Top positive review
solid, but could be spikier
on 1 January 2018
Although Rowan Moore trained as an architect at Cambridge (?) and was briefly in practice, he has principally worked as a journalist, editing Blueprint, and being the architecture critic for the Observer. He was also director for the Architecture Foundation and is brother to Charles Moore former editor of the Telegraph.
This is a robust survey of the state of modern world big name architecture and how we got here. So it is light on housing estates and shopping malls. It opens with some real flair, describing the desert follies that oil money built, and generally each themed chapter has something interesting to say.
He is clearly an insider, sometimes this pays dividends, his insights into working with Zaha Hadid on a commission for a new HQ for the Architecture Foundation on a problematic site is riveting. But generally as an insider he seems unwilling to be too critical of the industry itself.
Although there is a lot of good material in here, at times it did feel over long. Material can be shoehorned into chapters, the overarching narrative lurching jerkily from story onto another.
If you are looking for a solid book on modern architecture, then this is for the most part an entertaining and informative read, but it does perhaps lack the polemical bite of some spikier writers.