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Building Images : 70 Years of Photography at Hedrich Blessing
by Tony Hiss (Editor)

Architecture poses many challenges for photographers, inspiring Ken Hedrich to make the pronouncement that became the motto for the firm he co-founded: "Don't make photographs, think them." Established in Chicago in 1929, Hedrich Blessing attracted the finest photographers and the most innovative and influential architects, ultimately amassing an immense and artistically superb archive of architectural photographs that is now housed at the Chicago Historical Society.

This sumptuous volume, gracefully introduced by Hiss, presents the cream of the collection, the impeccable and often poetic work of 19 preeminent photographers who captured the form and spirit of buildings by such key architects as Holabird & Root; Mies van der Rohe; Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill; and Albert Kahn. From the spare to the opulent, from velvety black-and-white to color of astonishing delicacy, these gorgeous images bring out the essence of the structures they chronicle and explore the ways architecture defines the human landscape, and even vision itself. Donna Seaman
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

Piranesi : The Complete Etchings

Piranesi's exquisitely detailed views of ancient and modern Rome and his astonishing images of prisons have riveted viewers for more than two centuries, but he also created views of churches, bridges, arches, temples, gardens, piazzas, villas, tombs, ornamental letters and architectural details.

An avid student of antiquity, Piranesi found copperplate etching the perfect medium in which to document the plans, elevations and sophisticated perspectives that clearly captivated his imagination. Today Piranesi's reputation rests as much on his definitive Vedute di Roma (views of Rome) as on his terrifyingly original Carceri d'Invenzione (inventive prisons.) So original, and so imbued with Piranesi's romantic feeling for architecture, these dramatic chiaroscuro images formed the mental picture of Rome for generations to follow.

Author Luigi Ficacci is the curator of the National Institute of Graphic Arts in Rome and lectures widely on 17th and 18th Century and contemporary Italian art.


Lost Chicago

These dazzling, poignant pages recreate the magical built environment that thrilled generations of Chicago residents and visitors alike before falling victim to the wrecking ball of "progress." Here are the grand residences and hotels, opulent theaters, legendary trains, and state-of-the-art office buildings and department stores-including the world's first skyscraper. Here too are the famous convention halls, parks, and racetracks of a great American city whose architectural treasures have been, and continue to be, recklessly squandered.

Rare photographs and prints, many of them published here for the first time, document the transformative architectural achievements of such giants as Dankmar Adler, Louis Sullivan, John Wellburn Root, Daniel Burnham, William Holabird, and Frank Lloyd Wright. But this remarkable book is much more than a portfolio of now-vanished buildings; within its pages are evocative thumbnail sketches of scores of Chicago personalities, from the world-famous (Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Dreiser, Clarence Darrow, Ben Hecht, Jane Addams, Cyrus McCormick, George Pullman, and Gustavus Swift, to name just a few) to the locally notorious.

Why Architecture Matters

"Activist criticism is based on the idea that architecture affects everyone and therefore should be understandable to everyone," writes Blair Kamin in "Why Architecture Matters." "Activist criticism invites readers to be more than consumers who passively accept the buildings that are handed to them. It bids them, instead, to become citizens who take a leading role in shaping their surroundings."

The Pulitzer Prize-winning Chicago Tribune architecture critic has taught millions of readers exactly what this approach can do in the decade he has been writing his fiery, intelligent essays on the state of contemporary architecture. Working from the palette of Chicago, America's foremost architectural city, Kamin also paints on a broad canvas, and in his work he has assessed everything from Frank Gehry's Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, to the "green skyscraper" as it is developing in Germany to the haunting U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. (book description courtesy of Amazon)


They All Fall Down : Richard Nickel's Struggle to Save American Architecture

from the publisher, John Wiley & Sons:
This riveting biography chronicles the life of a crusader and the early days of the historic preservation movement. Beginning with a portrait of Nickel's youth on Chicago's West Side in the 1930's to his army service as a paratrooper and photographer, it progresses with his studies at the Institute of Design in the 1950's and his attempts thereafter to save Chicago's buildings, especially those of Louis Sullivan. Includes 70+ illustrations and a special portfolio of duotone photos, printed on fine paper, taken by Nickel during his lifetime.

David Jameson
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