I recently purchased Alex Hartley’s “LA Climbs, Alternative Uses for Architecture”, a buildering guidebook cleverly disguised as an architectural art book — or is it the other way around? The combined result of history, architectural info, and buildering make this a potentially brilliant read; and if the author’s writing wasn’t so shoddy he might have pulled it off.

After attempting to decipher the book’s introduction, one gets the sense that the author could only afford either a dictionary or a thesaurus and decided to go with the latter. Hartley uses words like “sartorial” and “oedipal”, and then goes on to coin the phrase “urban assent,” a not in the context of boardroom meeting agreement. Similarly, my grasp of “decent” is fairly…well…decent, but I am unfamiliar with its second meaning of climbing down off something.

I could go on and on, but “frank-ly” I’m being a bit nitpicky. The architecture is really amazing, the photos are high quality, the history behind each building is fascinating. I tip my hat to the amount of research invested.

Was it worth my hard earned $44.95? Well as the cashier at the bookstore said, “It’s an architecture book; those are always pricey.” In my opinion it’s a buildering book, and those are invaluable.