100 Houses

100 Houses

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Amazon.comWhen architects design their own homes, they become their own dream clients. For anyone intrigued by the possibilities of domestic architecture, One Hundred Houses for One Hundred European Architects of the Twentieth Century initially seems as if it will be a fascinating entré into the private worlds leading modern architects have built for themselves. Beginning with the great Finnish modernist Alvar Aalto and ending with John Young, an Englishman best known for his high-tech designs for airports, the book includes famous figures (Le Corbusier, Eileen Gray, Victor Horta, William Morris, Otto Wagner) as well as architects unknown outside specialist circles. Each house is illustrated with a floor plan and exterior and interior photographs--many in color--and each architect's major projects are listed, along with brief bibliographies. So far, so good. Unfortunately, many of the brief individual essays are written in stiff, bureaucratic prose with all the earmarks of a bad translation.The numerous authors offer up facts without relating the homes to the lives and design philosophies of the architects in vivid and insightful ways. Editor Gennaro Postiglione's terse and stilted introduction is equally disappointing. As if to acknowledgethese problems, the book is printed in hard-to-read gray type. Still, some of the entries offer more personal glimpses. When Swedish architect Gert Wingårdh enlarged an 18th-century farmhouse by adding two subtly-angled wings, he managed to combine his seemingly contradictory love of traditional materials and Venturian complexity with "green" technology--still in its infancy in 1990. Working with wood, a peat and grass-covered roof, and floors of limestone or pine, he achieved a sensual harmony of forms and spaces. -- Cathy Curtis Book DescriptionAutobiographical homes

The greatest challenge in designing homes is negotiating the delicate balance between aesthetics and the personal desires of the occupants. While it’s important for thestructure to reflect the vision and style of the architect, the client must ultimately feel at home beneath the roof. It is particularly interesting, therefore, to examine the homes that architects create for themselves. If houses reflect their owners’ personalities, then architects’ own homes are like autobiographies. Location, layout, style, lighting, artwork, furnishings—every detail adds color to the story. Each of these 100 dwellings, presented A-Z by architect, speaks more about its designer than any other building possibly could.