“Gordon’s eye for the convergence of arts, architecture and commerce is unerring.” – Publishers Weekly
“Excellent cultural history…” – The New Yorker
“Gordon’s prose is deft and witty…” – MSNBC
“Engaging architectural and social history…” – Newsweek
“Splendid cultural history…” – Atlantic Monthly
“Gordon’s work will delight you. His ideas are rooted in the tangible intangible… He empowers through his vision and passion.” – Bomb Magazine
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“As dedicated modernists, Barnes Coy Architects have been obsessively engaged with the more subtle nuances of design: the way a corner meets, the texture of stone, the reflectivity of a glass-curtain wall—just the kind of elements that are often overlooked, but make the difference between an everyday experience of architecture versus a kind of spatial poetry…” – Purist Magazine
Theater of Shopping: The Story of Stanley Whitman’s Bal Harbour Shops, Alastair Gordon, Foreword by Matt Tyrnauer, Rizzoli, 2019, available at Amazon
“Theater of Shopping is a fascinating, stand-alone dissection of the psyche of shopping, the esthetics, the tenancy of the center, and a man who was way ahead of his time. “ – Jeffrey Felner, New York Journal of Books
“After its 1965 debut, Bal Harbour Shops became the most successful shopping center in America and its story is far from over… a story deftly told by architecture critic Alastair Gordon.” – Jane Wooldridge, Miami Herald
“A fascinating look at the design, construction, and evolution of Bal Harbour Shops, tracing the evolution of Stanley Whitman’s idea of a high-end shopping center…” – The Big Bubble
“A compelling narrative about a man who led with his heart to build the country’s largest luxury focused shopping center in an initially uninhabited area.” – Ocean Drive
Contemporary Gardens of the Hamptons, Foreword by Alastair Gordon, Monacelli Press, 2021, available at Amazon
“A fascinating reconstruction of the ‘tune in, turn on’ era…”– New York Times (8/24/08)
“A dazzling romp through the built environment of the tripped-out hippie…” – New York Observer (6/16/08)
“Fascinating… Spaced Out looks at what happened back then and puts the era’s architectural efforts, good and bad, into current context…” – San Francisco Chronicle (7/26/08)
“Through hundreds of groovy photos, Alastair Gordon’s book explores the tripped-out buildings of the age of Aquarius… Turn on, drop out, move in.” – Wired Magazine (6/23/08)
“Alastair Gordon’s big, richly illustrated book vividly recalls a time when boundaries of art, architecture and life were dissolving in a trippy haze, and utopia seemed but a stone’s throw away… Gordon chronicles these and other manifestations of the Aquarian revolution in an engaging style and with a generous spirit.” – Ken Johnson, New York Times (11/27/08)
“Absolutely spectacular! A powerful mix of words and images that convey the spirit and imagination of the time… a must for every treehugger.” – Treehugger (6/23/08)
“If you don’t have recourse to memory or the spaces themselves, Alastair Gordon’s crucial new book, Spaced Out, will bring you closer to a time when architecture was expanding its horizons in concert with those who built and used it. Architects today have a lot to learn from these hippies.” – Metropolis (6/18/08)
“Alastair Gordon’s engrossing and intimately well researched book on the radical, experimental environments from this period has something really serious to say, that the dazed and confused generation saw environmental Armageddon coming and tried to do something about it… Long live the revolution, long live long, unwashed hair.” – Building Design (4/25/08)
ARQUITECTONICA: Lessons from the Sun, Alastair Gordon, Rizzoli, 2018, available at Amazon.
