Book Review: Architecture Matters by Aaron Betsky
Now dean of the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, with its campuses at Taliesin in Wisconsin and Taliesin West in Arizona, Aaron Betsky is also a teacher, design critic, curator, and prolific author. In Queer Space, Making It Modern, Violated Perfection, Architecture Must Burn, and more than a dozen other books, he has proved himself erudite and nonconformist. Here, his writing is plainspoken, frank, and accessible. His sweep is broad, while his tone avoids anything hortatory or pedantic—clearly projecting, in his own words, “enthusiasm for all that architecture can do and be.”
Expanding on the title of the book, its smartly designed format is “46 Thoughts on Why Architecture Matters.” The first is “Why Architecture Is So Cool (to a Teenager),” which recalls his introduction in high school to a Gerrit Rietveld house in the Dutch city of Utrecht. Other thoughts include “How Dreams Die in the Process,” “How Perfection Kills,” “Why It All Happens in China,” and “What We Can Still Learn From the Greeks.” The final thought is: “What Is to Be Done?” Despite the lack of pictures, this is a delightful ramble through a lively, well stocked mind.
Listen to Aaron Betsky on Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin: