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Some Assembly Required

2001
Author:

Michael Sorkin

Some Assembly Required

The long-awaited collection by one of architecture’s most exciting voices.

Michael Sorkin is widely hailed as one of the best architecture critics writing today. Iconoclastic and often controversial, he is a witty, entertaining, yet ultimately serious writer. In this new collection, Sorkin reviews the state of contemporary architecture and surveys the dramatic changes in the urban environment of the past decade. From New York to New Delhi, from Shanghai to Cairo, Sorkin offers a sweeping assessment of the impact of globalization, environmental degradation, electronic media, rapid growth, and the legacies of modernist planning.

Michael Sorkin is brave, principled, highly informed, and fiercely funny. Read him and laugh; read him and weep; but read him.

Robert Hughes

Michael Sorkin is widely hailed as one of the best architecture critics writing today. Iconoclastic and often controversial, he is a witty, entertaining, yet ultimately serious writer. In this new collection, Sorkin reviews the state of contemporary architecture and surveys the dramatic changes in the urban environment of the past decade. From New York to New Delhi, from Shanghai to Cairo, Sorkin offers a sweeping assessment of the impact of globalization, environmental degradation, electronic media, rapid growth, and the legacies of modernist planning. Whether laying out, manifesto-like, eleven necessary tasks for urban design, providing a fresh take on the Disneyfication of Times Square, grappling with sprawl, or blasting the nostalgic prescriptions of "new urbanist" communities (which he dubs "Reaganville"), Sorkin makes a compelling argument for an architecture and urbanism firmly grounded in both artistic expression and social purpose.

Some Assembly Required

Michael Sorkin is principal of the Michael Sorkin Studio and professor of architecture and director of the graduate urban design program at New York’s City College. He is the author of Giving Ground (with Joan Copjec, 1999), Wiggle (1998), Exquisite Corpse (1994), and Variations on a Theme Park (1991), and his writing has appeared in the Village Voice, Metropolis, New York Times Magazine, and other publications.

Some Assembly Required

Michael Sorkin is brave, principled, highly informed, and fiercely funny. Read him and laugh; read him and weep; but read him.

Robert Hughes

Michael Sorkin has, by any measure, become known as the toughest and wittiest architecture critic in the business. He has skewered almost every phony and attacked practically every silly American design fad of the last fifteen years. Yet Sorkin is much more than a dispenser of one-liners. To read him is to discover a set of guiding philosophies, a genuine love of urbanism’s best offerings, and a humanistically rooted disdain for the greedy and opportunistic types who view the city as a deregulated arena for plundering.

Chicago Tribune

A thorn in the flesh of America's more complacent architects-especially the postmodernists-Sorkin proves that it’s possible to write with wit, passion, and insight about architecture.

The Guardian (London)

Michael Sorkin is the Lenny Bruce of American architecture: satirist, moralist, agent provocateur. His courageous, outrageous, and often hilarious insights into the architectural culture of our times are expressed with antic brilliance and deep conviction.

HG

Sorkin is a formidable opponent of the banal, the ugly, the stupid and the vapidly posturing which, he argues, are all around us.

Publishers Weekly

Relevant, insightful, and entertaining. Some Assembly Required details the dynamic state of urban architecture and shows why maintaining community is so critical to keeping our bearings in this globalizing world.

Urban Ecology

Some Assembly Required

Contents

Introduction

Part I. Cities/Places

Eleven Tasks for Urban Design
Branding Space
Times Square: Status Quo Vadis
Round and Round
Cranes over TriBeCa
Big Deal
A Passage through India
Instrumental Cities
Containing Cairo
Second Nature
Millennium in Vegas
Acting Urban
Notes on Vibe
Phoenix Rising
Remembering the Future

Part II. Architects/Buildings

Animating Space
SizatheDay
The Borders of [slamic Architecture
Filming Wright
Inside the Biosphere
Come and Getty
Habitat and After
MORIsLess
Far,FarAwAIA
Amazing Archigram
Admitting the Fold
Forms of Attachment
Airport 98
No Sex Please, We're British
How French Is It?
Upstairs, Downstairs

Part III. Misfits

Container Riff
Family Values
The Second Greatest Generation
War Is Swell
Genius Loco: A Success Story
Publication Information