“The book by Alastair Gordon looks across all of Arquitectonica’s works, from the early days in Miami to the buildings that have risen across the world as the firm expanded globally.” – Stefanie Waldek, Architectural Digest
“Launched by Laurinda Spear and Bernardo Fort-Brescia in 1977, Arquitectonica built its first project in 1978, and within five years had a series of major Miami projects under its belt that helped define the popular notion of contemporary architecture for a whole generation around the world. That legacy is captured in a new, richly illustrated 400-page book of the firm’s work on its 40th anniversary, written by critic Alastair Gordon.” – Adam Nathaniel Furman, City Lab
“Arquitectonica, written by Alastair Gordon… is a retrospective of a Miami-based architecture firm that has come to define the look of Miami through its simple, blocky, pop-art-influenced style. You know the firm’s buildings even if you don’t realize it.” – Douglas Markowitz, New Times
“From the days of “Miami Vice” to the cusp of the 2020s, Arquitectonica and its co-founders, husband-and-wife Bernardo Fort-Brescia and Laurinda Spear, have divined backdrops for the city’s most photogenic moments and established the framework for a lifestyle of sun, water and irrepressible energy. “Miami seemed not a city at all but a tale, a romance of the Tropics. A kind of waking dream in which any possibility could and would be accommodated,” wrote Joan Didion and because that is still so true, architecture critic Alastair Gordon quotes it in his new survey of Arquitectonica’s work… Of the firm’s early work, Gordon writes, “Arquitectonica’s new structures were anything but predictable, taunting the old order, verging on the subversive.” Arquitectonica “understood the poetics of sun and shadow, how a simple stucco wall became animated when struck by tropical sunlight, turning it into a foil, a blank screen, for the play of interlacing shadows,” Gordon writes. – Jane Wooldridge, Miami Herald
UNFOLDED: How Architecture Saved My Life, Alastair Gordon, Oro Editions / Gordon de Vries Studio, 2016, available at Amazon.
“A compelling hybrid: half candid biography, half evaluation of a distinguished practice. The personal trajectory–from New York orphanage, to rebellious youth, brilliant student and accomplished architect–is inspiring… In contrast to monographs that are too bulky or arcane to appeal to a wide audience, Unfolded is elegant, portable, and written in plain English, providing an introduction to the art of architecture that should enjoy a wide readership. “ – Michael Webb, Form Magazine
“A riveting architectural monograph…” Architectural Products, July 5, 2017
“Born in 1937 in Detroit, he and his twin brother, Neil, spent three years in the Hebrew Orphan Asylum of New York after their seamstress mother gave them up… His firm, now called Voorsanger Architects, has completed such projects as the multi-phased National World War II Museum in New Orleans (2009–2019), offices for the designer Elie Tahari (2003), and a number of houses distinguished by expansive roofs. Gordon sees the roofs, which often unfold like interlocking planes, as representing the shelter Voorsanger has been seeking since his childhood. He’s come a long way from the orphanage.” – Fred Bernstein, Architectural Record
Tangles & By-Paths: Coconut Grove, Alastair Gordon, Kala Press, 2017
“An early settler described the waters off of Coconut Grove as being ‘afloat on a sort of liquid light, rather than water, so limpid and brilliant is it’. Another described a ‘veritable fairyland of wonders, beauties and unpolluted purity’. Over its 100-year history, Coconut Grove has grown into a unique entanglement of culture and nature…” – “Liquid Light”
Wendell Castle: Wandering Forms, Works from 1959 to 1979, Alastair Gordon, Gregory R. Miller & Co. / The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, 2012, available at Amazon.
