Architecture on the Carpet: The Curious Tale of Construction Toys and the Genesis of Modern Buildings
Brenda Vale and Robert Vale
This entertaining and intriguing book explores the host of connections linking the model-building toys of the modern period with architectural movements, social history, and national identities and myths. Brenda and Robert Vale investigate not only how model sets have reflected different building styles, both historic and contemporary, but also whether the toys themselves influenced the subsequent careers of the children who grew up playing with them. A wealth of illustrations support their case. The authors show how the famous prefabricated engineered aesthetic of Meccano does seem to have influenced some notable architects, though they question whether an early experience of Arkitex necessarily engendered a love of high-rise offices. They draw out novel connections between model-railway buildings and modernism; model sets such as Castos and reinforced concrete housing; and even between the creative but slightly surreal Playplax and postmodern deconstructivist architecture. Informative, opinionated and ranging across more than a century of toys and architectural trends, this book imparts an infectious nostalgia for these wonderful toys, many of them vintage classics.