Theoretical Anxiety and Design Strategies in the Work of Eight Contemporary Architects
416 pp., 7 x 8 in, 615 illus.
- Published: December 23, 2004
A prominent architect considers his contemporaries—James Stirling, Robert Venturi, Aldo Rossi, Peter Eisenman, Alvaro Siza, Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, and Herzog & De Meuron—in a lavishly illustrated series of profiles.
The internationally acclaimed architect Rafael Moneo is known to be a courageous architect. His major works include the Houston Museum of Fine Art, Davis Art Museum at Wellesley College, the Stockholm Museum of Modern Art and Architecture, and the Potzdammer Platz Hotel in Berlin. Now Moneo will be known as a daring critic as well. In this book, he looks at eight of his contemporaries—all architects of international stature—and discusses the theoretical positions, technical innovations, and design contributions of each. Moneo's discussion of these eight architects—James Stirling, Robert Venturi, Aldo Rossi, Peter Eisenman, Alvaro Siza, Frank Gehry, Rem Koolhaas, and the partnership of Jacques Herzog and Pierre De Meuron—has the colloquial, engaging tone of a series of lectures on modern architecture by a master architect; the reader hears not the dispassionate theorizing of an academic, but Moneo's own deeply held convictions as he considers the work of his contemporaries. More than 500 illustrations accompany the text.
Discussing each of the eight architects in turn, Moneo first gives an introductory profile, emphasizing intentions, theoretical concerns, and construction procedures. He then turns to the work, offering detailed critical analyses of the works he considers to be crucial for an informed understanding of this architect's work. The many images he uses to illustrate his points resemble the rapid-fire flash of slides in a lecture, but Moneo's perspective is unique among lecturers. These profiles are not what Moneo calls the "tacit treatises" that can be found on the shelves of a university library, but lively encounters of architectural equals.
Theoretical Anxiety and Architectural Strategies in the Work of Eight Contemporary Architects...keeps the 'live' feel of a master performance. The result is an exacting but easy read that unfolds like a novel by Italo Calvino....Moneo moves beyond the common denominator of form to touch on the rich complexity of what architecture is. In the sense that architecture is between the lines, you have to read between the lines of this book.
The Architect's Newspaper
Moneo's insights and analyses are often brilliant, and hisperspective as a Spaniard and as a former chair of the GSD (Harvard Graduate School of Design) is a unique one. He conveys his ideas inlively prose, peppered with anecdotes.