How Has The Monograph Become A Default In Architectural Publishing?

The bookshop of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, with a space dedicated to the architectural monograph. Image via Nieuwe Instituut

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  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  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.

Society of Architectural Historians Announces 2015 Publication Award Recipients

Courtesy of Society of Architectural Historians

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) have announced the winners of the 2015 Publication Awards in Chicago, as part of their 68th Annual International Conference Awards ceremony. David Brownlee, Keith Morgan, Pauline Saliga, and Stanley Tigerman were also inducted as Fellows of the Society of Architectural Historians for their “lifelong contributions to the field of .”

Awarded annually, the honor excellence in “architectural history, landscape history, and historic preservation scholarship,” alongside outstanding architectural exhibition catalogs. Eligible publications must have been published in the two years immediately preceding the award, with nominations for the 2016 Publication Awards opening on June 1.

Learn more about the winning publications after the break.

GIVEAWAY: Moleskine’s Inspiration and Process in Architecture / Studio MK 27

Moleskine®-Inspiration and Process in Architecture

Moleskine, the go-to brand of sketchbooks beloved by creatives around the world, recently released another title in its Inspiration and Process in Architecture series: Studio MK27, led by architect Marcio Kogan.

The series already features dedicated to Studio Mumbai, Wiel AretsDominique Perrault, Zaha Hadid, and others. Studio MK27 joins this prestigious list along with Kengo Kuma, Grafton Architects, Frits Palmboom and Michael Graves, whose monographs were also recently announced by Moleskine.

Read on to find out how you can win a copy of Inspiration and Process in Architecture – Marcio Kogan Studio MK27!

Head in the Clouds with SOILED’s 5th Issue

Courtesy of SOILED

Self-described as “a periodical of architectural stories that [makes] a mess of the built environment and the politics of space,” SOILED zine‘s 5th issue has been released, abounding with tales of the aerial. Entitled Cloudscrapers, the issue is the second in a series of limited-edition, locally produced by CARTOGRAM Architecture.

Exploring “air-space as a site for activated atmospheres, a privileged perch, and otherwordly occupation,” Cloudscrapers promises readers a diverse and entertaining read, whilst provoking thoughts of spatial wonders otherwise unconsidered. Learn more about SOILED and purchase a copy of Cloudscrapers here.

The Avery Review: Insightful Critical Writing Online

Courtesy of The Avery Review

The Avery Review (AR), a new online journal dedicated to thinking about , buildings and other architectural media, seeks to utilise the potential in the critical essay and repackage it for the digital realm. A project of the Office of Publications at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, the AR’s responsive website (designed by Nothing in Common) perfectly matches the exceptional quality of the content. Featuring essays from Owen Hatherley and Amale Andraos, among others, the overarching aim of the review is to “explore the broader implications of a given object of discourse” whether that be “text, film, exhibition, building, project, or urban environment.”

Find out more from editors Caitlin Blanchfield and James Graham after the break.

Reinstating the Relevance of Academic Journals: trans magazin

Courtesy of trans magazine

trans magazin, a semi-annual published by the Department of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETHZ, seeks to address “issues in architecture and urban development from a variety of perspectives.” Managed by an independent student editorial team since 1997, the publication studies and discusses humanities, politics, philosophy and the arts. It is “a platform for interdisciplinary discourse” packaged in a beautifully printed, weighty periodical.

The Draftery: Dispelling the Belief That Architectural Drawing is Dead

Fig. 03. Image Courtesy of

The Draftery, a printed platform to “discuss the role of architectural today”, brings together a fascinating collection of images and words in a publication on three distinct platforms. Figures, Captions and Archive facilitate a multi-disciplinary conversation about how drawings are made and their role in the built environment. Now approaching their third anniversary, how far have they come and where is the project headed?

January 2013 saw the re-launch of The Draftery and the total reconstruction of the project. Their crisp publications now have a strong editorial thread which compliments the carefully curated collections of architectural drawings. Seeking to “demonstrate that drawing, more than mere representation, is a method of acting in the world”, good drawings provide a moment of visual solice in a fast paced profession. 

BI’s First Print Edition Released – FREE: Architecture on the Loose

Courtesy of

BI is a publication focused on the exchanges between architecture and its wider cultural context; it consists of short extemporaneous texts with longer studied pieces from a multitude of perspectives. The following is an excerpt from its latest (and first print) edition, FREE, written by the editors-in-chief E. Sean Bailey and Erandi de Silva.

