Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Into The Fold

Plowed Under: Agriculture and Environment in the Palouse
by Andrew P Duffin
[I hadn't even heard of environmental history until a few days ago, then when I heard Duffin was coming to speak I took a look at his book and realized that it is exactly my project. The book is very well written. Super informative without being dry. So far, I would say this is Pulitzer material - as good as The Making of the Atomic Bomb, which is one of my all-time favorite books.]

The State of Architecture at the Beginning of the 21st Century
Ed. by Bernard Tschumi
[Dillon gave me the tip on this one. I started my forray into architectural theory at the beginning: De Architectura. For me, that perspective is as zoomed out as it gets, and I'm all about studying history. Almost immediately I jumped to Tschumi's Architecture and Disjunction. His writing is fluid and clear, if at times less than concise. This book is a collection of essays from the participants in a conference. The design of the book is wonderful: The two tables of contents, subjects and names, feature prominently on the front and back cover respectively. Flipping through the book looking for an essay is not a two-part task anymore: I do not learn the page number of the essay, than find that page number in the book, rather, I flip through the book reading the names which have taken the place of page numbers, until I find the essayist I want. This is intuitive for me. Also, each essayist gets a spread to do what they will with. While some, like Rem Koolhaas, decide to fill it mostly with text, others have little text and fill one page with a headline or scenes from the Life of Bryan.]

Theorizing a New Agenda for Architecture: An Anthology of Architectural Theory, 1965-1995
Ed. by Kate Nesbitt
[Dillon gave me the tip on this one. Nesbitt starts with Venturi of course, in '65. Then chronologically traces the major architectural theories of the years listed through essays from the time period by the proponents/instigators of the theories themselves. Invaluable as an overview, starting point, and to slowly get deeper into architectural theory.]

Toward an Architecture
by Le Corbusier
[Saying this is one of the most important books in architectural theories history is beyond redundant. A version existed for years titled Towards a new Architecture, which I never read because they mistranslated the title (Vers une Architecture) and I was afraid I would be reading a crappy translation. Well, this new translation came out, and they got the title right, so I bought it. It is thick, with almost 70 pages of introductions, and so far, I am loving it. Apparently, and I have heard this from Dillon and others, English-speaking architects who have spoken of "massing" their buildings out, are responding to a mistranslation of the word volumizing, a cognate, from the previous translation.]

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