent enough for consideration in S AM 11, but one project that is missing is The Ledge at Skydeck Chicago, which SOM added to its own Sears Tower (now Willis Tower) in 2009. Its omission is most likely due to the fact the retractable ledges are appended to a 110-story office tower, adding that layer of purpose that the other lookouts are free of. Nevertheless, the vertiginous view through the shallow glazed floor excels in providing a novel view of the city, one that is being repeated more in more, from the Grand Canyon to China. But the admittedly Euro-centric (24 of 34 projects) collection is also about what a lookout looks like as well as what it looks at. So the selection is solid, if at times predictable. The Norway Tourist Routes and Ruta del Peregrino projects, which comprise one-third of the book, are flatter than most lookouts but understandably included for being parts of a chain of lookouts traversing their respective landscapes. Some of the surprises include the latest addition to the Höhenrausch in Linz, Austria, and Kirchspitz's treetop research tower in Germany's Palatinate Forest. More surprises would have made the book even more of a treat, but as is the book is still a good survey of a small subset of architecture that can experiment without worrying about function.

Lettering Large

Lettering Large: Art and Design of Monumental Typography by Steven Heller and Mirko Ilić
The Monacelli Press, 2013
Hardcover, 224 pages

What happens to letters, words and phrases when they are blown up from their usual place on the pages of a book to occupying space within the public realm? The most obvious answer is that they become advertising, gracing the sides of buildings or billboards to entice consumers toward a certain product or brand. But as co-author Steven Heller asserts in a piece at Designers & Books, Lettering Large "is not about advertising—it’s about how the language of advertising is applied to architecture and art and identity."

Most of the examples of monumental typography collected in the book are fairly recent, but Heller and Ilić do acknowledge the history of large letters on buildings and in space, be it inscriptions on the buildings of ancient Rome or early modern attempts to synthesize architecture and graphic design. If one thing comes across while imbibing the many examples in the book's 240 pages, it is the blurring of the boundaries between art, architecture, typography, graphic design, and even landscape in many contemporary settings.

The authors compiled what seems like hundreds of examples of monumental typography into four chapters: Monumental Outdoor Type, Typo-Hypnotic Messages, Big and Better: Type as Object, A-R-T in T-Y-P-E. Generally, the venues for the first and last chapters are landscapes, while building facades and spaces are the canvases for the examples in the middle chapters, though this is hardly a rule. The book starts with the most monumental letters of all, those that are ideally read from above, via airplanes and even satellites. The North Carolina Museum of Art, with "PICTURE THIS" set into the landscape by Barbara Kruger, is actually one of the smaller such examples. For this and other large-scale messages to stay intact, the landscape will need to be maintained, but some of the more appealing examples are temporary formations of people (echoing the way Coca-Cola used birdseed in Piazza San Marco to entice pigeons to unknowingly spell out the company's name over 50 years ago) that are used for a variety of purposes, be it political, civic pride, or humor.

moma_qns_3

Not surprisingly, most of my favorites fall in the middle two chapters, where architecture takes on a more prominent role than in the chapters bookending them. The "typo-hypnotic messages" in the second chapter adorn building facades and line their insides, often conveying a message. Simplicity of the message is penultimate, even though in cases like the temporary MOMA QNS it took some effort, or being in the right place at the right time, to understand it. When used as an object in the following chapter, type becomes a pattern or just another texture or surface decoration. Words and phrases overlap and collide, symptomatic of our time when there is too much information to convey meaning adequately.

Heller and Ilić's helpful but basically uncritical text clearly places the emphasis on the great number of examples of monumental typography that exist, particularly from the last 10-15 years, and the even greater variety of applications. There is the feeling that letters, words, and phrases blown up to life-size and larger are a really good thing, even if the results are questionable at times – Mitsutomo Matsunami's Number House comes to mind. And it's easy to get swept along with them, taking in the ping-ponging fun, serious, and often colorful projects all over the world. Each page brings to mind a building or landscape with letters or words, making me see if the authors included it in the book; these searches make it clear the book really should have an index. But that is a small fault in an enjoyable book that is also a great reference of how type surrounds us even more than we could have imagined.

