Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A 21st Century Look at 19th Century Visions of the 20th Century

"The Future of Architecture Since 1889"
Jean-Louis Cohen (Author), product page

"Truly far-ranging -- both conceptually and geographically -- The Future of Architecture Since 1889 is a rich, compelling history that will shape future thinking out this period for years to come...."

As advertising copy goes, whoever wrote that could have done a lot worse. The description is a bit extravagant with praise, but at least it includes some verifiable details. Like who wrote the book:

"...Jean-Louis Cohen, one of today's most distinguished architectural historians and critics, gives an authoritative and compelling account of the twentieth century, tracing an arc from industrialization through computerization, and linking architecture to developments in art, technology, urbanism and critical theory...."

It's illustrated ("richly"), a hardcover book with 638 pages, published by Phaidon Press, and won't be available until March 28, 2012.

Living in The Future

The Lemming's been living in 'the future' for quite a while now. Somehow, the flying cars, floating cities, atomic toothbrushes, and mutant frogs never happened. Neither did the predicted ice age, death of the oceans, and depopulation of America.

The future hasn't been a total disappointment, though: disco didn't last; the Internet is upsetting apple carts; and spaceports moved from pulp fiction to the business pages.

All of which doesn't have all that much to do with architecture. Except that today's buildings are more likely to have a wireless network, than a servant's entrance.

With a price somewhere around $50 to $75, the Lemming isn't likely to buy the book. It's an interesting topic, though. Particularly since notions about what 'the future' will be like have changed so much since Victorian times.

Somewhat-related posts:


Brigid said...

"...that will shape future thinking out this period..."

"thinking out this period" !?!?

Someone get this guy a proofreader!

Brian Gill said...


Indeed. It's an easy-enough typo to do, though. ;)

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