Landscrapers: Building with the Land

Overview

"An introductory historical survey on the many and creative ways humans have fought for and against the earth beneath our feet…reveals an architecture that reads the text and texture of the land in three dimensions." —Architecture

Developments in structural engineering have made it possible to engage the earth's surface as a building element. With an increased awareness of the planet's limited natural resources and with landscape architects ...
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Overview

"An introductory historical survey on the many and creative ways humans have fought for and against the earth beneath our feet…reveals an architecture that reads the text and texture of the land in three dimensions." —Architecture

Developments in structural engineering have made it possible to engage the earth's surface as a building element. With an increased awareness of the planet's limited natural resources and with landscape architects exerting ever-greater influence on contemporary design, architects around the world are building into the earth, merging man-made forms with the contours of the land.

The results are at once preternatural and breathtaking. From Zaha Hadid's Tram Terminal in France to Antoine Predock's Spencer Theater in the United States, over fifty projects expose the breadth and depth of this new direction in architecture.

Aaron Betsky first considers our historical preoccupation with communing with the land through building. He then explores the ways in which geotecture responds to, becomes a part of, and yet remains distinctive within our natural landscape. With the subtext of our planet's power and beauty, Landscrapers reveals some of the most important, influential, and appealing building forms for today and the future. 367 illustrations, 290 in color.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Recently appointed director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, Betsky has made his reputation as a curator, lecturer, and author unafraid to challenge conventional thinking in architecture criticism. His Architecture Must Burn and Building Sex: Men, Women, and the Construction of Sexuality sparked debate in the fields of urban planning and gender studies. His latest effort might at first be mistaken for another glossy, photo-packed album of recent work by some of today's most prominent cutting-edge architects. Betsky proposes that the grand theme unifying this deceptively diverse assortment of modernist, mostly high-tech structures is that, well, they're all on land or partially underground. In a labyrinthine deconstructionist critique, Betsky transforms his thesis into a manifesto that he evidently believes ushers in a revolutionary new architectural paradigm. His arguments, however, are considerably weakened by frequent bizarre, unsupported assertions such as "the rediscovery of the cave started in 1930." Devotees of Continental philosophy will find this a diverting exercise in imagining that architecture uncovers "readings" as it scrapes the "text" of the land. Only for academic and research libraries.-David Soltesz, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500285381
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 3/1/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 192
  • Product dimensions: 8.90 (w) x 10.50 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Aaron Betsky is director of the internationally acclaimed Netherlands Architecture Institute in Rotterdam. His previous publications include critical studies of Zaha Hadid and Daniel Libeskind.
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