Tower and Office: From Modernist Theory to Contemporary Practice

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In Tower and Office, Spanish architects Inaki Abalos and Juan Herreros look at the role and impact of advanced building technologies in American architecture since World War II. The war, they claim, marked the end of the first cycle of modernism, challenging the belief that technological progress alone could produce a perpetually better future. At the same time, the war was the source of powerful new structural models and construction methods. The authors examine the ways these technologies have been inflected over the last half century by more subjective and integrated processes of spatial organization.In the first part of the book, Abalos and Herreros focus on the work of Le Corbusier, revealing the degree of complexity achieved in his interpretation of the modern skyscraper. In the second part, they look at the intersection of technical and cultural determinants in the design of high-rise structures since World War II. Among the issues they consider are the evolution of the load-bearing frame, the impact of high-tech systems on tall buildings, and the transparent building skin. In the third part, they address developments in office design and planning, tracing an evolution from the repetitive and homogeneous office skyscraper to the present-day mixed-use structure. Overall they demonstrate how the objective technical analysis associated with modernist architectural theory has given way in recent building practice to a variety of flexible, pragmatic, and environmental approaches. These, they suggest, have opened the way to new urban and architectural forms.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Two Spanish architects examine architectural technology as it relates to the skyscraper. Although the authors include all eras of skyscraper design, they begin with a stimulating chapter on Le Corbusier and discuss in theoretical, technological, but comprehensible terms the three types of tall buildings developed by him between 1920 and 1950. In the second part of the book, they address the technological evolution of high-rise structures, referred to in this not always elegant translation as "contemporary" when in fact "modernist" would be more accurate. With numerous plans and sections, this is an insightful and integrated discussion of related work by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, I.M. Pei, and Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill. In Part 3, the authors trace the evolution of office-space planning and provide information that should be of value to interior designers as well as architects. A fine complement to Kenneth Frampton's Studies in Tectonic Culture as well as to Carl Condit and Sarah Bradford Landau's Rise of the New York Skyscraper, 1865-1913, this is recommended for larger collections and all architecture school collections.-Paul Glassman, New York Sch. of Interior Design Lib. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262011914
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Pages: 400

Meet the Author

Madrid-based architect Iñaki Ábalos was, along with Juan Herreros, the recipient ofColumbia University's Buell Book Fellowship.

Madrid-based architect Juan Herreros was, along with Iñaki Ábalos, the recipient ofColumbia University's Buell Book Fellowship.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 2
Pt. 1 High-Rise Construction and the Modern Movement 7
Ch. 1 The Theoretical Contributions of Le Corbusier 11
Pt. 2 Technological Evolution of Contemporary High-Rise Structures 37
Ch. 2 Structural Development 41
Ch. 3 Evolution of Glass Curtain Wall Construction 99
Ch. 4 The Mechanically Regulated Environment and Its Structural Implications 137
Pt. 3 Typological and Urban Evolution of the Contemporary High-Rise Building 173
Ch. 5 The Evolution of Space Planning in the Workplace 177
Ch. 6 Evolution of Topological Planning in the High-Rise Building: The Mixed-Use Skyscraper 217
Epilogue 265
Notes 273
Illustration Credits 285
Index of Names 291
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