Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies

Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies

by Reyner Banham
     
 

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Reyner Banham examined the built environment of Los Angeles in a way no architectural historian before him had done, looking with fresh eyes at its manifestations of popular taste and industrial ingenuity, as well as its more traditional modes of residential and commercial building. His construct of "four ecologies" examined the ways Angelenos relate to the beach,

Overview

Reyner Banham examined the built environment of Los Angeles in a way no architectural historian before him had done, looking with fresh eyes at its manifestations of popular taste and industrial ingenuity, as well as its more traditional modes of residential and commercial building. His construct of "four ecologies" examined the ways Angelenos relate to the beach, the freeways, the flatlands, and the foothills. Banham delighted in this mobile city and identified it as an exemplar of the posturban future.

"A light-hearted and affectionate tribute to Los Angeles. . . . Banham sees not the burnt, lunar landscape of the fiction writers, but a benign littoral where sea, mountains, valleys, and plain form a natural environment that charms as well as challenges its inhabitants. To the historian of architecture, it is the cityscape itself that is most fascinating, providing him with the materials of his strongest attack on the literary conventions about Los Angeles." (Francis Carney, New York Review of Books)

"The true language of Los Angeles is the language of movement, says Banham. 'So . . . I learned to drive in order to read Los Angeles in the original.' . . . A generous and exhilarating joyride." (Roger Jellinek, The New York Times)

"Banham, with his nose for architectural news, was bound to celebrate Los Angeles: it is just his cup of Coca-Cola. The celebration is enjoyable, often shrewd, sometimes superficial and diffuse, as travellers' tales are. This city 'seventy miles square but rarely seventy years deep' defies the limitations of conventional architectural history, the author says, forcing him to describe its topographical and historical context too." (Times Literary Supplement)

Author Biography: Reyner Banham (1922-1988) was Sheldon H. Solow Professor of the History of Architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and Professor of Art History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Among his many books are A Critic Writes (California, 1996) and Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1961). Anthony Vidler is Professor and Chair of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles. His most recent book is Warped Space: Art, Architecture, and Anxiety in Modern Culture (2000).

Editorial Reviews

Los Angeles Times Book Review
Los Angeles deserves to be read today not for its prescience or as a quaint historical artifact, but as a model on how to read any city.
Los Angeles Magazine - Ariel Swartley

In one volume [Banham] does the near-impossible: He makes us see this fragmented city [of Los Angeles] as a breathing whole.”
La Observed
“Still as penetrating now as when Banham completed his observations on the city in 1971.”
Los Angeles Times
“Banham wrote like a blissed-out lover, surrendering to his feelings of derangement and wonder while keeping his eyes wide-open.”
Palisadian Post
“Banham's book has remained au courant.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780520219243
Publisher:
University of California Press
Publication date:
05/21/2001
Pages:
271
Product dimensions:
5.63(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.63(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"
In one volume [Banham] does the near-impossible: He makes us see this fragmented city [of Los Angeles] as a breathing whole."—Los Angeles Magazine

"Still as penetrating now as when Banham completed his observations on the city in 1971."—La Observed

"Banham wrote like a blissed-out lover, surrendering to his feelings of derangement and wonder while keeping his eyes wide-open."—Los Angeles Times

"Banham's book has remained au courant." —Palisadian Post

Meet the Author

Reyner Banham (1922-1988) was Sheldon H. Solow Professor of the History of Architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Joe Day leads deegan day design llc and serves on the design faculty at the Southern California
Institute of Architecture.

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