Review Of "Togo Murano: Master Architect Of Japan" By B. Bognar

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Bognar's modest book introduces an architect still largely ignored outside Japan except for some exemplary modernist works from 1930. Murano (1891-1984) had a long and distinguished career in the four decades following WW II with an output of more than 300 projects until his death at the age of 93. The book lists only 98 buildings, however, of which 28 are cataloged with superb photographs (many in color), small but adequate plans, occasional sections, and brief descriptive comments. Prolific as he was, Murano was also spectacularly versatile as well as astutely eclectic. Representing every conceivable building type and architectural style, his oeuvre challenges an attempt to define its character. Its special strength, no doubt, was less the architect's personal stamp than a wise accommodation of each project's demands realized by his global knowledge of adaptable exemplars and his innate taste for finesse. In its selection of works the book does justice to his versatility; however, neither Bognar's 15-page critical text nor the brief introduction by architect Fumihiko Maki quite succeeds in fully defining Murano's architectural personality. But their efforts mark a noteworthy beginning. Undergraduate; graduate; professional.


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