is it a building?
or is it architecture?
“That’s my outhouse!”
I’ve been looking for a good book on architecture. And after reading this book, I’m still looking. But having said that, this is the best beginners book on the topic I’ve read. I don’t heartily recommend it, but I recommend it.
Needing something fluffy and fun to read at the beach a couple weekends ago and not wanting to partake in unrequited love between vampires and young girls from the south, I downloaded this book to my iPad, slipped said iPad into a Ziploc freezer bag (a trick of the trade!), and marched out to the sand and sea.
This dummies book is written by Debrah Dietsch, a trained architect who is now a journalist. Being blessed with ovaries, Debrah builds a pleasant female angle into what has been (and is?) a mostly male-dominated sport. I have several architecture books, but the often-pompous writing is too much for me, a simple soul searching for simple words. Give it to me straight, O Dummies book! And it does, albeit sometimes (too) brutally so (and with some failed attempts at hipness). Nonetheless, you’ll walk away with a frame and foundation, however shaky, of understanding.
One of the most enjoyable sections was a list in the Part of Tens section on the ten most fascinating architects working today. Not being immersed in the culture, I hadn’t heard of many of these folks, but it was a hoot to use the iPad to Google and explore their work (the book doesn’t have much in the way of images, so be sure to be near a surf-station…). One of the highlighted architects, Antoine Predock, designed our (Austin’s) city hall.
Another section I really enjoyed concerned post-modernism (what the cool kids refer to as po-mo), a style that causes vomit to bubble in the back of my throat, and various named contemporary styles (sensuous minimalism, deconstructivism) (side note to The Architect: Is our house sensuous minimalism?). And I’ve fallen hardhat over steel-toed boots in love with Richard Meier’s stunning you-can-have-any-color-you-want-as-long-as-it’s-white work that unabashedly steals from modernism’s roots. Without the Dummies book, we would not have met…