Specifier Book Reviews



Displaying Results: 1 - 20 of 20
  • Hadid, Complete Works 1979–2009

    Hadid, Complete Works 1979–2009

    PUBLISHED BY: TASCHEN

    RRP: $349.00

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    There’s no doubt about it – when Taschen teams up with Philip Jodidio the result is a spectacular fusion of exceptional design and invaluable insight. This time around we’re treated to a colossal volume of the complete works of architectural icon Zaha Hadid. So famous is she that her surname has become somewhat redundant, and her projects, with their signature sinuous forms, are immediately recognisable as ‘Zaha creations’. Not everyone’s cup of tea however, her works almost guarantee controversy, but that doesn’t stop them from popping up on almost every continent. Born in Baghdad and educated in London, Zaha’s rise to fame is an intriguing one. For over three decades her radical building, interior and furniture designs have caught the attention of the industry. 100-odd pages is dedicated to her early work of the 80s which never saw the light of day, but then again, neither have a lot of her later works. Built or unbuilt, her projects have received countless prizes, which speaks volumes about the sheer ingenuity of their designs. The Pritzker Prize winner reached the big time when Cincinnati’s Rosenthal Centre for Contemporary Art was hailed “the most important new building in America since the Cold War” by the New York Times. A large book for a larger-than-life persona, Hadid, Complete Works combines indepth content with stunning photos and Zaha’s own drawings to record an ever-evolving aesthetic over a large-spanning career of one of the industry’s elite.

  • Jean Nouvel by Jean Nouvel, Complete Works 1970–2008

    Jean Nouvel by Jean Nouvel, Complete Works 1970–2008

    PUBLISHED BY: TASCHEN

    RRP: $449.00

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    Designed by the Pritzker Prize winner himself, Jean Nouvel by Jean Nouvel, Complete Works 1970–2008 celebrates the work of France’s most revered contemporary architect. Exploring a wide-spanning career, we learn about Nouvel’s early days when he assisted Claude Parent and Paul Virilio, before establishing his own practice in Paris. The Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris was the first project to earn the architect widespread acclamation, and from then on a host of other projects like the Euralille Shopping Centre, Lille; Lyon Opera House; Quai Branly Museum on the Seine in Paris; and Barcelona’s Agbar Tower cemented his spot in the uppermost echelon of the field’s professionals. Overviews of works in progress such as Abu Dhabi’s Louvre and New York’s MoMA extension point to a career that shows no signs of slowing down. Spectacular photographic spreads, coupled with impressive graphic designs conceived and selected by Nouvel, make this volume a work of art in itself. Teaming up for five years to produce two 400-page hardcover volumes, Nouvel and Jodidio have proved to be an extraordinary partnership. The transparent printed dust jackets scream Nouvel – the architect no stranger to playing with contrasts and overlaid patterns. From start to finish, this is a dazzling monograph by Nouvel, about Nouvel, for Nouvel fans.

  • The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum

    The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum

    PUBLISHED BY: GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM

    RRP: $135.00

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    You don’t need to be well-versed in architectural history to know about Frank Lloyd Wright and his greatest contribution to modern architecture. New York’s Guggenheim Museum is recognised by all, and whether you love it or loathe it, the building is a masterpiece by a master architect. The Guggenheim: Frank Lloyd Wright and the Making of the Modern Museum is the first book to delve deep into the 16-year process of building one of America’s greatest structures. From the very early stages of preliminary drawings, to models and photographs, we’re treated to a mass of visuals, supported by three major essays that cover the history, design and construction of the museum. Learning about the struggles to get the museum built and about Wright’s decision to reflect his complex relationship with New York City in the design, The Guggenheim is both revealing and informative. Published on the occasion of its fiftieth anniversary, the book covers the remarkable journey of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum – a beacon of modernity and innovative design.

  • Extreme Architecture: Building For Challenging Environments

    Extreme Architecture: Building For Challenging Environments

    PUBLISHED BY: LAURENCE KING PUBLISHING

    RRP: $75.00

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    As its title suggests, Extreme Architecture: Building For Challenging Environments is about structures that brave the elements of the landscapes they occupy. The book showcases 45 recent projects from around the world, divided into five chapters – Hot, Cold, High, Wet and Space. Brief explanations of the difficulties building in each climate and terrain kick off each section, as well as detailed tables that list the altitude, annual rainfall and average temperatures of the sites. Drawings, photos, renderings and site plans allow for a firm grasp on the nature of each project. Two Australian projects are featured, and it’s no surprise that you’ll find them whilst flicking through the Hot category. Our own Paul Morgan Architects and Iredale Pedersen Hook feature amongst international names like Mario Botta, Zaha Hadid and Foster + Partners. From a Swiss chairlift station and floating sauna, to a tropical summer home and a research station at the South Pole, Extreme Architecture is a fascinating read about the very challenges that drew out some of the architects’ most interesting and exciting work.

