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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


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The Theatre of Diokaisareia (Diokaisareia in Kilikien) by Marcello Spanu (Walter de Gruyter) The theatre of Diokaisareia (today Uzuncaburc) located in the Roman province of Cilicia (Turkey) has been studied within the German Archaeological Research Project directed by Detlev Wannagat. This volume offers a thorough historical and architectural analysis of the building erected in the second half of the 2nd century AD. The text is complemented by an extended collection of figures and plates, providing a detailed graphic and photographic documentation and reconstruction. This is an important contribution to the study of roman theatres and architectural decoration in Asia Minor. More

Nul = 0 - the Dutch Zero Movement in an International Context, 1961-1966 by Colin Huizing, Antoon Melissen, Diana Stiger, Pietje Tegenbosch, Tijs Visser, Caroline de Westenholz, Renate Wiehager, Atsuo Yamamoto, Midori Yamamura (NAi Publishers in association the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam) With the financial support of the Gifted Art Foundation Rotterdam, Harten Fonds Foundation, Schiedam Vlaardingen Fund and the ZERO Foundation, Düsseldorf

A Seminal International Survey of the Legendary Artistic ZERO Movement

The legendary Dutch Nul Group of the 1960s consisting of Armando, Henk Peeters, Jan Schoonhoven, Jan Henderikse and, for a while, herman de vries, has in recent years been the subject of renewed interest, both in the Netherlands and internationally. In September 2011 the Stedelijk Museum Schiedam is staging an international exhibition about nul, the first to be held in the Netherlands for half a century. There are plans for important exhibitions in the USA, Germany and England over the coming years. The publication nul = 0 offers a richly illustrated international perspective on the work of the Dutch nul artists and their kindred spirits abroad.

The publication Nul = 0- the Dutch Zero Movement in an International Context, 1961-1966 reveals the artistic principles of the Nul movement. Leading international writers reconstruct the developments and collaborations of the Dutch Nul group with its spiritual brethren: the artists of the German Zero, the French Nouveau Réalisme, Italy's Azimut Group and the Japanese Gutai Group, as well as individual artists like Yves Klein, Yayoi Kusama and Lucio Fontana. Given the current generation of artists' rediscovery of such elements as time and space, light and motion, the achievements of these artists are now more relevant than ever. More


Green Interior Design by Lori Dennis (Allworth Press) Since average Americans spend 90 percent of their lives indoors, it is no wonder they are looking homeward to become more environmentally friendly. While jumping in with both feet works for some, transforming the home into a green Mecca can be overwhelming.
How does one design and craft green interiors? Is it difficult to make the change? With all the product choices flooding the marketplace, how does one choose the right ones? Is designing green too expensive? More

Greening Existing Buildings by Jerry Yudelson (McGraw-Hills Greensource Series: McGraw-Hill) This GreenSource guide explains how to transform existing buildings into more energy-efficient, resource-conserving green buildings. The book provides a clear process that guides you, step-by-step, through each phase of moving building operations and maintenance toward the goal of a green-certified building.
Greening Existing Buildings
features proven technologies and operating methods, and shows building owners and facility managers how to green buildings in a cost-effective way. This practical and insightful resource highlights the ten best practices for greening existing buildings, and includes more than 25 case studies of successful implementations and 35 insightful interviews with industry experts and building owners and managers. More

Engineering Architecture: The Vision of Fazlur R. Khan by Yasmin Sabina Khan (W. W. Norton & Company) The engineer of Chicago's John Hancock Center and Sears Tower, Fazlur Khan (1929-1982) pioneered structural systems for high-rise buildings that broadened the palette of forms and expressions available to design professionals today. Examining projects at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, including previously unpublished material, this study of Khan's career provides insight into architectural and engineering practice. 200 illustrations. More

Eladio Dieste: Innovation in Structural Art edited by Stanford Anderson (Princeton Architectural Press) In an industry so often enamored by media-coddled superstars with trendy clients, Eladio Dieste stands out as a refreshing and inspiring figure. More