There is implicit conflict in the word ‘free’. While culturally we celebrate the infinite opportunities afforded by the ‘freedom to’, the term also alludes to emancipation, a break from a captive state, or a ‘freedom from’. ‘Free’ is, at its core, an architectural concept. Architecture is a discipline directly engaged with shaping enclosure, of erecting and toppling barriers or—more explicitly—of extending and limiting ‘freedoms’.

The Architecture of Pompidou Metz: An Excerpt from “The Architecture of Art Museums – A Decade of Design: 2000 – 2010″

© Didier Boy De La Tour

In honor of International Museum Day, we’re taking a look back at the 21st century’s most exciting museums. The following is an excerpt from the recently released book, The Architecture of Art Museums – A Decade of Design: 2000 – 2010 (Routledge) by Ronnie Self, a Houston-based architect. Each chapter of the book provides technical, comprehensive coverage of a particular influential art museum. In total, eighteen of the most important art museums of the early twenty-first century - including works from Tadao Ando, Herzog & de Meuron, SANAA, Steven Holl, and many other high-profile architects - are explored. The following is a condensed version of the chapter detailing Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines’ 2010 classic, Centre Pompidou-Metz.

The Pompidou Center – Metz was a first experiment in French cultural decentralization. In the late 1990’s, with the prospect of closing Piano and Roger’s building in Paris for renovations, the question arose of how to maintain some of the 60,000 works in the collection of the National Museum of Modern Art available for public viewing. A concept of “hors les murs” or “beyond the walls” was developed to exhibit works in other French cities. The temporary closing of the Pompidou Center – Paris spurred reflections on ways to present the national collection to a wider audience in general. Eventually a second Pompidou Center in another French city was imagined.

Big Ideas, Small Buildings: Some of Architecture’s Best, Tiny Projects

Suzuko Yamada, Pillar House, Tokyo, Japan. Image © Iwan Baan/

This post was originally published in The Architectural Review as “Size Doesn’t Matter: Big Ideas for Small Buildings.

Taschen’s latest volume draws together the architectural underdogs that, despite their minute, whimsical forms, are setting bold new trends for design.

When economies falter and construction halts, what happens to architecture? Rather than indulgent, personal projects, the need for small and perfectly formed spaces is becoming an economic necessity, pushing designers to go further with less. In their new volume Small: Architecture Now!, Taschen have drawn together the teahouses, cabins, saunas and dollhouses that set the trends for the small, sensitive and sustainable, with designers ranging from Pritzker Laureate Shigeru Ban to emerging young practices.

“Every Building is a Social Critique” – Polshek Describes His Oeuvre in Latest Book

Polshek’s memorable design for the Rose Center for Earth and Space (2000) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Image Courtesy of Timothy Hursley

While architects don’t always see the connection between politics, social constructs, and architecture, considers the three indivisible. In an on Metropolis Magazine about his newly released book Build, Memory, he describes how this belief launched his career 65 years ago. To learn more about Polshek’s approach to architecture and the publication, click here.

The Society of Architectural Historians Selects 6 for Publication Awards

Henri Labrouste: Structure Brought to Light/ Corinne Bélier, Barry Bergdoll, and Marc Le Coeur, eds.

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) has chosen to honor six of the “most distinguished publications” released in the last two years with their prestigious Publication Awards. The annual prize awards publications in , urban history, landscape history, preservation, and architectural exhibition catalogs, as well as the best article published in the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians by an emerging scholar. View all the winners, after the break…

Open Letters / Harvard Graduate School of Design

Courtesy of Open Letters

Launched in September 2013 by students at the Harvard Graduate School of , Open Letters is a print experiment that tests the epistolary form as a device for generating conversations about architecture and design. The project stems from an earnest curiosity about what people have to say to each other about architecture, landscapes, cities, ideas, history, practice, experience and learning. 

New issues are released every other Friday, each presenting one open letter, i.e. a letter addressed to a particular party, but intended for publication, about any topic relating to the design disciplines. Past correspondents have written to mentors, chairs, trees, mystical creatures, those in need of advice and to NCARB. All issues can be read online.

