x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Building on an old formula

Architecture Now! has become an essential work of reference for anyone interested in the zeitgeist and building design in the 21st century, according to its authors

Another year and another collaboration between architecture writer Philip Jodidio and publisher extraordinaire Benedikt Taschen. This is the ninth volume of Architecture Now! and, as with all successful formulae, the format remains unchanged.

A combination of high production values, exquisite photography and minimal text – Jodidio’s introductory essay will probably be the most overlooked section of this coffee table tome – Architecture Now! presents what it describes as an “essential work of reference” for “anyone interested in the zeitgeist and building design in the 21st century”.

Who that reader might be and the book’s value as a work of reference is less certain. The book is organised by architect, each of whom receives a brief biography, and then by buildings that are illustrated with photographs, captions, small-scale renderings, and plans.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference between them, but that’s because the focus of Architecture Now! is entirely formal, presenting an image of architecture as architects and developers like it – beautifully lit, pristine and empty – but ultimately fictitious, untroubled as it is by the complexities of real people and real life.