Mysteries of the Mall

Mysteries of the Mall

And Other Essays

Book - 2015
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A deep exploration of modern life that examines our cities, public places, and homes

In Mysteries of the Mall , Witold Rybczynski, the author of How Architecture Works , casts a seasoned critical eye on the modern scene. His subject is nothing less than the broad setting of our metropolitan world.

In thirty-four discerning essays, Rybczynski ranges over topics as varied as shopping malls, Central Park, the Opéra Bastille, and America's shrinking cities. Along the way, he examines our post-9/11 obsession with security, the revival of the big-city library, the rise of college towns, our fascination with vacation homes, and Disney's planned community of Celebration. By looking at contemporary architects as diverse as Frank Gehry, Moshe Safdie, and Bing Thom, revisiting old masters such as Palladio, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright, and considering such unsung innovators as Stanley H. Durwood, the inventor of the cineplex, Rybczynski ponders the role of global metropolises in an age of tourism and reflects on what kinds of places attract us in the modern city.

Mysteries of the Mall is required reading for anyone curious about the contemporary world and how it came to be the way it is.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780374269937
Branch Call Number: Arts 720 Ryb


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Jul 27, 2018

Let me preface this by saying I know virtually nothing about architecture. It's something that a lot of us take for advantage and few of us have any background/history. This collection of essays by the awesomely named Witold Rybczynski is generally insightful, lucid, and accessible to the lay reader. His interests range from specific architects to styles and trends to historical developments. Illustrations would've been nice.

Jun 07, 2018

The thirty-four essays in this collection date from about 1993-2003. Each essay ends with a one paragraph comment by Rybczynski to bring the essay up to 2015. The book's title is itself a mystery as it adopts the title of the first essay which is about the book titled "A Sense of Place, a Sense of Time" by architect John Jackson. A variation on Jackson's title would have been appropriate as Rybczynski often considers "place" and "time" in the works of the architects critiqued in his essays. The author praises his hero Andrea Palladio whose treatise 'The Four Books on Architecture' "... is full of images; almost every page contains an illustration." Too bad Rbyczynski didn't provide illustrations in his book of essays to aid the reader in visualizing his remarks (but images are so readily available on the Internet). The book has an index.


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