by Pier Paolo Tamburelli, MIT Press £32/$39.95
An unusual book, this, which uses the work of Donato Bramante to subtly explore some of the big issues in architecture — whether it can be considered a language, how it is about space more than form, and whether classicism might still provide a model for contemporary practice, in a succinct, readable and literate manner.
Stalin’s Architect: Power and Survival in Moscow
by Deyan Sudjic, Thames & Hudson £30
Boris Iofan (1891-1976) was an architect best known for a building that never happened — the vast Palace of the Soviets, a wedding cake with a huge figure of Lenin on top. There was more, however, a legacy of early modernist buildings and later socialist realist blockbusters. Close to power, it was incredible he managed to survive the purges as long as he did. Sudjic, former director of the Design Museum, tells his story with brio.
Meet Me by the Fountain: An Inside History of the Mall
by Alexandra Lange, Bloomsbury $28
The two contributions of the US to architecture are the skyscraper and the shopping mall, density and intensity and spectacle and sprawl. Now much maligned, the mall is still a symbol of US corporate hegemony and the hulks of abandoned malls have become ciphers for the failures of that same globalised culture. Lange gives a well-researched history of a phenomenon which changed the way cities work, created a youth culture of their own and provokes equal amounts of animosity and affection.
Tell us what you think
What are your favourites from this list — and what books have we missed? Tell us in the comments below
Queer Spaces: An Atlas of LGBTQIA+ Places and Stories
edited by Adam Nathaniel Furman and Joshua Mardell, RIBA Press £40
An intriguing book which takes a generous view of queer space as something in which something queer may once have happened, or at least been thought about. From decadent palaces to working-class terraces, there is everything here from the exotic to the banal. But the stories behind the spaces are rich, global and hugely varied, taking in gay bars and clubs, saunas but also eccentric houses, bookshops, parks and refuges.
The Landscape of Utopia: Writings on Everyday Life, Taste, Democracy, and Design
by Tim Waterman, Routledge £22.99
A wide-ranging collection of critical essays embracing everything from London’s ill-starred Garden Bridge and James Bond to Covid, climate change, and the culture of food, Waterman approaches the issues surrounding public space with wit and intelligence. Landscape, his subject, seems in his hands to touch on everything that matters.
A-Z of Record Shop Bags, 1940s-1990s
by Jonny Trunk, Fuel £24.95
Weirdly nostalgic, these seemingly throwaway things access Proustian memories (at least for certain generations) of Saturday mornings browsing in the record shop bins. Album covers have had their moment in the sun, this one — the often clunky, sometimes striking, very local and always memorable graphics of the disposable bags — is for the real fanatics.
Summer Books 2022
All this week, FT writers and critics share their favourites. Some highlights are:
Monday: Economics by Martin Wolf
Tuesday: Environment by Pilita Clark
Wednesday: Fiction by Laura Battle
Thursday: History by Tony Barber
Friday: Politics by Gideon Rachman
Saturday: Critics’ choice
Join our online book group on Facebook at FT Books Café