Architectural Lighting: Designing with Light and Space / Hervé Descottes with Cecilia E. Ramos

As part of Architecture Briefs series, produced by The Foundations of Architecture, this short book on lighting gives a very good introduction into architectural lighting. The authors start by explaining the six visual principles of light; illuminance, luminance, color and temperature, height, density, and direction and distribution. After providing this foundation the authors analyze six projects that include the High Line and Guthrie Theater. The book is rounded out with pieces from Steven Holl, Sylvain Dubuisson, and James Corner. If you are interested in getting into architectural lighting this book is a good place to start.


Volume 27: Aging

I never can get enough of Volume. This issue is loaded with provocative articles that stimulate discussion about a pressing reality, the dramatic demographic shift in the age of human populations. Throughout this issue there are articles like Martti Kalliala’s that push the boundaries of the discussion. Looking at the rapid increases in average life expectancy, Kalliala’s asks what the world will be like if we could live to a thousand? These types of articles are supplemented by exposés into existing and proposed retirement communities and nursing homes. This, as always does, gives a nice balance to the intellectual inquiry and practical application.


Bolles+Wilson / A Handbook Of Productive Paradigms

“Established initially in London in 1980 and based in Germany since 1988 the architectural office of Bolles + Wilson has firmly established itself as an international practice underpinned by thorough research and theoretical discourse. This monograph chronicles a variety of projects alongside more than 25 recent buildings that are surveyed through different chapters that cover such areas as urban planning, projects in different foreign countries, library architecture and specific designs for the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Accompanied by texts from Julia Bolles-Wilson and Peter Wilson, the survey is generously laid out with colour photographs, technical drawings, models and sketches. Works and projects featured include: the Suzuki House, Tokyo; the Masterplan Falkenried, Hamburg; the Spuimarkt Block, The Hague; DGM Quartier, Magdeburg; the Kaldewei Kompetenz Center, Ahlen; the Münster City Library; and the New Luxor Theatre, Rotterdam.”

Summary of contents, credits, and more photos after the break. (more…)

Golconde: The Introduction of Modernism in India

Sited on the coastal edge of the Bay of Bengal, Golconde, a dormitory for the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in Pondicherry, India, was designed by architects Antonin Raymond and George Nakashima. Golconde is a remarkable architectural edifice, seemlessly negotiating between the tenets of early modernist architecture while addressing the pragmatic impositions of a tropical context. Espousing radical economy and uncompromising construction standards, it proposes environmental sensitivity as a foundation for the design process. Completed in 1942, Golconde was the first reinforced, cast-in-place concrete building in India and celebrates the modernist credo: architecture as the manifest union of aesthetics, technology, and social reform.

Credits, Contents and more photos after the break. (more…)

Louis Kahn Drawing to Find Out / Michael Merrill

We recently featured the companion to this book, Louis Kahn On the Thoughtful Making of Spaces. This large format book draws together over two hundred—mostly unpublished—drawings of Kahn’s Dominican Motherhouse. It offers a fascinating look into Kahn’s design process and his struggles with ideas about space. It shows the project changing over the years and goes straight to the heart of one of Kahn’s most quoted sayings, “A building is a struggle, not a miracle.”


Louis Kahn on the Thoughtful Making of Spaces / Michael Merrill

From previously unpublished material and new analytic drawings this book explores ’s Dominican Motherhouse, his unbuilt masterpiece. Kahn pushed and prodded modern architecture into a crisis that questioned aspects of space that modernism had proudly banished from its program. The Dominican Motherhouse is an exemplary exhibition of Kahn’s relentless questioning of architectural space: seeking the sources of its meaning in its social, morphological, landscape and contextual dimensions. The questions brought up again and again in this book are as pertinent today as they were Kahn was asking them.


Made to Measure: The Architecture of Leers Weinzapfel Associates

Made to Measure is a monograph showcasing the work of Leers Weinzapfel Associates, an architecture firm based out of Boston, Massachusetts. first gained prominence by taking on infrastructure projects that are often left to engineers. Where some might undertake these projects out of consequence, revels in and seeks out these types of projects. The firm’s ability to finely execute such projects is displayed in the University of Pennsylvania Gateway Complex presented in this book. Although infrastructure projects were their launching point, they now take on an incredibly wide range of projects. In fact, the majority of the projects presented in this book are not infrastructure projects. Perhaps there is something to be said for being able to do the ‘mundane’ well.

Take a look inside after the break.


