Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The House Tour

Alison Lurie, who visits us on Thursday, September 18, is a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist who applies her wit and insight to the meaning of ordinary architecture in her new book,  The Language of Houses (2014).

The book is reviewed by Kathleen Hirsch in the Boston Globe:

Lurie serves as able guide on an opening overview of basic architectural themes: style, scale, materials. Concepts such as formal and informal, open and shut, darkness and light, as well as the influences of foreign and regional idioms, become the building blocks on which she proceeds into her discussion of dwellings. We learn that the simple, unadorned, home intended to convey “green” values, often uses “old bricks and boards that in fact cost more than new ones,” while a suburban McMansion’s pricey entrance is coupled with cheap siding and exposed ductwork out back. She chronicles the evolution of the Colonial meeting house into Gothic worship sites that are mini-theaters with their raised altars, lavish pipe organs, and stage lighting. Gender differences abound: In homes and offices, men prefer what she calls “prospects”; women, “refuge.”

More in the Globe:

More about Lurie and upcoming events: