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Why You Can Build it Like That

Modern Architecture Explained

John Zukowsky


A highly accessible re-examination of iconic and iconoclastic modern architecture, which explains 100 buildings from the past 50 years that pushed the boundaries of the ‘acceptable’

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What is the reasoning behind some of the most controversial buildings in the world?

In this original and engaging study of iconic and iconoclastic modern architecture from the unusual to the truly avant-garde, John Zukowsky examines the design and purpose of 100 modern buildings and the reaction they provoked when they were built.

From the work of such world-renowned architects as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Frank Gehry and Zaha Hadid to the maverick creations of Bruce Goff, Shin Takamatsu and Shigeru Ban, extraordinary buildings are part of our everyday lives – but some buildings provoke strong reactions. ‘Not in my backyard’ is a phrase often heard in the discussion of architecture, but what is it about these buildings that is so controversial?

This fascinating study selects 100 iconoclastic buildings that pushed the boundaries of the acceptable when they were built, but have since become revered. It unravels the complex stories behind their construction, placing each building in its cultural context and discussing why it was created and what influence it has had on architectural design.

You’ll discover why some architects choose to prioritize function over aesthetic appeal – or vice-versa – and why others appear to challenge every accepted architectural value. You’ll also learn how many buildings were influenced by global events such as the Space Race, and how others were made possible by timely technological innovation.

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Flexibound PLC (with jacket)

Size: 19.7 x 14.0 cm

Extent: 224 pp

Illustrations: 100

Publication date: 24 August 2015

ISBN: 9780500291788

Contents List

1. The Triumph of Geometry: Circles, Rectangles, Triangles, and Trapezoids • 2. Space Age Aesthetics • 3. Pop Culture and Design • 4. Shards and Shapes: Skyscraper Style • 5. Escape to the Past? Or Back from the Future?

About the Author

John Zukowsky is an architectural and design historian. He was curator of architecture at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1978 to 2004, and has since held several executive positions at institutions in Chicago, New York and Ohio. He has also been the recipient of honors from the American Institute of Architects and the republics of Austria and France.