Neil Bingham
Laurence King Publishing, London, 2009, English
Nonfiction, Architecture
9.9 x 9 inches, hardcover, 320 pages, 300 color illustrations
ISBN: 9781780672724
Suggested Retail Price: $50.00

From the Publisher. This beautiful book brings together 300 of the best architectural drawings from the last century by the world's most prestigious architects, creating both a history of the genre and a survey of twentieth-century architecture. The book is divided into five chronological sections that are prefaced by short essays that highlight the trends and styles of that period. Each drawing is captioned with key information about the architect, the project and the drawing. Architects whose work features in the book include Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier, Mies Van der Rohe, Frank Gehry, and Zaha Hadid.

This dazzling visual feast will appeal to all students and practitioners of architecture as well as anyone with an interest in the subject.

On 1 book list
Allison Arieff

I had a conversation with the CEO of a major architectural software company recently. When I shared with him how much contemporary renderings made me miss old-fashioned architectural drawings, he agreed—but told me we were both getting old and were just being nostalgic. Hogwash. I’ll have to show him the new book 100 Years of Architectural Drawings: 1900–2000 and see if he continues to defend the often lifeless computer versions that are now the norm.

100 Years of Architectural Drawing is, to use an over-used but completely apt descriptor here, an absolute gem. It embraces the most eclectic and wildly international assortment of practitioners and projects—not just the usual suspects. So while you’ll see Schindler, Pelli, and Rodchenko, you’ll also see a stunning hydroelectric plant by Piero Portaluppi, a sort of biomorphic-meets-streamline designed cafeteria by Henri Mouette and Pierre Sziekely, and a Dubai-worthy pink ziggurat created by Henri Sauvage. Everything is good in here, much of it unfamiliar to American audiences. Looking at the red-capped rowers in Sigurd Lewerentz’s elegant gouache of a rowers and their boathouse in comparison to a recent rendering of a local landscape architecture project made me wince, the former so immersive and lovely, the latter, so sterile and unconvincing. But the book isn’t just about pretty pictures. It’s lovingly curated and intelligently researched by Neil Bingham of the Royal Academy of Arts in London (who wrote the series of five historical essays on major periods of architectural drawing that organize the book).

This book (and my review) in the end, isn’t a clarion call against a new technology (CAD, parametricism, et al.) but an inspiration, an expression of how much more is possible. 

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