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Local Architecture: Building Place, Craft, and Community

Princeton Architectural. 2014. 224p. ed. by Robert McCarter. illus. notes. ISBN 9781616891282. $50; ebk. ISBN 9781616894047. ARCH
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OrangeReviewStarThis book records a three-day conference titled "Ghost 13: Ideas in Things" held in 2011 in Kingsburg, Nova Scotia, to honor 15 years of the Ghost Architectural Laboratory led by MacKay-Lyons, who still serves on the faculty of the Dalhousie School of Architecture in Halifax. This laboratory worked like Glenn Murcutt's Master Class in Australia and Samuel Mockbee's Rural Studio in Alabama to foster student interest in actual, practical construction rather than theory. The laboratory lasted two weeks each summer starting in 1994 as internships for international design-build students to help them pragmatically with their education in architecture. Collectively, the interns helped assemble a complete campus on the author's farm in connection with his firm, MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects. All this work echoes Giambattista Vico's famous aphorism verum ipsum factum ("we only know what we have made"). This volume includes 25 pages of keynote addresses by well-known faculty such as Kenneth Frampton of Columbia University, 150 pages of related structures around the world edited by Robert McCarter (architecture, Washington Univ. in St. Louis), and 40 pages of inspiring essays by international scholars such as Essy Baniassad (architecture, Chinese Univ., Hong Kong). The conference and the book were valuably supported by Canada's Council on the Arts.
VERDICT A wonderful beginning reader for architecture students.

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