Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (Penguin Art and Architecture)

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9780140136609: Los Angeles: The Architecture of Four Ecologies (Penguin Art and Architecture)

Reyner Banham examined the built environment of Los Angeles in a way no architectural historian before him had done, looking with fresh eyes at its manifestations of popular taste and industrial ingenuity, as well as its more traditional modes of residential and commercial building. His construct of 'four ecologies' examined the ways Angelenos relate to the beach, the freeways, the flatlands, and the foothills. Banham delighted in this mobile city and identified it as an exemplar of the posturban future. In a spectacular new foreword, architect and scholar Joe Day explores how the structure of Los Angeles, the concept of 'ecology', and the relevance of Banham's ideas have changed over the past thirty-five years.

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Review:

"A light-hearted and affectionate tribute to Los Angeles....Banham sees not the burnt, lunar landscape of the fiction writers, but a benign littoral where sea, mountains, valleys, and plain form a natural environment that charms as well as challenges its inhabitants. To the historian of architecture, it is the cityscape itself that is most fascinating, providing him with the materials of his strongest attack on the literary conventions about Los Angeles." - Francis Carney, New York Review of Books "The true language of Los Angeles is the language of movement, says Banham. 'So...I learned to drive in order to read Los Angeles in the original.'...A generous and exhilarating joyride." - Roger Jellinek, The New York Times "Banham, with his nose for architectural news, was bound to celebrate Los Angeles: it is just his cup of Coca-Cola. The celebration is enjoyable, often shrewd, sometimes superficial and diffuse, as travellers' tales are. This city 'seventy miles square but rarely seventy years deep' defies the limitations of conventional architectural history, the author says, forcing him to describe its topographical and historical context too." - Times Literary Supplement"

Review:

"In one volume [Banham] does the near-impossible: He makes us see this fragmented city [of Los Angeles] as a breathing whole." -- Ariel Swartley Los Angeles Magazine 20090301 "Still as penetrating now as when Banham completed his observations on the city in 1971." La Observed 20090424 "Banham wrote like a blissed-out lover, surrendering to his feelings of derangement and wonder while keeping his eyes wide-open." Los Angeles Times 20090621 "Banham's book has remained au courant." Palisadian Post 20090618

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