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New SubUrbanisms

New SubUrbanisms by Judith K. De Jong
Routledge, 2013
Paperback, 256 pages

Back in August I attended a book talk by Vishaan Chakrabarti on his book A Country of Cities. In both the talk and book the former NYC planner and current SHoP partner spells out his argument for density, envisioning for the United States what the title clearly states. Implicit within this hypothetical yet potentially great migration from rural and suburban areas to cities is the distinction between the former and the latter. For Chakrabarti cities are defined as places with a high enough population density for subways, something not many U.S. cities can boast of, much less their suburbs. A different tack is taken by Chicago-based architect and UIC assistant professor Judith De Jong in New SubUrbanisms, where she sees a "flattening" of the long-held distinctions between cities and suburbs, and she calls for creative responses to this condition. Compared to Chakrabarti's book, De Jong's approach is certainly more practical, even as it calls for a move away from "business as usual" approaches in metropolitan areas.

What De Jong calls flattening and defines as "suburbs becoming more similar to their central cities, and cities more similar to their suburbs," is investigated through a mix of firsthand accounts in primarily two cities (Houston and Chicago, where she has spent a good chunk of her career) and loads of demographic data; some of the latter is illustrated but most of it is found within the text to convey the extent of flattening while arguing for architects and urban designers to address it accordingly. The firsthand accounts consist of buildings and public spaces that serve as examples of the urban infiltrating the suburban, and vice-versa. These examples fall into five categories, each given a chapter: car space, domestic space, public space, retail space, and mix and match.

A couple projects, in the domestic space chapter, should serve to elucidate De Jong's stance. She discusses the ongoing Lakeshore East development in Chicago as "reflective of the ongoing hybridization between urban and suburban in contemporary inner city developments," while Optima Old Orchard Woods in Skokie, about 20 miles north of Chicago, is indicative of "suburban municipalities with urbanizing characteristics," namely proximity to transportation and retail developments. Lakeshore East is primarily residential towers around a park (the most notable tower is Studio Gang's Aqua hotel/residential high-rise), but its more traditionally suburban aspects include large unit sizes (preferring families over singles and couples) and townhouses that directly front the park and shield parking on the rear. Similarly, Old Orchard Woods provides plenty of parking below the mid-rise buildings with fairly large apartments.

So both Lakeshore East and Old Orchard Woods exhibits traits of their context but also the other – they are urban and suburban at the same time: sub/urban. But De Jong does not see this as a brand new, contemporary condition; the histories she provides as a framework for her argument in the first chapter, and in places throughout the other chapters, are some of the strongest parts of the book. In the case of these domestic spaces, and Lakeshore East in particular, she sees Bertrand Goldberg's Marina City as a precedent for adding residential density to the city while providing something required in the suburbs: a place for the car. Ironically, the mix of residential, commercial, retail and entertainment in Marina City meant residents could live day to day without ever leaving their city block. But the parking podium that raised those same units higher into the sky meant they could come and go (to the suburbs, if they liked and now might in the case of reverse commuting) via car just as easily.

Those following urban studies and urban design will not be surprised by the effects of flattening, which are apparent in the form of buildings in cities and suburbs but also in the codes that dictate, for examples, a certain number of parking spaces per residential unit in inner cities (an impediment to truly walkable/bikeable cities). But De Jong's embrace of flattening through creative architecture ekes out a unique spot in the myriad of literature on urbanism – sitting somewhere between Chakrabarti's siren song for the city and the call of June Williamson and Ellen Dunham-Jones to retrofit suburbia.

De Jong gives people a vocabulary for the conditions of sub/urban flattening (such as the four types of parking: surface, layer, lift and mix, and fill) while spurring them to think beyond those for new ways of intervening. And while the author's entry (with David Ruffing) for the Build a Better Burb competition (selected as a "noteworthy scheme" and part of the book Designing Suburban Futures) is included at the end of the book as an example of hybridizing the sub/urban context, New SubUrbanisms could have used more projects that illustrate the creative potential for responding to flattening. Yet this is only one flaw in a well researched and highly readable book on one part of the American condition today.

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Inside Piano

Inside Piano by Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine
BêkaPartners, 2013
Book: Hardcover, 144 pages
DVD: All-Region PAL, 99 minutes

In the vein of their earlier documentaries on the use and maintenance of buildings designed by Rem Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, and Frank Gehry, Ila Bêka and Louise Lemoine examine three buildings designed by Renzo Piano: B&B Italia Offices, IRCAM, and the Beyeler Foundation. While the previous titles clocked in at just shy of an hour, the three mini-documentaries add up to just over an hour-and-a-half – over two hours if we take the Renzo Piano interview into account. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the other three "Living Architectures" documentaries (of five, with one more to go), there was something to these three bite-sized films that made them even more enjoyable, each one making me anticipate the next one.