PLAT 4.0 Call for Submissions

PLAT Journal invites content for its forthcoming issueMassAt once a spatial and social practice, architecture produces mass: an accumulation that, given momentum, projects a social attitude. Mass is assertive—whether through a tactful manipulation of scale, an astute engagement of its context, or a specific formal legibility, it speaks plainly but with conviction.

Taking as its site the point of exchange between a form and its constituency, this issue of PLAT Journal will investigate how notions of mass come to the fore of contemporary architectural practice.

Mass is pop with agency. Fast and loose, high and low, how does a form take on mass culture through its presence in an urban fabric? What is its agenda?

Mass has the capacity to define a collective. How do architectural projects articulate a plurality in a way that’s relevant to today?

Mass gains coherence through the magnetism of its parts: local attractions have global repercussions. What’s next? How does its impact extend beyond its envelope?

PLAT 4.0 welcomes design projects, abstracts, , visual media, narratives, manifestos, and conversations that engage the notion of mass in the discourse and production of architecture today. Please submit an abstract and (if applicable) images by January 1, 2014 to curator@PLATJournal.com. Click here for more information.

Submissions should be in American English and formatted in accordance with the Chicago Manual of Style, with all sources clearly documented. Images should be a JPEG, 2 MB or smaller. Authors should have high-resolution, publication-quality images available if selected. All authors must have rights or permissions for all images submitted before final publication. Any questions should be sent to editor@platjournal.com.

PLAT is an independent architectural journal published by students at the Rice School of Architecture. Its purpose is to shift architectural discourse by stimulating new relationships between design, production, and theory. It operates by interweaving student, faculty, and professional work into an open and evolving dialogue that progresses from issue to issue. Curating worldwide submissions in two annual issues, PLAT serves as a projective catalyst for architectural discourse.

The Library: A World History

© Will Pryce

Written by James WP Campbell and featuring stunning photography by Will Pryce, “The Library: A World History” (published by Thames & Hudson 2013) explores the evolution of libraries in different cultures and throughout the ages. It investigates how technical innovations as well as changing cultural attitudes have shaped the designs of libraries from the tablet storehouses of ancient Mesopotamia to today’s multi-functional media centres.

Read on for some insights from the book and more of its beautiful photography

MAS CONTEXT #18: IMPROBABLE

#18: IMPROBABLE; Cover by Stephane Massa-Bidal

It is safe to say that architects and planners have always been among those striving for utopian ideals through physical space.  Just look at the 20th century, when designers converged around the idea of creating new cities for lives that embraced new technologies.  We had the Futurists who were obsessed with automobiles, speed and factory cities.  We had CIAM and Team 10 who collectively and individually developed the modernist ideals for housing and urban planning.  We had Archigram that developed conceptual creations for cities that walked, were inflatable, and could be packed and unpacked in locations all over the world.  We had Superstudio, an architecture firm that developed renowned conceptual works of the “total urbanization” of architecture.

As impractical and experimental as some of these proposals were, they initiated a conversation, not only about the physical space that they presented, but the social implications of their designs.  The latest issue of MAS CONTEXT, Improbable, tackles these “unlikely futures envisioned in the past that never became present” and explores how, to various degrees, these impossible and improbable agendas projects came to fruition.   Join as after the break for a closer look at the new issue.

BUILDING: Louis I. Kahn at Roosevelt Island / Barney Kulok

In September 2011 Barney Kulok  was granted special permission to create photographs at the construction site of Louis I. Kahnʼs Four Freedoms Park in New York City, commissioned in 1970 as a memorial to Franklin D. Roosevelt. The last Kahn completed before his untimely death in 1974, Four Freedoms Park became widely regarded as one of the great unbuilt masterpieces of twentieth-century architecture. Almost forty years after having been commissioned, it is finally being completed this year, as originally intended. 

LE CORBUSIER REDRAWN: The Houses / Steven Park

(1887-1965) was the most significant architect of the twentieth century. Every architecture student examines the Swiss master’s work. Yet, all too frequently, they rely on reproductions of faded drawings of uneven size and quality. Redrawn presents the only collection of consistently rendered original drawings (at 1:200 scale) of all twenty-six of ’s residential works. Using the original drawings from the Foundation’s digital archives, architect Steven Park has beautifully redrawn 130 perspectival sections, as well as plans, sections, and elevations of exterior forms and interior spaces.