Category Archives: books

Nairn’s Towns

Nairn’s Towns is a collection of writing by Ian Nairn at his acerbic best. As one of the few critics of architecture to eschew purely aesthetic modes of analysis, Nairn instead focused on the character and feeling of buildings and towns. … Continue reading

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Global Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within

In his introduction to Global Undergrounds Geoff Manaugh tries to get to grips with the allure of subterranean spaces. He recognises that ‘the underground lends itself well to mythology’ and posits that even ‘if our cities didn’t have undergrounds, we … Continue reading

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A Burglar’s Guide to the City

In A Burglar’s Guide to the City Geoff Manaugh takes a look at architecture through the eyes of a burglar, positing that those looking to surreptitiously enter buildings see and make use of the built environment in a fundamentally different way to … Continue reading

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Food On The Move: The Extraordinary World Of The Motorway Service Area

Food on the Move is a lustrously presented social and cultural history of the motorway service area in Britain. After finding the distant origins of this non-place in the coaching inns of the turnpike era, David Lawrence traces the germination of … Continue reading

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Topography melts into biography in Nick Papadimitriou’s Scarp. Landscape immersion becomes Papadimitriou’s analgesic for alienation from society as he is guided by a brew of scattered concepts—some grounded in the international avant-garde of the 20th century, others borrowed from obscure … Continue reading

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No Voice from the Hall

Erddig is an opulent country house nestled in the rolling countryside just outside of Wrexham in Wales. The 17th century stately home has the honour of being one of Britain’s best according to readers of Radio Times and regularly wins … Continue reading

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Basic Forms

German husband and wife team Bernd and Hilla Becher pioneered the documentary photography of industrial structures. Their oeuvre comprises thousands of “anonymous sculptures” documenting a panoramic range of forms—water towers, gasometers, winding towers, coke works, grain elevators, blast furnaces and … Continue reading

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Missing Buildings

Missing Buildings by Thom and Beth Atkinson. It takes many years, but if you spend enough time looking at buildings you hone your ability to spot one that’s missing. Sometimes it’s easy. You train your eye to look for unusual … Continue reading

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Psychogeography is Merlin Coverley’s compact history of the now resurgent practice of using walking as a way to explore the relationship our environment has on our behaviour, whether conscious or unconscious. If you are new to the world of derives, … Continue reading

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From Hill to Sea

A frequent criticism heaped on practitioners of psychogeography is that despite its widespread acknowledgement as useful way to explore and interpret the landscape, it remains confined to theory rather than praxis. Even at the time when the concept was crystallised … Continue reading

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