Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture

Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture

Rowan Moore

Language: English

Pages: 400

ISBN: 0062277561

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

We are living in one of the most dramatic periods in modern architectural history: a time when cityscapes are being redrawn on a yearly basis, architects are testing the very idea of what a building is, and whole cities are invented overnight. In this bold and wide- ranging new work, Rowan Moore—former director of the Architecture Foundation, now a leading architecture critic—explores the reasons behind these changes in our built environment, and how they change the way we live in the world.

Provocative and personal, iconoclastic and transforming, Why We Build is that rarest of things: a book about architecture that is also, on every page, a book about people—those chosen few who design buildings, and the rest of us, who use them every day.

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Museum of Contemporary Art, 308–9; 310, 311 see also Kyoto Jencks, Charles, 82, 237 Jenkins, Simon, 194 Jewish Museum, 257 Johnson, Philip, 161, 278, 295 Jones, Inigo: Covent Garden Piazza, 121–26, 143, 212–13; 125 St Paul’s Church, 121, 122, 213 Journeys, 46 Jumeirah Hotel, 6 Kairouan, Mosque of Uqba in, 308; 307 Kanazawa, 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art in, 308–9; 310, 311 Katsura imperial villa and gardens, 298–306, 309, 358, 359; 300, 301 Kaufmann, Edgar J., 204 Khan


deprived, in densely inhabited cities, of domestic privacy. Or, according to an alternative explanation, they answer the needs of a society that divides more than most the public respectability of marriage, and private desire. Distantly descended from Geisha teahouses of the Edo period, they provide floating worlds, with no sense of an exterior, and obscure connections to the city outside. Some have particularly discreet stairs for people who don’t want to be seen, some have automated check-in

would contain the ‘Gardens of the World’. Why gardens? Because gardens are a constant affirmation of life. A skyscraper rises above its predecessors, reasserting the pre-eminence of freedom and beauty, restoring the spiritual peak to the city, creating an icon that speaks of our vitality in the face of danger and our optimism in the aftermath of tragedy. Life victorious. But there was a problem. Libeskind had been chosen by Governor Pataki and commissioned by the Lower Manhattan Development

admired and influential buildings of the twentieth century. Like a temple, it is a raised pavilion where a portico prefaces an interior. It is axial and symmetrical, except that it is approached by an off-centre flight of steps, and has an off-centre bathroom core inside. Its structure is naked, and trabeated–that is, composed like a classical temple of pillars and beams–even if it is in slender white-painted steel, rather than marble. And if its steel and glass are modern, its travertine paving

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