October 1, 2005
New and notable books on architecture, culture, and design.
Crystal Cove Cottages: Islands in Time on the California Coast
By Karen E. Steen, Laura Davick,
and Meriam Braselle
Designed by General Working Group
Chronicle Books, 159 pp., $35.00
Described by the National Register of Historic Places as “the last intact example of California beach vernacular architecture,” Crystal Cove has a history as rich and deep as the state itself. The book tells the story of this singular enclave, located on the Orange County coastline, from its ramshackle days at the turn of the twentieth century to its current incarnation as a unique state park. The evocative historic text—written by former Metropolis editor Steen—complements a wide assortment of family photographs, paintings, and watercolors.
Forefront: The Culture of Shop Window Design
By Shonquis Moreno, et al.
Designed by Thomas Buxó
216 pp., $82.85
The editors of Frame magazine—Moreno and her collaborators—have interviewed leading designers from ten international couturiers and shops to reveal the processes behind the making of department-store displays. Much like a shop window, Forefront is designed to be perused quickly, and then when time allows perhaps explored in more depth. The text is laid out to mimic New York Times spreads, but the clippings and headlines detract from the reader’s ability to follow the story of the designers and their engaging windows.
Graphic Standards Details: Openings
Edited by Wendy Talarico
Graphics edited by
Smith Maran Architects
Wiley, 152 pp., $50.00
In the latest offering from the “Graphic Standards” series, Openings features nitty-gritty details on that most common (and essential) architectural element. Using high-profile as well as lesser-known projects to illustrate its points, the book includes Diller Scofidio + Renfro’s Brasserie restaurant, in New York, and Wilkinson Eyre’s bridge at the Royal Ballet School, in London. Openings also includes 19 other projects from a roster of important architects. As is typical of the format, the book is filled with mechanical drawings and diagrams, with full explanatory details.
Green Clean: The Environmentally Sound Guide to Cleaning Your Home
By Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin
Designed by the Moderns
Melcher Media, 184 pp., $16.95
Not overwhelming or dogmatic—like many of today’s sustainability how-to books—Green Clean is a comprehensive guide to cleaning your home that covers everything from basic products and tools to scheduling and methods. The authors advise would-be green cleaners to convert practices at their own speed. The book starts off with a list of common cleaning products, detailing what not to use and why. The authors then offer recipes for eco-friendly products as well as a shopping list for those who don’t have the time. Like William McDonough and Michael Braungart’s seminal book Cradle to Cradle, it is printed on a synthetic treeless paper that is waterproof, stain-resistant, and exceptionally durable.
Florida Modern: Residential Architecture 1945-1970
By Jan Hochstim
Designed by Stephen Schmidt/Duplex and Dung Ngo
Rizzoli International Publications, 272 pp., $55.00
University of Miami professor Jan Hochstim has organized a comprehensive look at the best houses to come out of Florida’s halcyon Modernist period. These structures—which borrowed elements from the Bauhaus as well as from Southern regional architecture—used local materials and capitalized on natural ventilation. Nearly one hundred notable projects are analyzed in detail, including significant yet unpublished works by architects such as Paul Rudolph, Gene Leedy, Ralph Twitchell, and Rufus Nims.
Romantic Modernist: The Life and Work of Norman Jaffe, Architect
By Alastair Gordon
Designed by Sara E. Stemen
The Monacelli Press, 240 pp., $50.00
Journalist and critic Gordon has written a monograph on the prolific Jaffe, one of the earliest architects treated as a sex symbol—the cover image is from a 1967 Men’s Bazaar magazine spread. The book includes hundreds of photos, drawings, renderings, and notes, and shows the architect’s dreamy sculptural houses on Long Island to particularly good effect (he was credited, along with Charles Gwathmey and Richard Meier, with creating the “Hamptons Style”). The Gates of the Grove Synagogue (also in the Hamptons) and Jaffe’s only skyscraper, 565 Fifth Avenue, speak to an even greater potential had his life not been cut tragically short when he drowned at the age of 61 while swimming in the unguarded waters off Bridgehampton.