Poetry of Place: The New Architecture and Interiors of McAlpine

Kirk Reed Forrester reviews the architects’ latest book and finds art and poetry

poetry of place, bobby mcalpine
Telephone poles and an industrial table are among the many nonresidential elements found throughout this house. Softly upholstered furnishings provide an island of understated luxury amid rustic wood surroundings. Interior design by Susan Ferrier. Photo by Emily Followill

In many vocations—legislator and sausage-maker come to mind—the ordeal of creation is best kept a secret. We’d rather get the finished product and move on. Not so with architect Bobby McAlpine, who writes about his work so eloquently he might be mistaken for a poet with a drafting table.

In Poetry of Place, the followup to his best-selling The Home Within Us, McAlpine walks us through 20 homes, describing them in terms both personal and personified: An exotic Florida beach house is the “mysterious personage at the dinner table.” A cozy English-style home is imagined as a “Br’er Rabbit of a house.” A welcoming neighborhood residence is “warm with big pockets, like a favorite winter coat you can’t wait to get back into.” A Spanish Colonial house on a hill has the “broad-stroke thinking of a maverick rancher.” In Poetry of Place, there’s broad-stroke thinking on every page.

Architecture by Bobby McAlpine and David Baker. Landscape architecture by Mike Kaiser, Kaiser Trabue Landscape Architecture. Photo by Pieter Estersohn

By Kirk Reed Forresterpoetry of place, bobby mcalpine

Poetry of Place: The New Architecture and Interiors of McAlpine (Rizzoli New York, 2017)

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