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3.0 out of 5 stars
2
3.0 out of 5 stars
The Modernist House
Format: Hardcover|Change
Price:£17.95+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 March 2010
If you have Phaidon's 'House Book' you'll have seen all this before, as its the modern house pages reprinted. The format follows the editorial style as other Phaidon 'Books series': Art; Photography; Modern Art; American Art. Each page has one large image with details and captions along the bottom of the page. This style works well for art and photography but how can one photo sum up a three dimensional building? Most of those in this book do a reasonable job and a few have become as iconic as the building, like Julius Schulman's wonderful photo of Pierre Koenig's Stahl House overlooking Los Angeles.

If one has to use just one photo then it should be the best possible and I was disappointed with several of the hundred. The Okada House, Ralph Soriano's 1950 Case House, Elwood's Rosen House, Botta's house at Riva San Vitale, Project 222's Future Systems and the Casa Moledo all seem very inadequate photos because so little of the house is visible and it's a pity Phaidon didn't do a bit more research to find better photos. There are several interiors, too that seem out of keeping with the exterior style for the majority of the hundred.

There are probably better general survey books of modern houses available with more photos and maybe floor plans. This one might be useful for students who are thinking of an architectural career.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 April 2012
With this book you get one hundred photos of one hundred modernist houses, with a few paragraphs about each house. There is a slightly pointless glossary, and a more welcome directory of which houses are actually open to the public.

The format inevitably is rather frustrating. Limiting a building to one photo might work with a glass walled shed, but for more complex buildings you are left wanting more. The buildings are what you would expect, with a good global mix and a good spread across the decades from 1910 to 2007. The text is good at setting the buildings in context, but it can be particularly frustrating to get a photo from one side and have the text tell you how impressive the unseen side is.

I am not sure that the book really inspires the nascent architect, I let my daughter look at it and she felt that they were overly samey. There are a lot of very square buildings with a lot of glass walls. It is as if a lot of these buildings were different iterations of the same basic idea.

Ultimately I came away from the book more frustrated than satisfied. Probably a useful book to have around if you are interested in modern architecture but it really leaves you wanting to know more about your favourites.
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