Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume II: From Le Corbusier to Rem Koolhaas

Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume II: From Le Corbusier to Rem Koolhaas

by Martin Filler
     
 

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In this much-anticipated  sequel to his critically acclaimed Makers of Modern Architecture (2007)
longtime New York Review of Books contributor Martin Filler—“probably the best all-round architecture critic currently working in the United States,” according to the architectural journalist David Cohn—offers another

Overview

In this much-anticipated  sequel to his critically acclaimed Makers of Modern Architecture (2007)
longtime New York Review of Books contributor Martin Filler—“probably the best all-round architecture critic currently working in the United States,” according to the architectural journalist David Cohn—offers another penetrating series of concise but authoritative studies on leading exponents of the building art from the late nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. Exemplifying his belief that an architect’s personality and character have a direct and profound bearing on this most public and social of art forms, Filler’s lively melding of biographical and aesthetic perspectives gives these accessible yet scrupulously researched interpretations a rare human immediacy.

From profiles of such universally admired masters as Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier to emerging figures including Michael Arad, creator of New York City’s National September 11 Memorial, and the international design collaborative Snøhetta, Filler’s shifting focus remains consistently trained on the enduring values of great architecture. His panoramic vision encompasses the historically inspired Gilded Age urbanism of the celebrated New York bon vivant Stanford White as well as the expressive collages of ancient and modern elements orchestrated by the reclusive Venetian intellectual Carlo Scarpa. The increasing role of women in architecture is given special emphasis in this new collection, from the pioneering work in 1920s Germany of Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, inventor of the standardized modern kitchen, to such innovative contemporary practitioners as Elizabeth Diller, Kazuyo Sejima, and Billie Tsien.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this superb follow-up to his first volume of essays on modern building’s pioneers and major designers, architecture critic Filler (formerly at House & Garden, now a contributor to the New York Review of Books, where these 19 essays first appeared) brings his expertise to bear on architects who have been neglected (Carlo Scarpa), those who have fallen out of critical favor (Edward Durell Stone), and others whose standing has been debated (Eero Saarinen), while deftly evaluating the work of contemporaries such as Bernard Tschumi and Snøhetta. The recurrent theme is personality and how it plays into the art form: Rem Koolhaas’s “morally neutral attitude,” for instance, as embodied by his controversial CCTV building in Beijing, which Filler faults for its “unconscionable destruction” of nearby landmarks and its chilling aloofness. Similarly, he suggests that James Stirling’s “abundant architectural gifts” were thwarted by his irascible disposition. A highlight of the collection is Filler’s deeply moving essay in support of Michael Arad’s National September 11 Memorial—an unforgettable piece of writing that cuts through the media babel that surrounded the memorial’s unveiling. Always a strong believer in public buildings’ “direct social implications,” Filler could be called the presumptive conscience of the architect; and his contribution to both architecture criticism and general readers’ understanding is invaluable. 8 pages of photos. (Sept.)
From the Publisher
"In this superb follow-up to his first volume of essays on modern building’s pioneers and major designers, architecture critic Filler brings his expertise to bear on architects who have been neglected (Carlo Scarpa), those who have fallen out of critical favor (Edward Durell Stone), and others whose standing has been debated (Eero Saarinen), while deftly evaluating the work of contemporaries such as Bernard Tschumi and Snøhetta…. A highlight of the collection is Filler’s deeply moving essay in support of Michael Arad’s National September 11 Memorial—an unforgettable piece of writing that cuts through the media babel that surrounded the memorial’s unveiling….his contribution to both architecture criticism and general readers’ understanding is invaluable." — Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Filler writes amazing descriptions of buildings with an ability to maneuver through space with words like a very good perspective drawing: clear, articulate, and very often inspired…Filler’s discussions on the method and orchestration of buildings are superb, as is his ability to cite sources and the derivation of architects’ work….This brand of criticism is elegant and worldly….” —Oculus, The Center for Architecture

Praise for Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume I:
 
  “Filler’s assessments in The New York Review stand apart, eschewing fashion and offering polished, carefully edited and backed-up, though highly personal, assertions.... Filler’s razor-sharp mind and sharper tongue set him apart. We gobble up what he thinks, as well as how he serves it up.” —Robert Ivy, Architectural Record
 
“Martin Filler’s book is liberating.... For those seeking a brilliant if potted guide to modern architecture, Filler fits the bill. His book bristles with bracing insights, incisive judgments, and wicked lines.” —Robert Zaretsky, Houston Chronicle
 
“Martin Filler’s writing demonstrates his lucidity and independence of mind.... Filler is an elegant writer, clearly committed to thinking about his subjects, and working hard to engage his audience. He seeks to place architecture in a wider cultural context rather than leave it trapped in the self-regarding discourse of criticism. He is not afraid to express his opinions.” —Deyan Sudjic, The Architect’s Newspaper

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781590176887
Publisher:
New York Review Books
Publication date:
08/20/2013
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
1,102,245
Product dimensions:
6.02(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Martin Filler was the longtime architecture critic of House & Garden until it ceased publication in 2007. He is the co-author, with Olivier Boissière, of The Vitra Design Museum: Frank Gehry, Architect, and the author of Makers of Modern Architecture, Volume I, based on essays from The New York Review of Books. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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