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Los Angeles Architecture: The Contemporary Condition [Hardcover]

James Steele
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Los Angeles Architecture: The Contemporary Condition Los Angeles Architecture: The Contemporary Condition 4.0 out of 5 stars (1)
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Book Description

4 Nov 1993
In "Los Angeles Architecture", James Steele considers the historic and geographic elements which are an important part of local sensibilities and weaves them into a narrative about the complex design activity taking place in the city today. Beginning with the pioneering characters of the American Arts and Crafts movement, James Steele traces Los Angeles' architectural energy through the works of Frank Lloyd Wright and Rudolph Schindler to arrive at the buildings of Frank Gehry, who is widely acknowledged to be a peerless interpreter of his surroundings. This analysis expands to investigate the work of those who have followed Gehry's lead, from the avant-garde educational institutions such as Sci-Arc, to those who are attempting to complete the Los Angeles myth by at last giving it a downtown.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press Ltd; The Contemporary Condition... edition (4 Nov 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714828696
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714828695
  • Product Dimensions: 29.8 x 26 x 3.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,815,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


'James Steele's book - with glamorous photography and elegant design - will have enduring value.' (Architects' Journal)

'This book proves to be far more than skin deep, thanks to a provocative and erudite text. An excellent insight.' (Architectural Review)

'A stylish and rigorous analysis.' (Building Design)

'Steele's rigorous examination of Los Angeles' contemporary condition looks at issues as well as influences, providing a timely portrait of a city often said to represent the urban typology of the future.' (Perspectives) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

James Steele is Associate Professor of Architecture at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. His books include Architecture Today, Pierre Koenig and Queen Mary, all published by Phaidon. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars aimed more at architecture buffs 26 Feb 2012
By tallmanbaby TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Los Angeles is the de facto hub for Western modern architecture. Benefiting from an amazing climate, and lacking boundaries, it seems to be a vast urban sprawl where the rich have been commissioning bespoke houses on the surrounding hills for years. The popular image is of mid century modern architects like Richard Neutra and John Lautner, and the Case Study series of houses with some Frank Gehry at the modern end of things.

Instead this book provides a gallop through the history, starting with Arts and Crafts, managing to get to Frank Gehry half way through the book, leaving plenty of space for genuinely contemporary architects and practices, such as Morphosis, and some speculation on the future of the city. This is a real enthusiast's book, which expects readers to have a good knowledge of the subject, but repays this with an informed, at times witty, commentary on architectural theory and current opinion within Los Angeles.

On the downside the book could date rapidly, as styles change. The images, generally stunning, are not well integrated into the text. For the lay reader the book is heavily over-written at points, I've quoted a particularly impenetrable passage below.

There are plenty of ways to find out more, the musician Moby has just started a blog, the KCRW Design and Architecture podcast by the ubiquitous Frances Anderton, the Planet Architecture iPad apps. There is no single architecture of Los Angeles, and there is no sentiment, buildings that are iconic within modern architecture are routinely demolished for the plots they stand on.

The book has a slip-cover, beneath the cover is plain white. The images are uniformly high quality, the text is clear with an attractive layout. As ever, an attractive product from Phaidon.
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