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Reyner Banham Revisited

Reyner Banham (1922–88) was a prolific, iconoclastic critic of modern architecture, cities, and mass culture in Britain and the United States, and his provocative writings are inescapable in these areas. His 1971 book on Los Angeles was groundbreaking in what it told Californians about their own metropolis, and architects about what cities might be if freed from tradition. Banham’s obsession with technology, and his talent for thinking the unthinkable, mean his work still resonates now, more than thirty years after his death. This book explores the full breadth of his career and his legacy, dealing not only with his major books, but a wide range of his journalism and media outputs, as well as the singular character of Banham himself.

304 pages | 55 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Architecture: American Architecture, Architecture--Biography


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Reviews

"A truly ambitious task. . . . This book invites readers into the universe of one of the most brilliant and uncategorizable critics of modern architecture, cities, and mass culture."

Domus

"Unusually for a critic, Banham has been well-served by biographies and monographs, most of them coming from American architectural academia. What makes Reyner Banham Revisited so interesting is the way it retells the story of this critic, historian, journalist, and TV and radio presenter in a British context, one which has particular attention to class."

Owen Hatherley | Tribune

"[Williams’s] fascinating new study of Banham’s life . . . leaving the reader with a rich sense of a man with ideas and what they mean today."

RIBA Journal

"Williams uses Banham's books to define seven personas, or hats that Banham donned throughout his working life. . . . He brings Banham's journalism, documentaries, and other output into the fold, painting a nuanced and complex. . . picture of the critic's life."

Archidose

"Williams allows us to excavate Banham's magnificent ambivalence about modernism. To Banham, modernism was not orderly at all, especially by the sixties. But he embraced its perversities with surgical irony. Williams traces Banham’s prescient journey step by step. An important addition to Banham studies."

Norman Klein, author of "The History of Forgetting: Los Angeles and the Erasure of Memory" and "Bleeding Through: Layers of Los Angeles"

"In today’s world of technology and consumerism, Reyner Banham’s prolific writings are as fresh and relevant as ever. Williams insightfully reveals how this California cowboy from East Anglia reimagined architectural history, way ahead of his time."

Annmarie Adams, Stevenson Professor, McGill University, author of "Architecture in the Family Way," "Designing Women," and "Medicine by Design"

"Williams’s excellent and lively account of what he describes as ‘The Multiple Banhams’—how Reyner Banham reinvented himself from the aeronautical engineer to the scholarly pupil of Nikolaus Pevsner, then unshackled himself as an advocate for Brutalism and prolific journalist in New Society."

Charles Saumarez Smith

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