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Customer Review

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars hard to review, hard to read, 31 July 2011
This review is from: Visionary Architecture: Blueprints of the Modern Imagination (Paperback)
This is a hard book to review, actually it was even quite a hard book to read.

On the plus side it is a robust survey of 'visionary architecture', I am not an expert but it does seem to be impressively broad in scope, stretching back to such people as Piranesi, through Cedric Price and Archigram and onto an awful lot of people from Bartlett School of Architecture. I suspect that 'visionary architecture' means pretty much whatever you want it to mean, so inclusion or exclusion in a book of this nature is ultimately rather arbitrary. It does seem to have a distinctly Anglo Saxon bias, and a seeming preference for people who did not build much.

The writing is fairly impenetrable, though where he writes about people I like and am interested in, it seemed to make sense, where I just do not get the architect, it just seemed incredibly pretentious. Personally I would have preferred more on people like Buckminster Fuller, but in fairness I don't think there any obvious omissions. Most readers will probably come away wanting to know more about an architect that they did not formerly know about.

If you are studying architecture then this is a useful resource. For the lay reader it is by turns fascinating and wilfully obscure.

Although the subject matter would lend itself to a truly stunning book, visually it is somewhat underwhelming. Images seem to be rather randomly plonked down, it is generally unclear what they are, and why they are significant. It would be easy to be hugely irritated by the author, he is potentially hugely pretentious and self important, for example including himself in the glossary of significant contributors to visionary architecture, but on balance his enthusiasm and thoroughness won me over. That said, I don't think I'll be buying another book by him.
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Location: Scotland

Top Reviewer Ranking: 684