  • Architecture Now! Houses

    Architecture Now! Houses

    PUBLISHED BY: TASCHEN

    RRP: $90.00

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    Not only does this book present some of the world’s most unique dwellings from the past five years, but it raises an interesting question: what constitutes a house? For those of us with traditional images of gable roofs, brick veneer and wood-framed windows in mind – this book does wonders for extending the imagination. Partly responsible for this is Zecc Architecten’s Stairway to Heaven: a renovation of an old church that doesn’t shy away from its original use, boasting stained glass windows, a crucifix and organ. Other house designs are just as innovative and come from all corners of the globe, including Down Under. With a mixture of cutting edge and more modest designs, the only common denominator binding these projects together is their shared purpose. Be it a massive McMansion, beach bungalow or quaint cottage, a house exists to provide shelter, and this book takes more than a sneak peak at what some people call home.

  • World Architecture - International Style

    World Architecture - International Style

    PUBLISHED BY: TASCHEN

    RRP: $34.99

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    International Style is a term that came from the 1932 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, conceptualised by Philip Johnson, and a book written by Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock that defined the Modern Movement as a style “with little reference to place or ideology”. Subsequently, International Style is used to describe a form of architecture that is characterised by a rejection of ornament and a simplification of form; with concrete, steel and glass used as the primary construction materials. The book begins with the work of the European masters of the 1920s, and then moves to the US and the emergence of new urban forms like the skyscraper, an “image of modernity”, before tracing the evolution of the style in other parts of the globe. Of all the figures discussed, some of the most notable include Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Oscar Niemeyer, Harry Seidler and SOM. Setting the standard in modern building, this style of design, with its emphasis on function over form, dominated until the 1980s. The book is an interesting read in light of the more expressive forms of architecture that appear today.

  • Houses & Materials: Elements on Architecture

    Houses & Materials: Elements on Architecture

    PUBLISHED BY: Loft Publications

    RRP: $80.00

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    As its title suggests, this book is about houses and the materials that make them. At 256 pages, Houses & Materials: Elements on Architecture is comprehensive in its selection of residential projects that exist all over the world. Each project is reviewed for its unique use of one of the five most common construction materials: stone, wood, glass, metal or concrete. Under these headings, the book is divided into five chapters, each featuring an abundance of photographs, plans and brief but informative descriptions about the application and execution of the material. We are even treated to a little history lesson on all five materials. We learn that the use of stone as a construction material dates back at least 10,000 years; that the first cut of glass was from Egypt circa 10,000 B.C.; that metal, whilst used to coin a few eras (the Golden, Bronze and Iron Ages), wasn’t used for construction until the 19th century; that concrete was used by the Romans who combined water, lime and pozzolan (volcanic ash); and finally, that wood has been a vital element in construction since the year dot, being the only renewable material out of the five. You have to wonder if the list will change, or if these five principle materials will still dominate in the future.

  • Architecture Now! 6

    Architecture Now! 6

    PUBLISHED BY: TASCHEN

    RRP: $90.00

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    Leafing through the sixth instalment of Philip Jodidio’s Architecture Now! series is a nice treat in these gloomy times. The book is a reminder of what is possible when money isn’t an issue and before the global financial crisis wreaked havoc on the industry. Many of the 79 projects presented in this book are extravagant and reflect an approach to architecture that favours form over function. But flashy, complex structures like Moscow’s Crystal Island are balanced with more humble and conventional projects like Denver’s Museum of Contemporary Art. Both ends of the spectrum present works that are highly innovative, with smaller budgets responsible for equally creative designs as those with access to excessive amounts of money and resources. From the traditional to the avant-garde, this book provides an overview of the state of contemporary architecture. With photographs of realised projects and renderings of future ones, this book acts as a reference guide for what’s happening now and what the future may bring. Some of the field’s most respected names are found in this book, and they’re easy to find too: the book is presented in an A-Z format with biographies and contact information. All of the projects presented in this book point towards experimentation as a key element of design, and whether it’s a skyscraper or disaster relief housing, each project has been selected for its unique take on architecture.