Bungalow: The Ultimate Arts & Crafts Home by Jane Powell, Linda Svendsen (Gibbs Smith Publishers) The term "Bungalow" is more than just a romantic term for a beautiful home. Bungalows were the first houses available to the masses that were truly modern. But there was more to bungalows than that.  More

Home Improvement 101by The editors of Creative Publishing (Creative Publishing International) An easy-to-use maintenance guide for the do-it-yourself novice. More

Gardens of the Arts and Crafts Movement: Reality and Imagination by Judith B. Tankard (Harry N Abrams) The Arts and Crafts Movement, which began in the late 19th century in England and continued into the early 20th century there and in America, brought sweeping changes to the world of art and design. Celebrating simplicity, utility, handcraft, natural materials, and vernacular forms, its advocates produced a wide range of work, including architecture, furniture, ceramics, stained glass, wallpaper, jewelry, and books. Not surprisingly, the gifted architects of the movement also turned their minds to garden design.  More

American Horticultural Society A-Z Encyclopedia Of Garden Plants edited by Christopher Brickell, et al (DK Publishing) The most comprehensive, detailed, and lavishly illustrated guide to garden plants ever published, first published in 1997, has now been completely revised to include nearly 250 new plants and photos. The AHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants is an essential reference for all gardeners, from novices to experts. More

Bernard Maybeck at Principia College: The Art and Craft of Building by Robert M. Craig (Gibbs Smith Publishers) Maybeck at Principia: Architect & Client and the Art & Craft of Building brings focus to Maybeck's late career and work outside California and provides a reevaluation of his design approach and intentions in his more traditionally styled work. The book relies on a unique and extensive archive at Principia College, and documents Maybeck's last and longest commission, the campus plans, un-executed projects, and built architecture for Principia. New assessments have been gained through Maybeck's taped interviews with this major client, Frederic Morgan, and with Edward Hussey of Maybeck's office, as well as on conversations and interviews with others associated with the work. The extensive Maybeck-Morgan correspondence allows much of the story to be told by the participants, through letters and other records preserved in the Principia archives. The Maybeck reassessment is also presented in the light of a wider range of theoretical influences discussed here for the first time.  More

Concrete Architecture by Catherine Croft (Gibbs Smith Publishers) Concrete is now chic, becoming ubiquitous in shops, restaurants, and even homes. The reasons are many, as concrete is a remarkable material that can be used in a huge range of techniques and situations. Its color and texture vary, it can be very affordable and mass produced, or meticulously crafted and manipulated. New developments and increased understanding of the possibilities of concrete architecture are inspiring contemporary architects and designers across the globe. Concrete Architecture looks at recent architectural projects that use concrete for a huge range of projects, and celebrates the intrinsic qualities of concrete in the places where we live, work, and play. This book is an invitation to re-evaluate concrete as a modern material and generator of construction techniques. More

Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms At The Art Institute Of Chicago (Hudson Hills Press) Miniature Rooms begins with a brief history of Mrs. Thorne and how the rooms came to be. The rest of the book is a complete catalog of the Rooms, divided into two sections - the European rooms and the American rooms. Every room is beautifully photographed from at least two angles, using the existing lighting in the rooms so that each has the same realistic quality enjoyed in the Institute. Along with each photograph is a description of the room and its furnishings. More

Sourcebook of Modern Furniture, Third Edition by Jerryll Habegger, Joseph H. Osman (W. W. Norton & Company) is the definitive sourcebook for those interested in modern and modern classic furniture. A comprehensive guide to the most influential furniture and lighting designs of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, updated and expanded. More

Jewish Identity in Contemporary Architecture by Angeli Sachs, Edward Van Voolen Bilingual edition: German English (Prestel) This international exploration of Jewish and Holocaust museums, modern synagogues, Jewish community centers and schools demonstrates how these important structures lend architectural shape to the Jewish identity.

Architects commissioned to build religious-based structures are uniquely responsible to the history and values of the community they represent. Nowhere is this more evident than within the Jewish structures of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, a time of disruption, destruction, immigration, and reconstruction of Jewish society. Accompanying a touring exhibition, this important work demonstrates the fundamental differences among fifteen museums, synagogues, community centers and schools throughout the world. It covers sites in America, where the architecture of Jewish institutions looks back on a legacy of uninterrupted development; in Israel, where the great wave of immigration adopted modernist as well as Mediterranean traditions; and in Europe, where rebuilding and reconciliation attempt to balance a history of pain and tragedy.