[B&B Italia Offices, Studio Piano and Rogers]

While it's hard for me to say exactly why these three short films were so appealing to me when watching them, I think part of it stems from the need to look at more than one Piano building since he is an architect that tackles each project anew (minus some recurring details and themes that show up in low-slung museums like the Beyeler all these years later). The B&B Italia Offices come from the years when Piano was designing with Richard Rogers – the filmmakers actually call the building in the film and companion book "the little Beaubourg," after their most famous commission. IRCAM moves to the site just next to Beaubourg/Pompidou in Paris, for a primarily below-grade project that bridges Piano's work with Rogers and on his own through its various phases. Lastly, the Beyeler Foundation sees Piano creating one of his masterpieces, one of the buildings that makes his numerous museum commissions understandable.


[IRCAM, Studio Piano and Rogers]

But like the documentaries on Koolhaas, Herzog & de Meuron, and Gehry, Bêka and Lemoine could care less about platitudes and other high praise. They want to see how a building really functions – by following a postal worker through the offices (B&B), talking to sound technicians in their windowless offices (IRCAM), and heading up into the gap between lower and upper roofs to change a light bulb (Beyeler). For the filmmakers, there are two groups of people that use a building: on the one hand the office workers, artists, museum-goers and other people who inhabit the building; and on the other hand the engineers and facility managers who exist to make sure the building continues to operate effectively. In the case of these three Piano commissions, the latter is of the most interest, both for us and the filmmakers. This makes sense, given the technology of both the programs and the building designs themselves. Those able to contemplate hiring Piano for a building would do well to watch these films to get an idea of what might be in store for them.


[Beyeler Foundation, Renzo Piano Building Workshop]

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Old Buildings, New Forms

Old Buildings, New Forms: New Directions in Architectural Transformations by Françoise Astorg Bollack
The Monacelli Press, 2013
Hardcover, 224 pages

I have always loved old buildings. They are the visible, three-dimensional record of our life on earth. They can be thrilling or modest architectural works; they can be interesting or banal. But they are always complex cultural objects, whose value lies in their very existence. -Françoise Astorg Bollack

Rather than looking at building types or buildings in a certain local, New York-based architect Françoise Bollack presents 28 projects that transform old buildings and contexts in various ways. She breaks down these techniques into five chapters: Insertions, Parasites, Wraps, Juxtapositions, and Weavings. Her book is predicated, as the quote above shows, on an appreciation of history and a desire to creatively change the relationship between it and our present. The book is full of some great examples of how old buildings are not static set pieces; they are canvases for the continuing evolution of places and the lives within them.

Many people will not be fans of the more jarring transformations within these pages, such as Steven Holl's replacement of the center wing at Pratt's Higgins Hall in Brooklyn or Will Alsop's black-and-white box on stilts in Toronto, but one of the most convincing aspects of the book can be found in the introduction to each chapter. There, Bollack presents historical precedents that lend credence to the handful of techniques she highlights, while also adding weight to the idea that transformations are necessary and welcoming.

One precedent, in the Parasites chapter, is the expansion of the 19th-century Boston Custom House, carried out by Peabody & Sterns in 1905. The large stone Greek Revival structure capped by a Roman dome would certainly be landmarked into stasis today, but Peabody & Sterns transformed the temple-like building into a base for a much larger campanile. Granted, visual character is maintained by classical elements in the tower, but I'd wager that it was greeted with a similar amount of shock as some contemporary additions.

I'm not advocating for matching new buildings to old ones (something Steven Semes argues), but rather that the contemporary juxtapositions between new and old should be seen relative to past epochs. When we look at the essence of changes like the Boston Custom House, they were more dramatic than we think all these decades and even centuries later. The same could probably be said about Higgins Hall, the Sharp Centre for Design, and other buildings collected by Bollack when we look back on them in the future.

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Design for an Empathic World

Design for an Empathic World: Reconecting People, Nature and Self by Sim Van der Ryn
Island Press, 2013
Hardcover, 164 pages

Fifteen years after the creation of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green-building rating system, it seems that sustainable principles are fairly well entrenched in architectural practice. What used to be considered a costly alternative to the usual materials and systems have become the norm in approaching the design of buildings. But do things like low-flow toilets, green roofs, and other elements within a point-based trade-off system really add up to truly green architecture? Are buildings meeting LEED Silver, Gold, or even Platinum really sustainable? The answer is increasingly "no," not only because the system is flawed but because terms like "sustainability" and "green building" have been co-opted by manufacturers, marketers, and others focused on the bottom line, to the detriment of really changing our ways and our built landscape.

