Other Nations Architecture
Architectural and Cultural Guide: Pyongyang
Architectural and Cultural Guide
Paperback      ISBN: 3869221879


two volumes in slipcase, edited by Philipp Meuser. DOM Publishers, Berlin, Germany; dom-publishers.com . 2012. Volume 1, 127 pages; Volume 2, 237 pages. $49.95 softcover, 2 volumes in slipcase, 5-1/4 x 0-1/2, ISBN 978-3-86922-187-8 color photographs, maps, bibliography, index.

The first volume is a photographic gallery of Pyongyang buildings divided into major architectural categories--urban planning, residential buildings, cultural venues, education and sport, hotels/department stores, transport infrastructure, and monuments. Buildings' exteriors are shown, with occasional photos of parts of interiors. Overall, the treatment is the gross architectural forms and styles--as limited as these are as constrained by the North Korean Communist ideology--not details of interior design, materials, individual artists, or features notable for artistic or other reasons. What is notable overall despite the broad-ranging perspective with the large number of buildings shown is the repetitiveness of architectural concept. Though categorized into major categories in terms of the buildings' kind or function, the North Korean architecture is basically either functional (e. g., apartment buildings, government buildings) or monumental (e. g., statues, commemorative or symbolic structures).

The concept juche discussed briefly in the second volume accounts for the architecture. The term meaning simply self-reliant has broader, significant historical and political connotations. In a 1991 work on architecture parts of which are excerpted, the North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (d. 2011) wrote, Juche architecture regards the masses' aspirations and demands as the sole criterion for the evaluation of beauty. Although this is standard Communist ideology, for North Korean leaders since the end of World War II, juche was a principle intended to develop a distinctive national identity apart from Soviet Russia which had been Korea's ally in the War against Japan occupying the Korean peninsula.

The photographs of the many buildings in Volume I have brief captions or annotations containing facts about construction or features (e. g., capacity) or historical notes. Volume 2 contains illustrated essays on varied facets of the Pyongyang architecture. In this volume, one finds photographs of buildings under construction, photos of North Koreans in other social settings, pictures of leaders and government officials, and posters on the sides of urban buildings or monuments meant to work in conjunction with them in representing the strength of social unity, the relationship between leaders and the population, and other principles of the nation's ideology. One of the chapters of the second volume is Learning from Pyongyang - On the Legibility of Spatial Production. The topics of urban architecture and Communist ideology are implicit or explicit in most of this volume essays.

Use of the two-volume set as a travel guide is noted by the editor. He also notes that all visitors to North Korea are monitored continually by the authorities, not that this interferes with viewing the architecture. But even if one does not plan travel to North Korea, the set works as a unique informative illustrated study of the architecture of this infamous, closed society. On this subject, it is encyclopedic.
Architecture in Asmara: Colonial Origin and Postcolonial Experience
Architecture in Asmara
Colonial Origin and Postcolonial Experience
Paperback      ISBN: 3869224878

The ancient city of Asmara is the capital of Eritrea and its largest settlement. Its beautiful architecture was rediscovered by outsiders in the early 1990s. In this book, the authors offer an original analysis of the colonial city, providing a history not only of the physical and visible urban reality, but also of a second, invisible city as it exists in the imagination. The colonial city becomes a fantastical set of cities where each one reflects the others as if in a kaleidoscope. This book breaks new ground and moves us a little further along in the attempt to decipher Asmara in terms of contemporary theory. The book brings together scholars from a multiplicity of disciplines who have shown the ways in which colonial and postcolonial criticism has served as a platform for new, diversified readings of Asmara. The book examines the current realities of Asmara in order to address the continuing effects of the legacy of colonialism upon the city dwellers.

Architecture of Bali: A Source Book of Traditional and Modern Forms
Architecture of Bali
A Source Book of Traditional and Modern Forms
Hardcover      ISBN: 0824826833

This is at once a compendium for designers and an entertaining essay on the architecture of Asia's most glamorous tropical island by one of its foremost admirers. Landscape and architectural designer Made Wijaya draws on his photographic archives, compiled over the past thirty years, to present a visual study of Balinese architecture: its origins, elements, variations, and vagaries.