Reveal: Studio Gang Architects / Jeanne Gang

We recently received the book Reveal: . This monograph takes an in-depth look at several of firm’s extraordinary projects. Archdaily has featured many of the same projects, but our pieces are mere shadows of what is presented in this book. If you enjoyed the glimpses on our website you will love this book. It is rare that I find a monograph that goes into such great depth. Beside the standard plan, section and photographs, each project is accompanied by notes, research, sketches, histories, philosophies, and more. This allows for a much more rewarding conversation than the standard glossy monograph. By the end of each chapter you can easily understand why each design decision was made and how meticulous this studio is. The Aqua Tower, for example, without any additional knowledge holds its own amongst the architecturally cherished Chicago skyline; however, after you read about the design process behind it the tower becomes that much more wonderful. I highly recommend this book.

P.S.: You can watch our interview with Jeanne Gang.


No More Play / Michael Maltzan

In this book holds conversations with a photographer, architects, a landscape architect, a futurists, and a urban planner about Los Angeles’s recent past and its near and distant future. For Maltzan, Los Angeles is currently in a delicate moment of transformation “where past vocabularies of the city and of urbanism are no longer adequate, and at this moment, the very word no longer applies.” In order to guide this transformation in a positive direction Maltzan asserts that “architects, urban theorists, architects, designers, planners, and city leaders requires keen investigation to produce forms that represent this city and and its culture, as opposed to importing other urban models.” The conversations along with the photographs by presented in this book are part of the keen investigation Maltzan advocates for. This makes for a very engaging book for anyone interested in Los Angeles and shaping the future of cities in general.


DETAIL Magazine: Digital Processes

I recently read Detail Magazine’s latest issue about Digital Processes. The issue is divided into three parts. The first part deals with digital planning technologies that include mapping techniques for analysis, terrestrial laser scanning, and geographic information systems among others. The second section delves into digital production technologies such as CNC laser cutting, hot wire cutting, and jointed-arm robotics. The final piece brings these together by showcasing six projects that utilize these technologies. In its totality, the issue is a good overall look at the present and future opportunities digital technology offers the profession.


The Green Studio Handbook: Environmental Strategies for Schematic Design / Alison G. Kwok and Walter T. Grondzik

Similar to the first edition published in 2007, the second edition of The Green Studio Handbook offers a useful introduction to green design. As noted in the title the content stays fairly schematic to help guide and introduce green strategies. This book purposely avoids creating a green building checklists and getting bogged down in technical details. In this way the book can cover a wide variety of topics and show how they are interrelated systems. Each strategy is accompanied by a wonderful set of sketches and images that aid in the readers understanding of the basic concepts.


San Rocco 01 / Islands

“… if someone who has a valid point of view wants to give it an audience, he has no choice but to start a magazine.”
- Eno Dailor
On Pamphlet Architecture 1-10 [1998]

is a new architecture magazine conceived under a five-year plan which researches on their creators fields of interest. Their second issue covers the subject of ISLANDS in whatever meaning you can imagine for the word “island”. As they wrote:

An island is any piece of land that is surrounded by water.
An island is any object lost in an endless extension of a uniform element. As such, the island is isolated.
The island is by definition remote, separated, intimately alternative.
The island is elsewhere.
Islands can be natural or artificial: atolls, rocks, volcanoes, oases, spaceships, oil rigs, carriers.

Based on Gilles Deleuze book, L’île Désert et autres textes, the magazine is divided in two main blocks: oceanic and continental islands. Can we talk, then, about the possibility of architectural islands? More after the break. (more…)

Delugan Meissl Associated Architects Vol. 1 / Delugan Meissl Associated Architects

When coming across ’s newest book I first noticed its sheer weight and size. The second thing I noticed were the words Vol. I. Most architects would be happy/lucky enough to fill a book a quarter the size with their work. The projects range from chairs and small houses to the Porsche Museum and master planning of healthcare campuses. The introduction by Karl Jormakka gives a nice lens in which to view their work. Their work is constantly trying to elicit physiological responses “from a visceral juxtaposition of the human body with the architectural setting,” says Jormakka. In this way their work differs from many of the avant-garde architects who tie their work to French philosophers or abstract ideas from the natural sciences. Viewing DMAA’s work in this light, readers can easily explore how each project attempts to physiologically engage its users.


