25 YEARS OF RECORD HOUSES, edited by Herbert L. Smith Jr., AIA ($29.95); CONTEXTUAL ARCHITECTURE: Responding to Existing Style, edited by Charles K. Hoyt, AIA ($32.50); INTERIOR SPACES DESIGNED BY ARCHITECTS. Second Edition, edited by Charles K. Hoyt, AIA ($32.50); TOWNHOUSES AND CONDOMINIUMS. Third Edition, by Mildred F. Schmertz, FAIA ($29.95). All prepared with the editors of Architectural Record magazine (McGraw-Hill). This series just may be the most complete record we'll have of the domestic architecture of the last half of the 20th century. Every year, the new volumes are beautiful, authoritative and comprehensive. The series does have problems. Some text and photographs are duplicated among these four books and not all the pictures are in color (especially distracting in the interiors). 25 Years surveys the last quarter of a century, a time when housing underwent drastic changes. How beautiful, economical and energy-efficient those '50s and '60s houses were! Overhangs to shade the sun, small spaces extended by the juxtaposition of the outside spaces, the elegance of post and beam structure. In the Interior Spaces book, two children's rooms, one with a soft sculpture floor and wall by Joy Wulke and another neatly built into a design by Rosemary Songer, are especially well done. Harry Weese's Washington Metro stations are worth citing. In the Condominiums book, be sure to see: Moshe Safdie's Baltimore Coldspring units; Croxton Collaborative's Beaux Arts townhouse apartments and the Rokeby Condominum apartments by Barber & McMurray, where tenants were allowed to decide the size, number and location of apartments. In Contextual Architecture, work designed by architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen and photographed by Robert Lautman includes the Arts & Industries building restored with the Smithsonian staff. The rebuilt 1055 Thomas Jefferson Street in Georgetown is also of special interest.
THREE CENTURIES OF NOTABLE AMERICAN ARCHITECTS, edited by Joseph J. Thorndike Jr; introduction by Vincent Scully (American Heritage/ Scribners, $39.95). This invaluable compendium gives essays on 16 American architects, from Charles Bulfinch to Eliel and Eero Saarinen, and surveys today's architects. Some of the essays are gems. John Russell writes of H.H. Richardson "he looked big, thought big and built big." Richard F. Snow says of Stanford White, "he also loved the monumental, the intricate, the exuberant." illiam Marlin on Frank Lloyd Wright not only details Wright's long career, but also his complicated lovelife and the prophetic dream of a great huge bird visited upon his granddaughter, Anne Baxter, at the moment of his death.
ARCHITECTURE OF THE ARTS AND CRAFTS MOVEMENT, by Peter Davey (Rizzoli, $30). This modest book is well researched and written (though not the best photographed) on a subject of increasing interest. As Arts and Crafts style furniture brings higher prices at auction, interest grows in the buildings that housed them. Davey traces the movement from its beginnings in the last half of the 19th century in England with Augustus W.N. Pugin, through William Morris, Philip Webb, the Secession in Austria and at the beginning of the 20th century with Gustav Stickley and Frank Lloyd Wright in the United States.