Contemporary Houses by Antonio Corcuera **Book Review**


Contemporary Houses
by Antonio Corcuera
h.f. ullmann publishing
ISBN: 978-3-8331-6008-0

My Review:

Inside the Book:

From the Publisher:
Perfect for fans of both modern architecture and interior design, "Contemporary Houses" demonstrates how minimalist living needn’t be entirely sterile and without character. Though hip addresses near and around the best-known design capitals like London and Sydney are featured in the book, author Antonio Corcuera and assistant Cristian Campos wisely choose to emphasize more far-flung locations -- including Chile and South Korea -- where high-end homes can be assumed to be more of a rarity.

As thick and heavy as a college textbook, yet considerably more aesthetically pleasing, the end result is a 480-page, photo-filled compilation that serves as a global architectural compilation of sorts that brings together the finest examples of state-of-the-art residential designs found all over the world.

The book features text in four languages and is divided into four sections, designating each of the featured homes primarily based on their locations -- "Urban houses," "Country houses," "Isolated houses," and finally "Unique houses." The latter designation -- which Corcuera deems as "the concrete and tangible result of a spark of genius" -- is perhaps the most interesting for those without any pre-existing interest in residential architecture; each of the architects in each of the designs deliberately experiments with both form and function to create a home that looks, to both the discerning and untrained eye, truly groundbreaking.

As thick and heavy as a college textbook, yet considerably more aesthetically pleasing, the end result is a 480-page, photo-filled compilation that serves as a global architectural compilation.
Located in an agricultural area of Kansas, the industrial-looking Porsch Residence is completely built around energy consumption, but that doesn’t make its elegant facade and modular interior any less impressive. Spanish architect Vicens Ramos’ House in Boadilla, not far from Madrid, imitates a geode and plays with stark geometry right down to its granite cave-like indoor pool.

Undoubtedly a highlight of the "Urban" section, David Adjaye’s austere-looking Electra House is able to solve an oft-cited problem of many city dwellers -- the lack of natural light -- with skylights and a glass-encased room. From the abstract-looking Caesar House (located near Munich) to the breathtaking House In Honda (which incorporates structural elements of an earlier home in a Colombian town), the "Country" section offers new twists on tried-and-true second or summer homes -- though these examples seem better suited to hosting a gallery exhibition than a backyard barbecue.

Though the high-quality photographs make "Contemporary Houses" perfect for coffee table book designation, the text itself (printed in English, German, French and Dutch) could use some improvement. Perhaps opting to let the full-color shots ad floor plans speak for themselves, the author’s thoughts are usually limited to small captions that offer little in the way of a comprehensive overview for each house.

Still, in "Contemporary Houses," Corcuera proves that, yet again, a man’s house is truly his castle. The sleek, uber-modern homes featured may not suit everyone’s tastes (I found myself longing to watch an episode of "This Old House," or any program emphasizing historic restoration over cool minimalism after reading) but the volume is nonetheless a stunning tribute to some respectable achievements in residential design.

1 comment:

km said...

I can just IMAGINE what it is like to live in a WOW HOUSE! Nice dream to have... but I don't think it is going to happen anytime soon for us. :):)