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S. Wilson (London)
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Jørn Utzon - Houses
Jørn Utzon - Houses
by Henrik S Møller
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £26.00

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Talking with Utzon. Walking with Utzon, 7 Oct. 2009
This review is from: Jørn Utzon - Houses (Hardcover)
This book is a real pleasure. The affection and respect of the author -- and the photographer -- for Utzon is clear.

It opens with an essay, titled 'Conversations'. This is in the manner of a record of conversations between Jørn Utzon and Henrik Sten Møller, as retold by Møller. No quotations are used around Utzon's words, but the reader can discern when Utzon is talking and when Møller is adding his thoughts, or just thinking aloud.

There is a charming account of the two meetings in America between the young Utzon and the great Mies van der Rohe: the first before and the second after the Sydney Opera House competition. (I won't spoil for you the amusement of reading this first-hand). I had not appreciated the early influence of Wright (with whom the Utzon's had stayed in America in the late 1940s or perhaps '50 or '51), but this comes out clearly, and is evident in Utzon's own house in Hellebæk (1952).

A plan and one simple elevation of the Hellebæk house are included in the essay, but it has no chapter of its own in the book, which is arranged in ten chapters: The Kingo Houses (1954-57), The Sydney Opera House, (1958-1966), The Fredensborg Houses (1962-65), Bagsværd Church (1968-76), Espansiva (1969), Herning School Complex (1967-70), Can Lis (completed 1974), Kuwait National Assembly (commissioned 1969) photographed in its original form before the post-1991 restoration of the Gulf War fire damage, Paustian Furniture House (1987) and Can Feliz (1991-94).

There we have two residential housing complexes, the design for a modular house construction system built only in prototype, a school house (now a home), two wonderful Mediterranean houses, a house of commerce, a house of worship, a house of national assembly and of course Utzon's magnum opus: a house for Opera and home for an Orchestra.

Each chapter opens with a page or two of text on the building, has a small selection of Utzon's lovely concept sketches, some plans and elevations. But the majority of the book is devoted to Per Nagel's beautiful photographs of the buildings, which are allowed to speak for themselves. This is not the book for you, if you want pages of detailed drawings (in the manner of Phaidon's wonderful 'Architecture in Detail' series). Only a few of the photographs are captioned. Most of the others can be identified from reference to the simple plans included.

Utzon, if not the greatest architect, is surely the greatest architectural genius who has ever lived. If you don't believe me, acquaint yourself with the Sydney Opera House (well beyond what is possible from this book's 'taster' chapter), beginning with an understanding of the site, including the view from the bridge and the city above it, the conception of its form, through the process of design development to the brilliant solution of the problem of the shells, their manufacture and construction and the Utzon's sadly unbuilt interiors.

Yet, to me, this book shows Utzon in his simplicity and humility, a true student of nature's Architect and willing to learn from the wisdom built by other people in earlier ages, and always mindful to build for the people who will live and work and pray and meet and sing and listen in his buildings, soaring far above the arrogance of Wright, the pride of Mies and the presumptuously prescriptive ideologies of countless lesser architects. He is surely more than the equal in his architectural gifts than the justly acclaimed Alvar Aalto.

The book is published by the Scandinavian house Living Architecture Publishing []
I give the book four stars rather than five, as it is let down slightly by a number of typographical errors and awkward translations.
But don't let that stop you from buying it, and absorbing yourself in it.

SJW
7.x.2009


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good, solid product, 11 Oct. 2008
The Polar CS100 is an excellent entry-level cycling computer and heart-rate monitor. It does what it says on the box.
You can read a PDF of the manual under product support from here:
[...])

I found it installed easily. It's fully wireless, so no wires to fiddle with. All of the brackets and rubber bits and cable ties (+ spare cable ties) are in the box. The manual is clear and has a detachable quick-guide card at the front. If you position the speed sensor as per the instructions, it works perfectly. The main unit attaches and detaches easily from the bracket, which you can put on the handlebar or stem.

The buttons are quite positive: they need a firm press, with feedback from a beep, which can be turned off in settings. Other beeps (eg: that you are above or below your training heart rate zone) can also be turned off in the settings. It logs data for today's, this week's and this season's exercise totals.

For the price of a cadence sensor kit, this can be upgraded to a triple-wireless unit (speed, cadence and heart rate). Excellent value for the price.

The speed sensor needs to be close to the main unit, so has to go on the front fork/wheel. If you want a computer than works with your bike on an indoor trainer, you need a rear wheel sensor, so will need something like the Cateye V3 (CC-TR300TW), if you want full (triple) wireless functionality.

Recommended for recreational cyclists not needing the more advanced functions in the CS200, 400 or 600 and not needing to use it on an indoor trainer.


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