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Why We Build


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Table of Contents

  • Chapter - 1: Desire shapes space, and space shapes desire
  • Chapter - 2: The fixed and the wandering home
  • Chapter - 3: The true fake
  • Chapter - 4: The inconsistent horizon, or notes on the erotic in architecture
  • Chapter - 5: Power and freedom
  • Chapter - 6: Form follows finance
  • Chapter - 7: The rapacity of 'hope'
  • Chapter - 8: Eternity of overrated
  • Chapter - 9: Life, and the look of life
  • Chapter - 10: Indespensible as bread
    • Section - 11: List of illustrations
    • Section - 12: Selected bibliography
    • Section - 13: Acknowledgements
    • Section - 14: Index

About the Author

Rowan Moore is the architecture critic for the Observer and previously for the Evening Standard. He is also a trained architect, and between 2002 and 2008 was the Director of the Architecture Foundation.


`A refreshingly humane and lucid book from one of our most intelligent architecture critics' Daily Telegraph
`Vivid and witty . . . it's a book about what happens when other non-architectural matter - capital, sex, family life, the caprices of function - barges into a discipline that sometimes likes to think of itself as pure' Guardian

`Architecture critic for the Observer, Rowan Moore, has written a fantastic book which is well worth reading for anyone interested in architecture.' Sir Paul Smith

`Moore has a lot to offer those who like verbal flexibility and thought-provoking aphorisms. There is also a sense of mischief . . . if famous architects were a coconut shy, Moore would go home with the giant teddy . . . Elegant and witty, with a sometimes 18th-century sensuality, this is a hard-hitting book with great panache.' Sunday Telegraph
'Moore has conjured a rare feat in producing a work that will be appreciated by professionals and punters alike.' Observer
`Moore writes with economy, clarity and wit' Will Wiles, Building Design

`A paean to the way we inhabit, which explains why good architecture changes constantly' Financial Times
`Intelligent and cultured . . . packed with passionately held ideas about the epiphanies, farces and humanity in architecture' Independent

`Thoughtful and elegantly written, Why We Build will appeal to anyone with an interest in architecture . . . It benefits from a clear style and years of architectural criticism . . . the argument is forceful, but not prescriptive, the satisfying result of prolonged and sensitive observation of both buildings and human nature.' Spectator
`Lively and engaging . . . Anyone with an interest in architecture will find good things here' Evening Standard
`A subtle, often eccentric but always entertaining guide . . . A fascinating work of love, intellectual curiosity and endurance' Literary Review
`Dazzling . . . there's plenty to discover.' Sunday Times

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