Holiday gift guide: books on architecture
Image 1 of 1
Bernard Maybeck did this tempura painting of the Palace of Fine Arts in 1914, the year before the Panama-Pacific International Exposition at which the Palace debuted. Ran on: 11-20-2011 Tempera painting on photograph of Palace of the Fine Arts, c. 1914, from &quo;Bernard Maybeck: Architect of Elegance.&quo; Ran on: 11-20-2011 Tempera painting on photograph of Palace of the Fine Arts, c. 1914, from &quo;Bernard Maybeck: Architect of Elegance.&quo;
Bernard Maybeck. Architect of Elegance, by Mark Anthony Wilson ; photography by Joel Puliatti (Gibbs Smith ; 232 pages; $60). This book is a natural for anyone captivated by Maybeck, perhaps the Bay Area's most evocative 20th century architect. Landmarks like the Palace of Fine Arts are here, but so are homes that have never been photographed, as well as such lesser-known treasures as Carmel's public library.
Old Buildings, New Designs. Architectural Transformations, by Charles Bloszies (Princeton Architectural Press ; 144 pages; $24.95). A San Francisco architect-engineer makes an understated but convincing case that aged buildings are tough enough to be altered or expanded in visually provocative ways. The 19 case studies include our Contemporary Jewish Museum. where a blue-steel cube collides with red brick, and 185 Post St. where a stocky masonry survivor now preens behind a taut glass veil.
California Houses of Gordon Drake , by Douglas Baylis and Joan Parry (William Stout; 107 pages; $39.95). Gordon Drake was just 34 when he died in a ski accident in 1952, with barely a dozen built homes to his credit. Yet his vigorous modernism spawned a 1956 monograph that captured Drake's almost beatnik spirit ("I've never knowingly drawn a dishonest line," he wrote in one letter). Now it's been republished - and when the introduction is by Glenn Murcutt. winner of the 2002 Pritzker Architecture Prize, you know the work endures.
Port City: The History and Transformation of the Port of San Francisco, 1848-2010, by Michael R. Corbett (San Francisco Architectural Heritage; 248 pages; $65). Our waterfront
from every conceivable historical and architectural angle. It concludes with a look at every structure now in place - and the smart observation that "San Francisco must craft its own unique vision for the future of the port."
Reveal: Studio Gang Architects, by Jeanne Gang (Princeton Architecture Press ; 256 pages; $45). This year, Chicago's Jeanne Gang was the first architect since 1999 to win a $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship. Her firm's bracing monograph shows why: Standard building presentations are layered with unexpected narrative threads and format twists, such as a fold-out history of a glacial boulder that was jack-hammered to make way for Gang's Aqua, 82 stories of undulating concrete near Lake Michigan.
The New York Public Library. The Architecture and Decoration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, by Henry Hope Reed and Francis Morrone (W.W. Norton ; 320 pages; $75). Outside of Washington, D.C. the most voluptuous work of classical architecture in the United States might be the New York Public Library. Appropriate, then, that it's the subject of this lovingly sumptuous study, complete with 250 full-color photographs by Anne Day that make the hefty price (almost) a bargain.
The Waters of Rome: Aqueducts, Fountains, and the Birth of the Baroque City, by Katherine Wentworth Rinne (Yale; 262 pages; $65). Long before Californians grappled with water's impact on metropolitan growth, 16th century Rome was transformed by aqueducts and fountains that still dazzle us. This deft blend of cultural history and urban studies shows how infrastructure begets architecture - and how something as magical as a Bernini fountain can take shape from a Vegas-like urge to show off.
Design With the Other 90%: Cities, by Cynthia E. Smith (Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum ; 234 pages; $29.95). Imagine cities with houses made of sandbags. Floating schools that can ride out monsoons. A gravity-fed water system powered by foot pumps. This exhibition catalog shows socially committed designers responding to the tumultuous urbanization in what's now called the "Global South," and the results are captivating.