All items from Daily Dose of Architecture

Book Review: The Man in the Glass House

The Man in the Glass House: Philip Johnson, Architect of the Modern Century by Mark Lamster
Little Brown, 2018
Hardcover, 528 pages

Mark Lamster had me in the Prologue. The Dallas Morning News architecture critic begins his biography of Philip Johnson on the famous architect's death bed. Like his iconic Glass House from 1949, Johnson's life was full of myth, arising from his architecture, his words, and his actions — all of them controversial throughout his many decades. But Lamster opens The Man in the Glass House by focusing on Johnson's humanity: his ill health, his difficulty in eating, the list of drugs he took to prolong his life, the tai chi master that came to the house a few days a week. When Johnson dies on the last page of the Prologue, I actually shed a tear; not out of sadness for Johnson's passing, which happened in January 2005 just shy of his 99th birthday, but because of Lamster's sensitive and eloquent portrayal of it. The Prologue's seven pages were enough to draw me into Lamster's telling of Johnson's life over the next 528 pages.

Today's archidose #1023

Here are some photos of 520 West 28th Street (2017) in New York City by Zaha Hadid Architects. (Photographs by Maciek Lulko.)

520 West 28th by Zaha Hadid
520 West 28th by Zaha Hadid
520 West 28th by Zaha Hadid
520 West 28th by Zaha Hadid

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Today's archidose #1022

Here are some photos of Muzeum Ognia (2014) in Żory, Poland, by OVO Grąbczewscy Architekci. (Photographs by M. M. Czarnecki.)

Muzem Ognia
Muzem Ognia
Muzem Ognia

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Stop the Presses!

Seeing a TV commercial for Verzenio the other day, I was reminded of that day I made the cover of my local newspaper after getting an architectural commission.

Oh, wait. That never happened. Because architects DON'T MAKE IT ON THE FRONT PAGE OF NEWSPAPERS! Much less above the fold – and with a photo, a smiling photo.

Sure, there are exceptions: your name is Frank Gehry; the newspaper is The Architect's Newspaper; or the design contract being awarded is the most coveted one in the entire world, and you're a young architect from a small "central community" nobody's ever heard of. In that case, this example of architectural advertising is, unlike others, spot-on.

So You Want To Learn About: Michael Sorkin

The "So You Want to Learn About" series highlights books focused on a particular theme: think "socially responsible architecture" and "Le Corbusier," rather than broad themes like "housing" or "modern architects." Therefore the series aims to be a resource for finding decent reading materials on certain topics, born of a desire to further define noticeable areas of interest in the books I review. And while I haven't reviewed every title, I am familiar with each one; these are not blind recommendations.

This year's release of Michael Sorkin's latest collection of critical essays, What Goes Up: The Rights and Wrongs to the City, prompted me to put together a "learn about" post on the influential critic, educator, and designer of buildings and cities. An outspoken critic of misguided architecture, urban inequality, oppressive ideologies, and other impediments to truly egalitarian and sustainable societies, Sorkin is principal of Michael Sorkin Studio, president of the non-profit Terreform, and director of the Graduate Program in Urban Design at City College of New York (CCNY). Need a Sorkin primer? This 2010 interview on CUNY TV, at the time of Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, is a good start.

Today's archidose #1021

Here are some photos of the Campinarana House in Manaus, Brazil, by Laurent Troost and Raquel Reis. See also photographs by Leonardo Finotti.