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A Real Living Contact with the Things Themselves

Essays on Architecture

Contemporary architectural criticism tends to focus on the theories and concepts behind buildings. Yet there is much to be learned by venturing beyond the library walls to contemplate the real buildings—the things themselves. This urge for “real living contact” is the impetus behind this new and exhilarating collection of essays by renowned British architectural critic and scholar Irénée Scalbert.
A Real Living Contact with theThings Themselves selects nine essays written throughout the Scalbert’s career from the early 1990s to the present. Four of the essays are detailed studies of major buildings, including both critiques written at the time the buildings were made and comments on extant buildings that contributed to their rediscovery. Other pieces represent broader studies of historical movements and ideas, interpreting their significance within the context of contemporary architecture. All of the essays are based on direct experience, whether through quiet contemplation or candid interviews with architects, builders, or inhabitants. An architect by training, Scalbert writes with the purpose of illuminating the design efforts made and enriching the form of the architectures he describes, and his essays thus contribute to many key moments in the architectural history of the past three decades.
Scalbert’s incisive and boldly original criticism—together with a wealth of illustrations—make this a book an enlightening read for architects and architectural students or anyone with an appreciation of this important voice in architectural criticism.

272 pages | 12 color plates, 78 halftones | 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2018


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