8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
a big book,
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This review is from: Small, Medium, Large, Extra-Large (Hardcover)I write as someone who loves to have a vaguely speculative architecture book on the go. This book is an obvious addition to my reading but it does come with a hefty price tag. It is also the size of a medieval bible, or a couple of housebricks. This is a very big book.
People might well be wary as to whether this is something that they want to invest the time, money and shelf space for.
Well, I would describe it as a collage of sorts. It contains a variety of writings, plans, diagrams, and photos. Although it is ostensibly about architecture and urbanism, it does not really go into specifying toilets or building standards. This is about architects as heroic creators of imaginary worlds, that sometimes become real. It also includes a listing of quotes arranged in alphabetical order running as a sidebar across many of the pages. In the conclusion of the book these are attributed. They are a thought provoking selection coming form such sources as JG Ballard, Wim Wenders, Umberto Eco, Jorge Luis Borges etc.
It is not really a didactic book, it is not a manifesto, more it is the scrapings from notebooks and writing, and photos, etc etc. It is a late night whimsy made flesh.
If you are a fan of Koolhaas then the book needs no further recommendation, if you are not then you will probably find much to enjoy here. However, if you thought Bldgblog Book: Architectural Conjecture, Urban Speculation, Landscape Futures was whimsical and pointless then you will really hate this with a vengeance.
Despite the length it is not a hard read. You can easily read a hundred pages in an hour or two as most of the pages are filled with images. Despite the subject it is not a promotion of Koolhaas and his buildings, he is quite self effacing in that sense.
Some of it is deliberately provocative, I don't think anyone could defend a photo of the aftermath of an IRA shooting sitting opposite the tale of an architectural commission that fell through, but for those open to this level of post-modern experimentalism this is well produced, solid and readable.
Finally, my copy arrived shrink wrapped and in perfect condition, the postman probably thought I had just bought a couple of house bricks from Amazon.