Best Design Books brings something unexpected and sober in this book review: concrete. Concrete? That characterless stuff of parking lots or Communist tower blocks, right? Well, yes. And no. Concrete is actually a name applied to a remarkably wide range of building substances, and, when properly handled, is one of the noble materials of contemporary architecture. A kind of “liquid stone” at the outset, it is malleable, durable, and capable of prodigious feats of engineering.
This two-volume book highlights the best work done in concrete of recent years. It includes such stars as Zaha Hadid, Herzog & de Meuron, and Steven Holl, but also surprising new architects like the Russians SPEECH, and rising stars of the international scene like Rudy Ricciotti from France, as well as artists such as James Turrell, who turned the famous concrete spiral of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim in New York into the setting of one of his most remarkable pieces.