Is architecture capable of lending form to Jewish identity? The present international survey of contemporary architecture for Jewish institutions, totaling sixteen projects, illustrates key architectural approaches and their relationship to their cultural environment. We hope that the topics addressed and the material presented in the exhibition and catalogue, Jewish Identity in Contemporary Architecture, will encourage a more profound discussion on the potential and tasks of contemporary architecture for Jewish institutions, and on the issue of the expression of Jewish identity through architecture.

The exhibition was initiated and organized by the Joods Historisch Museum, Amsterdam. This is no coincidence. Amsterdam is the city where, in the Golden Age of Holland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Portuguese and Ashkenazi synagogues attested with pride to a flourishing Jewish identity. Admittedly, such striking synagogues were built there, as elsewhere, only when Jews felt at home in their environment or when it gave them a feeling of being welcome. The decision to erect such buildings emerged from a long-term perspective—the ability to say "we live here"—which in Jewish history was sometimes associated with the decision to remain in the Diaspora rather than emigrating to Israel. The present exhibition offers the opportunity to experience the motivation behind present-day decisions to erect such charismatic structures as the Jewish Museum in Berlin or the Dresden Synagogue. 

Urban Design 

Subway: The Story of Tunnels, Tubes, and Tracks by Larry Dane Brimner, Neil Waldman (Boyds Mills Press) Published exactly 100 years to the month after the opening of the New York City subway, this children’s book offers a brief, intriguing history of the "marvelous people mover" that transformed a city. Introductory chapters touch on the innovations and cultural influence that shaped the development of New York's rapid transit system, including London's Thames Tunnel and Underground, the influence of electrical power, and the political forces that intervened. Brimmer's straightforward text sometimes feels perfunctory, and the page layouts don't enhance the often too-small illustrations, which include handsome archival photos, prints, and drawings, as well as Waldman's original portraits and paintings. Better verbal and visual explanation of building techniques, such as the "cut and cover" method, would have been useful; for these turn to David Macaulay's Underground (1983). But Waldman offers a solid overview of why subways developed and how they have changed life in New York and in other cities around the world, and his anecdotes about inventors demonstrate how great changes begin with small moments of inspiration. 

Buildings in Disguise: Architecture That Looks Like Animals, Food, and Other Things by Joan Marie Arbogast (Boyds Mills Press) This eye-catching children’s book features buildings "disguised" in other forms, from 65-foot-tall Lucy the Margate Elephant, a National Historic Landmark, to the Longaberger headquarters, a seven-story replica of a basket made by the company, to the original White Castle hamburger outlet, a tiny building with turreted and crenellated walls. The many illustrations include reproductions of period photographs, prints, and postcards as well as more recent photos of the sites. Though the gee-whiz appeal of the illustrations generally exceeds the interest level of the text and captions, readers looking for more information about this unusual subject will find the book a good starting place. Arbogast notes that she was unable to find any other books for children on the subject, but she appends a selected bibliography of adult materials, a list of brochures, and addresses of relevant Web sites. On the endpapers, a U.S. map indicates the locations of the 24 buildings mentioned in the text. Recommended for larger collections. 

Airports: A Century of Architecture by Hugh Pearman (Harry N Abrams) The airport terminal, the most important building type in the world of transportation, is also the site of the most ambitious and innovative achievements in 20th-century architecture. From the timber runway used during the Wright Brothers' first powered flight to modern glass-and-steel structures, from military buildings housing fighter planes to public spaces for both travel and shopping, airport architecture has evolved rapidly to meet the demands of a growing travel industry.

Now, in the first book to celebrate a century of airport design, noted architecture critic Hugh Pearman takes the reader on a journey through the history of these majestic beauties and predicts what the future has in store. Among the spectacular designs featured here are Eero Saarinen's TWA Terminal in New York, Renzo Piano's Kansai International Airport in Osaka, Japan, and Norman Foster's Chek Lap Kok Airport in Hong Kong. With more than 300 photographs, drawings, and posters, this exquisite volume will have enormous appeal not only for architecture, engineering, and aviation professionals, but also for armchair travelers and design buffs fascinated by the sheer beauty of these architectural masterpieces. 

