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Modern Architecture Since 1900 [Paperback]

William J R Curtis
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
RRP: 27.95
Price: 19.01 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

27 Jun 1996

Since its first publication in 1982, Modern Architecture Since 1900 has become established as a contemporary classic. Worldwide in scope, it combines a clear historical outline with masterly analysis and interpretation. Technical, economic, social and intellectual developments are brought together in a comprehensive narrative which provides a setting for the detailed examination of buildings. Throughout the book the author's focus is on the individual architect, and on the qualities that give outstanding buildings their lasting value.

For the third edition, the text has been radically revised and expanded, incorporating much new material and a fresh appreciation of regional identity and variety. Seven chapters are entirely new, including expanded coverage of recent world architecture.

Described by James Ackerman of Harvard University as 'immeasurably the finest work covering this field in existence', this book presents a penetrating analysis of the modern tradition and its origins, tracing the creative interaction between old and new that has generated such an astonishing richness of architectural forms across the world and throughout the century.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 736 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 3rd edition edition (27 Jun 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714833568
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714833569
  • Product Dimensions: 24.3 x 21 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,734 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description

Review

‘the book is excellent value.’
Architects' Journal

‘as close to a definitive guide to the architecture of our century as we yet have.’
Sunday Times

‘A book of this length and depth is an unimaginable achievement…’
Building Design

‘comprehensive, up-to-date and very readable.’
Sunday Telegraph

‘This should be a standard volume in all architecture collections.’
Library Journal

'… the clearest and most authentic survey to appear in English. ... Essential reading, indeed breath-taking reading'
Architecture New Zealand

About the Author

William Curtis has won worldwide acclaim for his architectural writing. His books include Le Corbusier: Ideas and Forms and Denys Lasdun, both published by Phaidon.

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
In covering well-trodden ground, William Curtis still manages to shed new light on the subject of Modern Architecture. Much has been written over the years, including Sigfried Giedion's seminal work, Space Time and Architecture, which sought to give Modern Architecture its proper perspective. Mr. Curtis seems greatly beholden to Giedion, especially in his interpretations of Le Corbusier, which comprise a sizeable chunk of this volume. Mr. Curtis downplays the polemics and focuses more on the individual contributions of an incredibly broad range of architects from the early 19th century to the present day.
Wonderful chapters encapsulate the various movements such as his piece on the Revolutionary Architecture of Russia, and how these ideas filtered through the various European architectural movements. He also covers the diaspora of Russian avant-garde architects, in subsequent chapters, to Germany, England, Israel and the United States and the tremendous impact they had in these countries.
However, the main focus is the way in which Modern architecture was constantly being reshaped into a regional architecture, highlighting such major figures as Alvar Aalto, Luis Barrigan, and Oscar Niemeyer, all of whom owed some debt to Le Corbusier.
This is a very even-handed account, perhaps too even-handed at times. It is a most valuable resource for anyone interesting in Modern architecture and the many forms and variations that it has taken over the 20th century.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for architects and students 10 Sep 2013
Format:Paperback
This book was part of the pre-course reading list for my architecture undergraduate degree. I got round to reading it after graduation, but really wish I read it sooner. Being able to refer to "seminal" building types as seen in this book throughout my whole degree would have made my studio work much stronger.

Given the sheer scope of the book, it can only be a highly personal interpretation of modern architecture since 1900. It is thus wise to read other meta narratives to obtain a variety of viewpoints and angles (Kenneth Frampton's Modern Architecture is next on my list).

The text concentrates on the buildings, the ideas that went into generating them, and how those ideas developed. As such, it really requires you to look at plans / sections / elevations and pictures of the buildings. Compared to the number of buildings mentioned, the illustrations within are sparse and barely adequate. A separate volume with full plans, sections, elevations and pictures would really help communicate a lot of the analysis. I found myself constantly looking up buildings on the internet, sometimes 5 buildings / architects per paragraph, making progress excruciatingly slow.

Other than this, it would be a 5 star book. Thoroughly recommended.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exhausting rather than exhaustive 30 July 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is the 3rd edition of this book, and Curtis has certainly expanded his knowledge, to encompass areas of the world not covered in previous editions. In all fairness this is a useful primer for undergraduate students (though one is fearful that they will cling to Curtis's stereotypes), and the book is worth buying just for the chapters on Le Corbusier alone - Curtis being without doubt a major authority on Le Corbusier. But most of the other chapters are very thin and stero-typed. Curtis says that great architecture is felt with the heart, which is why he needs to see every building he writes about - a very fair and worthy comment - and yet he more or less reproduces received history, and clings to stereotypes; German Nazi architecture, for instance, is seen as very bad - even though of course one can only inspect them via photographs, as they were destroyed in the 2nd WW, BECAUSE they were Nazis. I have a particular interest in Finnish architecture, and was amazed t! o see that he has gotten one of the key names completely wrong! He writes about the constructivist architecture of Vormala, when in fact Vormala was not a constructivist; the person he really means is Vormala's former partner Heikki Kairamo!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very complete book. Very helpful 12 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I just started reading it but seems to be very complete. Then it's written by Curtis he exposes very well the content and he shows very details of the architecture movements.
It has been very helpful in my thesis and it will be very interesting after that to learn more about the pre modernism movements and architects.
It has arrived in excellent conditions.
Recommend it because it gives you a wide look to modern architecture
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