Modern Architecture and Design: An Alternative History

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MIT Press, 1983 - Architectural design - 256 pages
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This brisk tour of buildings, engineering projects, and artifacts produced throughout the world is a sequel to the author's very successful first book, The Story of Western Architecture. It traces the history of modern architecture, together with relevant developments in design and technology, from the early 19th century to the present day.

Risebero relates changing architectural ideas to changing currents in Western thought, to Marx, to Nietzsche, to Darwin, and to the conflicting philosophies of post-modernism. He describes and illustrates many of the grandest and most monumental projects built over the past 200 years, and his admiration for these works is infectious, even as he makes it clear that many were ordered and paid for by the wrong people for the wrong reasons. He also includes the more recent and informal architecture of protest, such as Third-World squatter settlements.

The book is wide-ranging and consciously attempts to bring in some of the lost innovators of mechanical production as well as the names one would expect to find in a text that moves from the great Victorian engineers to Schinkel; from Haussmann's Paris to English suburbia; from Modernismeto Catalonia to Frank Lloyd Wright; from Art Deco to the London Underground; from welfare state housing to the Sydney Opera House. William Morris emerges as a key figure in the story, as do the Russian Constructivists, and, of course, the Bauhaus designers.

Bill Risebero has worked as both an architect and a planner. He has designed urban housing developments, prepared environmental and conservation studies of London, and taught British and American architectural students.

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About the author (1983)

Bill Risebero is an architect and town planner in London. He teaches at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London and in the London Program of Syracuse University.

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