The book opens with an overview of Balinese architecture and then looks at its basic elements--the walled courtyard and the pavilion. Further chapters examine building materials, ornamentation, and architectural hybrids resulting from other ethnic influences. Progressing through the book, Bali's intricate built landscape becomes legible and ever more surprising.

With a sharp eye for trends, and passionate opinions about how Balinese design principles should be applied, Wijaya enhances his survey of traditional Balinese architecture with examples of its adaptation in modern private houses and boutique hotel architecture on Bali.

In addition to Wijaya's own archive photographs, the book is illustrated with the work of internationally acclaimed artists; specialist photographers including Tim Street-Porter and Rio Helmi; as well as drawings by Chang Huai-Yan and Deni Chung.

This remarkable book is for anyone interested in ethnic architecture. Designers will find it useful as a source book for materials, built form, and ornamentation and ideas about the use of space. Lovers of Bali will want this for its documentation of a rapidly changing world.

Architectures of Russian Identity, 1500 to the Present
Architectures of Russian Identity, 1500 to the Present
Paperback      ISBN: 0801488281

From the royal pew of Ivan the Terrible, to Catherine the Great's use of landscape, to the struggles between the Orthodox Church and preservationists in post-Soviet Yaroslavl--across five centuries of Russian history, Russian leaders have used architecture to project unity, identity, and power. Church architecture has inspired national cohesion and justified political control while representing the claims of religion in brick, wood, and stone. The architectural vocabulary of the Soviet state celebrated industrialization, mechanization, and communal life. Buildings and landscapes have expressed utopian urges as well as lofty spiritual goals. Country houses and memorials have encoded their own messages. In Architectures of Russian Identity, James Cracraft and Daniel Rowland gather a group of authors from a wide variety of backgrounds--including history and architectural history, linguistics, literary studies, geography, and political science--to survey the political and symbolic meanings of many different kinds of structures. Fourteen heavily illustrated chapters demonstrate the remarkable fertility of the theme of architecture, broadly defined, for a range of fields dealing with Russia and its surrounding territories. The authors engage key terms in contemporary historiography--identity, nationality, visual culture--and assess the applications of each in Russian contexts.

Art and Architecture in Mexico
Art and Architecture in Mexico
Paperback      ISBN: 0500204063

This new interpretive history of Mexican art from the Spanish Conquest to the early decades of the twenty-first century is the most comprehensive introduction to the subject in fifty years. James Oles ranges widely across media and genres, offering new readings of painting, sculpture, architecture, prints, and photographs. He interprets major works by such famous artists as Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, but also discusses less familiar figures in history and landscape painting, muralism, and conceptual art.

The story of Mexican art is set in its rich historical context by the book's treatment of political and social change. The author draws on recent scholarship to examine crucial issues of race, class, and gender, including the work of indigenous artists during the colonial period, and of women artists in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Throughout, Oles shows how Mexican artists participated in local and international developments. He considers both native and foreign-born artists, from Baroque architects to kinetic sculptors, and highlights the important role played by Mexicans in the global art scene of the last five centuries.
Art for Architecture Georgia: Soviet Modernist Mosaics from 1960 to 1990
Art for Architecture Georgia
Soviet Modernist Mosaics from 1960 to 1990
Paperback      ISBN: 3869226919

Monumental, decorative mosaics were created in public spaces of Tbilisi during the Soviet era in the 1970s and 1980s. Yet architectural critics have largely ignored them until now, dismissing them as little more than propagandistic tools that were used to display "advertisements" on building exteriors. The authors of this guide set out to restore the image of Georgian mosaics, arguing that they were architectural artworks in their own right. Colorful mosaics indicate a building's function, give a structure to its facade, and can even blend in with it to form an artistic whole. Unfortunately, many of them are under threat of demolition, and they have never been systematically studied until now. Hence, the purpose of this publication is also to document them, to analyze their artistic value, and to argue for their preservation. To this end, Nini Palavandishvili and Lena Prents present photographs, maps, and short histories, taking the reader on a journey through the world of Georgian mosaics.

