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Could have been so much better,
This review is from: The Grand Tour (Hardcover)
had the author not demonstrated his utter adoration for Corbusier quite so much. Practically every one of Corbusier's (to my eyes, extremely ugly and much-overrated buildings) is slobbered over by Seidler, often at the expense of native architectural styles and some of the world's most beautiful and iconic buildings. There is little of domestic architecture here - few houses or cottages - but much of cathedrals and other places of (mainly Christian) worship, which gets a little wearying after a while. And Corbusier - always bloody Corbusier, whatever country Seidler happens to find himself in, if there is a Corbusier building there, Seidler will photograph it and stick it in this book. In Britain (which seems to consist of just England, I could see no examples of Scottish, Welsh or Irish architecture here) there is no mention of Robert Adam, Edwin Lutyens, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Edinburgh Castle or Ironbridge. In Spain, there is precious little mention of Gaudi. In Russia, St Petersburg (one of the world's most beautiful cities) is hurried over in a page or two and one could be forgiven for thinking that St. Petersburg and Moscow were Russia's only two cities. In Norway there is no mention of the iconic wooden churches. But Corbusier always manages to find a place - even in India, for pete's sake. The picture of the Parliament building in Budapest was taken at a time when a large part of the facade was covered in hideous and very prominent scaffolding.
Also intensely irritating is the fact that the layout of the book means that many beautiful buildings are presented over a two page spread - which means that with the paperback version, if you want to see the entire thing, you have to crack the spine of the book back or lose a good 1/5 of the image in the dip where the pages meet. Better by far to have rotated the images 90 degrees and presented them as landscape images on a single page, surely? The picture numbering is also extremely strange; often you are told that pictures 1, 2, 4 and 6 are of one building, while pictures 3 and 5 are of two others - this is just weird and gets very irritating. Surely it would not have been difficult to have put all the pictures of one building consecutively before moving onto the next?
The irritations of this book began to outweigh its pleasures for me and it was only by the slenderest margin that I was persuaded not to throw it at the wall. One for the charity shop box, I think. Mainly because I got fed up with being told repeatedly just how bloody wonderful Corbusier was.