kottke.org posts about Witold Rybczynski

The Most Beautiful House in the WorldSep 21 2007

The Most Beautiful House in the World

In a short post yesterday about where writers do their business, I mentioned that Witold Rybczynski had written about the writing room of a famous author that was purposely set away from the rest of his house. I grabbed my copy of The Most Beautiful House in the World off the shelf just now and found that I'd turned down the page containing the relevant passage back when I read the book a few years ago. The author I was thinking of was George Bernard Shaw; here is Rybczynski's description of his writing room:

But Shaw too was a builder, and the writing room that he erected in his garden was a Shavian combination of simplicity, convenience, and novelty. He called it "the Shelter," but it was really a shed, only eight feet square. It contained the essentials of the writer's trade -- a plank desk, an electric lamp, a wicker chair, a bookcase, and a wastepaper basket. Beside the desk was a shelf for his Remington portable -- like [Samuel] Clemens, Shaw was an early amateur of the typewriter. There was also a telephone (modified to refuse incoming calls), a thermometer, and an alarm clock (to remind him when it was time for lunch).

Shaw's writing hut had one other curious feature: the entire building was mounted on a pipe so that it could be rotated to take advantage of the sun's warmth at different times of the day. But the tiny building was so loaded down with books and furniture that the feature was probably never used. Pictures and more on Shaw's writing hut at BBC News, the National Trust, and Cool Tools.

Rybczynski also mentions that Samuel Clemens wrote most often in a hilltop gazebo he'd constructed for that purpose away from his luxurious house..

The Guardian has an extensive list ofSep 20 2007

The Guardian has an extensive list of writers and the rooms in which they write (with photos and descriptions by the authors). For whatever reason, I became very interested in writers' rooms after reading Witold Rybczynski's The Most Beautiful House in the World, in which he describes several rooms built by writers specifically for working in, including one author who built a completely separate room apart from his house which combined his need for solitude with a short commute. (thx, youngna)

Witold Rybczynski on the problem with undergroundSep 20 2006

Witold Rybczynski on the problem with underground architecture...it's not the seamless hidden-away experience that one might think.

Short rememberance of Jane Jacobs by architectApr 26 2006

Short rememberance of Jane Jacobs by architect Witold Rybczynski. "The lively city districts that Jacobs championed, including her beloved Village, have become exclusive enclaves, closed to all but the extremely wealthy. She always considered the amenities of city life to be everyday and widely available goods. Little could she have imagined then that they would become luxuries instead."

Witold Rybczynski on the success of RockefellerDec 19 2005

Witold Rybczynski on the success of Rockefeller Center as an urban project.

Witold Rybczynski on perimeter security around prominentAug 26 2005

Witold Rybczynski on perimeter security around prominent public and government buildings. "The problem is that huge hunks of reinforced concrete in city streets are not only an eyesore and an impediment to movement, they're a blatant and unsightly expression of a siege mentality."

Tags related to Witold Rybczynski:
architecture cities books writing

kottke.org

Front page
About + contact
Site archives

Subscribe

Follow kottke.org on Twitter

Follow kottke.org on Tumblr

Like kottke.org on Facebook

Subscribe to the RSS feed

Advertisement

Ads by The Deck

Support kottke.org shop at Amazon

And more at Amazon.com

Looking for work?

More at We Work Remotely

Kottke @ Quarterly

Subscribe to Quarterly and get a real-life mailing from Jason every three months.

 

Enginehosting

Hosting provided EngineHosting