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Essentially a series of cameos, this "autobiography" was written three years before the architect author's death in 1992. In it, he provides an overview of his early life in Austria and his architectural career in that country and in New Zealand, where he was one of the dominant influences in the introduction of modernist architecture in the period after 1940.
Strongly visual (appropriate for an architect!), each chapter takes an episode from the author's life - a trip, a building, a meeting - and provides a brief narrative supported by prolific (and generally excellent) black and white photographs and drawings. The snippets are very selective - Plischke had a keen concern for the judgements of history - and he selects for narrative only the projects he considers his best and the perspectives that show him in the best light.
The style is clear and simple, but the content is often rambling and disjointed. Its episodic structure makes it easy to pick up and put down, and in fact there is no real need to read it in sequential order. There is an extensive bibliography and an index of proper names. There are numerous mis-spellings of New Zealand personal and place names and few classic errors of fact where he mis-identifies people or places.
The book has the advantage of being written at the end of a long and illustrious career and therefore might be seen as Plischke's own view of what he wished to be remembered for. For a more comprehensive treatment of his life and work, however, see Sarnitz & Ottilinger: Ernst Plischke: Modern Architecture for the New World (Prestel, 2004).
Kindheit in Klosterneuburg
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