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With a broad topic and a deep reach, this collection of work from New Yorker architecture critic Goldberger reflects on the meanings and effects of architecture, both in the abstract and in everyday life. From specific places like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. ("may be one of the few great architectural works anywhere whose approach is marked only by directional signs, not by a glimpse of the thing itself") to discussion of individual architects (Saarinesen, Lloyd Wright, etc.), Goldberger is clear and direct throughout, occasionally addressing readers directly with questions and thought experiments ("For the next few pages ... think only in terms of what a building looks like when you stand before it") that help recreate the architectural thought process. Sometimes focused too narrowly on the author's own experience (breathlessly recounted memories of architectural epiphany can fall flat), Goldberger occasionally risks alienating readers who lack his enthusiasm. For students and fans of architecture, however, this makes an elegant but energetic tour of building design, aesthetics, construction and inspiration that should encourage new ways of viewing one's surroundings. 55 b & w illustrations.
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