Renzo Zorzi [Editor]: ZODIAC 18 / International Magazine of Contemporary Architecture [Revue internationale d'architecture contemporaine, Rivista internazionale d'architettura contemporanea]. Milan: Edizione Di Communita, 1968. Original Edition (International magazine of contemporary architecture issued twice yearly under the auspices of the Ing. C. Olivetti & Co.). Text in Italian and English. A nearly fine softcover book in stiff, printed french-folded wrappers: light wear overall -- a remarkably well-preserved copy. Interior unmarked and very clean. Out-of-print and uncommon.
8.5 x 10.5 softcover book with 256 pages of modern architecture, beautifully designed and printed in Italy on a variety of paper stocks. Illustrated with numerous black & white photographs and drawings. Contains numerous trade advertisements, some of which are illustrated in color.
When Peter Smithson died aged 79 in March 2003, The Times devoted a page of readers' letters commenting on the buildings he had designed with his wife Alison. They ranged from glowing tributes to this "brilliant pair" and affectionate anecdotes from friends to a scathing critique of their first public building, the prize-winning Hunstanton School in Norfolk, which one man, who had taught there for 37 years condemned as "more suited to being a prison than a school."
This combination of accolades and attacks had accompanied the Smithsons throughout their long career ever since Hunstanton -- known locally as the "glasshouse" -- was completed in 1954. Controversial though it was, Hunstanton established Alison and Peter Smithson as leading lights of post-war British architecture.
All their subsequent projects -- from the 1956 House of the Future, the visionary home exhibited at the Daily Mail Ideal Home Exhibition, and the early 1960s Economist Building, to the early 1970s Robin Hood Gardens housing complex in east London -- were infused with the same crusading zeal to build schools, workplaces and homes for a progressive, more meritocratic post-war society.
Those ideals were articulated at a CIAM conference in 1953 when Alison and Peter attacked the decades-old dogma propounded by Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius that cities should be zoned into specific areas for living, working, leisure and transport and that urban housing should consist of tall, widely spaced towers. The Smithsons' ideal city combined different activities within the same areas and they envisaged modern housing being built as "streets in the sky" to encourage the residents to feel a sense of "belonging" and "neighbourliness."
Spreads from this volume can be viewed here.
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