Book Reviews - The Globalisation of Modern Architecture


Martin Wolf, Chief Economics Commentator, Financial Times

"In this stimulating book, Robert Adam demonstrates how a global economy has brought forth a global architecture, in the form of commercialised modernism and the demand for iconic new buildings. Professor Adam interweaves the demands of the global economy with the development of the global architectural language, while chronicling the continuing resistance to both. The book ends with a question: how far will either the globalisation that occurred before 2007 or the associated dominance of North Atlantic architectural styles survive the crisis?"

Charles Jencks, author of Modern Movements in Architecture and Iconic Building: The power of Enigma

"Robert Adam is that rarity, an architect who can think across the political and social landscape to find unexpected forces that shape the style and meaning of architecture. Taking us on a guided race through the 'isms' and 'starchitects' who have dominated the scene for ten years, he shows that globalisation is nothing new, but is still the strongest force that erodes cultural identity and results in the Janus-Facade of the iconic building. Adam's commentary is, as always, welcome, trenchant, wide-ranging and informed."

Dr. Scott Lash, Professor of Sociology and Director of Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College, University of London

"Alongside its historical sweep and sociological understanding, this book offers a critique of the global cult of the star architect and identifies a 'reflexively modernist' architecture. Adam identifies an architecture for the post-2008 economic condition that is no longer self-obsessed but creates space through an intensive communication with the on-the-ground social and natural world."

Book Review

- RIBA Journal, December 2012

Review by Murray Fraser, professor of architecture and global culture at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Book review

- Planning in London, October - December 2012

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Book Review

- The Architects' Journal, 14 January 2013

Review by James Pallister

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Book Review

- Country Life, 16 January 2013

Review by Jeremy Musson

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Book Review

- Journal of Urbanism, Volume 6, Issue 3, December 2013

Review by Lesley Sklair

This ambitious book by a practicing architect and Visiting Professor of Urban Design at Strathclyde, begins by asserting that his world of architecture sees no great changes to equal the momentous political and economic changes revealed daily in the newspapers, TV and the internet. However, his claim that: ‘High Modernism still dominates architectural practice’ (7) is not entirely confirmed by the sometimes breath taking excursions into contemporary architecture that follow the initial statement. Architecture changes slowly-- buildings take 5 to 10 years or more to complete, but we are in a new global era and the pace of change appears very rapid. The central argument of the book is an attempt to show how the wider picture affects architecture and vice versa, how ‘change in society would be reflected by change in architecture and vice versa’ (xviii). 

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