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A Critic Writes


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About the Author

Reyner Banham (1922-1988) was Sheldon H. Solow Professor of the History of Architecture at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, and Professor of Art History at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His many books include Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (1973), Theory and Design in the First Machine Age (1980), and A Concrete Atlantis: U.S. Industrial Building and European Modern Architecture (1986). Mary Banham is an artist, editor, and curator who collaborated with her husband on his books and articles. Paul Barker, for many years editor of New Society, writes and broadcasts on social, environmental, and cultural issues. Sutherland Lyall, Literary Advisor to the Banham estate, has written seven books on architecture, design, and building. Cedric Price is an internationally acclaimed architect. The editors currently live in London.


A leading British architectural critic, Banham wrote for architectural journals as well as more popular media. The more than 50 essays in this collection derive from Banham's 35-year career, from 1955 through a posthumously published work of 1990. The quality of the essays varies from a brilliant work on Frank Lloyd Wright from 1969 to a number of clichéd entries in the tired, Britisher-in-Southern-California genre. Though the major sections have brief introductions, the lack of footnotes or contextualization for the essays is a major deficiency. In many instances, particularly those dealing with the influence of Italian Brutalism on British architecture in the Fifties, Banham's references are often obscure or elliptical and the personages mentioned forgotten to the average reader. Recommended only for larger academic collections with an interest in late 20th-century architecture.‘Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Institution Libs., Washington D.C.

"This is a well-made book, which would have pleased Banham, who took book design as seriously as all other types of design. . . . Banham is always clear and always readable. Because these essays were such timely commentary when they were published, they will become a more and more useful historical document."--"Architectural Research Quarterly

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