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  • Published: 15 March 2018
  • ISBN: 9780099538233
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

The Age of Spectacle

Adventures in Architecture and the 21st-Century City



Tom Dyckhoff examines the modern city and the brash architecture that threatens how we live in it.

'A great storyteller . . . you would be hard pushed to find a more knowledgeable or entertaining [guide]' Icon
'Such an interesting book . . . I cannot recommend it enough.' Lauren Laverne


In Dubai, a luxury apartment block is built in the shape of a giant iPod. In China, President Xi Jinping denounces the trend of constructing ‘bizarre’ new buildings in wacky shapes and colours. In Cincinnati, celebrity architect Zaha Hadid is paid millions to design a single ‘iconic’ structure – with the hope of single-handedly transforming the region’s ailing fortunes. These incidents are all part of the same story: the rise of the age of spectacle.

Over the last fifty years, there has been a revolution in how our cities operate. In The Age of Spectacle, Tom Dyckhoff tells the story of how architecture became obsessed with the flashy, the monumental and the ostentatious – and how we all have to live with the consequences. Exploring cityscapes from New York to Beijing, and from Bilbao to Portsmouth, Dyckhoff shows that we are not just witnessing a new kind of building: we are living through a fundamental transformation in how our urban spaces work. The corporate explosion of the last few decades has fundamentally shifted the relationship between architects, politicians and cities’ inhabitants, fostering innovative new kinds of engineering and design, but also facilitating ill-conceived vanity projects and commercial power-grabs.

Timely, passionate and bursting with new ideas, The Age of Spectacle is both an examination of how twenty-first century cities work, and a manifesto for a radically new kind of urbanism. Our cities, Dyckhoff shows, can thrive in the age of spectacle – but only if they engage us not just with dazzling structures, but by responding to the needs of the people who inhabit them.

'Engaging . . . The “iconic” building is the most obvious architectural phenomenon of our age yet, somehow, no one has quite done what Tom Dyckhoff does with The Age of Spectacle, which is to tell its story clearly and plainly.' Rowan Moore, Observer
'First class. Finally, a book that nails the iconic movement – Tom Dyckhoff’s The Age of Spectacle is the book that I wish I had written.' Simon Jenkins

'Unusually accessible [and] well argued.' Evening Standard

  • Published: 15 March 2018
  • ISBN: 9780099538233
  • Imprint: Windmill Books
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $22.99
Categories:

About the author

Tom Dyckhoff

Tom Dyckhoff is architecture and design critic for BBC2's weekly arts magazine programme, The Culture Show. He was previously architecture critic of The Times. He wrote and presented a documentary on ugly buildings, I Love Carbuncles, and co-presented two series of Grand Designs: Trade Secrets, the spin-off series from the popular property show. His seven-part BBC2 series, Saving Britain's Past, examined Britain's obsession with heritage. Dyckhoff has written for the Guardian, the Sunday Telegraph, GQ, Arena, Blueprint, the V&A Magazineand Icon. He lives in London.

Praise for The Age of Spectacle

First class. Finally, a book that nails the iconic movement - Tom Dyckhoff's The Age of Spectacle is the book that I wish I had written.

Simon Jenkins

Laced with irony and personal anecdote . . . A knowledgeable guide . . . There's no lack of wit or perceptive analysis in the book.

The Times

Unusually accessible [and] well argued.

Evening Standard

A great storyteller . . . you would be hard pushed to find a more knowledgeable or entertaining [guide]

Icon

Such an interesting book . . . I cannot recommend it enough.

Lauren Laverne, Radio 6 Music

Engaging . . . The "iconic" building is the most obvious architectural phenomenon of our age yet, somehow, no one has quite done what Tom Dyckhoff does with The Age of Spectacle, which is to tell its story clearly and plainly.

Rowan Moore, Observer

The story of the transformation of cities from the dense manufacturing hubs of the early 20th century to the consumerist meccas they are today . . . [Dyckhoff] is good at deconstructing the myths that surround gentrification.

Economist

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