  • Ready For Take-Off: Contemporary German Export Architecture

    Ready For Take-Off: Contemporary German Export Architecture

    PUBLISHED BY: Hatje Cantz

    RRP: $90.00

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    Germany is often playfully described as the spiritual home of efficiency, methodical engineering and rigorous attention to detail. And so while praise for the technical execution of German architecture flows freely, the global architecture community tends to have a blind spot when it comes to the elegant aesthetics of contemporary German design. Yet there is certainly an abundance of beauty and innovation in German architecture, and the Deutsches Architekturmuseum saw fit to showcase just that, at the 2007 Architecture Biennale’s ‘competition of ideas’ in São Paolo, under the motto Ready for Take-Off. The exhibition featured sixteen of Germany’s architectural and engineering firms, and a current export project for each. This book documents those displays – photography, diagrams, renderings and narrative – accompanied by several essays on the changing international role and perception of German export architecture, as well as a rundown of the Biennale exhibition, dossiers on the firm partners, and a comprehensive index. Featured firms include Carsten Roth Architekt, KSP Engel und Zimmermann and Staab Architekten.

  • New New York Interiors

    New New York Interiors

    PUBLISHED BY: TASCHEN

    RRP: $70.00

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    New York, New York, it’s a hell of a town... NY has never been known for its subtlety, nor its modesty. It’s ten years since TASCHEN first published New York Interiors, and while the city hasn’t dramatically changed in the past decade – those Fifth Avenue apartments will always be unknown worlds of avant garde luxury – NY’s luxe apartments have, by now, well and truly shifted into the 21st Century. And so TASCHEN have published New New York Interiors: profiling some of the most overwhelming apartments of New York’s movers and shakers. They are not necessarily the A-list stars – excepting maybe musician Rufus Wainwright and the 1930s Chelsea apartment he keeps with his partner, German arts manager Jörn Weisbrodt. Rather, its pages are filled with the extravagant city homes of the subliminal elite: the epitomising crème de la crème of NY high society (like performance artist Marina Abramovich and heiress/socialite/Warhol muse Jane Holzer) and the artists and architects who have made New York their home, like Alex Katz, Jonathan Leitersdorf and Lee Mindel. From one extreme to the other, Cindy Gallop’s loft (designed by Stefan Boublil of the Apartment Creative Agency) was inspired by Shanghai’s Glamour Bar (think all-black interior, pop-art décor and glass showcase for her 250+ pairs of designer shoes), while Terence Koh’s eerie, “white ship” in Chinatown is 3-storey building – all white inside – where the only living room furniture is a stuffed albino peacock in a glass cabinet, its tail detached. The apartment interiors range from the crazy (Gerald DeCock’s Chelsea hotel suite is like Bollywood meets Ziggy Stardust) to the truly sophisticated (An East Village Townhouse is as chic as it sounds; and Leitersdorf’s 10-storey former hat factory, with its intricate tin ceilings and dark-wood floors, is truly palatial). This book is full of the New, ‘unreal’ New York: the lofts and penthouses and brownstones and that which must be seen to be believed.

  • Contemporary Design in Detail: Small Environments

    Contemporary Design in Detail: Small Environments

    Published by: Rockport

    RRP: $39.99

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    ‘Contemporary design’ evokes visions of vast high ceilings and spread-out, minimalist features. But as Contemporary Design in Detail: Small Environments reminds us, it is possible to transform even the tiniest apartment into a seemingly vast haven, as long as you play by a few key rules. And it is according to these rules that the chapters of the book are set out, from Mediating the Outdoors (External/Internal Transitions, Luminance) to Spatial Boundaries (Private/Public Functions, Circulation) and Surfaces (Hue, Texture). The ultimate message is to work with what you have, and learn to create the illusion of space, where in fact there is very little (or none). The book demonstrates these lessons in action, using effective international examples of small environments (less than 120 square metres), including Kazuyo Sejima & Associates’ Small House in Tokyo (surely the capital of deploying contemporary design in minimal space), a Jonathan Clark Architects flat in London, and a New York loft design by Matthew Baird. These are cities famed for their cramped, high density living just as much as their unparalleled style: proof that the ultimate in contemporary design is possible, even in the smallest spaces.

