The architectural historian Victoria Newhouse, by choosing mid-to-late-twentieth-century art museums as her subject, is telling a bigger story about architecture in the United States and Europe than her selection of building type might first suggest. To design an art museum is the preeminent architectural challenge today, not only because museums are such important symbols of our cultural aspirations, but also because they are immensely difficult to do well. The forty-four built museums described and evaluated by Newhouse, and the many others she refers to more briefly, constitute a superb account of the best work of the best architects of our era. Since no comparable book exists, it is fortunate for both the reader and for the historical record that she describes each museum so carefully. Only after discussing its reason for being, the organization of its functions, its site, landscaping, structure, dimensions, materials, and colors does she step back to...


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