It has been nearly a century since the rise of architectural modernism in central Europe. Modern architecture was such a radical break with the past that it continues to fascinate students of architectural history. Today's enthusiasts freely borrow from the early modernist vocabulary to explore contemporary issues. It is the rare architect today who doesn't easily toss around a phrase or two from Mies or Le Corbusier.
In "Light, Air and Openess", Paul Overy is interested in learning how early modernists at the time described their break from tradition. One of crucial themes that Overy develops is the early modernists preocupation with hygene, sunshine, air, healthiness and whiteness. Today, we often forget their visceral reaction to the unhealthy conditions of the industrial revolution and the mass industrial slaughter of the trenches. Today's enthusiasts often times overlook this important driver in the creation of modern architecture.
"Light, Air and Openess" is one of the best books for helping contemporary readers enter the European mindset during the years between the two World Wars. Overy is a gifted writer with a strong command of the European architectural literature of the 1920-30's. The sixty six photographs that illustrate the text are an added pleasure. This is a great book and I highly recommend it.