Review Of "Arata Isozaki: Architecture, 1960-1990" By A. Isozaki

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At 60 Isozaki, from Japan, a truly global architect since 1980, is duly celebrated in this handsome volume published to coincide with his retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) in Los Angeles, the building for which he is best known in this country aside from the more recent Disney Building in Florida. The book covers his oeuvre selectively but representatively: some 30 major works and projects, half from 1985 on, are each concisely described and amply and spectacularly illustrated; but regrettably, his sketches of bravura draftsmanship are left out except for one (of MoCA), teasingly, on the jacket. Two essays provide a critical overview. David B. Stewart boldly proposes that Isozaki, drawing his aesthetics of irony from Friedrich von Schiller, adopted the romantic classicism of the Prussian architect K.F. Schinkel vis-á-vis the modernism of his teacher, Kenzo Tange, whereas Hajime Yatsuka, exploring the architect's works after 1980, astutely observes that his “disjunctive synthesis,” verging on the picturesque, allows him to have monuments without monumentality. A full bibliography completes the volume, undoubtedly the best monograph to date. Recommended highly for all libraries, general and specialized.


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