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BOOKS

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Arne Jacobsen: Public Buildings

2G (International Architecture Review). Gustavo Gili, 1997. 144pp. £18.50. (Distributor 0181 747 1061)

Except for its issue on landscape architecture (aj 13.11.97), 2G has so far been stronger in images than in text, as is this latest volume on the public buildings of Arne Jacobsen. 13 of them are featured, among them the town halls at Aarhus and Rodovre, the National Bank in Copenhagen, and St Catherine's College, Oxford. 'On form and design at the present time', a lecture Jacobsen gave in 1963, is included: 'Functionalism, thank God, is still alive,' he says, urging architects to confront the challenge of 'industrialised construction'. A commitment to functionalism didn't rule out exquisite refinement or a sense of poetry in his work, as the stair at the National Bank, left, illustrates. But other images in the book ask questions that no text answers. The lush courtyards at the Munkegards School, Gentofte (not to mention efflorescence on the brickwork there) are a reminder that these buildings have been around for years: why not investigate their functioning over time, rather than imply that they are immune to it?

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