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on 28 March 2011
An interesting read and view, covering a lot of ground. One criticism would be that there seems to be a large emphasis on London tutors from the Bartlett and Architectural Association, who are all excellent, but possibly not "visionary" in the way that Gaudi, Hadid etc are. The book goes from "here is the truly visionary and world famous Sagrada Familia" on one page to "here's a visionary doodle and a photo of a table with wobbly iron legs down in the 80s by yours truly, the author, Neil Spiller." A lot of London centric stuff and some of the arrogance that comes with it. The language does not always flow easily, verging on the deliberately prententious and over complex, in place of trying to really explain a point. Apart from that it's great.
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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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on 20 November 2008
A brilliant work, for anyone keen to know more on the world of architecture beyond their immediate environment. Lavishly illustrated, concisely indexed and easily referenced; the book is set out as an ambling history of conceptual and adventurous architecture, intersposed by detailed case studies. Examples included are of living and long-deceased arhitects, breaking from (but with relevant reference to) the usual suspects of corbusier, mies, and so on.
The book is consistently rewarding becasue at first the text is a little esoteric, but in such a way as to provoke further thought in place of discouraging it. Well recommended.
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on 14 March 2016
some interesting picture - but it's not what I expected
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on 8 August 2010
having bought this book some months ago ive constantly used it as a reference and for inspiration as i finish my final year as an architect student. i would recommend this to any student of architecture.
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on 17 July 2011
An incredibly inspiring book, beautiful drawings and illustrations with a deep and thorough commentary. This book is fantastic!!! I have since bought this as a gift and highly recommend it.
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on 30 December 2015
Terrific book!
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on 1 May 2009
This book was bought for my husband's firm here in Brunei - they are completely satisfied with the condition and content of the book
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on 16 November 2014
Good.
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on 2 February 2010
A tour-de-force of architectural research and design. Spiller reveals the roots and futures of architectural genius. This is a visual and literary masterpiece. If you like architecture buy this book now.
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