The usual history of architecture is a grand narrative of soaring monuments and heroic makers. But it is also a false narrative in many ways, rarely acknowledging the personal failures and disappointments of architects. In Bleak Houses, Timothy Brittain-Catlin investigates the underside of architecture, the stories of losers and unfulfillment often ignored by an architectural criticism that values novelty, fame, and virility over fallibility and rejection.
As architectural criticism promotes increasingly narrow values, dismissing certain styles wholesale and subjecting buildings to a Victorian litmus test of "real" versus "fake," Brittain-Catlin explains the effect this superficial criticality has had not only on architectural discourse but on the quality of buildings. The fact that most buildings receive no critical scrutiny at all has resulted in vast stretches of ugly modern housing and a pervasive public illiteracy about architecture.
About the Author
Timothy Brittain-Catlin is a Reader at Kent School of Architecture, University of Kent. His writing has appeared in The World of Interiors, Architectural Review, and many other publications.
...there are few books I can think of that describe the emotional engagement with architecture with such acuity. And despite the subject, Bleak Houses is anything but a bleak read.
-Richard Williams, The Times Higher Education
...this is one of the most intriguing, original and gently provocative books on the meaning of architecture for some while.
...It's a book that all who not only write on architecture but who also have a genuine interest in the welfare of the historic built environment ought to read.
-Alex Bremner, The Victorian
Series: The MIT Press
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 12th January 2016
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.59 x 13.97
Weight (kg): 0.3
Edition Number: 1