Barry Bergdoll: This book really changed the way I thought about myself as a historian and what I wanted to study. It is one of the great models for thinking about the ways in which buildings tell stories at certain times that because of their longevity become part of the stories that cities in turn tell.
Rick Poynor: An important study illustrated with many significant works that also exemplifies Hollis’s approach to design. The main text is in bold, often in a central column, with reference pictures and extended captions running in parallel along either side. The pages are dense with information, but retain a sense of precision and clarity. It’s a book that could probably only have been conceived by an author who is also the designer.
Susan S. Szenasy: Postman warned against context-free information as he wrote, “The milieu in which Technopoly [which he located in the U. S. at the time, 1993] flourishes is one in which the tie between information and human purpose is severed, i.e., information appears indiscriminately, directed at no one in particular, in enormous volume and high speeds, and disconnected from theory, meaning, or purpose.” The “information glut” we are enslaved by today (how many e-mails, tweets…
Valerie Steele: A super-brilliant book by a German scholar who explores topics such as Chanel’s female dandy versus Dior’s transvestite, and why the “hundred years of fashion” (from Worth to Yves Saint Laurent) ended with Comme des Garçons.
Witold Rybczynski: If you never took Scully’s course at Yale, or had the privilege of hearing him lecture, this book is a good substitute. This is not a conventional history, rather a series of essays that examine the intersection of the built environment and the natural world: Greek temples, Italian urbanism, French classical gardens.
Stanley Abercrombie: An art historian’s autobiography written in the form of a tour through his own house on Rome’s Via Giulia, seeing its furnishings, art, and objects, remembering their sources and significance for him. As a result we review his whole life. Of more importance, we are poignantly reminded of how meaningful and communicative are the inanimate objects we choose to live with.