Phyllis Lambert: Observation Is a Constant That Underlies All Approaches

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A tiny clothbound compendium of the overlooked and the incidental in architecture and daily life, from the legendary champion of modernist architecture

Phyllis Lambert (born 1927) is an architect, author, conservation activist and critic of architecture and urbanism, and the Founding Director Emeritus of the Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) in Montreal, which she established in 1979. Alongside her multifarious activities, she has also been a photographer of architecture. “My own use of the camera began in 1954 as I started to think about what a new building in New York―the Seagram building―could be,” she writes. “While in Rome during Easter, through the lens of a camera I had hardly used, I began to observe the quality of buildings: how they sat on the land, their articulation, and how architectural details related to a building as a whole.” This curiosity is a constant throughout Lambert’s work; she has devoted her career to studying and engaging with the changing conditions of urban landscapes. In this collection of personal photographs taken over several decades during her daily routines, her travels or at work, observation turns into a quest to understand and reveal what might otherwise remain overlooked.

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