The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Why We Build on WNYC


Rowan Moore, former director of the Architecture Foundation and the architecture critic for The Observer, discusses Why We Build: Power and Desire in Architecture and, coincidently, the work of Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi — the “heroine” of the book — with Leonard Lopate on WNYC:

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The Observer published an interesting piece by Moore on Bo Bardi at the end of last year:

Born in Italy in 1914 and arriving in Brazil in 1946, Bo Bardi was, as well as an architect, a political activist, a designer of furniture and stage sets, an editor and writer and a curator of exhibitions. You could call her a modernist, as she used plain forms and concrete and glass, but she also embraced the traditional cultures of her adopted country and added mud and straw to her palette. One of her most beautiful creations is a wooden stair using techniques adapted from the making of ox carts.

The US edition of Why We Build was published by Harper Design early this month.

(NB: I personally prefer the cover to the UK hardcover — pictured above — to the new North American cover. If you’re going to have a beautiful black and white illustration by Diane Berg on the jacket, why colourize it and slap enormous type on top of it? And the less said about the cover of the UK paperback the better…) 

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