Los Angeles Architecture

( 1 )

Overview

The architecture of Los Angeles seems at first sight to be chaotic - individualism being its only rationale. Los Angeles Architecture: The Contemporary Condition looks beneath the seductive surface to find out why the city's architectural scene is so fascinating. Supported by stunning photography, James Steele considers the historic and geographic elements which are an important part of local sensibilities and weaves them into a narrative about the complex design activity now taking place in the city. Beginning ...
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Overview

The architecture of Los Angeles seems at first sight to be chaotic - individualism being its only rationale. Los Angeles Architecture: The Contemporary Condition looks beneath the seductive surface to find out why the city's architectural scene is so fascinating. Supported by stunning photography, James Steele considers the historic and geographic elements which are an important part of local sensibilities and weaves them into a narrative about the complex design activity now taking place in the city. Beginning with the pioneering characters of the American Arts and Crafts movement, James Steele traces Los Angeles' architectural energy through the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler to arrive at the buildings of Frank Gehry who is widely acknowledged as a peerless interpreter of his surroundings. This analysis expands to investigate the work of those who have followed Gehry's lead, from the avant-garde institutions such as Sci-Arc, to those who are attempting to complete the Los Angeles myth by at last giving it a downtown. Steele's rigorous examination of Los Angeles' contemporary condition looks at issues as well as influences, providing a timely portrait of a city often said to represent the urban typology of the future.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Countering the customary image of Los Angeles as a city of vast freeways, nondescript towers and amorphous urban sprawl, this snazzy survey showcases some of the most inventive and influential modern American architecture. Beginning with the Spanish Mission style developed in the 1880s, the book discusses the projects of Frank Lloyd Wright, who adapted Mayan and Spanish designs; the ecologically attuned work of his successors, Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra; the controversial postmodernist buildings of Frank Gehry; and the intuitive, individualistic approach of the Sci-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture) avant-garde. Steele, an architect and associate professor at the University of Southern California, also looks at urban improvement projects designed to restore a ``common meeting ground'' in the public realm. The houses, libraries, apartments, civic centers, office buildings, museums and restaurants featured in the 200 color plates embody imaginative solutions to architectural and urban planning challenges. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Inspired by the unique culture of the City of Los Angeles, Steele ( Hellenistic Architecture in Asia Minor , LJ 7/93) makes a valiant effort to capture the spirit of this conglomeration of freeways and urban sprawl. He addresses issues such as the city's love-hate relationship with the automobile, its 20th-century civic, corporate, and residential architecture, and its search for a downtown. The first five chapters focus on leading architectural concepts and features--from the more traditional Mission Style and the Arts and Craft Movement to the contemporary styles of Post-World War II Modernism utilizing steel and glass structures and the avant-garde creations of Frank Gehry and the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-ARC) and Morphosis. The last two chapters present more of a juxtaposition of architecture and social commentary in relation to global influences, a sense of community, accessibility, and the quality of the public realm. The excellent photographs and the accompanying drawings and floor plans help to complete the story, roundin out a volume dedicated to more than just ``pretty pictures.'' A welcome addition to any architectural collection.-- Stephen Allan Patrick, East Tennessee State Univ. Lib., Johnson City
Booknews
A rigorous examination of LA's contemporary architectural condition. Supported by stunning photography, Steele considers the historic and geographic elements which are an important part of local sensibilities and weaves them into a narrative about the complex design activity currently taking place in the city. A full chapter is devoted to the buildings of Frank Gehry. Another immaculate production of Phaidon Press. 10x11.75". Distributed by Chronicle Books. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780714837567
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 1,189,282
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 11.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Table of Contents

Ch. I Confronting Autopia 7
Ch. II Precedents and Continuities: Putting down Roots 17
Ch. III The Case Study House Programme: 'The Style that Nearly' revisited 55
Ch. IV Frank Gehry: Los Angeles and its Discontents 73
Ch. V Disregarding Boundaries: The Cult of Individuality 103
Ch. VI Architecture and Community: Divining a Sense of Place 153
Ch. VII The Search for Civitas and Several New Ecologies 195
Notes 222
Select Bibliography 225
Index 228
Photographic Acknowledgements 232
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