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The Anaesthetics of Architecture Paperback – 21 Apr 1999

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Product details

  • Paperback: 108 pages
  • Publisher: MIT Press (21 April 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262621266
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262621267
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,391,543 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Neil Leach is an architect and theorist who has taught at a number of institutions worldwide, including the Architectural Association in London, the Dessau Institute Dessau, Germany, and Columbia University. He is the author, editor, or translator of more than a dozen books, including Rethinking Architecture, The Anaesthetics of Architecture (MIT Press, 1999), and Alberti's On the Art of Building in Ten Books (MIT Press 1991).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Artsreadings on 9 Nov. 2009
Format: Paperback
Leach's book is a dense read, heavily relying on Jean Baudrillard and Guy Debord and their critique of contemporary capitalist society.

There are also references to Georg Simmel and Walter Benjamin.

There are interesting ideas, but the book is rather short, so that ideas are not too developped.

The author is intentionally polemical in his approach and extreme in his argumentation. It might be thought-provoking for some and loathable for others.

1. Saturation of the image, 1;
2. The architect as fascist, 17;
3. The Aesthetics of Intoxication, 33;
4. The Architecture of the catwalk, 55;
5. Seduction, the last resort, 71;
Notes, 89;
Index, 99
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's Neil Leach 10 Nov. 1999
By Mike Gildea (mgildea@cantarah.com) - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Mr. Leach's polemic is thrilling. Rounding up the usual suspects like Baudrillard and Benjamin, Mr. Leach takes us on an unexpectedly critical tour of architecture's avant-garde. The seduction and infatuation of the image in modern culture is complete and total, to the point where even philosophy has been reduced to a decorative device used to tart up images that may or may not be sexy enough. This is brutal yet liberating reading for anyone who suffered architectural grad school in the late '80s or '90s. He is merciless in his critiques of Lebbeus Woods and Venturi/Scott/Brown for their amoral conflation and confusion of form and content. I read portions twice just to savor the skewering. I am surprized that some version of Mr. Leach's analysis of "aestheticization" has not reached the popular press brouhaha over the "Sensation!" exhibit. I think everyone would calm down and maybe talk about something more important than artistic freedom. There is so much more at stake. The introduction rails against "unrigorous thinking" that has dominated recent debate or theory of architecture. I think this little book will help.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
excellent read 4 Feb. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is full of penetrating insights and a fascinating look at the movements and theory that lead to the current architectural climate. I can think of no better person than Leach to examine the shallow state of most architecture today. He puts the current state of architecture in context by elaborating on Guy Debord's seminal work-Society of the Spectacle- and the ideas of the Situationists. An easy to read, to the point, enjoyable book full of great criticism and an interesting grounding in cultural theory.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
requirement for a class 30 May 2013
By rory - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
the book was ok for an aesthetics book. i'd likely not purchase if not required for a class but you will have that. not unhappy form the purchase.
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
hyperreality 9 Feb. 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
quite possibly the most interesting book i've read in a long time. starts out by gripping you with the now not unfamiliar but still radically contemporary discourse about the complete loss of meaning in the world and the anonymity of the image due to complete saturation. you do start to wonder if perhaps leach has a personal grudge against venturi + scott brown but all the same a refreshing bit of criticism. definately worth a read as an intro into the issues of hyperreality and seduction as the last resort in a mind numbing world of image attack, but read it quickly as this line of thought is sure to reach a point of apocalyptic tension and then burn out.
15 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A book that has lost its direction 11 May 1999
By J. Chan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I saw this book in Yale University bookstore, I was extremely thrilled to discover that a book on the aesthetics of architecture has been written. However, after reading the book, I was extremely disappointed to find out that the book has wandered aimlessly in several directions, and the author seemed to have many ideas, but most of them is not critically discussed or permeable to the readers. The most distressed thing is that the book wandered off in the direction of becoming a critical review of Las Vegas and Venturi's seminal work, both Learning from Las Vegas and Complexity and Contradiction. For one, Las Vegas is not the 'contentless' city that the author subscribed to presently. It is the ultimate event city, and the author would discover that big events and 'situations' have found their place within the this city. It might even seem contradictory that this chapter on Las Vegas has worked conceptually against the main idea of the book. However, the book finally picked up its pace in the last chapter, when the author finally addressed the problem of overt aesthetics in students' work today because of the homogeneity of computer usage. It finally seemed that the last chapter is the first, and the book ended where it should have started. Overall, there is some consistencies in the arguement from Lebbeus Wood's drawings to several cultural theorists arguement on aesthetics. There is also evidence of a resurgence in Situationism, and the author has confidently picked up on this trend.However, there is not enough reference to contemporary architecture and aesthetics to warrant a serious look into this book.
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