Great architects are like great writers. Our abilities to observe the world around us down to the tiniest details, and then make the most remarkable connections, have in time given humanity great stories and experiences - whether through imagined or real spaces. As Charles Eames put it, "Eventually everything connects - people, ideas, objects. The key to quality of the connections is the key to quality per se."
As architects, we have a nearly endless succession of connections to make, from materials, to geography, to time, to people, to experiences and statements of our own beliefs, all coming together in the design of a space. Novels are therefore a great way to remind yourself of the creative possibilities that architecture holds, encouraging you to dream about what architecture could be; and what experiences could be. These 7 non-architectural novels each have their own qualities that could open up the architectural world (and provide you with an enjoyable reading list in your time off). Enjoy!
Last year Monoskop delighted the architecture and art community by making many of the Bauhaus publications available to freely download. As a perennial fan of all types of architecture communication, I had previously written about the exceptional qualities of Bauhaus-produced books and journals and how these visual teaching tools ultimately influenced more recent, canonical publications. Below we share an edited excerpt from “Architects’ Books: Le Corbusier and The Bauhaus,” a chapter from the larger research project, Redefining The Monograph: The Publications of OMA and Rem Koolhaas.
As the Bauhaus operated in a generally experimental and revolutionary status, the information taught was not unified in any particularly accessible form. The Bauhausbücher were produced in order to expose the elements of the Bauhaus education to the original, small student body. These books later proved invaluable when the school was closed by the National Socialist Government in 1933, their contents holding authentic records of Bauhaus education. Merging theory and practice, the books, designed by Moholy-Nagy, are a testament to his creative ideas. He saw traditional forms of information dissemination as supplying information to students without stressing the relevance and relationship to the world in which they were living. His books sought to clarify these relationships through stimulating images and insightful (though at times lengthy and ethereal) text.
An installation of nearly 100 books in the James Stirling-designed Book Pavilion at the Venice Biennale serves as a collection of documents that asks us to consider how climate intersects with architectural ideas.
The Jane Jacobs Documentary - a feature length film focusing on the life and work of celebrated author and urban activist, Jane Jacobs - is set to be released Fall 2016. Coinciding with the author’s 100th birthday, Robert Hammond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Friends of the High Line, and Matt Tyrnauer, producer/director of Valentino: The Last Emperor, plan to have the film tour festivals near the end of this year.
For the architecture-obsessed reader, it can sometimes be tough to keep up with the publishing world. With architecture-related interests spanning from photography to philosophy, new books are released at an alarming rate and it can be difficult to spot the good from the bad. Fortunately, the good folks at Metropolis Magazine are here to help. In this article, excerpted from their list of 50 Architecture and Design Books to Read This Spring, Metropolis editors select the top architecture titles to come out this year to give you a helping hand in rounding out your reading list.
From community meeting hubs to secluded refuges, places to learn and places to study, libraries can be so much more than just a place to a check out a book. With this in mind, we’ve rounded-up 15 awe-inspiring libraries, including a Canadian church that was converted into a library, the first library in Muyinga, Burundi – built using participatory design and local materials – and the largest academic library in Finland. See what makes each of the libraries unique after the break.
The best buildings always start with a background, materials, and a plan. With a little help, now shots can too. In their new book, The Architecture of the Shot, author Paul Knorr and architectural planner Melissa Wood teamed up to create 75 blueprints detailing the creation of "the perfect shot from the bottom up." With historical backgrounds, detailed materials lists, and precise plans, anyone with an architectural eye will feel right at home constructing the “perfect” mixtures.
As the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act approaches, the fall issue of ArchitectureBoston hits hard with questions about one of the profession’s most heated topics today: preservation. With essays and articles from a dozen different perspectives, featuring a dozen different problems and solutions, the issue is a gateway for discourse for anyone interested in the role of the past, in the future of architecture. Read on for more information.
It's common to find an architectural monograph (or three) on an architect's bookshelf. Within the pages of these large, heavy, often expensive tomes lie a formalised portfolio of a studio's professional output, interspersed by essays penned by influential writers, thinkers or practitioners. They are sources of both information and inspiration, bringing architecture from around the world into your personal field of vision.
