Column: Garden suburb as “Paradise Planned”

Bird's-eye view of Glendale, Ohio, founded in 1851 and considered the first garden village in America.

Bird’s-eye view of Glendale, Ohio, founded in 1851 and considered the first garden village in America.

I had planned to take the bus to work on Tuesday morning, lugging the new book “Paradise Planned: The Garden Suburb and the Modern City” in my trusty Penguin bag, hauling it in from our house in the suburbs — well, it’s still in Providence, but it feels suburban compared with my “commute” as a resident of downtown for a decade.

But “Paradise Planned” feels like a ton of bricks (12.3 pounds: Amazon), so by car we go. The prize for making fun of its size goes to Architectural Record’s reviewer Justin Davidson, whose “first instinct was to set the volume down on its own half-acre lot, give it a peaked roof, and simply move in.” Davidson says he worked out at a gym to acquire the strength to lift the book onto his “insufficient lap.”

Heavy-duty pages give the book a massiveness even beyond its 1,072 pages. More than 3,500 mostly color photos, plans, maps and diagrams, many small but printed at high resolution, testify to the luxury achieved by designer Pentagram and publisher Monacelli Press.

Truly a château among books.

Read the rest of this column at The Providence Journal.

About David Brussat

This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to employ my writing and editing to improve your work, please email me at my consultancy, dbrussat@gmail.com, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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