Wednesday, June 24, 2009



Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture

At 20.8 x 16.3 x 3.7 inches and a whopping 16.3 lbs., this is surely the biggest book I've ever read. Not that I read everything. I did look at all the pictures, but some of the buildings were kinda boring, so I didn't read about them. And one can read only so many of those highly stylized descriptions of architecture before beginning to feel a bit batty. (I really feel sorry for the people who have to write them; how many synonyms for fa├žade do you know?)

Some of the buildings were crazy-cool, some were meh,— particularly toward the end of the thousand pages, when the novelty of a cantilevered rectangle had worn off. Some of the buildings made me think, "You know, just because you can, doesn't mean you have to." In a few cases, I found myself really wanting more or different photos to get a better overall picture of a particular building, but for the most part each structure got half a page and three or four images. At one point, I started hatching a plan for a worldwide tour of amazing buildings. (I am accepting donated airlines miles; my preference is for Delta SkyMiles.)

I have a serious boner for architecture, and I got bored after a while, so I'd only recommend this book to a hardcore enthusiast.


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