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Sanford Kwinter’s Far from Equilibrium

Illustration from Sanford Kwinter’s Far from Equilibrium: Essays on Technology and Design Culture. United States Navy FA-18C Hornet breaking the sound barrier over the Pacific Ocean, July 7, 1999. Photo: John Gay/US Navy.

FAR FROM EQUILIBRIUM: ESSAYS ON

TECHNOLOGY AND DESIGN CULTURE
, BY

SANFORD KWINTER.
BARCELONA/NEW

YORK: ACTAR, 2008. 196 PAGES. $33.

WIDELY RECOGNIZED in academic circles as an architectural polymath, Sanford Kwinter is famous among students for beginning each semester by first asking his classes what they would like him to teach, and then, regardless of subject, assigning reading material and speaking extempore with the kind of accessible erudition most scholars and theorists have long abandoned. This remarkable ability helps account for the popularity of his lectures, which are given throughout the United States and Europe and have made him one of the most influential architectural educators of our time. It might also explain why Kwinter, a contrarian and polemicist by nature, has long favored the essay form as his preferred means of written communication.

His new book, Far from

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