On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change

Overview

For more than half a century, Ada Louise Huxtable's keen eye and vivid writing have reinforced to readers how important architecture is and why it continues to be both controversial and fascinating—making her one of the best-known critics in the world. On Architecture collects the best of Huxtable's writing from the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Wall Street Journal, and her various books. In these selections, Huxtable examines the twentieth century's most important architectural masters and projects, ...

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On Architecture: Collected Reflections on a Century of Change

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Overview

For more than half a century, Ada Louise Huxtable's keen eye and vivid writing have reinforced to readers how important architecture is and why it continues to be both controversial and fascinating—making her one of the best-known critics in the world. On Architecture collects the best of Huxtable's writing from the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Wall Street Journal, and her various books. In these selections, Huxtable examines the twentieth century's most important architectural masters and projects, cataloging the seismic shifts in style, function, and fashion that have led to the dramatic new architecture of the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer Prize-winner Huxtable (Frank Lloyd Wright)-architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal and formerly for the New York Times-presents her penetrating and tough-minded criticism spanning half a century, including several pieces never before published. Centering largely on modernism, its masters and "its discontents," the volume opens with an overview of the past four decades, including startlingly powerful pieces on the late '60s urban decay and the '90s reinvention of architecture by Alvaro Siza, Frank Gehry and Christian de Portzamparc. Subsequent sections cover such architectural icons as the new Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris ("the most awesomely perverse building I have ever seen") and the new MoMA (where "there is no repose"). Huxtable's highly influential essays on the cultural history of the skyscraper and the World Trade Center site are remarkable. Three charming, short pieces on the critic's personal landmarks, from the Beaux Arts building she grew up in to the Colt Firearms Building near Hartford, Conn., conclude this collection of learned analyses, fluent and exuberant. 25 b&w illus. (Nov.)

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Library Journal

This important new anthology features more than 100 short essays spanning the career of noted and influential architecture critic Huxtable. Most of the pieces originally appeared in the New York Times when Huxtable was its architecture critic, but there are also more recent essays from the New York Review of Books and the Wall Street Journal. What makes this volume important is Huxtable's retrospective organization. The theme that runs throughout is the "transformation of modernism." Opening chapters on each decade from the 1960s to the 1990s reflect the architectural Zeitgeist of the times. In the second half, Huxtable assembles essays examining iconic buildings and the works of the masters of modernism-Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Alvar Aalto, Louis Kahn, Walter Gropius, and Frank Lloyd Wright. She devotes a whole section to essays about the World Trade Center, and her 1966 piece is all the more prescient given our historical perspective. Although the essays span a career lasting more than 35 years, none of them seems dated. If your library does not own any of Huxtable's work, this is the one to add to your collection. Highly recommended.
—Herbert E. Shapiro

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802717672
  • Publisher: Walker & Company
  • Publication date: 10/26/2010
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 779,836
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Ada Louise Huxtable, former New York Times critic, winner of the first Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Criticism, and MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellow, is currently the architecture critic for the Wall Street Journal. She is recognized as the founder of contemporary architectural journalism. Her books include The Unreal America: Architecture and Illusion, Kicked a Building Lately? and, most recently, a short biography of Frank Lloyd Wright for the Penguin Lives series. She served for many years on the juries of the Pritzker Architecture Prize and the American Committee of the Japanese Praemium Imperiale. She lives in New York City and Marblehead, Mass.

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