New Minimalist Architecture by Eduard Petterson (Harper Design International) As an architectural aesthetic, minimalism has influenced not only homeowners' residential designs, but also commercial spaces.By expressing fewer ideas, it is possible to emphasize them more strongly. The admirer's attention is not divided among secondary and tertiary distraction, but remains focused on the fundamental role of the space itself, be it a residential living room, an expansive sports center, a homeowner's private study, a multi-purpose educational space, or anything else. New Minimalist Architecture looks at 21 such spaces from around the world, each of which reflects the most inspired uses of minimalism in architecture today.

From Publishers Weekly: This photo-driven collection features strikingly spare examples of new minimalist architecture worldwide, including buildings by Giovanni Guscetti, Jim Jennings and others. The elegantly rendered designs follow Mies van der Rohe’s classic credo, "Less is more"; they shun ornamentation and capitalize on nature’s simple dynamism, framing, mimicking or it extending it aesthetically to the interior. Guscetti’s white stucco and glass house in Besazio, for example, was fit around grown trees. Ceiling-high glass panels stretch unbroken along two facades, placing the living room in an illusory outdoors. At the Pulitzer foundation in St. Louis, a rust red metal sculpture swirls open like a human-sized conch shell on one of the building’s many terraces, while a bold white entrance outlines piney woods at a Kyoto temple. Like the buildings’ clean lines, the descriptive text is intelligently bare; it never eclipses the photography. On the changing rays through the Pulitzer foundation’s windows, Petterson writes: "The natural light that flows into each room reminds us of the passage of time and the seasons." (Ironically, verbose essays lace many books on minimalism.) Petterson has chosen diverse public and private buildings—from schools to homes to sports complexes—just as the architects have realized their creations with different materials, including wood, stone, concrete, glass and more. Despite this range, however, the collection has a limited geographical scope: 14 of the 21 projects are located in either Switzerland or Spain (the book was originally published in Spain). A more global mix would have added some geographical depth to the overall quality that already exists here. 350 color illustrations. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 

Masterpieces of Chicago Architecture by John Zukowsky, Martha Thorne (Rizzoli) Chicago is universally recognized as the cradle of modern architecture. It is known worldwide for the development, beginning in the late 1800s, of the renowned "Chicago School" of commercial building. In the early 1900s, Chicago saw the birth of Wright's "Prairie School" of residential design, which gave rise to the modern, open-plan house we know today. Other world-renowned architects were also based in Chicago, such as Louis Sullivan, who designed the Chicago Stock Exchange, and Daniel Burnham, architect of the famous Rookery Building of the 1890s.

The 1940s were to see the completion of Mies van der Rohe's revolutionary Illinois Institute of Technology and his astonishing Lake Shore Drive apartment buildings. Skidmore Owings & Merrill's landmark Inland Steel Building was finished in 1954, their John Hancock Center in 1970, and their Sears Tower in 1974. Philip Johnson and John Burgee's 190 South LaSalle Street office tower went up in 1987.

The 200 illustrations in this volume all come from The Art Institute of Chicago's repository of 150,000 architectural drawings, vintage photographs, models, and building fragments, which comprise one of the most important such archives. These illustrations reveal interiors and details that give us a greater appreciation of Chicago in particular and architecture in general. With its definitive text, the book is a striking record of Chicago's great buildings and will be an important reference on the subject for years to come.

Cutler Anderson Architects by Sherri Olson (Rockport Publishers) The work of James Cutler, FAIA, and Bruce Anderson, AIA, of Cutler Anderson Architects, reveals a unique approach to sustainable architecture by encouraging environmental stewardship through design that heightens the experience of the natural world, Each project begins with an investigation of place and materials and culminates in a well-crafted building that fits seamlessly into the landscape. Detailing plays an essential role by heightening an awareness of materials and, by extension, nature. Whether heavy-timber framing or steel-and-glass, the work is thoroughly modern in its disciplined plans, spatial qualities, and emphasis on transparency to connect people to a place.

