It’s the best book of the year and not just because it was my Christmas present. It’s The Phaidon Atlas of 21st Century World Architecture (good photo excerpts at the link). The book is 812 pp. and also several times larger than a normal book so it is like getting a 2000 pp. book or more. (That’s why it costs $122!) It is very heavy to carry around and it comes in its own plastic case.
The book offers photos and information about the splendid works of architecture that have opened since the beginning of the millennium. It’s amazing how much there is (1037 structures, according to one review) and also you can compare one locale to another; why for instance has Medellin been so active in building innovative structures?
Unintentionally, the book is a paean to the now-passed global real estate bubble. It is an amazing feeling to turn the pages and see how much effort and creativity mankind has put into building. Homes were considered profitable investments and state and local governments had plenty of funds for public buildings. Today, many projects are on-line as half-baked cakes but, overall, the next eight years won’t be anything like these.