Architect, author, teacher and self-described visionary Sim Van der Ryn's latest book exists to steer architects away from sustainable thinking based on things like LEED (he embraces the Living Building Challenge over all other rating systems), which paint an incomplete picture of our role in the environment, so they can foster a more holistic view toward what he calls human-centered and nature-centered design. Empathy is the operative idea in his argument (it is a highly critical book), and it is something that needs to be increasingly taught to children and even students in architecture schools to enable a greater shift than what has transpired in the last decade-and-half. It is easy to see that curiosity and understanding toward other people and the environment we are part of is lacking, given the dismal nature of much of our cities and suburbs, and the carbon we expand at an ever-more-increasing rate into the atmosphere, dire predictions or not.

Van der Ryn tries to convince readers that a turn to the inner self is required to foster empathy and to make greater connections with nature. He does this through a memoir tracing some of his experiences since he moved with his family from the Netherlands to the United States before his fifth birthday. These experiences are recounted in the book's six short chapters, primarily Lifetime Learning Design. But it's the two chapters – Human-Centered Design and Nature-Centered Design – that offer the most potential. In these chapters Van der Ryn recounts some of the projects he undertook as an architect, educator, and even State Architect (to Governor Jerry Brown) in California, where he lives to this day. Through these projects and the research based around them, the reader gains an understanding of how empathy relates to design, how an architect can embrace how the outcome of a building can positively impact people and nature. Not everybody willing to change their inner self will have the same path as Sim Van der Ryn, but by sharing his story he's given them something enjoyable to read (and look at, with his watercolors that are sprinkled throughout the book) while they search for their own paths.

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Façadomy

Façadomy: A Critique of Capitalism and Its Assault on Mid-Century Modern Architecture by James Cornetet
Process Press, 2013
Hardcover or Paperback, 426 pages

The intriguing yet slightly naughty title of this self-titled book by Orlando-based architect James Cornetet (of Process Architecture) refers to what happens when mid-century modern buildings are covered with postmodern pastiche to create the perception of value. Yet as Cornetet argues in the first half of the book, value-driven architecture (as he calls it) does not depend on inexpensive details and shallow associations; it achieves the most (for the client) with the most economical of means. Cornetet embraces mid-modern architecture as the ideal of value-driven architecture, the label he gives for the direction architect should be heading if it wishes to remain relevant.

It is an appealing argument that is explained in equal parts theory, criticism, and as a guide to the mid-century buildings near where he lives. The book is basically split into two: the main argument followed by the "tour" of Orange County, Florida. The transition between the two is basically non-existent, but Cornetet does refer to a number of the mid-century buildings in the first half, though in most cases these are the gems "façadomized" by later generations. Looking at the buildings of Orange County is like looking at just about any city, given the popularity, if short-lived, of mid-modern architecture. In this vein the best buildings respond to the Florida context through screens and other means of filtering sunlight.

Cornetet uses mid-20th-century architecture as a lens to discover how to design now. This tactic—and his strong opinions on architecture and the economy, among other things—provides plenty to critique in his critique. While I found his diagrams of the ebbs and flows of revivalism, modern, postmodern, and what comes after thorough and logical—as one of the numerous strong points of the book—I'm not convinced that making money for a client is the ultimate goal of architects working in a capitalist society. Buildings are traditionally generated by a client fulfilling a larger societal need, so that need should take precedence, as should even greater concerns (the environment, place, poetry) than bottom-line considerations. Ideally, clients are making the most money through architecture that creates meaningful, enjoyable, and environmentally responsible places; thereby architects are creating good for more than just clients. Yet most architects know the difficulty in this alternative proposition.

In addition to the theory, critique, and guide, how Cornetet sees value-driven architecture for the 21st century is found in a number of short case studies by his firm. These are inserted in a few places in the first half of the book, confusing any categorization of Façadomy; is it a monograph as well as a piece of criticism and historical guide? They are decent, small-scale designs that could be described as mid-modern architecture for today. They are simple and modern, with nice touches (such as a tactile column on the bus stop for the visually impaired) that give each project some interest. Cornetet's projects, like some of the mid-century pieces in the latter half, might not sufficiently sway people toward his way of thinking, but the argument he's crafted—full of an awareness of history and understanding of economics—is very convincing and the strongest part of the book.