“Alastair Gordon’s biographical monograph of Castle’s work is a juicy read, full of hyperbolic forms and insight into the studio of one of America’s most idiosyncratic thinkers.” – Dwell Magazine
“Renowned writer Alastair Gordon lucidly tells the exciting story of Castle’s impact and innovations through the defining works of his career. The text is accompanied by hundreds of drawings, press clippings and never-before-seen images of Castle, his workspace and process. Beautifully designed by the award-winning Pandiscio Co. and incorporating materials from Castle’s personal archives, this book is certain to be the definitive study of one of the most significant furniture designers working in the world today and one of America’s true cultural treasures.” – Artbook
“Wendell Castle: Wandering Forms by Alastair Gordon is the first book in more than two decades devoted to the eminent furniture designer’s early years and particularly to his maiden pieces in wood and fiberglass.” – Rima Suqi, New York Times
“Excellent cultural history…” – The New Yorker, February 1, 2016
“Splendid cultural history…” – Atlantic Monthly (July/August 2006)
“Engaging history…” – The Guardian (UK), July 19, 2008
“An epic story…” – The Boston Globe, October 10, 2004
“Naked Airport is as exhilarating as it is literate and informative.” – John Berendt, (author of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil)
“Gordon’s prose is deft and witty… Naked Airport elegantly traces the development of air travel by positioning the airport as a metaphor for our relationship to history and the rest of the world, capturing both the excitement and the anxiety of modern flight… ” – MSNBC, 2005
“A charming history that documents why airports have always been such intriguing places. Gordon wittily deconstructs air terminal architecture… Here is a book with more than enough quirky details to last a long layover.” – People (Four Stars ****)
“Splendid perspective…” – Deseret Morning News, September 26, 2004
“A sophisticated analysis that will attract many readers.” – Booklist: August 1, 2004
“The genius of Naked Airport is its portrayal of how these way stations have changed, from the muddy airfields of the 1920s to their heyday in the ’60s and beyond… You have to admire Alastair Gordon’s pluck.” – Time Out, October 21-28, 2004
” Gordon’s lively history is written with an eclectic range of reference and an eye for detail… smoothly blending cultural and aesthetic history.” – Publisher’s Weekly, July 5, 2004
“Alastair Gordon’s breezy, engaging new book, Naked Airport ingeniously traces the development of airport architecture…” – New York Observer , November 1, 2004
“The prolific shelter magazine writer chronicles the shifting architectural conceptions of an airport, from classical shrines to the dreams of Lindbergh and the Wrights to passenger-processing ‘tunnels to nowhere’… A hefty buff book.” – Kirkus Review, October 1, 2004
“A richly illustrated and highly readable account of airport design as a social phenomenon…” – Air & Space Magazine (Smithsonian), December 2004/January 2005
“Naked Airport racks up elite-status frequent-flier miles as it ranges across airports on every continent…”– Bookforum,October/November 2004
“Alastair Gordon’s Naked Airport achieves the improbable, simultaneously reconnecting us with the early romance of flying and the tragedy of 9-11 with its horrific blend of aviation and architecture… a truly compelling account. Don’t leave home without it.” – Terence Riley (Director, Miami Art Museum )
“A fascinating and accessible survey of airport design…” – Architecture Boston, July/August 2005
“…an important and engaging look at airports as typology.” – Frame Magazine, October, 2004
“Highly erudite and extremely entertaining… Reading Alastair Gordon’s splendid survey of airport architecture is like stepping into a time machine and bearing witness to all the ambition and angst of the 20th century itself.” – Carole Rifkind, A Field Guide to Contemporary American Architecture
” Gordon’s compelling narrative shows how architecture is bound up with the rest of the world in a way that architectural histories too rarely do… He tells his story entertainingly, using descriptions of air travel from novels and movies as he shows how airports grew out of technological developments, political history, military adventures, and the globalization they helped create…” – The Architect’s Newspaper
Naked Airport: A Cultural History of the World’s Most Revolutionary Structure, Alastair Gordon, University of Chicago Press (paperback edition with new introduction and updated epilogue) 2008, available at Amazon.
“Taxi-ing smoothly between architecture, planning and social history, Gordon explains how the soar-and-crash record of the airport as icon mirrors the rise and fall of technology-driven optimism.” – The Independent (UK), August 22, 2008
“Brilliant! Naked Airport is an impressively illustrated, comprehensive cultural history of airports as buildings, from the earliest days of makeshift sheds and hangars to the vast, glassy terminals designed by architectural multinationals such as Foster + Partners.” – New Statesman (UK), September 25, 2008
Qualities of Duration: The Architecture of Philip Smith and Douglas Thompson, Alastair Gordon, Gordon de Vries Studio/Damiani Press, 2012, available at Amazon.
“This monograph on New York’s Smith and Thompson Architects is notable for the way it tells the story of the duo’s architecture as just that, a story. While Alastair Gordon’s writing does describe the various projects that Phillip Smith and Douglas Thompson have worked on since the 1970s, he does it with a narrative flow that is often missing from monographs.” – John Hill, A Daily Dose of Architecture
“Qualities of Duration is the first book to assess the careers of Philip Smith and Douglas Thompson who have dedicated their lives to the poetry of architecture, as they say, rather than its calculus. The book, both intelligent and visually rich (inviting rather than demanding attention) is a small object by coffee table standards, because it’s actually meant to be read, not just admired. Like the highly livable buildings of the featured architects, it is more understated gloaming than fiery sunset, but it’s no less persuasive for its modesty.” – Michael Lassell, Modern Magazine
Romantic Modernist: The Life and Work of Norman Jaffe, Architect, Alastair Gordon, Monacelli Press, 2005, available at Amazon.
