Why Architecture Matters

Why Architecture Matters

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by Paul Goldberger
     
 

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Why Architecture Matters is not a work of architectural history or a guide to the styles or an architectural dictionary, though it contains elements of all three. The purpose of Why Architecture Matters is to “come to grips with how things feel to us when we stand before them, with how architecture affects us emotionally as well asSee more details below

Overview

Why Architecture Matters is not a work of architectural history or a guide to the styles or an architectural dictionary, though it contains elements of all three. The purpose of Why Architecture Matters is to “come to grips with how things feel to us when we stand before them, with how architecture affects us emotionally as well as intellectually”—with its impact on our lives. “Architecture begins to matter,” writes Paul Goldberger, “when it brings delight and sadness and perplexity and awe along with a roof over our heads.” He shows us how that works in examples ranging from a small Cape Cod cottage to the “vast, flowing” Prairie houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, from the Lincoln Memorial to the highly sculptural Guggenheim Bilbao and the Church of Sant’Ivo in Rome, where “simple geometries . . . create a work of architecture that embraces the deepest complexities of human imagination.”

Based on decades of looking at buildings and thinking about how we experience them, the distinguished critic raises our awareness of fundamental things like proportion, scale, space, texture, materials, shapes, light, and memory. Upon completing this remarkable architectural journey, readers will enjoy a wonderfully rewarding new way of seeing and experiencing every aspect of the built world.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirk Savage
Paul Goldberger is America's preeminent public critic of architecture, and his wise, compassionate Why Architecture Matters sums up a lifetime spent exploring, reflecting and writing. Some of the most affecting parts of the book are drawn from his deeply personal experience, growing up in the lively streetscape of 1950s Passaic, N.J., sojourning in the architectural wonderland of Yale University, and coming to terms with the construction and destruction of the Twin Towers.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
With a broad topic and a deep reach, this collection of work from New Yorker architecture critic Goldberger reflects on the meanings and effects of architecture, both in the abstract and in everyday life. From specific places like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. ("may be one of the few great architectural works anywhere whose approach is marked only by directional signs, not by a glimpse of the thing itself") to discussion of individual architects (Saarinesen, Lloyd Wright, etc.), Goldberger is clear and direct throughout, occasionally addressing readers directly with questions and thought experiments ("For the next few pages ... think only in terms of what a building looks like when you stand before it") that help recreate the architectural thought process. Sometimes focused too narrowly on the author's own experience (breathlessly recounted memories of architectural epiphany can fall flat), Goldberger occasionally risks alienating readers who lack his enthusiasm. For students and fans of architecture, however, this makes an elegant but energetic tour of building design, aesthetics, construction and inspiration that should encourage new ways of viewing one's surroundings. 55 b & w illustrations.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Pulitzer Prize-winning author Goldberger has long been recognized by readers of the New York Times and The New Yorker as an architecture critic on a par with venerated peers like Ada Louise Huxtable and Lewis Mumford. With many books to his credit—most recently an incisive take on Ground Zero doings in Manhattan, Up from Zero: Politics, Architecture, and the Rebuilding of New York—Goldberger sums up a lifetime of musings on things architectural with picturesque essays concerning the way the built environment affects the quality of our daily lives. Owing to telling autobiographical insights incorporated into the narrative, we see how this most diplomatic of observers finds merit in the classicists and preservationists of the last two centuries, as well as in avant-garde innovators such as Corbusier and Frank Gehry. VERDICT Although a bias for the East Coast can be detected, Goldberger's trenchant and deftly communicated insights retain a universal validity. These meditations will entrance and enlighten anyone curious about why the buildings around us affect us as they do.—David Soltész, Cuyahoga Cty. P.L., Parma, OH

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300155778
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
11/03/2009
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Sales rank:
537,438
File size:
5 MB

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