‘Lively and engaging . . . Anyone with an interest in architecture will find good things here’ Evening Standard
‘A subtle, often eccentric but always entertaining guide . . . A fascinating work of love, intellectual curiosity and endurance’ Literary Review
‘Dazzling . . . there’s plenty to discover.’ Sunday Times
‘A refreshingly humane and lucid book from one of our most intelligent architecture critics’ Daily Telegraph
‘A paean to the way we inhabit, which explains why good architecture changes constantly’
‘Architecture critic for the Observer, Rowan Moore, has written a fantastic book which is well worth reading for anyone interested in architecture.’
Sir Paul Smith
‘Thoughtful and elegantly written, Why We Build will appeal to anyone with an interest in architecture . . . It benefits from a clear style and years of architectural criticism . . . the argument is forceful, but not prescriptive, the satisfying result of prolonged and sensitive observation of both buildings and human nature.’
‘Moore has a lot to offer those who like verbal flexibility and thought-provoking aphorisms. There is also a sense of mischief . . . if famous architects were a coconut shy, Moore would go home with the giant teddy . . . Elegant and witty, with a sometimes 18th-century sensuality, this is a hard-hitting book with great panache.’
Architecture, good and bad, is shaped by emotions.
In Why We Build Rowan Moore shows how buildings are driven by human emotions and desires – such as hope, power, money, sex, and the idea of home – and how buildings then shape our experiences. He explores the making of buildings from conception to inhabitation, and reveals the paradoxical power of architecture: it looks fixed and solid, but is always changing, in response to the lives around it.
Moore takes us on a personal journey, moving freely across the globe and through history, through works of folly, beauty, spectacle, and subtlety. He uncovers the doomed mansion of an Atlanta multimillionaire, the phenomenally successful High Line in New York, and the remarkable Museu de Arte in São Paulo. He discusses baroque churches and Egyptian pyramids alongside works of the moment. We meet extraordinary characters: Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, the lecherous Stanford White, and Lina Bo Bardi, the most underrated architect of the twentieth century.
Refusing to bow to fashion or reputation, Moore gives a provocative and iconoclastic view of what makes architecture, why it matters, and why we find it fascinating. After reading Why We Build you will never look at a building in the same way again.
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