Bookshelf

Miami Modern Metropolis: Paradise and Paradox in Midcentury Architecture and Planning
EDITED BY Alan T. Shulman
DESIGNED BY Giampiero Caiti
BALCONY PRESS, 413 pp., $85

This book thoughtfully tracks the evolution of postwar Miami on
its way to becoming a media- and consumer-oriented town of leisure. Four major paradoxes in the devel-opment of the city’s architectural spaces (including the lack of civic amenities in many of Miami’s thriving yet fractured communities) help frame the wide range of material. At a hefty 400 pages, the work is a bit overwhelming, but the 40 essays are accessible and lay out a rich history. Also included are color and black-and-white pho-tographs, maps, original render-ings, and archival photos, offering a glimpse of the Miami fantasy world both in its earliest planning stages and in reality. —Caroline Hartmann

David Hicks: A Life of Design
WRITTEN BY Ashley Hicks
DESIGNED BY David Preston Studio
RIZZOLI, 302 pp., $65

For more than 30 years, the British interior designer and decorator David Hicks has upended the world of interiors with his bold use of color and eclectic taste in furnishings. His work, however, is a time-less study of contrasts: classic and modern, graphic and subdued. This new book written by his son, Ashley, explores the man behind the theatrical interiors and legen-dary “tablescapes.” It mixes design sketches and watercolors with family portraits, providing some understanding of Hicks’s distinct aesthetic. But the project photos overshadow the biographical con-tent, turning this quasi-narrative into more of a monograph. —Jane Chen

Architecture on the Edge of Postmodernism: Collected Essays, 1964–1988
WRITTEN BY Robert A.M. Stern
DESIGNED BY Pentagram
YALE UNIVERSITY PRESS, 202 pp., $40

Robert Stern doesn’t write like an architect. (That’s a compliment.) In his latest collection of essays, Stern looks at an intriguing moment in architecture, when the tight reins of modernism began to loosen. He examines key buildings and architects—Robert Venturi, Paul Rudolph, Peter Eisenman, and others—identifying trends of style and architectural thought. His voice is forceful and relatively un-adorned throughout, a welcome break from the overwrought prose of so much architectural literature. —George Beane

Fabricating Architecture: Selected Readings in Digital Design and Manufacturing
EDITED BY Robert Corser
DESIGNED BY Paul Wanger
PRINCETON ARCHITECTURAL PRESS, 224 pp., $29.95

This concise reader makes a perfect introduction to architecture’s digital revolution. The accessible volume contains a number of case studies—including SHoP’s Porter House Condominium, and PTW and Arup’s Water Cube—that demonstrate the potential of computer-aided design. Martin Bechthold writes about the imbalance between the slow pace of advancements in construction technologies and digital design’s seemingly limitless expression. These pieces provide both a theoretical and a practical framework, challenging architects and students alike to think about the implications of a digitally based design culture. —J.C.

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