edited by Stanley Abercrombie -- Interior Design, 12/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
Creating the New American Town House
by Alexander Gorlin
New York: Rizzoli International Publications, $50
244 pages, 200 color illustrations
Five years ago, architect Alexander Gorlin published The New American Town House. Since establishing his own firm 19 years ago, he has also designed fine town houses in New York, Chicago, and Seaside, Florida, among other locations across the U.S. So who better to bring us a second survey of the genre, one that becomes increasingly important as our cities grow denser and our land more expensive?
If his earlier book opened the discourse, this volume addresses the building type's current role in reversing baby boomers' urban flight. Gorlin prefaces his collection of 31 contemporary examples with a sprightly introduction—which makes reference to historical examples by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, Gerrit Rietveld, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—and "Advice From the Architect," covering such practical matters as room types and circulation. Each chapter focuses on one house by the likes of Shelton, Mindel & Associates, Lorcan O'Herlihy Architects, and Brininstool + Lynch as well as Gorlin himself. All the chapters feature minimal text but anywhere from four to 12 pages of first-rate photography and, in most cases, a floor plan. Let's hope Gorlin does it again in 2010.
The de Young in the 21st Century: A Museum by Herzog & de Meuron
by Diana Ketcham
New York: Thames & Hudson, distributed by W.W. Norton, $65
208 pages, 200 illustrations (191 color)
Herzog & de Meuron's de Young Museum in San Francisco recently opened to great acclaim. Here are the copper-sheathed building, the galleries, and the display cases—in addition to the whole backstory. Diana Ketcham assembles a detailed history of the museum with vintage photographs of its Egyptian Revival first home; a description of Pritzker Prize winners Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron's previous work, notably London's Tate Modern; and an account of a complication-fraught 16-year design process beginning with the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and proceeding through a series of sketches, plans, and models. Of course, such thoroughness is to be expected from Ketcham, the executive editor of Arion Press and a winner of the Berlin Prize in Architecture.
Jed Johnson: Opulent Restraint
edited by Temo Callahan and Tom Cashin
New York: Rizzoli International Publications, $65
224 pages, 125 illustrations
When Jed Johnson died in the 1996 crash of TWA flight 800, Pilar Viladas wrote in the New York Times that he had been "well on his way to becoming the most important decorator of his generation." Shortly after, he was posthumously welcomed into this magazine's Hall of Fame. Finally, here is a monograph on his work.
Yves Saint Laurent founding partner Pierre Bergé, one of Johnson's clients, contributed the preface; architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote the introduction. The book also features essays by publisher Sandra Brant, another client; writer Bob Colacello; and Johnson's twin brother, Jay, and designer Arthur Dunnam, who together continue to operate Jed Johnson Associates. Some essays describe Johnson's interiors, others the amazing arc of a career beginning not with formal training but with a New York town house he shared with Andy Warhol. As Brant writes, "Whether one describes Jed's talent as an eye, a calling, or a natural ability, it doesn't matter. What counts is that when one walks into a room created by Jed Johnson, one always feels at home."
What They're Reading. . .
Principal of Elliott + Associates
by Agnes Martin
Ostfildern, Germany: Hatje Cantz Verlag, $29
176 pages, 7 illustrations
As someone who finds as much inspiration in work by artists as in that of fellow architects, Elliott says that this book by minimalist painter Agnes Martin could inspire 100 buildings. "Art and life were inseparable to her," he explains. His favorite line: "Look between the rain." For him, that translates into: "The search itself is the reward."