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Building with Light in the Pacific Northwest

by Max Jacobson

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Light may be both particles and waves, but rarely is it considered a material for building - it is the essence of insubstantiality, too inconstant to be relied upon, a desirable after-thought in much 20th and 21st century architecture. For architect Thomas L. Bosworth, however, it is the primum mobile, and his extraordinary, almost praeternatural understanding of light as a living thing informs his sight, his vision, and his work. In a career that began in 1960 in the office of Eero Saarinen and continues with new projects on the boards today, he has consistently used natural light to inform his architecture, to give it both shape and meaning. Building With Light in the Pacific Northwest: The Houses of Thomas Bosworth, Architect is a review of some of Bosworth's most exceptional houses. Organized by plan type, they reveal, on the one hand, the consistency of his principles - landscape, natural light, handcraft, symmetry, axiality, and memory - and, on the other, his near-infinite capacity to conceive something entirely new and fresh with each house. A teacher and scholar, as well as practicing architect, Bosworth is a classicist, strongly influenced by Greek and Roman architecture and especially powerfully by the work and writings of Palladio. His work is equally motivated by land and landscape: architecture follows site, literally and aesthetically, and every house sits on and in its particular location with a perfect sense of rightness and inevitability. ILLUSTRATIONS: 243 colour & 17 b/w photographs & 130 illustrations… (more)
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Light may be both particles and waves, but rarely is it considered a material for building - it is the essence of insubstantiality, too inconstant to be relied upon, a desirable after-thought in much 20th and 21st century architecture. For architect Thomas L. Bosworth, however, it is the primum mobile, and his extraordinary, almost praeternatural understanding of light as a living thing informs his sight, his vision, and his work. In a career that began in 1960 in the office of Eero Saarinen and continues with new projects on the boards today, he has consistently used natural light to inform his architecture, to give it both shape and meaning. Building With Light in the Pacific Northwest: The Houses of Thomas Bosworth, Architect is a review of some of Bosworth's most exceptional houses. Organized by plan type, they reveal, on the one hand, the consistency of his principles - landscape, natural light, handcraft, symmetry, axiality, and memory - and, on the other, his near-infinite capacity to conceive something entirely new and fresh with each house. A teacher and scholar, as well as practicing architect, Bosworth is a classicist, strongly influenced by Greek and Roman architecture and especially powerfully by the work and writings of Palladio. His work is equally motivated by land and landscape: architecture follows site, literally and aesthetically, and every house sits on and in its particular location with a perfect sense of rightness and inevitability. ILLUSTRATIONS: 243 colour & 17 b/w photographs & 130 illustrations

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