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books about Sorkin, Michael
Some Assembly Required
University of Minnesota Press, 2001
Library of Congress NA9053.N4S67 2001 | Dewey Decimal 720.47
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. 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.
"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
"Michael Sorkin is brave, principled, highly informed, and fiercely funny. Read him and laugh; read him and weep; but read him." Robert Hughes
"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
"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
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, the New York Times Magazine, and other publications.
Twenty Minutes in Manhattan
Reaktion Books, 2009
Library of Congress NA735.N5S68 2009 | Dewey Decimal 720.974741
The walk from my apartment in Greenwich Village to my studio in Tribeca takes about twenty minutes, depending upon the route and whether I stop for a coffee and the Times. Invariably, though, it begins with a trip down the stairs.
And so sets out architecture critic Michael Sorkin on his daily walk from his home in a Manhattan old-law-style tenement building. Sorkin has followed the same path for over fifteen years, a route that has allowed him to observe the startling transformations in New York during this period of great change. Twenty Minutes in Manhattan is his personal, anecdotal account of his casual encounters with the physical space and social dimensions of this unparalleled city.
From the social gathering place of the city stoop to Washington Square Park, Sorkin’s walk takes the reader on a wry, humorous journey past local characters, neighborhood stores and bodegas, landmark buildings, and overlooked streets. His perambulations offer him—and the reader—opportunities to not only engage with his surroundings but to consider a wide range of issues that fascinate Sorkin as an architect, urbanist, and New Yorker. Whether he is despairing at street garbage or marveling at elevator etiquette, Twenty Minutes in Manhattan offers a testing ground for his ideas of how the city can be newly imagined and designed, addressing such issues as the crisis of the environment, free expression and public space, historic preservation, and the future of the neighborhood as a concept.
Inspired by Sorkin’s close, attentive relationship to his beloved city, Twenty Minutes in Manhattan is in the end a valentine to the idea of the city that ultimately offers a practical set of solutions that are relevant to not only the preservation and improvement of New York but to urban environments everywhere.