A Real Living Contact with the Things Themselves
Essays on Architecture
The things themselves are as interesting and instructive as the underlying concepts and theories about them
1st edition, 2018
312 pages, 39 color and 59 b/w illustrations
16.5 x 21.5 cm
Contemporary architectural criticism tends to focus on the theories and concepts behind buildings. Yet there is much to be learned by venturing beyond the library walls to contemplate the real buildings: the things themselves. This urge for “real living contact” is the impetus behind this new and inspiring collection of essays by renowned British architectural critic and scholar Irénée Scalbert.
The essays, written throughout Scalbert’s career from the early 1990s to the present, comprise detailed studies of major buildings and pieces that represent broader examinations of historical movements and ideas. All are based on direct experience, whether through quiet contemplation or candid interviews with architects, builders, or inhabitants. An architect by training, Scalbert aims at illuminating the design efforts made and to enrich the form of the architectures he describes. His incisive and boldly original criticism—together with a wealth of illustrations—make this a book an enlightening read for anyone with an interest in architecture and its history.
“In a time when theoretical view and concepts dominate architectural writing, I see Scalbert’ mode and optics as a welcomed rehabilitation of the (im)balance between abstract theories, empirical material and phenomenological experiences.” Mikael Andersson, Arkkitehti / Finnish Architectural Review
“One of the most readable, intelligent, and instructive books lately emerged.” Elizabeth B. Hatz, Journal of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland RIAI Journal