Established in 1977, Cutler Anderson Architects (formerly James Cutler Architects) is nationally known for its environmental awareness and attention to detail. Dedicated to design excellence, the firm has received six National Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects and over 30 other national and regional awards.

Cutler Anderson Architects is currently involved in many projects both nationally and internationally, including residences in Mallorca, Spain, the Napa Valley, California, the Hudson River Valley in New York, the Big Island of Hawaii, the Capital Hill Library in Seattle, Washington, and commercial and mixed use projects in Bainbridge Island, Washington.
This monograph examines Cutler Anderson's practice as it expands beyond their widely admired houses to include branch libraries, civic buildings, and national memorials. The firm's public work transcends the domestic realm while refining the structural expressiveness, articulated details, and multilayered transitions from interior to exterior that first brought them to national attention. Based in a small office in a converted boathouse on Bainbridge Island, WA, the firm has won more than 40 design awards and is published internationally in books and magazines, establishing its reputation well beyond the Pacific Northwest. Author Sheri Olson traces the firm's philosophical and architectural development through 15 new projects that are illustrated with beautiful color photographs, detail drawings, and sketches by the architects.

Norman Foster Works 4 by David Jenkins (Prestel Publishing) The most recent works of Norman Foster are the focus of the latest instalment of a monumental multi-volume retrospective that celebrates in unprecedented detail the architect’s remarkable career.

The recipient of the Praemium Imperiale and the Pritzker Prize in architecture, Norman Foster is considered one of the most innovative and environmentally sensitive architects at work today. In buildings such as the Great Court of the British Museum, the Reichstag in Berlin, and the Commerzbank in Frankfurt, the tallest building in Europe, he`has designed dazzling structures that dramatically alter the environment in which they are placed by addressing our most basic needs for light, space, and communion with the world around us. The design and construction of these landmark buildings as well as a strikingly diverse range of other projects completed from 1990 to 2000 is the subject of this fourth volume in an authoritative six-volume series on Foster’s career.

In addition to offering close examinations of individual projects, the book contextualizes Foster’s work, identifying themes and connections across the decades, discussing influences and inspirations, and invoking a host of historical, cultural and architectural references. It also reveals the essential characteristics of Foster’s distinctive design philosophy, showing how a commitment to social and environmental issues and engagement with new technologies remain the primary goals of his working practice.

Common Wealth by Jessica Morgan (Tate) Taken separately, "common" and "wealth" suggest two opposite conditions: the shared and communal versus the private and restricted. Bringing together five celebrated international artists-Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Thomas Hirschhorn, Carsten Höller, and Gabriel Orozco-this book and the exhibition it accompanies explore the multiple implications of the two words that form its title.
Artistic collaboration is the predominant theme, whether between artists creating works together or between artist and audience. The artists also examine what type of common ground the museum space, or architecture in general, might still offer in the face of general disillusionment with the concept of a public sphere. In addition to interviews with each artist, the catalogue contains essays by Jessica Morgan and Richard Sennett, as well as an interview with the renowned theorist Jean-Luc Nancy.

Membrane Structures: The Fifth Building Material by Klaus-Michael Koch, Karl J. Habermann (Prestel Publishing) In this comprehensive work to date on membrane technology for architecture, pioneers show how one of the world’s oldest forms of building material is also its most innovative.

Today, the cutting edge in architecture is not sharp but curved and undulating. It is also impermeable to moisture, resistant to extreme temperatures, flexible and portable. Known as the fifth building material after wood, stone, glass, and metal, membranes are popping up everywhere: in Olympic stadiums in Berlin and Atlanta, in airports from Denver to Bangkok, over fashion shows, formal gardens, and soccer fields. Membranes’ ability to not only let in but also reflect light portends enormous possibilities for harnessing energy.

This fascinating survey of membrane structures throughout the world discusses the history of the medium, describes the materials and their uses, explores the technology of membrane construction, and investigates numerous current and future projects. A final chapter offers a reasoned argument for further research and experimentation in this rapidly expanding field and a projection of its exciting future.

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