Looking Around: A Journey Through Architecture

Front Cover
Penguin, 1993 - Architecture - 301 pages
8 Reviews
From the opening sentences of his first book on architecture, Home, Witold Rybczynski seduced readers into a new appreciation of the spaces they live in. He also introduced us to "an unerringly lucid writer who knows how to translate architectural ideas into layman's terms" (The Dallas Morning News). Rybczynski's vast knowledge, his sense of wonder, and his elegantly uncluttered prose shine on every page of his latest meditation on the art of building.

Looking Around is about architecture as an art of compromise?between beauty and function, aspiration and engineering, builders and clients. It is the story of the Seagram Building in New York and the Wexner Center for the Visual Arts in Columbus, Ohio?a museum that opened without a single painting on view, so that critics could better appreciate its design. But what of the visitors who want a building that displays art well? What of those who work in the building? Looking Around explores the notion of the architect as superstar and assesses giants from Palladio to Michael Graves, styles from classicism to high tech. It demonstrates how architecture actually works?or doesn't?in corporate headquarters, airports, private homes, and the special buildings designed to represent our civilization.

For all its erudition, Looking Around is also bracingly straightforward. Rybczynski looks closely and critically at structures that may once have dazzled us with their ostentation and expense, and sees them as triumphs or failures?of aesthetic ideals and of lasting function. This is a fascinating and illuminating book about an art form integral to our lives.

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Review: Looking Around: A Journey Through Architecture

User Review  - Heidi - Goodreads

I love Witold and reading about the art and meaning of buildings. This is a fine overview of both homes and public architecture. It's a bit dated in some ways -- written in the early 1990s, but I ... Read full review

Review: Looking Around: A Journey Through Architecture

User Review  - Terri - Goodreads

Planning on building a house, I was especially interested in Rybczynski's thoughts and insights about homes and what they should look like. From the start I was captivated. Wanting to be sleek and ... Read full review

About the author (1993)

Witold Rybczynski of Polish parentage, was born in Edinburgh in 1943, raised in Surrey, and attended Jesuit schools in England and Canada. He received Bachelor of Architecture (1960) and Master of Architecture (1972) degrees from McGill University in Montreal. He is the author of more than fifty articles and papers on the subject of housing, architecture, and technology, including the books Taming the Tiger, Paper Heroes, The Most Beautiful House in the World, Waiting for the Weekend, and Looking Around: A Journey Through Architecture (all available in Penguin), and most recently, City Life. He lives with his wife, Shirley Hallam, in Philadelphia and is the Martin and Margy Myerson Professor of Urbanism at the University of Pennsylvania.

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