Monday, November 30, 2009

LOST BUILDINGS Named One of 2009's Best Architechture Books by NY Times and SF Chronicle

Jonathan Glancy's Lost Buildings has been selected by Nicolai Ouroussoff of The New York Times as one of this year's Best Archtecture Books: "For gloom and doom types, Lost Buildings looks at a painful aspect of architectural history: the seemingly endless list of great monuments that have been callously demolished. Written by Jonathan Glancey, the architecture editor of The Guardian of London, the book bounces around the world, from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Uruk (in present-day Iraq) to Moscow to Venice, London and Las Vegas. There are familiar stories here, like the demolition of Les Halles in Paris, Pennsylvania Station in New York and John Soane's Bank of England building. But the most compelling chapter may be the final one, "Left on the Drawing Board." It includes unbuilt monstrosities like Albert Speer's domed Volkshalle, influential fantasies like Etienne-Louis Boulee's 1784 proposed cenotaph for Isaac Newton and Vladimir Tatlin's 1919 Monument to the Third International."

The San Francisco Chronicle also selected Lost Buildings for their 2009 Holiday Gift Guide: Lost Buildings: Demolished Destroyed Imagined Reborn, by Jonathan Glancey (Overlook Press; 256 pages; $60). Books of this nature tend to be earnest tut-tuts, checklists of supposed treasures razed by boors. That's just the starting point for Glancey, one of England's best architecture critics. He also ponders the cultural potency of the Tower of Babel and the architectural repercussions of politics. Among the buildings he toasts is San Francisco's Montgomery Block, which "floated on a raft of layered redwood logs laid on marshland by an army of Chinese laborers" and, after its "summary execution in 1959," was replaced eventually by the Transamerica Pyramid."

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