“This is the first major survey of the career of Norman Jaffe, an architect who is best known for his work on the South Fork in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Organized by the architecture historian and author Alastair Gordon, the show and book attempt to place Mr. Jaffe (who drowned while swimming off Bridgehampton in 1993) in the context of international Modernism, while stressing his departures from Modernist orthodoxy.” – Helen Harrison, New York Times
Beach Houses: Andrew Geller, Alastair Gordon, Princeton Architectural Press, 2003, hardback & paperback available at Amazon.
“A lovely tribute to the architect of wonderful, small quixotic cabins.” – Treehugger
“Gordon takes readers on a tour of ‘quixotic designer-architect’ Geller’s beach houses in this handsomely illustrated homage.” – Publishers Weekly
“Alastair Gordon’s book, Beach Houses: Andrew Geller, rebuts the notion that bigger houses mean better lives.” – Los Angeles Times
“A wonderful example of how a single historian can rescue an artist from obscurity… a wistful celebration of a lost era when the world was a much bigger place and oceanfront property a relatively affordable commodity.” – Metropolis
Weekend Utopia: Modern Living in the Hamptons, Alastair Gordon, Princeton Architectural Press, 2000, available at Amazon.
“Engaging architectural and social history…” – Newsweek
“A revelatory contribution to the history of modern architecture.” – Charles Gwathmey
“Gordon’s eye for the convergence of arts, architecture and commerce is unerring.” – Publishers Weekly
“A fine guide to one of American modernism’s foremost laboratories of style.” – Vanity Fair
“Weekend Utopia explores the idea that the ‘beach house was the sonnet form of American architecture.'” – The New Yorker
“For a younger, braver generation, Weekend Utopia offers an alternative to home sweet home.” – New York Times
“Gordon’s book evokes a sophisticated aesthetic, both modern and simple, and a sensibility that could only have come from the Hamptons.” – Calvin Klein
“Weekend Utopia brings to vivid life a century in the architectural and social history of the East End…” – Best Books of 2001, New York Times Book Review
“Gordon’s beautiful book is part of a personal mission to swing the pendulum back toward the tiny beach retreats of his youth.” -Dwell Magazine
“A smart, absorbing architectural history that charts the Hamptons’ transformation from rural outpost to high-powered resort.” – House & Garden
“Gracefully written, stunningly illustrated…” – Amazon.com Best Books of 2001, Editors’ Picks (#1 on Architecture / Design List)
“Weekend Utopia is the rare sort of encyclopedic work that is both stylish and readable. This sweeping account of the architectural evolution of coastal Long Island combines the best qualities of a coffee table book, namely a string of mesmerizing images, with a lively, thought-provoking text…” – Annette Lucia Giesecke, Utopias Studies
“A wide-ranging cultural history of a very particular place, told in a very particular way…” – Adam Begley, New York Observer
“A fascinating chronicle, copiously illustrated… Indispensable for both architecture buffs and Hamptonites with a roof over their heads.” – George Plimpton
Thomas Phifer and Partners, Skira Rizzoli International, 2010, Alastair Gordon, co-author (with Sarah Amelar, Stephen Fox,) available at Amazon.“There’s a quality of fragmentation and reflectivity (both physical and metaphoric) in Thomas Phifer’s work that makes me think of the Glasarchitektur of Bruno Taut, those crystalline fantabulations that defied gravity and made light itself into a central sacrament…” – “Reflectivity”
Quik Build, ABC of Container Architecture, Bibliothéque McLean, London, 2008, Alastair Gordon, co-author (with Barry Bergdoll and Adam Kalkin,) available at Amazon.
