Delirious New York, by Rem Koolhaas. New York: Oxford University Press. $ 18.95.

Dutch architect Koolhaas tries here to account for Manhattan architecture's "reason for being." A full collection of outstanding and unusual photographs, illustrations, and diagrams (often full-page) presents Manhattan's architectural history from its beginning as a Dutch colony to the building of Lincoln Center. Koolhaas zeroes in on such famous achievements as the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, Radio City Music Hall, the Empire State Building, and the United Nations Center; he also includes his own brilliant plan for a future New York.Most of the text is devoted to a philosophical justification of New York's architectural conglomerations, as examples of Manhattan's "culture of congestion" and "unconscious organization." Unfortunately, abstract and wordy intellectualisms occasionally obscure the worthy subject of this visionary text.

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