We tend to divide buildings into two basic categories—private structures such as houses, and public buildings like railway stations, concert halls or museums. Public buildings have limits of their own: whether a courthouse or an airport, a stadium or college campus, questions of style, function or cost are clearly posed. Resolving such tensions is just one of many serious questions that arise when the definition of public architecture is at stake. This book explores the most creative responses to these and related issues, and shows how in recent years, public architecture has undergone a tremendous upheaval, an aesthetic awakening of sorts.
Where solidly classical and staid designs were the norm, aesthetic daring and innovation are now increasingly rewarded, as celebrated architects from Herzog & de Meuron to Jean Nouvel have blazed a trail for a new generation of truly public buildings—structures that combine access for the many, with quality once reserved for the few. Public Architecture Now! highlights the groundbreaking and breathtaking new public architecture now appearing around the world, from Spain to Norway, via Chile, China and the USA.