“Since Adam Kalkin adopted the recycled shipping container as a primary building block and a dominant obsession, he has worked with that seemingly inert monolith to develop ever-richer sets of overlapping nuances… The book chronicles the many projects that Kalkin has created over his career, with insightful essays by Barry Bergdoll and Alastair Gordon.” – Designboom
“Kalkin wears a crisply starched shirt and speaks with the slightly nasal tones of a prep school snob but his work, like the man, defies easy categorization, riding a funky edge between art, architecture, fashion and mass-market consumerism. ‘I love to watch the metamorphosis of a thing changing from a high culture object to a low culture pill that can be easily swallowed,’ he says while eating lunch in a Vietnamese restaurant on Ninth Avenue…” – “Attention Deficit Disorder”
FIRE ISLAND MODERN and the Architecture of Seduction, Christopher Rawlins, Foreword by Alastair Gordon, 2014, Metropolis / Gordon de Vries Studio, available at Amazon.
“Both a cultural history and an architectural mediation, Fire Island Modernist captures the look, feel and sensation of gay society in the 1960s and ’70s that flourished on the sandy shores and shifting dunes of the 31-mile barrier island of its title… As Alastair Gordon states in his foreword, Gifford’s houses ‘expressed the longings of a culture that had transformed Fire Island into a free-fire zone of social and sexual discovery.’ – Clifford Pearson, Architectural Record
“An insightful and gorgeously illustrated account of the luminous midcentury modern vacation homes that architect Horace Gifford built during the 1960s and ’70s in Fire Island’s gay enclaves.” – Bryan Lowder, Slate
“…It was all about the light, the watery, sea-flecked light, that flooded in through windows and skylights, almost blindingly, and through a pop-up roof and wrap-round clerestory that saturated everything with a golden glow and gave everyday objects a spectral sense of otherness. The owners really didn’t need anything else…” From A.G. Foreword
Miami: Blueprint of an Eden, Collins, 2007, (co-author with Michele Oka Doner and Mitchell Wolfson,) available at Amazon.
“At once an intimate memoir, a sprawling history, and a work of artistic integrity, Miami Beach: Blueprint of an Eden, is the story of an extraordinary time and place, told through the prism of two founding families, the Wolfsons and the Okas.”
“Michele Oka Doner sits beneath a Caribbean Pigeon tree–one of her favorite trees–and recites ‘Nomad Exquisite’ in a proper schoolgirl cadence: ‘As the immense dew of Florida / Brings forth / The big-finned palm…’ We’re having lunch at a restaurant near the beach, sitting beneath the prickly arches of the 70-year old tree, leafy shadows across our plates, eating coconut-encrusted shrimp with mango chutney. Like most visitors, I choose the privilege of ignorance when coming to Miami, but even this node of seemingly superficial beach culture has a story that goes deeper than anyone can imagine…” – from A.G. Introduction
Mark Dion: Misadventures of a 21st-Century Naturalist, Alastair Gordon, co-author (with Ruth Erickson), New Haven: Yale University Press, 2017
“Mark Dion’s art incorporates taxidermy, relics of science, found objects, and other materials. The installation pieces for which he is best known replicate the work spaces of archaeologists, ornithologists, and ecologists in states of organized chaos, and call into question the ways in which humans interpret and display the natural world… “ – Publisher’s Weekly
Describing Labor, Esther Shalev-Gerz, (co-contributor), The Wolfsonian Museum, Miami, 2012.
“Describing Labor draws on artist Esther Shalev-Gerz’s research into depictions of work and working figures from the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century… Twenty-four people were invited to participate in the project, all of whom are, in Shalev-Gerz’s words, ‘people with rich language around art—curators, directors, researchers, artists, librarians, collectors, writers.”
American Dream: The Houses at Sagaponack, Rizzoli, 2003, Alastair Gordon co-author (with Richard Meier, ) available at Amazon.
“American Dream: The Houses at Sagaponac documents a rare architectural project where over 30 architects, some high profile, were brought together to each design a unique modern residence for a development in Sagaponack, New York…”
THE BEATLES: Photographs From the Set of Help!, Alastair Gordon, Rizzoli/Gordon de Vries Studio, Photos by Emilio Lari, Introduction by Richard Lester, available at Amazon.
