The Biography of a Building

How Robert Sainsbury and Norman Foster Built a Great Museum
The Biography of a Building: How Robert Sainsbury and Norman Foster Built a Great Museum. Thames & Hudson, dist. by Norton. Oct. 2011. 240p. illus. index. ISBN 9780500342763. $29.95. ARCHITECTURE
Rybczynski (Meyerson Professor of Urbanism, Univ. of Pennsylvania) is a prima facie writer of the first order. In his readable and context-rich work, every detail and comment is deeply sourced and conveyed with reason. This book undoubtedly launches a new international phase of architectural writing focused on the building itself: how it was built, why it was built, what went into it, and what came out of it. Rybczynski concentrates on the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts at East Anglia University in Norwich, England, designed by the prominent English architect Norman Foster. The Sainsbury Centre, built in the 1970s, helped to transform architecture into the high-tech, engineering-reliant field it is today. Its museum also broke new ground when curators placed diverse art objects in close proximity to one another to foster new insights and impressions in their audience.
VERDICT Already, this book is a classic. Highly recommended to all readers interested in modern architecture.
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