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Discovering Architecture

Discovering Architecture: How the World's Great Buildings Were Designed and Built by Philip Jodidio
Universe, 2013
Hardcover, 260 pages

In an average year Philip Jodidio seems to churn out about a dozen books, easily the most of any writer on architecture. With Taschen and other publishers he focuses on contemporary architecture (the Architecture Now! series, for example), but with this recent coffee table book for Universe he reaches all the way back to the year 537 in a presentation of 50 important masterpieces. Actually, only 19 of the 50 buildings come after the 19th century, and only two of the buildings (the Millau Viaduct by Norman Foster and the National Stadium in Beijing by Herzog & de Meuron) were completed this century. Jodidio moves from the Hagia Sophia and Chartres Cathedral to Angkor Wat, Ryoan-Ji, the Taj Mahal, and other historical treasures (UNESCO seems to be the most oft-used word in the book, after architecture), followed by the Eiffel Tower, the Glasgow School of Art, the Seagram Building, the Salk Institute, and other modern gems.

The selection parallels other general interest titles on architecture (immediately it recalls a Time magazine special issue, Great Buildings of the World), but what it lacks in the originality of the selection it makes up for in the cleverness of the presentation: Each building is documented with a full-page photograph that is explained through a die-cut page with captions (by Elizabeth Dowling) corresponding to each window onto the photo below it. The cover gives some indication of how this works, but imagine that the area around the small white rectangles is gray, so the photo is not fully revealed until one turns the page. It's an inventive way of teaching laypeople and students about architecture, but it's also a means of educating them about how to "read" architecture through photographs, the preferred means of presenting buildings these days. And it's a good deal of fun, as there's a good amount of surprise in store at each turn of the page.

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10 Stories of Collective Housing

10 Stories of Collective Housing: Graphical Analysis of Inspiring Masterpieces by a+t research group
a+t, 2013
Paperback, 496 pages

Spain's a+t separates its output into magazines and books, with titles in each often fitting into series. The last of the books I reviewed was Density Is Home, which documents 37 contemporary housing projects through the usual high-quality presentations that a+t is known for. But where the drawings, photographs, and statistics help readers learn about the projects and compare and contrast them, the 10 or 12 pages per project mean that there is still room for more to be learned about the buildings. Enter 10 Stories of Collective Housing, which steps back some decades (projects span from ca. 1920 to 1980) to give in-depth case studies on "inspiring masterpieces."

Hillside Terrace, Fumihiko Maki, from 10 Stories of Collective Housing

The spreads collected here on Fumihiko Maki's Hillside Terrace give a sense of what is included for each project. Of course there are photos—both historical and contemporary—but also plenty of plans, axonometrics, diagrams, and other drawings that explain the projects but also how they developed over time. In this case the three authors of the a+t research group—Aurora Fernandez Per, Javier Mozas, and Alex S. Ollero—included information on Maki's ideas of collective form (below right) to help explain Hillside Terrace's theoretical basis and how the project was designed to change over time over phases. On the same spread are three projects/places that inspired Maki's design, indicative of the many projects—both inspiring and inspired by—included to give a greater context to the architectural solutions of collective housing.

Hillside Terrace, Fumihiko Maki, from 10 Stories of Collective Housing

Even though this book delves deeper into buildings than most a+t titles, the graphics, format, and layouts fit in with the publisher's larger oeuvre, even as the book doesn't directly resemble other titles. The consistency of these three pieces throughout the book allows the 10 projects to be compared with each other, though this aspect is not as valuable here as it is in a+t's relatively cursory studies of contemporary buildings.

What helps make 10 Stories so good is the selection of projects, which is not nearly as obvious as it could have been. Le Corbusier's Unite d'Habitation is not included, for example, nor are other projects that are easily masterpieces yet already studied extensively. I didn't know about most of the projects in these pages and was glad to learn especially about Michiel Brinkman's Justus Van Effen Complex (Rotterdam, 1919-22), Ignazio Gardella's Housing for Borsalino Employees (Alessandria, 1948-56), Ralph Erskine's Byker Regeneration (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 1969-82), and Jean Renaudie's Jeanne Hachette Complex (Paris, 1970-75). This book offers something for everybody, with plenty to learn in the thorough case studies that many of the best ideas in housing have already happened.

Hillside Terrace, Fumihiko Maki, from 10 Stories of Collective Housing

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