cover image THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Ten Buildings People Loved to Hate

THERE GOES THE NEIGHBORHOOD: Ten Buildings People Loved to Hate

Susan Goldman Rubin, . . Holiday, $18.95 (96pp) ISBN 978-0-8234-1435-2

Rubin's (Margaret Bourke-White) informative and often surprising survey chronicles how 10 "architectural eyesores [became] icons—beloved symbols of cities, countries and cultures." Beginning with the Washington Monument (initially spurned by Washington himself as "a waste of money when the country needed more important things" and later compared by critics to a huge stalk of asparagus) and including the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York and McDonald's restaurants worldwide, Rubin liberally peppers the narrative with quotes and critical reactions from the architects' peers. Pictures and architectural drawings, cleverly printed in blue and white, offer a glimpse into history as well as the creative process. Some lesser-known edifices could benefit from greater context. The acrimony between Philip Johnson and his New Canaan, Conn., neighbors over his glass house, for instance, escalated beyond angry newspaper editorials to rock throwing; but the text reveals little about New Canaan beyond the residents' penchant for colonial homes. A general discussion on architecture might have benefited readers, since the book points out specific examples of society's resistance to change and new ideas; a glossary and notes on architects provide information for further research. This volume may well inspire readers to examine buildings—from restaurants to the Flatiron building—in new ways and bolster their courage to think differently. Ages 8-12. (July)