New Book by Val Warke Identifies the Top 100 Buildings of the 20th Century

December 1, 2017

100 Buildings; 1900–2000 (Rizzoli, 2017), a new book with text by architecture's Associate Professor Val Warke, profiles the top 100 buildings of the 20th century as identified by leading architects and teachers of the discipline.

For this volume, more than 40 internationally renowned architects and educators were asked to list the top 100 20th-century architectural projects they would teach to students. The book was conceived by Thom Mayne, who also provides the introduction. Contributors include Richard Meier (B.Arch. '56), Peter Eisenman (B.Arch. '55), Tadao Ando, Zaha Hadid, Peter Cook, Harry Cobb, and others. Each was asked to "select built projects where formal, spatial, technological, and organizational concepts responded to dynamic historical, cultural, social, and political circumstances," according to the publisher's website. "The capacity of these buildings to resist, adapt, and invent new typologies solidifies their timeless relevance to future challenges."

"What I found most fascinating," says Warke, "and what drew me to the project — besides Thom's enthusiasm — is the surprising degree of consensus among these quite dissimilar architects regarding the buildings in their lists. So, the problem in writing short texts on each of the buildings was to balance basic descriptions with speculation as to why these buildings may have been so broadly considered important. The individual lists, along with a matrix illustrating the common choices, form the second part of the text."

Warke wrote the text with contributions from Eric Keune (B.Arch. '92), and Associate Professor Andrea Simitch (B.Arch. '79), Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and chair of the architecture department. The tabulations and drawings for the book were supervised by Eu-Sung Yi (B.Arch. '92), director of the Now Institute at UCLA. Yi also wrote the book's preface, titled "A Note from the NOW Institute."

Rizzoli Publications reported that, immediately following its publication, 100 Buildings was their best-selling architecture title, and has already been adopted as a text at several schools of architecture.

By Rebecca Bowes