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



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. Born in Uruguay, Dieste spent most of his long and productive career creating industrial and agrarian works, public infrastructure, commercial buildings, and small churches in his native country. Dieste's unique and innovative method of design, a melding of architecture and engineering, elevated these often humble buildings to masterworks of art. Capitalizing on his revolutionary approach to building with reinforced masonry, Dieste built aesthetically stunning structures economically. If he often worked outside the architectural mainstream, he never lost sight of the modest people for whom his structures were built. Today, those familiar with his work consider him the equal of such structural innovators as Pier Luigi Nervi and Eduardo Terroja. In this, the first comprehensive analysis of his work to be published in English, both the beauty and technical innovation of Dieste's projects are examined in detail. Three essays by Dieste himself convey his thoughts on art, culture, and technology. With Dieste's death in 2000, this book serves as a tribute and a definitive reference to his extraordinary work and its brilliant union of architecture and engineering.

New Scandinavian Design by Katherine E. Nelson, Raul Cabra (Chronicle Books) New Scandinavian Design is an ambitious survey of the creativity and innovation of one of the most energetic design cultures around today. Not to be outshone by the classic furniture that made "Scandinavian design" a catchphrase of the 1950s, today's generation of designers is updating modernism in fresh and unexpected ways. Tweaking the myth of fair-haired citizens producing sober beech furniture, New Scandinavian Design goes "beyond blond" to feature work that is anarchic, conceptual, and playful, while still exhibiting hallmark qualities of honesty and utility. Profiles of each Nordic country and illuminating interviews explore the trends and top products. Well over 400 full-color photographs of contemporary furniture, housewares, textiles, and consumer electronics make this an authoritative overview. Expertly researched and inventively designed, this substantial volume is as commanding and attractive as its subject.

From Publishers Weekly: Top designers enjoy celebrity status in Scandinavian culture, and no wonder—their creations have invaded almost every living space within reach of an IKEA. But the region’s old emphasis on plain colors and molded wood are long gone. As this ambitious survey of Scandinavian design affirms, a new generation of artisans has updated the region’s iconic 1950s modernist creations with playful color, technological savvy and pluralistic openness to ideas. The reason these traits exert such an overwhelming influence on the international design market, Nelson argues, is that they give form to the core values of "comfortable living and social equality," without shying away from gentle subversion and conceptual envelope-pushing. Through pictures and exposition, the design journalist explains how conceptual pieces, from chairs and vases to tables and lamps, give voice to "Scandinavian cultural and artistic ideals." Primary among these, Nelson suggests, are democracy, honesty, poetry, innovation and craft. Nelson also includes interviews with each country’s top designers and curators, elucidating the forces that stoke their creativity and propel their designs to paragon status in international markets. Color-saturated layouts—plus the studio-chic plastic book cover—mirror the brightness and whimsy of the design objects themselves, and the book contains more than 400 photos of cutting-edge designs in furniture, housewares, textiles and electronics. All in all, Nelson effectively parses a design culture that uses the past as springboard and the ever-changing present as inspiration. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Rafael Viñoly by Rafael Viñoly (Princeton Architectural Press) Rafael Viñoly is arguably our most consummate practitioner of architecture; Herbert Muschamp of the New York Times calls him "the most elegant architect now practicing in the United States," one whose powerful buildings "quicken your awareness of the present and its untapped possibilities."

In a breathtaking list of major commissions, Viñoly has taken projects of an often conventional nature-conference centers, recital halls, exhibition halls, sports facilities-and transformed them into unconvential works of beauty, notable for their lucidity, and often breathtaking technical prowess.

This encyclopedic monograph, designed by Lars Müller in the same spirit as his Peter Zumthor: Works, is the first on Viñoly, and includes projects in the United States , Argentina , Egypt , Korea , and Japan . Featured are the recently opened Kimmel Performing Arts Center -the new home of the Philaldelphia Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Convention Center , the Climate Prediction Center on the Palisades , the Princeton University Stadium, and the dazzling Tokyo Forum-the gracefully expressive building Muschamp describes as "an absolutist building, perfectly realized."

An essay by Joan Ockman, Director of the Buell Center of American Architecture at Columbia University , introduces Viñoly's work, which is copiously documented in more than 500 color images and drawings.



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