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Novel approach to architecture

I decided to read the novel ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette‘ simply because it sounded intriguing. I had missed the line in the blurb that said ‘To design experts she’s a revolutionary architect’ and when I heard the author interviewed she talked about the fact that her husband worked for Microsoft and about a trip to Antarctica.

It is a really enjoyable novel, but also a great picture of a very particular architect, an eco pioneer before her time. The book name checks Michael Graves and Richard Meier, and talks about the soulless nature of a job quality controlling travertine for the Getty in LA. More than anything, it describes how unusual it is for a woman to shake up architectural practice. Bernadette is as far from Zaha Hadid as one could get (American,dedicated mother, obsessive knitter) and yet she shares the same kind of intransigent single-minded vision.

It’s a great read for anyone who enjoys architecture – or is fascinated by Microsoft or the Antarctic. And what is really good is that it makes Bernadette’s role as an architect not just an attribute (a cooler job than being a company director) but a pivotal point in the plot and the resolution of the story. Worth a read.







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