Review Of "Emerging Japanese Architects Of The 1990s" Edited By J. Kestenbaum

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A photographic introduction to the latest Japanese architecture, which might be dubbed post-postmodern in its rejection of superficial historicism. Such architecture is represented here by five young architects and one team of three, mostly in their thirties, with three works each, designed and built between 1985 and 1990 and heretofore mostly unknown outside Japan. The photographs are exquisite, and the book is beautifully put together; but the plans, always essential in architectural publications, are small and at times inadequate to make these exceptionally complex buildings fully comprehensible. Kestenbaum explains in her introduction the challenge of commercialism that these younger architects face today; and in this and her one-page profiles for each architect she is expertly articulate in describing the works and architectural thoughts, as are the architects themselves in their own one-page statements. But these comments, all too succinct, are rather like sound bites and fail to analyze; the book, lacking critical and historical depth, thus remains an introduction, albeit a deluxe album, and teases the reader for a more substantial study that undoubtedly will eventually come. Recommended for architectural libraries, and for special collections on contemporary Japan.


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