New and notable books on architecture, culture, and design.

Architecture Now! 4
By Philip Jodidio
Designed by Sense/Net, Andy Disl,
and Birgit Reber
Taschen, 576 pp., $39.99

With Taschen’s signature style and familiar A&-Z format, author Jodidio delivers an encyclopedic collection of contemporary projects by some of architecture’s leading names along with a thoughtful consideration of the emerging trends they represent. Rem Koolhaas and Zaha Hadid, Jodidio posits, practice “intelligent” architecture, while Nader Khalili and Shigeru Ban construct “useful innovations.” Concise multilingual commentary and dramatic photography combine to create an evocative portrait of architecture in the early twenty-first century.

New China Architecture
By Xing Ruan
Photography by Patrick Bingham-Hall
Periplus Editions, 240 pp., $49.95

China’s decadelong building boom is an unprecedented event. With the combined efforts of international names and homegrown designers, the country is fast becoming a monument to the possibilities of contemporary architecture and twenty-first-century urbanism. Highlighting projects from the venue for the Beijing Olympic Games to residential properties at the Commune by the Great Wall, Ruan and Bingham-Hall’s survey of notable buildings—both completed and in the works—is a testament to the staggering nature of China’s development and the creative opportunities it has produced.

Owen Jones: Design, Ornament, Architecture, and Theory in an Age in Transition
By Carol A. Hrvol Flores
Designed by Abigail Sturges
Rizzoli International, 276 pp., $75

Nineteenth-century British visual culture and design theory owes a great deal to Jones, yet somehow he hasn’t received the scholarly attention he deserves—until now. The author has redressed this oversight with her comprehensive study of the man who decorated the Crystal Palace for the 1851 Great Exhibition, revolutionized book illustration with his chromolithographic studies of the Alhambra, and influenced generations of future designers and architects (among them Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright) through his seminal book The Grammar of Ornament. Her thoughtful reconsideration of Jones’s role in design history is stunningly illustrated with color reproductions of his decorative studies and designs.

In the Pink: Dorothy Draper, America’s Most Fabulous Decorator
By Carleton Varney
Designed by Stafford Cliff
Pointed Leaf Press, 216 pp., $95

With her neo-Baroque sense of whimsy, daring palette, and fearless use of scale, Draper reshaped the landscape of American interior decorating. From her influential columns in Good Housekeeping to her total design approach, she left a legacy deserving of such a glamorous monograph. No one knows this better than Varney, who worked with Draper and later bought her business. Drawing from the company archives and his personal experience, the author recounts Draper’s story with clear affection and respect for the woman who gave decorating a new professionalism and an unmistakable flair.

Design Secrets: Furniture, 50 Real-Life Projects Uncovered
By Laurel Saville
Curated by Brooke Stoddard
Cover designed by Madison Design & Advertising
Rockport, 208 pp., $50

Fifty top furniture designers divulge the mysteries of their trade in the tenth installment of this “Design Secrets” series. In a behind-the-scenes peek into their studio workshops, they reveal how some of the most iconic pieces of furniture were born, from initial inspiration to physical production. Whether they began their existence as paper models, carved plastic prototypes, digital renderings, or intuitively bent wire, the featured projects demystify the process in a fascinating, frank, and instructive tell-all.

Seven Fires: The Urban Infernos That Reshaped America
By Peter Charles Hoffer
Designed by Jane Raese
Jacket designed by Nina D’Amario
PublicAffairs, 460 pp., $27.50

Hoffer recounts the gripping story of seven urban conflagrations that sparked major changes in America’s cityscapes—and in American identity. Beginning with the Boston fire of 1760, which fanned the flames of the Revolutionary spirit, the author traces the history of a nation and a people that have been forced on many occasions to rise from the ashes and reinvent their environment. This historical journey ends with the postmillennial catastrophe that still smolders in the American psyche: 9/11. Hoffer considers the lessons to be learned from the tragedy as we face the task of rebuilding once again.

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