Living with Modernity: Brasilia—Chandigarh / Iwan Baan

When I first read John Adams by David McCullough a few years ago I could not decide if I liked Mr. Adams for Mr. Adams or if I liked him for Mr. McCullough’s writing. After viewing ’s newest book, Living with Modernity, I have the same ambiguous feeling about Brasilia and Chandigarh. Baan’s photography of these controversial cities is both subtle and disarming. “[The photographs in this book] do not show how Le Corbusier and Niemeyer thought their cities would look; they show what the cities look like now, fifty to sixty years later.” Without arguing any particular point, Baan documents “what happens when the chilly, impersonal drawing from the past is populated by real, live human beings.” Some discomforting images are reminiscent of what happens when a child places his Tonka Trunk in the middle of an anthill; life follows in and out of structures that relate very little to the realities of daily life. Spaces are simply co-opted for purposes that stand in stark contrast to the intended purpose of the structures. At the same time Baan captures fascinating and brilliant moments of beauty that Niemeyer and Le Corbusier never could have planned for–or the did. As difficult as it is to put stunning photography into words, the short accompanying essay by Cees Nooteboom certainly comes close and is well worth a read. The book closes with a succinct but informative piece by Martino Stierli. Stierli gives the background, historical context, and controversy surrounding the two cities. In the end, I am still ambivalent on whether or not I admire such a ambitious/hubris top-down approach to design, but after seeing the cities in Baan’s book I am certainly fascinated by them—perhaps enough so that I will travel there some day in the future.


Matter in the Floating World / Blaine Brownell

Author, architect and materials expert Blaine Brownell recently published a book on his travels to twenty leading material and design innovators in Japan. The book includes interviews with Tadao Ando, Shigeru Ban, Kengo Kuma, Kazuyo Sejima, and others. Brownell took on this journey to discover the connections between materiality and transience in their work. For centuries the Japanese culture has treated materials with an uncommon reverence. Regarded as rich resources of inspiration, materials are consecrated when they are handled or altered according to their “internal voice”. Brownell sought to find how today’s daily inundation of new materials has affected this thoughtful approach. The discussion is carried out with text and stunning photographs that help illustrate his main points.

Table of Contents following the break.


Pamphlet Architecture #30

I recently got the chance to review #30 titled Coupling / Strategies for Infrastructural Opportunism. From bringing a terminal lake back to life and using landfills as an open space connectors to actively anticipating the future of the Caspian Sea’s oil rig field and turning Canada’s northern regions into a more active destination, this work explores ways infrastructures can become soft multivalent systems instead of the hard systems we see today. This challenges the antiquated ideas of buildings simply being geometric formal objects. With the interconnected world, buildings themselves have become infrastructural to the larger systems. Keller Easterling states, “No longer simply what is hidden or beneath another urban structure, many infrastructures are the urban formula, the very parameters of global urbanism.”

Table of Contents following the break.


Aga Khan Award for Architecture 2010 Implicate & Explicate

We were quite happy to receive a book on the Aga Kahn 1st prize and shortlist proposals as ArchDaily has followed the 11th award cycle. Beginning with an inspirational foreword, Farrokh Derakhshani explains the importance of such an award as it looks to highlight architecture rooted in an awareness of aesthetics and cultural aspects within the Muslim world. During the 11th award cycle of 2010, the shortlisted projects were shared with the public to promote further discussion.   With this in min t,The book offers an indepth look at the 19 projects, complete with the steering committee statement and master jury report.

More about the book after the break. (more…)

Volume # 26: Architecture of Peace

A recent issue of titled “Architecture of Peace” asks what role architects can play in promoting peace. This fearless issue makes the squabbling over Steven Holl’s extension to Rennie Mackintosh’s Glasgow School of Art seem rather trivial. Trying to promote peace in war torn areas like Israel, Palestine, Sudan, and South Eastern Europe takes far more courage or hubris than building onto an architectural treasure. The stakes are far higher and the critics far louder. That, however, did not prevent Volume from diving headlong into politically and emotionally charged issues. No single reader will agree with every article in this issue, but Volume’s willingness to openly discuss such volatile and critical topics is what makes this issue so intriguing and captivating to read. Failing to recognize the merit of this work because of disagreements would be an unfortunate error in judgment. At the same time, restraining personal dissent out of respect would be a disservice to this unshrinking issue. This issue begs for dialogue and respectful disagreement. I highly recommend our readers to pick up this issue and continue the dialogue on this very important topic. You might not agree with every article, but keep the dialogue going.

My personal challenge following the break.