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Bldgblog Book: Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculation, Landscape Futures Paperback – 1 Jul 2009

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Product details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books (1 July 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811866440
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811866446
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 2.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 169,502 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


SARAH RICH, CO-FOUNDER, INHABITATA thousand years from now, looters will comb the rubble of ruined libraries in search of this book to study Manaugh's cubist love stories between humans and the cities they created.

About the Author

Geoff Manuagh is a wunderkind at making his unique, smart, slantwise view of architecture and the world accessible to readers-his site attracts people because it is intellectually rigorous and flat out entertaining all at the same time. His eclecticism, enthusiasm, and humor make him perfectly poised to reach a wide audience.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 21 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
My wife bought me a copy for Christmas, I started reading it on Christmas day, and could not put it down.

It is a wonderful piece of speculative writing about architecture, and is beautifully illustrated. Anyone who has ever thought about why we live in the places that we do, should find this fascinating. It is also surprisingly literary in its terms of reference, if you enjoy JG Ballard, Borges, or Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino, then you will love this.

I have been reading the popular blog for some time, but even so, I was surprised at just how good this book is. This is not just a blog transmuted into a book, it is a substantial and thought provoking book with a deep sense of humour. I cannot think of another book that I have read recently with more ideas in it.

This is a modern classic.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Davies on 26 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback
I love the blog and the book is just as good. Great to pick up and flick through in a spare 5 minutes or even better to put the kettle on and get stuck in.
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By Mr Ephraim Joris on 12 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback
With great openness a variety of projects live next to each other and are commented on through profound yet calm writing …
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By ARQ PAULO VIANA on 11 Sept. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book is great. Didn't arrive in perfect conditions though.. But it's fine
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
The architecture of pleasure 4 July 2009
By Stephen Silberman - Published on
Format: Paperback
Geoff Manaugh's BLDGBLOG is one of the most invigorating, subversive, visually engaging, and purely pleasurable outposts on the Net, and those qualities carry over into this beautifully written and designed book. The range of Manaugh's restless intellect is breathtaking, incorporating everything from urban design to climatology, music, astronomy, pop culture, and much more. Under the guise of writing a blog about architecture, Manaugh has crafted a tribute to the world-transforming power of imagination itself. Along the way, he wrestles with some of the most athletic and ambitious minds of our time, including the late novelist J.G. Ballard, classicist Mary Beard, architect Lebbeus Woods, and urban theorist Mike Davis, author of "City of Quartz" and "Planet of Slums."

It's hard not to laugh out loud when reading "The BLDGBLOG Book," because Manaugh's own imagination is so astonishingly fertile and nearly child-like in its refusal to abide in comfortably deadening assumptions. Like a prodigious three-year old armed with a flaneur's comprehensive street-level knowledge of the way things work, Manaugh relentlessly interrogates everything we take for granted about the environments we create. The overall effect is to open new vistas in what appeared solid and settled, as if you'd suddenly discovered a secret passageway to the unknown in your own cramped apartment -- one of Manaugh's pet obsessions.

For example, hearing about a collaboration between architects and sound engineers to create "sonic windows" in a house that bring the outside aural environment indoors, Manaugh imagines the resident of such a house -- built above a glacier -- nearly immobilized by awe and wonder. "Crystalline pressures of melting ice 3,000 feet below you suddenly break, sending cascades of sound shivering upward through the house's foundations," he writes, with a taut lyricism rarely found in books these days, much less on blogs. "Some days it's impossible to get out of bed, hypnotized by unearthly noises."

What is this kind of writing -- science fiction? Magical hyper-realism? Who cares? Manaugh has succeeded in creating his own genre and remaking the world on his own terms. To him, the oncoming parade of catastrophes of economy, population, and climate are arguments for striving ever more boldly to refashion the world in accord with our innermost desires.

