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.
Philip Jodidio (born 1954) studied art history and economics at Harvard, and editedConnaissance des Arts for over 20 years. His books include TASCHEN’s Architecture Now! series, and monographs on Tadao Ando, Norman Foster, Renzo Piano, Jean Nouvel, and Zaha Hadid. He is internationally renowned as one of the most popular writers on the subject of architecture.
“100 Contemporary Concrete Buildings, produced in TASCHEN’s lavish and professional style – and oh so large and heavy, feels as if it’s made of the material. Split into two giant coffee-table hardbacks, it features a chunky section on each of the buildings starting with a fact-heavy architect bio, a brief write-up about the building and several pages of beautifully shot, well-captioned photos, plus architectural drawings. For those people who still need convincing that concrete can indeed be beautiful, 100 Contemporary Concrete Buildings might just do the trick.” (South China Morning Post, Hong Kong)