Taschen and its house author have been constantly updating their monograph on Tadao Ando, and the latest edition, "Ando: Complete Works 1975-2012", is four times as long as the one that appeared in 1999. It features 42 buildings plus 16 projects that were not realized or are now under construction, mostly in the Middle East and East Asia. The title is misleading: this is a selection of Ando’s best designs—even the checklist at the end is far from complete—but it represents the body of work for which the architect wants to be known. One could wish that other prolific practitioners were equally self-critical. Page for page, it’s a terrific bargain. Philip Jodidio provides a helpful introduction, keyed to specific buildings, along with a biographical note and a selective bibliography, though one wishes the type had been set at a readable size. Like most contemporary monographs, it’s designed not for reading, but browsing; flipping the pages from one beguiling photo spread to the next. The plans, expressive sketches and details draw one into Ando’s structures. A self-taught master of concrete and wood, of mass and void, and, above all, of light, this architect—who once built only in Japan—is now at home in every part of the world and in every type of building.
Entries in Taschen (2)
Los Angeles: Portrait of a City
Edited by Jim Heimann with essays
by Kevin Starr
Starr’s informed summaries of L.A. history from 1865 to the present punctuate a photo album that is skewed towards the tawdry, glitzy and weird. One has to think that Benedikt Taschen made (or strongly influenced) the selection of
images, for it represents an outsider’s view of the city, alternately fascinated and repelled, with generous helpings of beefcake and cheesecake, a dash of porno and gangs and glamour around the pool. It plays to all the stereotypes and tails off disappointingly with almost nothing from the
past decade, but there are enough remarkable shots to make this album worth browsing.