One of the first people to recognize the author's young genius was Allen Ginsberg. Though Manaugh only elliptically refers to his teenage apprenticeship with the late author of "Howl" and other poems in this book, it's easy to see why Ginsberg was smitten. Manaugh is able to fuse abstract musing with concrete particulars in a way that is particularly suited to our historical moment, yet harkens back to the restless probing of reality embodied by Ginsberg's own poetic mentor, the pioneering 18th century multimedia poet William Blake. Even the modus operandi of this book -- the fervid "hyperlinking" between seemingly disparate realms of emotion, experience, and intellectual discipline -- feels appropriate for our densely networked, neurotically twittering era. But unlike other blog books, this volume will outlast our ever-accelerating Now, because it's so luminously written. It's easy to imagine a smart kid stumbling on scans of "The BLDGBLOG Book" in some pocket-sized Library of Congress on Mars 100 years from now and feeling energized to take up his or her own outrageous vocation.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
A catalog of enthusiasm and imagination 7 Aug. 2009
By Robin Sloan - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are a couple passage in Geoff Manaugh's intro to The BLDGBLOG Book that are worth noting here, because they frame the book in a way that's not necessarily obvious just looking at the title & description:

"In other words, forget academic rigor. Never take the appropriate next step. Talk about Chinese urban design, the European space program, the landscape in the films of Alfred Hitchcock in the span of three sentences -- because it's fun, and the juxtapositions might take you somewhere. Most importantly, follow your lines of interest."

And then:

"Finally, I want to reiterate that BLDGBLOG is fundamentally about following, and not being ashamed by, your own enthusiasms, whether or not they are rigorous and appropriate for the academic mores of the day, or even interesting for your family and friends."

So that gives you a hint: this is not just a book about architecture. It's really a book about enthusiasm and imagination. It reads like a catalog of excitement and wondering-what-if. And there's something in here for anyone with a curious mind.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
more than I expected, exactly what I wanted 10 Sept. 2009
By Maayan Roman - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book does an excellent job of further developing ideas from the blog into a format appropriate for a book while still maintaining the feel of a blog. Great for a long train ride or as a coffee table book. It uses architecture as a lens for delving into related aspects of society and takes enjoyable turns into the stretches of imagination, science fiction, and fantasy, all while still making observations on society. Definitely recommended. You certainly do not need to read the blog to enjoy the book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Intellectual Fireworks ! 2 Sept. 2009
By Pierre Gauthier - Published on
Format: Paperback
This unusual book, a spin-off from an actual blog, is unusually imaginative, creative and stimulating.

The author's topic is architecture, which he defines very broadly. So, he discusses underground structures _ largely sewers in fact, climate control _ as a complement to urban design, sound environments as well as landscapes in the distant future. Literature, music and cinema are inextricably meshed into the «architectural» exposés.

Though he often extrapolates lyrically, the author is convincing when he claims to base his discussions on realities and scientific facts.

The book reads almost like a magazine since throughout the main text, neatly organized in chapters, are interspersed related articles and interviews, some very short, some half a dozen pages long.

The work is abundantly and quite pertinently illustrated with quality colour photographs, many very artistic.

A prior visit to the blog may prove useful to the potential reader although the book is definitely more polished and thus highly recommended to anyone curious and open-minded.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Excellent, deeply written with multiple perspectives on the built environment 8 April 2011
By mbendert - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book took multiple angles on the view of architecture that pique one's interest. I would 100% suggest reading this book, whether you're a designer or not. This book applies to all spectrum's. I was astonished with the way different perspectives could be viewed within each section: Urban, underground, the sky, sound, and landscapes. Design ideas were expressed from certain constructed elements pertaining to things that one would not deem architecture, from "...London floods, earthquakes, William Blake, and James Bond. Ruins, climate change, and the apocalypse. Cape Canaveral. Hadrian's Wall. Homer. Anything that could, in however distant a way, be related back to architecture, in its broadest and most interesting conception." You will want to read this.
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