This year, we have been glued to our laptops and TV’s, following the twists and turns in news of an election and a once-in-a-century pandemic while keeping up with work on endless Zoom calls. As 2020 comes to a close, disconnect and unwind with a book on architecture. The editors of RECORD recommend these recently published monographs and collections of essays.
The Architect and the Public: On George Baird’s Contribution to Architecture, edited by Roberto Damiani. Quodlibet, 343 pages, $43.
The Architect and the Public: On George Baird's Contribution to Architecture This book of essays on the work of George Baird points out how, throughout a long career, the 81-year-old Canadian architect, planner, academic, and critic elucidated certain theoretical influences affecting architecture culture. Baird has proved to be a thoughtful and dependable guide along the ramparts of architectural discourse on both sides of the Atlantic, from the late 1960s, as a graduate student in London, to the present day in his hometown of Toronto. Baird took on early semiotics (he edited, with Charles Jencks, Meaning in Architecture in 1969). Yet, like his colleague, Kenneth Frampton, Baird was drawn to Hannah Arendt’s concepts on communication and action in public space, which resulted in his 1995 book, Space of Appearance. The editor, Roberto Damiani, helps turn this investigation of Baird into an archaeological dig of ideas, movements, and lively debates, with essays by scholars such as Hans Teerds and Joan Ockman, and interviews with colleagues Frampton, Michael Hays, Peter Eisenman, and others. SS