824 pp. The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture--so massive that it comes in its own plastic carrying case--is one of the rare publishing events that lives up to its hype. The book showcases 1,052 buildings completed since January 1998 with thousands of well-chosen color photographs plans, elevations, and cross-sections. Major elements of each project are described in elegantly succinct texts. Rather than simply pay lip service to the concept of "world" architecture, this book ranges throughout 75 countries on six continents. And although the big names in the field are here--Rafael Moneo and Herzog & De Meuron are each represented by nine projects; Tadeo Ando with eight, Frank Gehry with six--the focus is on the ingenuity and diversity of contemporary architecture, regardless of the fame of its creator.
The book's global view embraces many approaches, including experimental construction, neo-modernism, postmodernism, reinterpreted vernacular architecture and lingering traces of the International Style. While virtually every building type is included, from factories to museums, from lookout towers to train stations, the largest and most creative category is single family housing. Selected (as were all the projects) by a panel of leading architects, critics, scholars and others, these homes offer a tantalizing sense of what is possible, even on a modest budget. Grouped by country, the residences establish a sense of local context--from the elegant use of Scandinavian wood to the imaginative use of narrow plots of land in Tokyo. Fully indexed, with an array of maps and world data charts, The Phaidon Atlas of Contemporary World Architecture is destined to serve as a unique reference tool. But the geographic organization encourages you to just open the book anywhere and make a discovery--perhaps the surreal vision of Ake Larsson's Icehotel (carved from ice and snow), or the forest of Cor-ten steel pipes Jose ABP Forjaz used in the Mbuzini Memorial, or the startling shed forms of Rick Joy’s Tubac House.ISBN: