Not quite architecture : writing around Alison and Peter Smithson /

Saved in:
Bibliographic Details
Author / Creator:Boyer, M. Christine, author.
Imprint:Cambridge, Massachusetts : The MIT Press, [2017]
Description:xiv, 483 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Subject:Smithson, Alison, -- 1928-1993 -- Written works.
Smithson, Peter, -- 1923-2003 -- Written works.
Smithson, Alison, -- 1928-1993.
Smithson, Peter, -- 1923-2003.
Architecture, Modern -- 20th century.
Architecture, Modern.
Format: Print Book
URL for this record:
Hidden Bibliographic Details
Notes:Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary:The English architects Alison Smithson (1928-1993) and Peter Smithson (1923-2003) were ringleaders of the New Brutalism, active in CIAM and Team 10, and influential in English Pop Art. The Smithsons, who met as architecture students, built only a few buildings but wrote prolifically throughout their career, leaving a body of writings that consider issues in architecture and urbanism and also take up subjects that are "not quite architecture" (the name of a series of articles written by Alison Smithson for the Architects' Journal) -- including fashion design, graphic communication, and children's tales. In this book, M. Christine Boyer explores the Smithsons' writings -- books, articles, lectures, unpublished manuscripts, and private papers. She focuses on unpublished material, reading the letter, the scribbled note, the undelivered lecture, the scrapbook, the "magic box," as words in the language of modern architectural history - especially that of postwar England, where the Smithsons and other architects were at the center of the richest possible range of cultural encounters. Boyer is "writing around" the Smithsons' work by considering the cultural contexts in which they formed and wrote about their ideas. Boyer explains that the Smithsons were intensely concerned with the responsibility of the architect to ensure the quality of place, to build with lyrical appropriateness. They reached back to the country landscapes of their childhood and, Boyer argues, mixed their brand of New Brutalism with the English Picturesque.
Review by Choice Review

Boyer (Princeton) explores the prolific efforts of the Smithsons, groundbreaking 20th-century English architects. They met as architecture students and went on to collaborate on a few buildings and a far greater body of writing. They were active members of the International Congresses of Modern Architecture (CIAM) and Team 10, "a small group of architects who sought each other in aiding the development and understanding of their own individual work," as described by Alison Smithson in Team 10 Primer (1968), which she edited. The Smithsons became leaders in the so-called new brutalism movement (as exemplified in the work of Le Corbusier et al.). Boyer explores a wide range of primary sources and provides a much clearer picture than has heretofore been available of design thought in postwar England. The book is intended not just to share the Smithsons' extensive efforts, but also to put them in the context of the culture of the time. The Smithsons intended their writing to record their personal insights about design, and they never set out to influence or instruct others. The graphics of the book are appropriate for its subject: there are some color representations, but mostly black and whites, as was common to the period. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers. --Robert Paul Meden, Marymount University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Choice Review