A Critic Writes: Selected Essays by Reyner Banham

A Critic Writes: Selected Essays by Reyner Banham

Paperback(First Edition, (A Centennial Book))

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Few twentieth-century writers on architecture and design have enjoyed the renown of Reyner Banham. Born and trained in England and a U.S. resident starting in 1976, Banham wrote incisively about American and European buildings and culture. Now readers can enjoy a chronological cross-section of essays, polemics, and reviews drawn from more than three decades of Banham's writings.

The volume, which includes discussions of Italian Futurism, Adolf Loos, Paul Scheerbart, and the Bauhaus as well as explorations of contemporary architecture by Frank Gehry, James Stirling, and Norman Foster, conveys the full range of Banham's belief in industrial and technological development as the motor of architectural evolution. Banham's interests and passions ranged from architecture and the culture of pop art to urban and industrial design. In brilliant analyses of automobile styling, mobile homes, science fiction films, and the American predilection for gadgets, he anticipated many of the preoccupations of contemporary cultural studies. Los Angeles, the city that Banham commemorated in a book and a film, receives extensive attention in essays on the Santa Monica Pier, the Getty Museum, Forest Lawn cemetery, and the ubiquitous freeway system.

Eminently readable, provocative, and entertaining, this book is certain to consolidate Banham's reputation among architects and students of contemporary culture. For those acquainted with his writing, it offers welcome surprises as well as familiar delights. For those encountering Banham for the first time, it comprises the perfect introduction.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780520219441
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication date: 03/24/1999
Series: Centennial Book Series
Edition description: First Edition, (A Centennial Book)
Pages: 366
Sales rank: 684,780
Product dimensions: 7.40(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.90(d)

About 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, and Professor of Art History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His many books include Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1973), Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1980), and A Concrete Atlantis: U.S. Industrial Building and European Modern Architecture (1986). Mary Banham is an artist, editor, and curator who collaborated with her husband on his books and articles. Paul Barker, for many years editor of New Society, writes and broadcasts on social, environmental, and cultural issues. Sutherland Lyall, Literary Advisor to the Banham estate, has written seven books on architecture, design, and building. Cedric Price is an internationally acclaimed architect. The editors currently live in London.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Peter Hall 
1. Vehicles of Desire
2. The New Brutalism
3. Ornament and Crime: The Decisive Contribution of Adolf Loos
4. Ungrab That Gondola 
5. Machine Aesthetes 
6. Unesco House 
7. The Glass Paradise 
8. Primitives of a Mechanized Art 
The 1960s
9.  Stocktaking 
10. Alienation of Parts 
11. Design by Choice 
12. Carbonorific 
13. Big Doug, Small Piece 
14. Old Number One 
15. Kent and Capability 
The Dymaxicrat 
17. The Style for the Job 
18. How I Learnt to Live with the Norwich Union 
19. People's Palaces 
20. The Great Gizmo 
21. Aviary, London Zoological Gardens 
22. Unlovable at Any Speed 
23. Roadscape with Rusting Nails 
24. History Faculty, Cambridge 
25. The Wilderness Years of Frank Lloyd Wright 
The 1970s 
26. Power of Trent and Aire 
27. The Crisp at the Crossroads 
28. The Historian on the Pier 
29. The Master Builders 
30. Rank Values 
31. Paleface Trash 
32. Power Plank 
33. Iron Bridge Embalmed 
34. Sundae Painters 
35. Bricologues a Ia Lanterne 
36. Lair of the Looter 
37. Valley of the Dams 
38. Grass Above, Glass Around
39. Summa Galactica 
40. Pevsner's Progress 
41. Taking It With You 
42. Hotel Deja-quoi? 
43. Valentino: Simply Filed Away 
The 1980s 
44. The Haunted Highway 
45. Dead on the Fault 
46. 0, Bright Star ... 
47. Stirling Escapes the Hobbits 
48. Fiat: The Phantom of Order 
49. Modern Monuments 
50. Building Inside Out 
51. In the Neighborhood of Art 
On the Wings of Wonder 
53. Actual Monuments 
54. A Black Box: The Secret Profession of Architecture 

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