Recent years have seen a vast number of these types of books published on architects and their practices, begging the question: Why a Monograph? Are they simply part and parcel of a studio's creative process, or necessary tools for communication with the wider world? Perhaps more interestingly, what role does the recording of work in this way have for architects in enabling them to take stock and move forward? It will seek to examine how the print monograph has become a staple tool for self-promotion, reflection, and criticism in a world which is leaning towards a gradual digitisation of the discourse.
http://www.archdaily.com/632117/why-has-the-monograph-become-a-default-in-architectural-publishingAD Editorial Team
Packed full of idiosyncratically meticulous and colorful illustrations, the book provides a whimsical account of Sydney's architecture and history. From icons such as Utzon'sSydney Opera House to lesser known gems like Mark Foy's building opposite Hyde Park, to the terrace houses of inner city suburbs, All the Buildings in Sydney presents each building with care, detail, and an abundance of charm.
See more images from All the Buildings in Sydney, after the break…
Published in London in 1884, Edwin Abbot’s amusing short novel Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions is a biting critique of Victorian social hierarchies and a canonical work of scientific and theological commentary. It is also a remarkable spatial allegory, challenging conceptions of visual reality and postulating on the existence of unfamiliar dimensions that are obscured by the learned limits of our own knowledge. The book’s narrator, A Square, lives in a two-dimensional planar world inhabited by geometric shapes that are stratified into social classes based on the number of their sides. Polygons constitute the highest classes, while the laboring isosceles triangles exist only above the women, straight lines condemned to tirelessly wiggle back and forth to make themselves visible. One day, A Square receives a strange visitor—a Sphere—from a three-dimensional place called Spaceland, who reveals to him the limits of his conceived reality. Posing enduring questions of knowledge, reason, and faith, this deeply architectural novel is simultaneously among the most entertaining articulations of a phenomenological approach to our sensory understanding of space.
The first three sections of the book are excerpted below.
On Wednesday, November 5, Diana Balmori will visit the Strand to chat about Drawing and Reinventing Landscape with the MoMA's architecture curator, Barry Bergdoll. Diana's book examines digital, analog and hybrid methods of representing landscape and places the contemporary landscape architecture within its fascinating historical context. This exclusive Strand chat will investigate crucial aspects of the design process. Join as these two experts discuss this important design topic at a moment of increasing global environmental change. More information here.
As summer draws to an end and we enter into the last quarter of 2014, we decided to round-up a selection of the most useful articles we've published over the past three years. Ranging from The 40 Architecture Documentaries to Watch in 2014 to The 10 Most Overlooked Women in Architectural History, we've also brought together app guides, career tips, and city guides. Alongside links to open-source CAD files and cut-out people, we've also featured book recommendations, study tips, and links to our complete coverage of some of the world's major architectural events and prizes. Delve into our collection and discover what our readers have found most useful!
With summer quickly coming to a close, time is running out to squeeze in one last good book. If you're open to suggestions, Metropolis Magazine recently rallied its staff members and a slew of notable architects, designers, and curators to round up an impressive list of summer reads. Amongst the architectural contributors are Mason White of Lateral Office, Donald Chong of Williamson Chong Architects, and Drew Seskunas of The Principals.
Wondering what to do with the last, lingering weeks of summer? There's still plenty of time for some enticing summer reading! Peruse this online collection of select books on Architecture, chosen from academic publisher Routledge's titles on themes of Professional Practice and Sustainable Architecture, and available in their entirety for free throughout the month of August.
Including compelling and notable works, these books tackle relevant and significant contemporary issues facing the design world today. See what's available after the break.
Architects are woefully underrepresented in literature. According to Jay Wickersham, author of this article originally published in Architecture Boston, there are very few books that accurately portray designers without sensationalizing or glossing over their craft. He does, however, point us towards some exceptions: works of fiction that come close to grasping what the study and practice of architecture is all about. Read the full article, along with these recommendations, after the break.
This summer, ArchitectureBoston gives readers a reason to linger in their hammocks a little longer and drift away into the world of architecture and design. The new issue contains extensive and insightful suggestions for book lovers looking to build a personal library of new and important titles. Read on for more information.