Writing about Architecture
Mastering the Language of Buildings and Cities
Publication date 3/12/2012
7.5 x 8 inches (19.1 x 20.3 cm), Paperback
160 pages, 20 b/w illustrations
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Available for the Kindle at amazon.com.
Extraordinary architecture addresses so much more than mere practical considerations. It inspires and provokes while creating a seamless experience of the physical world for its users. It is the rare writer that can frame the discussion of a building in a way that allows the reader to see it with new eyes. Writing About Architecture is a handbook on writing effectively and critically about buildings and cities. Each chapter opens with a reprint of a significant essay written by a renowned architecture critic, followed by a close reading and discussion of the writer's strategies. Lange offers her own analysis using contemporary examples as well as a checklist of questions at the end of each chapter to help guide the writer. This important addition to the Architecture Briefs series is based on the author's design writing courses at New York University and the School of Visual Arts. Lange also writes a popular online column for Design Observer and has written for Dwell, Metropolis, New York magazine, and The New York Times. Writing About Architecture includes analysis of critical writings by Ada Louise Huxtable, Lewis Mumford, Herbert Muschamp, Michael Sorkin, Charles Moore, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Jane Jacobs. Architects covered include Marcel Breuer, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Field Operations, Norman Foster, Frank Gehry, Frederick Law Olmsted, SOM, Louis Sullivan, and Frank Lloyd Wright.
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New York Times - Opinionator:
"In Writing About Architecture, Lange recognizes the stakes inherent in the act of describing place. While she certainly is pushing writers, readers and her students to aim for clarity in criticism, Lange goes much further, arguing that architecture critics be invested intellectually and emotionally in the world that surrounds them. The iconic critics Lange celebrates enliven the spaces they write about whether they love them or hate them. They notice things. Theyre steeped in history, in context and provenance. They take their time. They make the reader want to experience the spaces described.... Architecture critics, Lange rightly concludes, can act not just as writers but as advocates, and, in so doing, can try to make it better."
"Nothing short of miraculous.... Langes book goes into the nuts-and bolts level of wordsmithing architectural experiences with a poetic lyricism and technical precision as no book before it. Use it often and youll never think of the word critic pejoratively again."
The Architects Newspaper:
"Lange analyzes her key texts with great care and perceptiveness, and happily she is wide ranging in her taste... She understands that the purpose of writing about architecture is to build a constituency for better design, to help people see, to help them feel more agency over the built environmentand to help them take joy in architecture's great moments. She's good at doing that herself, and this book will help others do it, too."
— Paul Goldberger
"Lange has crafted a book that is to the benefit of anybody interested in architectural criticism."
Architects + Artisans:
"Its not only a delight to read Jacobs vivid 1961 description of the everyday ballet on Manhattans Hudson Street alone is worth the $24.95 price of admission but an instructive treatise on how great criticisms come to be."
"A lively, open-hearted, and open-minded book about architectural criticism that is at once accessible and scholarly. "
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