Building Saigon South: Sustainable Lessons for a Livable Future
Building Saigon South
Sustainable Lessons for a Livable Future
Hardcover      ISBN: 194353201x

In the Saigon South district of Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, globally renowned architecture firm Skidmore Owings & Merrill designed a livable, human-scale urban environment in partnership with the Phu My Hung development group. SOM created the master plan that still guides growth and change in this part of the city, which has been accepted as an example of sustainable development to be imitated across Asia and throughout the rest of the world. Saigon South's neighborhoods accommodate residents of varying income levels and provide green public space for all. Verdant parks are placed alongside the area's natural water features. The master plan's emphasis on multi-use design allows for traditional shophouses as well as larger businesses, integrating all parts of life into a pedestrian-friendly district. Saigon South is an economically and civically vibrant district that showcases the city's cultural richness rather than the egos of the architects and developers.

Building the Japanese House Today
Building the Japanese House Today
Hardcover      ISBN: 0810959313

The traditional Japanese house is universally admired for its clean lines, intricate joinery, and unparalleled woodworking. The authors of this elegant volume, Peggy Landers Rao and Len Brackett, show how a classic Japanese- style house can be built to offer the warmth and comfort that modern homeowners require. Len Brackett, rigorously trained in traditional architecture in Kyoto, has spent decades adapting the ancient Japanese design aesthetic to Western needs. He builds traditional live-on-the-floor houses, as well as versions that accommodate furniture. Both types provide the essential features expected in today's new homes - central heating, insulation, weather stripping, thermal glazing, streamlined kitchens, computerized lighting systems, and the latest electronics. The book's primary focus is on a single guesthouse in California, but pictures of other adaptations of the traditional Japanese house in America exemplify various points. Architects will find reference charts of the prescribed set of proportions and dimensions normally passed down through a strict system of apprenticeship. anticipating shrinkage of various woods. A remarkable tool used to lay out precise joints is described in detail. Various sources are given for materials, including where to find a contemporary version of the distinctive, traditional earthen plaster.

Caracas: Architectural Guide
Architectural Guide
Paperback      ISBN: 3869225793

This title illustrates the complexity of a South American city founded in 1567 which forges a coherent identity with El Avila and the coastline, where different scales and architectural styles converge. This guide outlines the city's history with reference to its most striking architecture dating from approximately 1600 up to the present day. Architecture and urban spaces found in ten zones throughout Caracas are delineated, as well as conceptions held by urban planning experts regarding future initiatives that could transform and enhance the city.

Cities Without Ground: A Hong Kong Guidebook
Cities Without Ground
A Hong Kong Guidebook
Paperback      ISBN: 1935935321

Hong Kong is a city without ground. This is true both physically (built on steep slopes, the city has no ground plane) and culturally (there is no concept of ground). Density obliterates figure-ground in the city, and in turn re-defines public-private spatial relationships. Perception of distance and time is distorted through compact networks of pedestrian infrastructure, public transport and natural topography in the urban landscape.Without a ground, there can be no figure either. In fact, Hong Kong lacks any of the traditional figure-ground relationships that shape urban space: axis, edge, center, even fabric. Cities Without Ground explores this condition by mapping three-dimensional circulation networks that join shopping malls, train stations and public transport interchanges, public parks and private lobbies as a series of spatial models and drawings. These networks, though built piecemeal, owned by different public and private stakeholders, and adjacent to different programs and uses, form a continuous space of variegated environments that serves as a fundamental public resource for the city. The emergence of the shopping malls as spaces of civil society rather than of global capital-- as grounds of resistance-- comes as a surprise. This continuous network and the microclimates of temperature, humidity, noise and smell which differentiate it constitute an entirely new form of urban spatial hierarchy. The relation between shopping malls and air temperature, for instance, suggests architectural implications in circulation--differentiating spaces where pedestrians eagerly flow or make efforts to avoid, where people stop and linger or where smokers gather. Air particle concentration is both logical and counterintuitive: outdoor air is more polluted, while the air in the higher-end malls is cleaner than air adjacent to lower value retail programs. Train stations, while significantly cooler than bus terminals, have only moderately cleaner air. Boundaries determined by sound or smell (a street of flower vendors or bird keepers, or an artificially perfumed mall) can ultimately provide more substantive spatial boundaries than a ground. While space in the city may be continuous, plumes of temperature differential or air particle intensity demonstrate that environments are far from equal.