“An extraordinary collection of mostly unseen photographs of the Beatles during the making of Help!. Published to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the release of the Beatles’ second motion picture, Help!, this almost entirely unpublished collection of photographs marks a pivotal turning point in the band’s history, as they evolved from much-loved musicians into the most important group of all time…” – GoodReads, September 15th, 2015
Costantino Nivola in Springs, Ilisso Books, Milan, 2003, (co-author with Micaela Martegani), available at Amazon.
“Constantino Nivola in Springs” was an exhibit at The Parrish Art Museum from August 9 – October 12, 2003. The accompanying book traces Nivola’s artwork, garden and life on eastern Long Island. He lived in Springs, East Hampton for more than forty years.
WEEKEND UTOPIA: The Modern Beach House on Eastern Long Island, 1960-1973, Alastair Gordon, Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY, 1999 (Exhibition Catalogue: AG Author / Curator)
“In the 1960’s, ‘before all the spaces were filled in, before the traffic became intolerable,’ Long Island’s East End was the focal point of a two-pronged revolution, writes Alastair Gordon. One prong was esthetic, leading to the development of an innovative style of architecture that would eventually spread throughout the world. The other was social, determining how and where newly prosperous urban professionals spent their leisure time. Both are examined in ‘Weekend Utopia: The Modern Beach House on Eastern Long Island, 1960-1973,’ an exhibition and accompanying catalogue organized by Mr. Gordon…” – Barbara Delatiner, New York Times
Convergence: The Hamptons After Pollock, Alastair Gordon, Nassau County Museum of Art, 2000.
“As guest curator, Alastair Gordon, comments in an essay in his catalogue for the show, ‘Convergence: The Hamptons Since Pollock,’ ‘There was something about the place that freed the imagination.’ The thesis is developed here in an upbeat, sensitive blending of art and architecture that sustains its energy throughout the show’s three large rooms. The subject is, of course, huge… One of the show’s most memorable models represents Peter Blake’s unrealized design for an ideal museum, planned to permit its sliding Pollock mural walls to be seen against nature. – Phyllis Braff, New York Times
Sweet Disorder and the Carefully Careless, Theory and Criticism in Architecture, Essays by Robert Maxwell, Alastair Gordon, Editor, Princeton Papers on Architecture / Princeton Architectural Press, New York, 1993, available at Amazon.
As General Editor of the Princeton Paper on Architecture, Alastair Gordon oversaw the editing, design, production and distribution of a series of critical texts on modern architecture. Robert Maxwell’s ‘Sweet Disorder and the Carefully Careless’ was the first in the series.
Long Island Modern, The First Generation of Modernist Architecture on Long Island, Guild Hall Museum, East Hampton, NY / The National AIA Museum, Washington DC, 1987.
“All the buildings of this first generation, built between 1925 and 1960, are given their proper homage in ”Long Island Modern,’ a superb exhibition at Guild Hall in East Hampton. Alastair Gordon, an architecture critic and historian, organized the exhibition, which contains a mix of models, original photographs, plans and drawings. Unlike most architecture exhibitions organized around local themes, this one has genuine national significance. For it stands to remind us that Long Island was one of the country’s major incubators for modern architecture… Mr. Gordon has been relentless in his research, and has unearthed numerous designs that are unfamiliar even to those who know Long Island and the history of architecture at mid-century well… To Alastair Gordon, these early modern buildings are striking remnants of an age of earnestness, an age of belief in the ability of architecture to reshape the world. In the excellent catalogue that accompanies the exhibition, he traces the natural, if unorthodox, marriage between the utopian world envisioned by the modernist architects and the relaxed world of the beach house.” – Paul Goldberger, New York Times
Long Island Country Houses and Their Architects, 1860-1940, W. W. Norton & Company, 1997, Alastair Gordon, Co-Author (with Robert B. MacKay, et al,) available at Amazon.
Long Island’s natural beauty, easy access from New York City, and suitability for yachting and other recreational pursuits made it a perfect leisure destination. From the Civil War to World War II, almost 1000 country estates were built on Long Island for the nation’s wealthiest and most prominent families. This important volume is a rich compendium of the architects and firms who designed these grand examples of domestic architecture during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
The AIA Guide to the Architecture of Long Island, Alastair Gordon, Co-Author, Dover Publications, 1993
Long Island Architecture, Alastair Gordon, co-author, Hofstra University Press,1992
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