  • Heinz Tesar: Architecture of Layers – Nine Recent Works

    Heinz Tesar: Architecture of Layers – Nine Recent Works

    PUBLISHED BY: Edition Axel Menges

    RRP: $79.00

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    As Friedrich Achleitner writes in his accompanying essay, Heinz Tesar’s work can be appreciated entirely dehors the framework of postmodernism and post-postmodernism, simply because “it is not concerned with a conscious use of architectural vocabularies”. Tesar’s language is all his own (one of his notebooks contained such ‘thought-prompts’ as “heartpillarmemorialcirclebridgeheadsynagogue”), which is perhaps why Architecture of Layers is such a valuable book: it is a visual companion ideal for those of us not versed in Tesar’s unique tongue. Mainly a pictorial journey, minimalist captions allow Tesar’s rich, layered architecture to speak for itself. The book traces nine of the architect’s most recent works, from Lagerhaus-Areal, St Gallen, Switzerland (Municipal Police Headquarters, 1985–2005), via Essl Museum (Klosterneuburg, Austria, 1996–99), through to BTV Stradtforum (Innsbruck, Austria, 2001–06) and the refurbishment, adaptation and design for a permanent exhibition of the Bode-Museum, and contributions to the Museumsinsel masterplan (Berlin, Germany, 1996–2006).

  • Architecture Now! Museums

    Architecture Now! Museums

    Published By: TASCHEN

    RRP: $90.00

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    Places of sanctuary, museums shield you from the outside, embarking on a journey through history, glorious artworks and more. Now, these resourceful retreats are impacting the design world themselves, through the brilliant architectural designs of so many talented and dedicated architects. Tackling this new wave of museum design, this book elaborates in delicious detail the trend of using bold contemporary architecture to house hundreds of artistic treasures. Over 50 projects are explored, including such works as Teodoro González de León’s controversial Museum of Contemporary Art at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, or Rafael Moneo’s epic effort, the Museum of the Roman Theatre in Cartagena, Spain, which blends history with modernity. Editor Philip Jodidio maps out the remarkable places that exhibit art and artefacts, with trilingual descriptions (English, French and German) making the concise encyclopaedia even more accessible. Taschen’s latest offering in their Architecture Now! series is one not to be missed. 21st

  • Ando. Complete Works, 1975-2010

    Ando. Complete Works, 1975-2010

    Published By: TASCHEN

    RRP: $349.00

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    An architectural living legend, Tadao Ando can do no wrong. The recipient of the Pritzker, Carlsberg, Praemium Imperiale and Kyoto Prizes, the only architect to have won all four, Ando has reached such heights of architectural fame having never undertaken any formal training in the field. This epic work shows why Ando has received such praise and accolades, with 600 pages aptly displaying the architect’s glorious résumé of creations in brilliant colour and detailed description. Presenting his most comprehensive works to date, this book features Ando’s renowned craftsmanship and use of Japanese style, displayed in award-winning buildings, homes, churches, museums and other cultural spaces across the globe, including Japan, France, Italy, Spain and the USA. Multilingual (all descriptions are in English, French and German), the book acts as a fitting tribute to this consummate professional.

  • 21st Century Tokyo: A Guide to Contemporary Architecture

    21st Century Tokyo: A Guide to Contemporary Architecture

    Published By: Kodansha International

    RRP: $29.99

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    If ever a city was a maze of differing architectural styles, it’s Tokyo. The bustling metropolis is jam-packed with exciting and innovative structures, buildings and other constructions, the perfect choice of focus in the book 21st Century Tokyo: A Guide to Contemporary Architecture. One of the most innovative and forward-thinking cities in the world, the book features 83 outstanding examples of the contemporary architecture that has given Tokyo its reputation. As well as including some of its monumental masterpieces, there are also conventional buildings and quirky private homes, providing a complete depiction of the city’s architectural landscape. Each chapter highlights a separate district, with each featured building presented in black and white, accompanied by maps, access information and other details. These make the book not only of interest for those in the industry, but also for people generally fascinated by the city itself. Authors Julian Worrall, Erez Golani Solomon and photographer Joshua Lieberman know all too well how much the city can mesmerise its visitors, having each chosen to make it their home. It’s their intimate knowledge of the city they love that makes this book more than just a passing look at Tokyo, and more a loving dedication.

  • 21st Century Beach Houses

    21st Century Beach Houses

    Published By: Images Publishing

    RRP: $49.99

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    Arguably, no architectural style has undergone more growth during the last century than that of the beach house, with the ten years of this newest century so far resulting in the biggest range of brilliant and breathtaking beach abodes yet. The greatest are included in 21st Century Beach Houses, with over 50 architectural delights featured, capturing the very best of beach houses from around the world. There’s something for everyone to enjoy, from the clean simplicity of Godward Guthrie Architecture’s Kenny House at Omaha Beach, Auckland to the palatial Villa Shambhala, RAD Architecture, Inc’s brainchild located in Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The scintillating selections, displayed aptly through gorgeous images, plans and architect descriptions show, without a doubt, why so many are fascinated by the seemingly never-ending architectural possibilities of the beach house. A delightful visual voyage, this book is a fitting substitute for a visit to the seashore.

