cover image Looking Around: 2a Journey Through Architecture

Looking Around: 2a Journey Through Architecture

Witold Rybczynski. Viking Books, $22 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-670-84421-0

With catholic taste, McGill University professor of architecture Rybczynski admires Michael Graves's post-modernist Portland Building in Oregon, Swedish artist Carl Larsson's modified log cabin and the New York Public Library, ``built for the ages.'' Readers of his books Home and The Most Beautiful House in the World will enjoy this collection of previously published articles and essays. Rybczynski touts the advantages of smaller houses and links the revival of traditional house forms to a longing for the bourgeois ideals of stability and domesticity. With his usual grace, wit and lucidity, he writes about the quest for a regional California architectural style, about high tech as a ``mass-market fashion,'' about airports, about Palladio's 15th century Italian villas and about art museum design and suburban sprawl. In one essay he interprets the decade 1910-1919 as a period of disorientation that ushered in modernism. As for the 1990s, Rybczynski sees no end to the profession's self-indulgence, as architects shirk their responsibilities to community and society. (Nov.)