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10 X 10

by Haig Beck

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1303213,955 (3.25)7
10 x 10is a kaleidoscopic view of new architecture in the world today. 100 emerging architects have been selected by 10 leading international architecture curators and critics. Each critic has also selected and listed 10 cultural references - including designed objects, books, films, themes, and movements - to reveal a dynamic range of influences in today's design environment. The book is unique in architectural publishing and provides a truly global view of the most imaginative and important architects not only of today but also of the future. This monumental book is itself architecturally designed, with a plastic lenticular three-dimensional cover and an innovative shifting grid page design, which packs in over 1,500 striking images in 468 pages. The absorbing tome is presented alphabetically by architect in an dynamically direct A-Z format that results in arresting sequences with the turn of each page, making 10 x 10an invigorating examination of contemporary architecture and culture. The book features over 250 buildings and projects dating from 1990 to the present. These consist of recently-built works, as well as projects currently under construction. 10 x 10journeys around the globe from multi-million dollar schemes such as the Yokohama International Port Terminal in Japan by Foreign Office Architects; through projects such as the tiny timber summer house in Risør, Norway designed by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk; to the digital world of the Guggenheim Virtual Museum by Asymptote Architecture. From traditional to conceptual, this book mirrors the immensely diverse factors that form and fuel architectural practice and experimentation, to illustrate the most innovative responses to changing technologies and social conditions. Encompassing environmental, industrial, urban, technological, and virtual dimensions, 10 x 10showcases an abundance of homes, workplaces, religious centres, and places of entertainment. This is a vigorous battlefield of architectural ideas: each critic has been specially commissioned to write an essay supporting their selection of architects, in some cases challenging the selections of other critics, and also giving their own view on contemporary trends in architecture. 10 x 10is not only an essential source book, but the ultimate design object celebrating the architectural future.… (more)
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Well, it's all modern architecture, so, as with almost all permutations of "modern art," you know the drill: Ugly, bloblike forms that appear to be coming apart at the waistlines; grimly uniform, prison-worthy windows; dark, misery-inducing colors; protruding metal beams and reinforcements; essentially an attack on beauty, aesthetics, and common sense. Unsurprisingly, even the book's title is simplistic, unimaginative, and cold. To those who don't know about the politicized origins of brutalistic modern art / architecture / sociology / etc., the point is to subtly, but violently, tear down the glittering, complex achievements of Western civilization and replace them with functional but intentionally hideous monuments to collectivism (communism / socialism / even a certain religion beginning with "I" whose name translates to simply "submission"). This is all done to psychologically prep the sheep-esque populace for its eventual new role as a mass of worker drones. If you make Western youths grow up loathing their surroundings and admiring things like the Taj Mahal or the Moscow palace or that sail-like Dubai tower thing, you've catalyzed their loathing of their own Western culture. Subversion is the name of the game. All the rumpled-coat academics lining the halls of academia have decided that this anti-aesthetic is your world's future, and you know what will befall your career if you step out of line.
If you think I'm being too sensationalistic, look up the far leftist origins of Dadaism, or the CIA/FBI's involvement in the founding and popularization of the abstract expressionist movement (think Jackson Pollock). Go look at the architecture of West Germany vs. that of East Germany, or Russia's pre-communism architecture vs. its current architecture.
Now, I am a fan of minimalism, but more along the lines of Magritte, Calatrava, Kandinsky, or Kubrick, who at least try to inject elegance and low-key complexity into their works. There is some good stuff in this book, but the overall effect is a feeling of oppression and queasiness. And no, I don't think every building has to resemble a Gothic cathedral, hence why I mentioned Calatrava. If the title (and truly awful cover design) of this book were changed to The World's Gloomiest Modern Prisons and you handed this book to a random person on the street, he or she would invariably flip through it and experience no cognitive dissonance between that title and the book's photos.
Here is some stuff I do like in the book: Parts of Deakin University in Melbourne; by Wood / Marsh. Office building in Halenseestrasse, Berlin; by Léon Wohlhage Wernik. Kitikami Canal Museum in Miyagi, Japan; by Kengo Kuma. City Link Gateway in Melbourne; by Denton Corker Marshall. (It's almost criminal that Calatrava is entirely omitted from this book the size and heft of a cinder block.)
Not to prattle on forever, but the underlying goal of most 20th century ("modern") design is to cause people to think ugly = pretty, bad = good, slavery = freedom, war = peace, right = wrong, as laid out by Orwell and others in their speculative dystopian works. The average person simply doesn't see the psychological battle machinery being assembled all around in plain sight.
Overall, this book is absolutely essential reading, because the deep unease it will induce in the mind and gut of the "w o k e" reader will spur him or her into action to conduct a counter-revolution of thought and design. But I won't hold my breath. ( )
  YESterNOw | Nov 7, 2018 |
shelved at: B10
  CSTJ-Library | Jan 30, 2018 |
Monograph Library - shelved at: B11:AAA
  HB-Library-159 | Oct 19, 2016 |
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10 x 10is a kaleidoscopic view of new architecture in the world today. 100 emerging architects have been selected by 10 leading international architecture curators and critics. Each critic has also selected and listed 10 cultural references - including designed objects, books, films, themes, and movements - to reveal a dynamic range of influences in today's design environment. The book is unique in architectural publishing and provides a truly global view of the most imaginative and important architects not only of today but also of the future. This monumental book is itself architecturally designed, with a plastic lenticular three-dimensional cover and an innovative shifting grid page design, which packs in over 1,500 striking images in 468 pages. The absorbing tome is presented alphabetically by architect in an dynamically direct A-Z format that results in arresting sequences with the turn of each page, making 10 x 10an invigorating examination of contemporary architecture and culture. The book features over 250 buildings and projects dating from 1990 to the present. These consist of recently-built works, as well as projects currently under construction. 10 x 10journeys around the globe from multi-million dollar schemes such as the Yokohama International Port Terminal in Japan by Foreign Office Architects; through projects such as the tiny timber summer house in Risør, Norway designed by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk; to the digital world of the Guggenheim Virtual Museum by Asymptote Architecture. From traditional to conceptual, this book mirrors the immensely diverse factors that form and fuel architectural practice and experimentation, to illustrate the most innovative responses to changing technologies and social conditions. Encompassing environmental, industrial, urban, technological, and virtual dimensions, 10 x 10showcases an abundance of homes, workplaces, religious centres, and places of entertainment. This is a vigorous battlefield of architectural ideas: each critic has been specially commissioned to write an essay supporting their selection of architects, in some cases challenging the selections of other critics, and also giving their own view on contemporary trends in architecture. 10 x 10is not only an essential source book, but the ultimate design object celebrating the architectural future.

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