Why Architecture Matters - Paul Goldberger

The best way to understand architecture? Walk the streets, Paul Goldberger advises. But to inform those perambulations, take along the Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic’s concise WHY ARCHITECTURE MATTERS (Yale Univ., $16). A guide to the basic elements of buildings, Goldberger’s lively primer discusses scale, proportion, light, space, texture, and materials, giving these general features specific contexts and exploring their emotional effects. Architecture matters, he demonstrates, when it goes beyond the purely functional (though even the humblest shed makes an impact on its surroundings) to partake of the qualities of art. Goldberger surveys buildings around the world, pointing to how they reflect social ideas, embody values, stand as cultural icons, and serve as the common ground on which different generations can meet. He includes D.C. in his tour; see what he thinks of the Hirshhorn, the National Gallery, and the National Building Museum.

Why Architecture Matters (Why X Matters Series) By Paul Goldberger Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300168174
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - March 29th, 2011

At Home: A Short History of Private Life - Bill Bryson

Homo sapiens has evolved some complex needs since the Stone Age, when all man needed was a cave over his head. By contrast, we of the latest model need separate rooms for cooking, eating, sleeping, bathing, relaxing, and—the list goes on. Bill Bryson believes that the whole history of civilization can be told by tracing the additions to, partitions of, and changes in material utilized for the original dwelling space. It’s impossible to read any Bryson book  without hoping it will never end, and AT HOME (Doubleday, $28.95) is his best work yet. As author-host, he amicably leads us through all the new domestic spaces our species has devised on our journey from Stone-Age survival to more recent demands for comfort, health, privacy, entertainment, etc.  As food required more preparation, cooking, and storage, the kitchen developed; with greater consciousness of hygiene, bathrooms came along; a sense of privacy required more doors.  Never has a house seemed as alive as when Bryson starts deconstructing it.

At Home: A Short History of Private Life By Bill Bryson Cover Image
ISBN: 9780767919395
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Anchor - October 4th, 2011

Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books - Jo Steffens

Born of a museum exhibition, Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books (Yale Univ., $20) is a delightful appreciation of books and builders. As you flip through this viscerally appealing, yet highly cerebral, volume, what at first seems an unlikely amalgam of subjects and media becomes coherent and important. New York’s Urban Center Books visited twelve of today’s preeminent architects (Michael Sorkin, Bernard Schumi, Toshiko Mori, Todd Williams, and Billie Tsien among them) to discuss and photograph their libraries. Each architect has compiled a far-reaching top ten list, which is fodder for the interviews; a spread of the “Top 10” covers accompanies precisely annotated photographs of the libraries, and close-up views of select shelves. Edited by Jo Steffens, this book of profiles is titled after a Walter Benjamin essay, which is included as a preface. Benjamin—and each of these architects—meditates on the essence of the book collector and our relationship to these objects.

Unpacking My Library: Architects and Their Books By Jo Steffens (Editor) Cover Image
By Jo Steffens (Editor)
ISBN: 9780300158939
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Yale University Press - November 30th, 2009