Oculus - Spring 2012 - (Page 36)
Raves + Reviews
The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age By Daniel A. Bell and Avner de-Shalit
REVIEWS BY S TA N LEY S TA RK , FA IA
Bell and de-Shalit, two social scientists and political theorists, propose that cities with a strongly defined ethos (a sense of place, personality, culture, and meaning – that is, a spirit) often have international reputations. These cities draw people to them, and their ethos contributes to the diversity that makes social life valuable and interesting. The authors posit a linkage between this identity and a quality they have named “civicism” – the sentiment of urban pride centered on one of the city’s predominant defining characteristics. The authors examine nine cities – Jerusalem, Montreal, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Oxford, Berlin, Paris, and New York – and the personality that characterizes each one (“ambition” in New York, for example, and “materialism” in Hong Kong). The choices are intertwined with the authors’ personal histories and careers, yielding a mixture of meaningful anecdotes and insightful observations. De-Shalit looks at cities through environmental theory and how urban environments talk to their residents via form, urban systems, and buildings. Bell sees cities as comparative and particular civilizations. While national differences are flattening out in response to global pressures, urban particularity flourishes. Cities provide room for these particular and unrefined cultures to grow. Despite the inconsistent quality of the examples provided, Bell and de-Shalit put forth a provocative thesis, and they present it in a rich brew of insights, anecdotes, and ideas that can benefit anyone with a stake in the urban environment.
Bertrand Goldberg: The Architecture of Invention Edited by Zoe Ryan. With essays by Alison Fisher, Zoe Ryan, Elizabeth A.T. Smith, and Sarah Whiting
Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2011, 360 pp. $35
Bauhaus Dessau and Chicago’s Armour Institute of Technology (later IIT). His mature works embraced the approaches and styles of Archigram and the Metabolists of Japan. The integration of urban design and large-scale planning and technology, along with the adventurous use of precast concrete and new materials, became preeminent themes of his work. He also focused these preoccupations on an intimate scale through his elegant furniture designs. This collection of essays, which accompanied the recent Goldberg retrospective at the Art Institute of Chicago, traces the designer’s career, the development of his style, and the varied streams of influence that his work has had on the current generation of practicing architects. The essays also reflect upon how, in a profession as episodic as architecture, a career might develop, mature, and then endure.
Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 2011, 192 pp. $60
Noted but Not Reviewed
Railroad Stations: The Buildings That Linked the Nation By David Naylor
A profusely illustrated survey of America’s railroad stations. The richness and cleverness of these designs are startling.
Pamphlet Architecture 11-20 With works by Mike Cadwell, Neil Denari, Joseph Fenton, Steven Holl, Ken Kaplan, Ted Krueger, Wes Jones, Elizabeth Martin, Peter Pfau, Mary-Ann Ray, Christopher Scholz, Michael Silver, Lebbeus Woods
New York: W.W. Norton/ Library of Congress, 2012, 336 pp. $75
The most recent compendium of the Pamphlet Architecture series begun by Steven Holl and William Stout in 1978 to publish the works, theories, and investigations by a new generation of unheralded architects, although some of the contributors are by now well known.
New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2011, 604 pp. $45
Bertrand Goldberg (1913–1997) was a prolific and notable Chicago-based designer of large-scale urban projects. He is most famous for Marina City, a startling and powerful residential complex in downtown Chicago; the Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago; and the Health Sciences Center at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Goldberg was originally trained in the Modernist Bauhaus tradition; he worked with Mies van der Rohe in Berlin and studied at both the
36 Oculus Spring 2012
Architects’ Sketchbooks Edited by Will Jones. Forward by Narinder Sagoo
Drawings by hand. Drawings by computer. A vast selection of drawing-as-thinking by architects.
Stanley Stark, FAIA, is director of strategic planning at Vanguard Construction and Development Co., Inc. He served as chair of the Oculus Committee from 2005 to 2007.
Small Firms Doing Big Things
New York: Metropolis Books, 2011. 352 pp. $49.95
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2012
Letter from the President: Invitation to the Future
A Word from the Editor - Small is the New Big
Center for Achitecture - Center Highlights
Museum Mile Makeover
Opener: Small, Agile Firms Succeed in Lean Times
Public Projects, Small Firms, Targeted Tactics
Small Firm Workplace: The Whole Wide World
Small Size, Big Thinking
Launch Pad to Success
The Spirit of Cities: Why the Identity of a City Matters in a Global Age
Last Words - Smaller than a Breadbox
Index to Advertisers
Oculus - Spring 2012
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