  • Detail in Contemporary Timber Architecture

    Detail in Contemporary Timber Architecture

    PUBLISHED BY: Laurence King Publishing

    RRP: $85.00

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    In the art of architecture, the detailing is undeniably what makes a design unique, and by consequence, can make or break an architect’s reputation. With the importance of this effect undoubtedly in mind, Virginia McLeod continues her Detail in Contemporary... series with this latest addition, this time focusing on the intricacies involved in timber architecture. In Detail in Contemporary Timber Architecture 50 of the most recent and influential timber designs are featured, both residential and commercial. Colour photographs, site plans, sections and elevations and other construction details illustrate each example, whilst the accompanying text provides detailed descriptions of the project, including the location, client, project team, consultants and contractors information, over a generous 4-page layout. The appealing extras see a detailed index providing the contact details of every architect included, and a CD-ROM featuring all the drawings as seen in the book, in both EPS and DWG formats. McLeod previously edited the Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture, the bible of all things architecture. This makes her a bona fide expert on the subject, a fact she proves with this latest venture into architectural detailing.

  • 1000 New Designs 2 and Where to Find Them

    1000 New Designs 2 and Where to Find Them

    PUBLISHED BY: Laurence King Publishing

    RRP: $55.00

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    Design encompasses seemingly everything and anything, a fact illuminated in Jennifer Hudson’s newest publication 1000 New Designs 2 and Where to Find Them. Following in the footsteps of the successful 1000 New Designs and Where to Find Them: A 21st-Century Sourcebook, this compilation of products features more design developments, with each chapter spotlighting different products, including tables and chairs, sofas and beds, kitchens and bathrooms, storage, tableware, lighting, and electronics. Works by some of the best international design talents are highlighted, including Tokujin Yoshioka and Patricia Urquiola. There are also 15 in-depth studies on selected products, aiming to illustrate just how difficult it is bringing a design to fruition. Over 1200 illustrations help bring the designs to life on the page, with details, such as web addresses and specifications, provided for each product. Former General Editor of the International Design Yearbook, this latest foray by Jennifer Hudson is further proof that no one knows design better than she does.

  • New Museums in Spain

    New Museums in Spain

    PUBLISHED BY: Axel Menges

    RRP: $139.00

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    Spanish architecture conjures up images of stereotypical red-tiled, earthy buildings, with horseshoe shaped arches and abstract bricked exteriors. However, over the past decade, museums in Spain have transformed greatly from the traditional, with the development of several extraordinary buildings throughout the sun-drenched country. Gathering some of the more exceptional examples, Klaus Englert’s hardcover homage acts as a glossy guide to the newer buildings, with everything from the remarkable Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the genius of Frank Gehry, to the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León by Spanish nationals Mansilla+Tuñón Arquitectos, showcased in this smartly set out book. Spanish style is scrutinised in a stunningly visual way by Roland Halbe’s images, displaying the architects’ reinterpretations and sensitivity to surrounding terrain. Confirming both the superb talents of the nation’s architects and the beauty of the buildings, flipping through this book is like stepping into Spain and its museums themselves.

  • Frank Lloyd Wright, Complete Works 1917-1942

    Frank Lloyd Wright, Complete Works 1917-1942

    PUBLISHED BY: TASCHEN

    RRP: $449.00

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    Frank Lloyd Wright needs no introduction. Possibly the greatest American architect to date, if not the most well-known, his projects are thoroughly examined in Frank Lloyd Wright, Complete Works 1917-1942. This book forms part two of Taschen’s threevolume monograph, which will feature all of Lloyd Wright’s extensive designs, approximately a staggering 1100, realised or not. Lloyd Wright’s post WWI period right up to the end of WWII is painstakingly illustrated within the book’s pages. Personally, the period was one of great turmoil, which saw him divorce twice – his first wife of 34 years and his second, a hastier union that only lasted six months before separation. A fire almost destroyed his studio, and bank foreclosure left him without a home. During this time Lloyd Wright focused on how to design affordable houses with systematic construction methods, and the Usonian house concept, which is best illustrated by the famous Fallingwater project. No stone is left unturned by this tribute, sure to be the definitive guide to all things Lloyd Wright. The volume is an essential piece of the puzzle to understanding the man behind some of the world’s most influential and innovative designs.